HIGH SCHOOL NORMALITY contains strong language and some themes not suitable for audiences under 17. Viewer discretion is advised.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Potential Break-Up Song


"When has Eternity ever failed me?"
"I don't know. Why don't we ask all the other girlfriends you've had?"
"Eager to talk to me?"
"I have to cancel."

"Meet us in front of Coffee Plantation at 7:30. Wear what we picked out, and you might want to brush up on your Billy Joel."

"I figured that if you couldn't make it to Valentine's Day, then Valentine's Day would just have to make it to you."
"Happy Valentine's Day, Joy."
"Happy Valentine's Day, David."
"I'm sorry, Leslie! David needed my help."

Michael Florence was on the phone with his on-again/off-again girlfriend, Leslie Lawrence. They had had plans to meet on Valentine's Day to enjoy single life as friends (whenever they did this, they got back together. It was exhausting trying to keep up with their relationship).

"I just can't believe you would just cancel on me like that. I told my girlfriends that I couldn't be single with them because I had plans with you, and where was I? At home watching reruns of Home Improvement on Nick @ Night!"
"Leslie, chill out. It's not like we're together anymore."
"And you always wonder why I never get into relationships. You get together, you break up, and then the bitch always wants more."

Mark Adams always had a way with words, but they weren't the kind of words that Aaron Stanwick would have liked to hear.

"Mark, one of these days there's gonna be another Faye Winston for you who's not going to treat you like you're the scum of the world."
Faye Winston was the only girl who Mark ever fell in love with. He told us about her a few weeks ago right before I had my first real interaction with Joy Harris, my new girlfriend. "Girlfriend." What a fun word to say.
My name is David and I'm a normal high school student.
And as Mark rambled about how pointless he thought relationships were, I thought about the possibilities that would come with my new relationship. I guess my friends weren't the perfect example of relationship experience...
Mark's relationships consisted of meaningless hookups.

Michael's relationships--well--relationship--consisted of a couple months of PDA and another heartbreaking break-up (for Leslie that is. Michael never really thought much of it).

And Aaron's relationships consisted of a couple dates and then a friendship. It's not to say that Aaron was completely inexperienced with relationships, but he was saving his true romanticism for when he was an adult and he was looking for a wife.

And then there was me. I had never been in any sort of relationship before. I didn't really know what to expect. What would Joy expect?

"So are you and Leslie back together again?"
"Did you fuck Faye Winston yet?"
"Can we stop with the use of that word?"
"That's a whole lot of questions."

That ended the banter.

"Look, you guys should probably leave. I have a date tonight."
"Okay. Who's turn is it to drive me?"
"Nose goes."
"Dang it. Ok, come on Mark."
"Later, Dave."

Michael was the last to leave. "Are you gonna be alright?"
"Why wouldn't I be?"
"Is she going to cancel on you this time? Because all I can really do for you this time is bring over some Chunky Monkey and a copy of The Holiday."

Isn't sarcasm beautiful?

"Don't worry about me. Joy requested time off last week."
"Okay, man. Later."

At 7:00, I headed over to Joy's house to pick her up for our first official date. We were doing the standard dinner and a horror flick. I know it's textbook, but it always works in the movies.

I rang the doorbell, and she showed up at the door, wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and a sweatshirt. I was wearing a white dress shirt over a navy blue shirt (untucked, of course).

"You look great."
"Really? Thanks."
"So where do you want to eat?"
"Why don't we get a pizza?"
"Sounds good. I know a great place."

We got into Rebellion the Pontiac and headed for 3.14, a nearby pizza place that had a mathematical theme. It's a known fact that the founders were major mathletes in high school.

"Your car is really nice."
"Thanks. It gets me around."
"How long have you had it?"
"My folks got it for my 16th birthday. It was kind of a 'thanks for putting up with our crap--here's a car' type of thing.'"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, my family's not exactly what I would call the Brady Bunch. My parents are no exception."
"Well who's folks aren't?"
"Good point. So what kind of music do you like?"
"Do you have any Coldplay?"
I was liking her more every second. I put the album, "A Rush of Blood to the Head". It was their best album.
"I love this album!"
"Me too!"

We belted out the lyrics to "Politik". She had a really good voice. "Did you make Regionals?"
"No, unfortunately. How did you know I auditioned?"
"I saw you there. In fact, I was going to go talk to you before your audition."
"Why didn't you?"
"Well, I was a little nervous at first, and then right as I was about to come over to you, you were called in for your audition."
"Well, at least we're together now."

She placed her hand on mine as my other hand continued to man the steering wheel.

"So do you have a car?"
"No. I don't drive yet. My parents won't even let me get my permit until I have enough money to pay for insurance."
"That sucks."
"I actually don't mind. I don't really want to drive. It's such a scary thought."
"Wow. I was so ready to drive when I got my permit. I couldn't stand not being able to drive. I felt so helpless."
"Well, it helps to have a man who can drive."
"Who, your father?"
She playfully hit me on the arm as I pulled into the parking lot of 3.14. We got out of the car and went into the pizza place.

For the most part it was more of that gooey first-date stuff I was rambling about earlier, so let's just skip to the drama of the night.

"Why won't you talk about your family?"
"I can't say."
"Why not?"
"Because it's personal."
"If we're going to be in a relationship than we have to be able to talk about these things."
"It's our first date. We're not supposed to talk about things as personal as that."
"I told you my bedwetting story."
I paused. "This is a little more complicated than wetting the bed until you were seven."
"Look, if you're not going to be open with me, than maybe you should just take me home."
Another pause.
"Fine. Check please."

The drive back to her place was silent and awkward. We didn't blast Coldplay, and we didn't have any sort of banter. I was going to say something to her, but I decided not to. I didn't want to make things more awkward.

When I pulled up to her house, I decided to talk. "I'm sorry about tonight."
"Me too." And with that, she left my car and walked into her house. I didn't bother to walk her to her door. It would have been more awkward.

On the way home, I couldn't stop thinking about how I screwed it up. Was I crazy not to reveal the horrible background behind my family?

When I got home, I ignored the sound of my screaming parents and I went to my room. After a short period of time, I decided to call Joy and tell her the truth. What could it hurt? Any potential relationship was probably doomed anyway.

"My mom's a receptionist."
"My mom's a receptionist and my dad lost his job because of the recession. My sister Libby pays the entire rent sometimes, and my brother Jake is a typical 13 year-old full of angst at the world. My parents fight all the time, so I tend to keep myself away. I'm not really connected with them a whole lot anymore."
"Why are you telling me this?"
"Because you were right. If we are going to be a couple we have to be hinest with each other, and that means me opening up about the bad stuff."
"I don't know what to say."
"Say you'll give me another chance. I really want this to work."
"I do too."
"So, I'll call you tomorrow night?"
"I'll be waiting."

So my first date with Joy wasn't exactly what some would call the ideal beginning of a relationship, but maybe the relationships that start off the rockiest become the most ideal. Or maybe relationships that happen in the movies aren't the ideal relationships that we want. Maybe what we want is real, and our ideas are just distractions from the reality that we need to have good relationships.

David Adler
Normal High School Student

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