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

Monday, May 18, 2009

Crash Into Me (Season One Finale)

"My friend Jamie is moving to Arizona!"
"You're David?"
"Yeah, and you are--"
"Honey, this is Jamie."

"Um, Joy, I don't know if you noticed but JAMIE IS A DUDE!"

"I guess I just thought--"
"Thought what? That I was going to leave Remi for you just because we slept together? This was a mistake."

"Who is Lucy Greer?"
"Some woman I worked with one time. Why?"
"Dad, why do you owe this woman money?"

"So, David, do you and Joy ever take baths together?"
"We haven't fucked yet, okay? We've come close several times in the last three months, but we just haven't."

"I've only slept with one guy, and that was Jamie. We gave each other our virginities when we were 14. Lots of friends do that."

"He was all packed and out of the house when I got home from the grocery store."
"So, he's just--gone?"
"Jamie and the guys told me that you had to cut early. Some family emergency?"
"Everything's fine. Nothing to worry about."
"David, is your room clean?"
When really painful things happen to my mom, she always has a sudden urge to make everything really, really clean. I guess it's her way of saying, "I'm fine. I live in a beautiful house." It's funny how people hide the truth by putting a mask on. I know I was.

I had been putting a mask on in front of my friends,

I had been putting a mask on in front of Joy,

And I had been putting a mask on in front of my family. Over the years I had learned to stay strong in times of panic, but this was the first time I had ever completely swept it under the rug. It was the worst thing that had happened in a very long time, even among the times where I thought all hope was lost.

My name is David, and I'm a normal high school student.

But in the next couple of weeks, things were going to get out of hand, and not just because of my "daddy issues". It was a worldwide phenomenon.

This worldwide phenomenon is called prom.

As everyone knows, prom is the one night that things are supposed to be absolutely perfect. It is that special night that every girl dreams about, as well as the night that every guy fantasizes about (in a very different way than the girls). And this year, I was going to prom with Joy, as well as my best friends, Aaron Stanwick, Michael Florence, and Mark Adams.

Mark had gone to prom freshman and sophomore year, too, being the date of some upperclassman, and so he decided to return the favor to the freshman class of 2012 by bringing Leanne James, the star of the JV Girls' Soccer Team.

"But she's a freshman. FRESH-MAN!"
"Your point?"
"Mark, you're 17. She's 14. I don't know about you but that sounds kind of illegal to me."
"Not for another year."
"So, Aaron, who are you going with?"

There was a pause.

"You do have a date, don't you?"

Another pause.

"It's okay, Aaron. I'm going stag, too. That way there's no pressure."
"Oh, come on Mikey, we all know that you're gonna somehow spot Leslie from across the room, and you guys are gonna get together. AGAIN!"
"And perhaps you'll leave Froshy McFroshenstein for, I don't know, Faye Winston?"
"And on that note, I have got to go to work, but I'll catch you guys at school on Monday?"

So I walked out of the Coffee Plantation to go across the street to the UPS Store, where I had been working for about two and a half months. And I was about to use my free postage privilege to start what I hoped would be the best prom ever. The next day at 3:00 PM, a package would be delivered addressed to Joy Harris c/o The Coffee Plantation. Inside the package would be a ticket to prom, a rose, and a note that would read "Will you go to prom with me". And sure enough, at 3:06 PM that day, I got a phone call from the Coffee Plantation.

"UPS Store, this is David, how may I assist you?"
"By taking me to prom!!!"

She got the card, and I was very happy she liked it, until--

"We just need to find Jamie a date."

I pondered this for a moment. I mean, Jamie was Joy's best friend, but he was also her ex-lover. Well, okay they only slept together once, but what was to stop them from hitting it off again?...

I knew exactly what would stop them from hitting it off again.

"You want me to go to prom with some random guy?"

Michael's on-again/off-again girlfriend, Leslie Lawrence, was in my history class, so it was easy to catch her to ask her to go with Jamie to prom.

"Look, Leslie, he's new in town and the only people he knows are Joy, the guys, and me. And besides, how jealous will Michael be if he sees you with this guy?"

Leslie was always the one who instigated getting back together with Michael. She had made the plans for them to have dinner on Valentine's Day, and was supremely angry when he had to cancel on her.

"You make a good point. Who's Michael going with?"
"Perfect. I guess I'll meet Joey before dinner at your house?"
"It's Jamie, and we're having dinner at my house?"
"Well, since you're offering, I think we should do a prom potluck!"
"But I--"
"I'll inform the rest of the party."
"No, that's okay. I'm hosting, so I might as well give the invitations."

So my friends, my girlfriend, her best friend, and my best friend's ex-girlfriend were all going to be in the same chaotic house. You know, the one with a neurotic mother and recently no male figurehead. Well, I thought to myself, at least it'll be clean.

"You set up Jamie with Leslie?"

I was almost shocked at how Michael reacted, but than I remembered that it takes two people to get back into a relationship over and over again.

"I didn't think it would be that big of a deal."
"Not that big of a deal? David, she's my ex-girlfriend!"
"Yeah, your ex-girlfriend. I figured by the number of times you two have gone out that you'd finally be over her."
"I am."
"Than why the hell does this matter?"

There was a moment of silence, but being that Michael is not generally one to talk about his feelings for more than five minutes at a time, he said:

"It doesn't. I was just--confused, that's all."

I decided that this was a good moment to reveal what I had wanted to say ever since that day at 3.14.

"Joy had sex with Jamie, and I'm afraid that because of their, you know, history that him being in town will be the end of Joy and me."
"So Leslie is--"
"--a way for Jamie's attention to be deterred from my girl."

Michael looked at me strangely.

"I have a feeling that's not the only thing that's going on."
"No, that's it. I just don't wanna lose my girl."

I would have told Michael about my dad leaving, and about Lucy Greer, and about all of the other shit that had been happening in my house, but I decided that one revelation was good enough for that day. I continued to sweep it all under the rug.

The next day at work, I got a call from the last person I expected to hear from.
"UPS Store, this is David, how may I assist you?"

I never get tired of that.

"Hi David. It's Jamie."

I was in shock.

"Hey Jamie, what's going on?"
"I just wanted to call and thank you for setting me up with Leslie. She sounds really cool."
"Anything for a friend of Joy's."
"David, are you really taking a personal call right now?"
"Yeah, so Joy will definitely be getting that package right away. We'll talk soon."
"Um, okay. Bye."

"It's a good thing you have good people skills, David."

Before we all knew it, prom was underway. And that abnormality I was talking about? That was about to play out as well.

"I don't have to cook, right?"
"No, it's a potluck."
"Okay, than I would be more than glad to host your friends."

Joy was the first to arrive at my house. She looked beautiful in her midnight blue dress.

"You look so beautiful."
"Thanks. Your vest and tie match my dress perfectly. This night is going to be perfect."
"No, you're perfect."

She gave a short look of cynicism, and than we kissed. It was the perfect moment--

"Hey, hands off my best friend, dawg."

--ruined by the idiot's presence.

"Hello, Jamie. I'm--so glad you're going to prom with us."

I was silently praying that he couldn't hear the hesitation in my voice. I mean, it's not that I care when people know I don't like them. It's just that this was Joy's best friend, and if she was given an ultimatum, she would choose her friend over me, so I wanted to stay more discreet about my hatred for him.

Aaron arrived shortly after Joy and Jamie, and than Michael, Mark, and Leanne. Mark still didn't have his license, or his permit for that matter, so he and his date bummed a ride off of Michael. Michael stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Leslie. She looked really good in her sparkly green gown. Leslie and Michael shared a glance for a second, and then--

"Michael, have you met Leslie?"
"Yeah. I have."

Jamie could tell that there was tension in the room, so he decided to stop.

Dinner was relatively enjoyable. My mom was in good spirits. Maybe now that my dad was out of the picture, she would be much less stressed out. It was still awkward, but not terribly.

The real awkwardness came after dinner, when we did our pre-prom pictures. First we did one of Joy and me, than one of Mark and Leanne, and one of Leslie and Jamie. We took two group pictures (serious pose/silly pose), and than came the awkward part. My mom wanted a picture of all the guys, which meant all the guys. Jamie got into the picture with one arm around me and the other around Aaron, who I thought for sure was going to pummel him to the ground. I know that Mormons are supposed to be peaceful, but Aaron was a big guy and could probably beat the shit out of anyone who looked at him the wrong way.

After a picture was taken of Leslie, Joy, and Leanne, we all figured that was the end, until--

"Mrs. Adler, take one of Joy and me. We've been best friends since the 3rd grade!"

I really hate that guy.

"Okay, get together."

I don't think it would have been such a big deal if it weren't for the fact that Jamie insisted on doing an awkwardly sexual pose with my girlfriend. Oddly, no one found anything wrong with this except for me, but I was willing to shove it under the rug. At least nothing extremely chaotic happened at my house.
We decided to roll into prom in style--in a limo--just like everyone else. As cliche as it is, prom is just not the same without a limo. Of course, that ride was awkward as well, considering Jamie was sitting next to Michael, who was slowly beginning to hate him as much as I did.

"So Leslie, are you excited about prom."
"I guess so, but I'm much more excited about afterward."

Excited, Jamie turned to Michael and quietly said, "I am getting some tonight!"

At the time, I wasn't exactly sure what Jamie had said to Michael, but I could tell from Michael's expression that it was all he could do not to kill Jamie right then and there.

When we finally got to the Scottsdale Hilton, the venue for prom this year, the place was really heating up. Normally, I'm not one for having sex with my clothes on in the middle of a crowded dance floor, but when Joy pulled me into the heat, it was hard to say no. So, we conformed with the rest of the group and grinded for a bit before getting our picture done. Across the room, Leanne was all over Mark, who told me that he had reserved a room in the hotel in case she was feeling up to it. Afterall, he had lost his virginity, so what was one more random fuck buddy? The answer: a freshman.

And Leslie was grinding with Jamie literally ten feet away from Michael. She was really loving what was in her mind "Operation Make Michael Jealous", and although my best friend was obviously hurt by what he was witnessing, it was helping me have a better time with Joy at prom. And then--

"What do you say we go get a room?"

Shock was the first emotion, and than confusion, and than divine ecstasy. But before I could get too ecstatic--

"Are you sure?"
"I've never been more sure about anything in my life."

"Okay. Let's go. I'm sure we can use Mark's room. He's not gonna be going up there for a while."

And sure enough, Mark gave me his key, and off I went to lose my virginity.

Meanwhile, Michael and Aaron were standing by the punch bowl, wishing they had brought dates.

"I really wish I had a date."
"Me too."
"Maybe we should just go."
"No, I payed $60 for this prom ticket and it will not have gone to waste. I have to figure out a way to get Leslie away from that--that--"
"Yeah, that's one word for it."
"Okay, so here's the plan. I'm going to strike up a conversation with Jamie, and while he's distracted, you're going to lead Leslie away from him and you're going to talk to her."
"Sounds like a plan."

While Aaron and Michael set up their game plan, Mark had momentarily left his date to go to the bathroom. But when he walked out, he found the last person he wanted to see.

"Oh, hello Mark."
"Faye. Um, how are you?"
"I am just having the best time with Remi. We even have a room upstairs reserved for later."
"Oh yeah, so do I."
"Really? With who?"
"Leanne James."
"Hahahah! A freshman? Wow, Mark, you've really lowered your standards since you took off your scarlett V."
"Why do you care?"
"I don't."
"Than do me a favor and get out of my fucking way."
"Mark, wait!"
"You know, if things were different, than we could be together. I'm very happy with Remi.
"And I'm happy being a player. I'm over you, Faye. Don't make this harder than it is for both of us. Just let it go."
"Okay, well, I've gotta go, but I'll see you around Mark."

Mark told me later that it was the happiest moment of his life.

And upstairs, I waited for the happiest moment of my life. This was it. I was about to lose my virginity. It was almost bizzarre thinking about it. It was normal. We were in love and we wanted to connect sexually. Although it seemed almost random. I hadn't really thought about getting a room at prom because I didn't think it was she wanted, but sometimes we're wrong about people. Maybe I had nothing to worry about when it came to Jamie.

Michael, however, had a lot to worry about.

Aaron had successfully distracted Jamie by striking up a conversation about the vulgarity of the music video to "Womanizer". He chose that topic because he figured it would raise a lot of questions. It was perfect. As Aaron and Jamie talked about Britney Spears' comeback, Michael approached Leslie.

"Having fun?"
"Yeah, lots! You?"
"Yeah! Just the best time!"

There was a moment of silence.

"I'm having a terrible time."
"Me too! Jamie is such an asshole."
"Oh, you should have heard what he whispered to me in the limo. He thinks he's going to fuck you tonight."
"What? That's crazy. I just met him, and I didn't have sex with you even though we were in a relationship for four months."
"And than another relationship for two months. And one for a week. And one for 6 weeks."
"I get it! We've gotten back together a bunch of times."
"You know, it's never too late to get back together again."
"But what we keep forgetting is that as many times as we've gotten together, there's an equal number of times that we've broken up. And when we've broken up, there's always been a reason that we've broken up."
"Well, what if those so-called reasons were just--excuses? What if we were just afraid of something happening that was bigger than ourselves? What if we were just afraid of loving each other?"
"Well--I guess--I--"
"I'm not afraid anymore, Leslie. I love you."
"Oh, I love you!"

They kissed.

"So what do we do with Jamie?"
"Simple. Let him figure it out for himself."

It seemed that good things were happening in all of our lovelives that night (well, except for Aaron, but he didn't really have a lovelife). Finally, I heard Joy's voice.

"Are you ready?"
"Ready as I'll ever be."

My girlfriend walked through the bathroom door wearing the sexiest lingerie I had ever seen.

"You are so beautiful."

She got into the bed and we made out for a few minutes, but as I went to remove her bra, she stopped me.

"What's wrong?"

She was silent for a minute while she situated herself next to me.

"What is it?"

She collected herself and said calmly, "Remember the first day that Jamie was in town?"
"Well, that night, he kissed me. And I kissed him back."

Again I was shocked.

"It only happened once, and it didn't mean anything."

I was still in shock.

"Will you say something?"
"What am I supposed to say? That it's okay? That I'm totally fine? That nothing will change? Well it's not okay, and I'm not fine, and EVERYTHING is going to change."

I got up and started puting my clothes back on.

"David, I made a mistake, and I'm sorry. Anyone can have a slip."
"Yeah, but that doesn't mean they should. My dad had so many slips and my mom kept him because she kept waiting for him to change, and in the end, it didn't matter because HE LEFT!"

It was silent for a moment.

"Yeah. That was the family emergency that came up, and I didn't want to face it."
"So you lied to me?"
"About something that affected ME! Something that pertained to ME! What you did affected BOTH OF US! It pertained to BOTH OF US!"
"Stop shouting!"

I paused to regain my composure.

"I'm sorry."

I took another deep breath. I was going to need it for what I was about to do.

"I should go."
"So what? You're gonna walk away because I made one mistake?"
"I can't forgive you for what you did. I just--I can't do this. Goodbye, Joy."

I walked out of the room, messily dressed and determined to make one final mark on my relationship with Joy.

"--and you know, I just feel sorry for her. I mean, it's like I feel like she wants to be good, but she can't break away from this image."
"Aaron, if you don't mind my asking, why do you care so much about this?"
"Because--I just think she could be so much better. Hey look, it's David."
"Hey David. What happened to you?"
"You did."

And with one swift motion, I punched Jamie in the face and knocked him to the ground.

"What the hell was that for?"
"You know exactly what that was for. Aaron, go get everyone. We're going."
"Okay. Where's Joy?"
"Not coming. I'll explain in the limo."

Aaron, Michael, Leslie, and Mark met me at the limo.

"Where's the frosh?"
"Grinding with Jake Green. Apparently she's the slut of the soccer team."

Once we were on the road, I told them all about what happened with Joy.

"Oh my God!"
"I'm so sorry, dude."
"How could this happen?"
"Did you still screw her?"

We all looked at Mark.

"Kidding. Sorry, it's not the time."
"So what are you going to do now?"
"Well, first I'm going to go home, and than I'm going to deal with my dad leaving, and than I'm going to deal with this."
"Your dad left? When? Why?"
"He left about two weeks ago, and all his note said was that he was sorry but he couldn't deal with it anymore. But I'm dealing with it."

When we got to my house, I was greeted with a sight that I wasn't expecting.

"Why are there cop cars at your house?"
"I don't know. But I've gotta go. I'll see you guys on Monday."

The limo drove away just in time for my friends to be spared the reason why there were cop cars.

"Ma'am, you have a right to remain silent, anything you say will be used against you in court, and you have a right to an attorney. If you can't afford one, one will be appointed to you."

She was using her right.

When I came into the house, Libby and Jake were crying on the couch.

"What the hell is going on?"
"Lucy Greer apparently had Mom's name on the lawsuit, and since Dad is nowhere to be found, Mom was who they arrested."

I had a lot to deal with, but the other stuff could wait. This was my first priority.

"I'm going to go find him."
"I'm going to go look for Dad. It can't be too hard to find him considering he has no money."
"Are you crazy? Where are you going to look? He's not answering his cell."
"First I'm going to the police station to file a missing person's report, and than I'm gonna go to all the familiar places. If he's not anywhere I look, than I'll come home and we'll wait for the cops to find him."
"But David--"
"I have to do this. I'll be back in a couple hours."

And so I got into Rebellion the Pontiac, and I was on my way to the police station. It was the most bizzarre and depressing evening of my life, but it seemed that everything--our entire relationship--had led to our break-up, and everything that had happened to my family over the years had led to my mom's arrest. Ishould have been prepared for all of it. However, nothing prepared for what happened next.

I turned left, I had a green arrow, and still I was hit by oncoming traffic. It was midnight and I was still hit by oncoming traffic. And it was as if every blow I had received that night had culminated into one moment where I was completely helpless. I guess in life, it is in our most vulnerable times that we are hit the hardest.

David Adler
Normal High School