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

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm With You

"If I had no friends, I would be looking for some reinforcements."
"You don't have any friends."
"But I have drugs."

"David. What a pleasant surprise. Have you come to feed your addiction?"
"Steve, I came over here to tell you to not sell anything else to Mark."
"David, David, David, don't you understand that I am not the one that seeks out my customers? They find me. If Mark finds me again wanting the goods, I have to supply them."
"Steve, just be smart here. Leave Mark Adams alone."

"What if we put ourselves in a situation where he would HAVE to listen to us?"
"We are NOT locking ourselves in a room."
"No, I mean like an intervention."

"It's not you, it's me. You are a great guy and any girl would be happy to have you."
"So, you're breaking up with me?"
"I hope we can still be friends!"

"I'm sorry for everything that has happened. Your escapades and sailor mouth get on my nerves, but you wouldn't be you without those things."
"I'm sorry too, Aaron. I can't believe this got so out of hand."
"It's okay, Mark. It's okay. Let's just get down from here."

"Term ended and I'm coming home tomorrow. I wanted to know if you would want to grab some coffee on Sunday around 5?"
"Um, sure. Sounds good. I'll see you then."
"Are you out of your fucking mind?"

Mark Adams was astounded by the fact that my ex-girlfriend, Joy Harris, had just called while we drove to the Coffee Plantation.

"What's the big deal? We had dinner before she left, we kept in touch a little on Facebook. We're friends."
"But this is different."
"Because she's coming back from England and the first person she wants to see is you!"
"I don't know if I was the first person or not."
"You might as well have been since you're seeing her on SUNDAY."

I pulled into the parking lot of the Coffee Plantation and parked the prius.

"I think you're making a bigger deal out of this then needs to be made."
"I don't think you're making a big enough deal out of this. This is your ex-girlfriend--your ex-girlfriend who you broke up with right before you went all the way with her--your ex-girlfriend who made out with some other guy--"
"I'm very well aware of who she is, Mark. She's my ex."
"Just don't do anything you'll regret. Callie seems really great."

The thing that Mark didn't understand was that I wasn't planning on doing anything even potentially stupid. I was in a relationship with a girl who I really cared about, and I wasn't about to screw that up.

My name is David, and I'm a normal high school student.
And in my eyes there was absolutely nothing abnormal about seeing a friend who happened to have been my girlfriend at one point.

"Really David?"
"Don't you remember the last time you met up with her?"

Michael Florence and Aaron Stanwick were just so supportive.

"What about last time?"
"Remember, it got all awkward?"
"That's because we were talking about my accident, and rehab, and our relationship."
"And what do you think you'll talk about this time?"
"We're just grabbing a quick cup of coffee and talking about her England experience a little bit. Why would our relationship come up?"
"Why wouldn't it?"
"Thank you, Captain Logic."
"David, we're just looking out for you."
"I know you are, and I appreciate that, but trust me when I say that I know what to do here."

Once we had moved on from the subject of my coffee date with Joy, our reunion at the Coffee Plantation was a lot of fun. It felt as though we were never apart.

The next night, Callie Anderson and I went to dinner for our two month anniversary. I had saved up some money from working at the UPS Store so I could take her to the Capitol Grille.

"Do you want to split the lemon chicken?"
"David, I've been thinking, and, well, where are we?"
"We're at the Capitol Grille about to order dinner."
"I mean, where are we in this relationship? I mean, it's been two months and I feel like we've gotten nowhere."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, after two months with Joy, where were you guys?"
"Starting the last month of our relationship."
"Why are you skating around this subject?"
"Because if I skate anywhere near it, I might fall through the ice."
"Meaning that two months with Joy wasn't at all the same as two months with you. Everything moved so fast with Joy."
"How was the sex?"

I did the cliche spitting out of the drink in response to this question.

"Why would you ask that?"
"Can you just answer the question?"
"We never had sex."
"But you just said things moved really fast."
"They did. We professed our love for each other after three weeks."

It was Callie's turn to do the cliche spitting.

"Did you love her?"
"I thought I did. But I think I just wanted someone to love."
"And you don't now?"
"What's the point of this conversation?"
"Nothing. There's no point. Let's order dinner."

We did end up splitting the lemon chicken, but the rest of dinner was not as romantic as I had hoped. Much of it was silent, actually.

The drive back to her house wasn't that much better. We listened to Coldplay, and I sang a little bit, but it didn't put a smile on her face.

When I pulled up to her house, I broke the unbearable silence.

"Callie, what's up? You're not yourself tonight."
"I'm sorry, it's just that I saw on your Facebook that you're seeing Joy tomorrow."
"Yeah? So?"
"Well, I was a little confused as to why you didn't tell me."
"I guess it slipped my mind. We're just meeting for coffee, it's not a big deal."
"But it is for me. You are about to see the girl who broke your heart into a million pieces."
"Yeah, but those pieces have been mended because of you."
"But what if that is all I am? What if you see Joy tomorrow and every feeling you have ever had for her comes back and you look at me and say 'Thanks for the glue'?"
"Callie, you have nothing to worry about. You are so much more than glue to me."
"Okay. I trust you. Goodnight."

We kissed, and then I drove away. On the way home, using the album "X and Y" as my soundtrack, I thought about how far I have come since my relationship with Joy. It had been almost a year since the first time I saw her working at the cash register of the Coffee Plantation. I remembered the rapid pace of my heartbeat when I caught the first glimpse of her face, and the adrenaline rush I felt when I was going to talk to her at regional choir auditions. I remembered the magic of our first kiss on Valentine's Day, and the excitement of telling her I loved her. Then I remembered the paranoia that set in when I found out that Jamie was a guy, and the hurt I felt when I found out that she had kissed him.


"If you don't want me to see her tomorrow, I won't."
"David, I want you to do whatever you want. It's not up to me who you have coffee with."
"But if you are uncomfortable with me seeing Joy, then I will call her tomorrow and cancel our plans."
"No, that wouldn't be right. She's been excited about seeing you. You should meet up with her."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I am. I'm sorry that I was so dramatic tonight. It's just that--um--actually, never mind."
"I forgot what I was going to say. It must not have been important."
"Okay. Then I guess I'll talk to you sometime tomorrow."
"Okay. Bye."

The next day, I called an emergency meeting with the guys so we could talk about my confusion during the date.

"Dude, you are so stupid."
"That was a little blunt--"
"I mean, why isn't this obvious to you?"
"If it was obvious, would I have called this meeting?"
"It's just that, you're usually pretty good with this type of stuff."
"What kind of stuff? What are you guys getting that I'm not?"

The three of them gave me one more "You're an idiot" look before Mark spoke.

"Callie loves you, you fucking moron!"

The peanut gallery nodded in agreement, and then it hit me.

"Oh my God, I AM stupid!"
"So what are you going to do?"

I had to think about this. Callie had told me to meet up with Joy, but the one person I wanted to be with was Callie. That's when I realized exactly what I needed to do.


Callie received a text message asking her to meet me at the Coffee Plantation at 5. It was a good thing that she didn't know what time I was meeting Joy. After I got a text back saying "Ok," the plan was underway.

I got to the Coffee Plantation at 4:50 to get a table and wait for Callie and Joy to come. At around 4:55, Joy got there.


She wrapped her arms around me and gave me a hug. It was good to see her; not awkward like the last time I saw her.

"Let me grab a lattee and then I can tell you all about England."
"Okay, great."

While Joy waited in line, Callie arrived.

"Hey babe."
"Hey. I could really use a cappuccino right now. Shall we wait in line?"
"You go ahead, honey, I'll stay here with the table."

Joy came back to the table with her lattee and she started telling me all about England.

"So, did I tell you that Othello is my new favorite play? It was so amazing reading Shakespeare in England. I felt like I was truly immersed in the world that Shakespeare lived in. And I will tell you there is NOTHING like seeing A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Globe. I will never be able to watch theatre the same way again!"

It was at this time that Callie came back with her cappuccino.

"Oh Joy, there's someone I want you to meet. This is Callie Anderson, the greatest girl a guy could ever ask for."
"Oh, so you're Callie? I've heard so much about you."
"You must be Joy. It's so nice to finally meet you."

They shook hands and Callie pulled up a chair while I waited in line to get an espresso.

"So David told me you were in England for the semester. How was it?"
"It was amazing. I can't even begin to describe it. Have you ever read Othello?"

I was very proud of myself. I had gotten my girlfriend to be comfortable with me seeing my ex-girlfriend simply by inviting her. Not that Callie didn't trust me, but I think having her there made everything all the more comfortable. It was one of the things that I loved about her.

"And that's how I came to the conclusion that it's not a play about race, but a play about jealousy!"
"That's brilliant! I've never thought of it that way."

The three of us were at the Coffee Plantation for about two and a half hours talking and laughing and having a great time. At about 7:35, Joy's mom picked her up (since she still didn't drive herself) and then it was just Callie and I.

"So what did you think of her?"
"She seemed so sweet. I can't imagine her breaking your heart."
"Well people tend to do the unexpected."
"Speaking of the unexpected..."
"I invited you because I wanted you to see that those feelings I once had for her are gone."
"What about the whole idea that you never forget your first love?"
"You're right. I will never forget about her, or my relationship with her, but there are a lot of things I will never forget. Seeing my mom get arrested, my six weeks in rehab, my car accident--all things that I will never forget, but they are all in the past, and that is where my feelings for Joy are and will stay. You are my present, and hopefully my future, because I love you, and I want us to last so much longer than Joy and I did."
"I love you too, David."

Callie and I kissed and embraced for the next ten minutes or so. It was the first time I ever saw that everything, no matter how horrible the event, happens for an important reason. Whether it results in us meeting someone important, or simply occurs to provide us with some emotional growth, every event that happens and every opportunity taken has a substantial purpose in creating who we are.


"David, I need you to come home right now so you can take me to the airport."
"Where are you going, Cal?"
"I'll explain on the way to the airport, but you have got to come home right now."
"Okay. I'll be there in about ten minutes."

And while everything in life has a purpose, we unfortunately do not know what the purpose is until a series of events has led us there.

David Adler
Normal High School Student