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

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Making Love Out of Nothing At All

"We're gonna have to take her straight to the O.R."
"O.R.? Why?"
"Sir, if we waste any more time the baby is not going to make it and neither will she."

"So, you got into NYU?"
"Yeah, I did."
"So, what's this serious conversation that we need to have?"
"Well, we need to decide whether our relationship is worth taking to opposite ends of the country."

"She's alive."
"Thank God!"
"But the baby's gone."

"You know, I love you too."
"Yeah. I always have. I've just been--scared."
"Of what?"
"Of you."

"So, I've been thinking about the whole NYU thing, and, well--"
"We don't have to make any decisions right now."
"I know, which is why I think that we need to spend some time apart before we make any decisions."
"But this isn't goodbye, right? We still have hope?"
"Of course we do. We're not ending things forever. We're just--taking a break."

Mark Adams really was a completely different person now that he was in a relationship.

"Isn't it a great day to be in love?"
"Yeah. Terrific."
"Aren't you and Callie doing something tonight?"
"We thought it would be best that if we really were going to go through with this whole taking a break thing that we just not see each other, you know, except when we have to."
"Well that sucks, but at least you're not single like Aaron!"
"I don't mind being single. Much less stress."
"I feel more relaxed than ever!"
"That's because you're having double the sex that you used to have."
"Ain't it the truth?"


"Oh, text from Mal! Sex on the beach? But there's no--OH I see because in Arizona there's BEACH but no OCEAN! Arizona humor, gotta love it."

Aaron Stanwick, Michael Florence, and I looked at our friend in pure bewilderment.


My name is David, and I'm a normal high school student.
And at that moment, I wished I could remember what it was like to be that happy and in love.

Aaron was the first one to speak once Mark was gone.

"Well that was--educational."
"At least he's happy."
"But he'll realize soon that love isn't all about having sex on an imaginary beach. You have to work at it, and sometimes the work isn't enough."

It was strange hearing this from Michael. He too had been blissfully in love not too long ago, but ever since his girlfriend Leslie Lawrence had a miscarriage, his feelings toward love had changed.

"So, do you and Leslie have anything special going on tonight."
"I honestly don't know."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that Leslie never communicates with me anymore. We go out on dates and we literally sit there for 10 minutes at a time silently. I have no idea what's going through her head and I have no clue what's in her heart."
"What do you expect? This is normal after a miscarriage."
"But I lost the baby too! I'm the father! That kid was just as much mine as it was her's."
"Maybe you guys should talk about it."
"She won't talk about it. She won't talk about anything. I'm worried."


"So do you want to go out tonight?"
"Sure. I'll pick you up around 7."
"No, I think I'll drive myself."
"Are you sure?"
"Okay, so 3.14 at 7?"
"Okay. See you then."

Things really had become very tense between Michael and Leslie. The two of them were the perfect couple; they held hands, went out every weekend, and were both extremely beautiful. They had been on and off since sophomore year, but had now been on since junior prom.

"I'm gonna go buy some flowers. I'll see you guys later."

And so Michael left to buy flowers, seeming more obliged than willing.

"So you wanna see a movie tonight since we're both flying solo?"
"Sure, why not? We haven't hung out just the two of us in a while. It'll be a good chance to catch up."

While Aaron and I planned our "man-date," Michael and his new girlfriend Mal Wales were having some fun in the sun.

"Whoever said the phrase 'where the sun don't shine' clearly underestimated the concept of sex on the beach."
"Yeah, I just thought this would be a nice way ot start Valentine's Day."
"Indeed it was."

They lay beneath a blanket in each other's arms, soaking up the warmth of the sun and the warmth of their love.

"So what do you wanna do now?"
"Can't we just lay here? Can't we just enjoy this?"
"I guess. It's just that there's so much more to enjoy."
"And we have plenty of time to enjoy the rest. I'm not going anywhere."

He kissed her, happier than he had been in a very long time.

"So when are we--"
"Don't you ever just live in the moment?"
"I guess I--"
"Shh. Just enjoy the moment. We'll figure out everything else later."
"How do you do it?"
"Do what?"
"Live in the moment?"
"I remind myself how much I love you, and that every moment I have with you is worth just living in and not worrying."

While Mark taught Mal how to live in the moment, Micahel wished he could teach himself how to live in the past.

"What are you looking at?"

I went over to his house to make sure he was okay. It seemed like he had been having a strange afternoon.

"Just looking through our sophomore yearbook."

The book was open to the couples page and his eyes were fixated on a picture of Leslie and him toward the center of the spread.

"'We really get each other, and we have no problems.' That's a trip."
"I don't know how much longer I can handle this. Ever since she lost the baby it's like she wishes God took her instead."
"But if God took her than He still would have taken the baby too."
"You know that we haven't made love since she misacarried? We used to make love almost daily, and now she'll--she'll barely look at me."

He broke down and I took hold of him. He buried his face in my shoulder.

"Things are really bad right now, Dave. I don't know if we can get through it."
"You guys will get through it. You guys always get through it."
"I just know that if we break up now, there won't be any on-again. It will just be off."
"Hopefully you won't have to worry about it."

I would be lying if I said that I wasn't worried too. Of all the problems that Michael and Leslie have had over the years, communication has never been one of them.

7:00 seemed to be the optimal time for everyone to be going about their Valentine's Day business. Traffic into Desert Ridge Marketplace was attrocious as happy couples flooded into Macaroni Grill, T.G.I. Friday's, Islands, and of course AMC Theaters.

"I knew we should have gone to Harkins."
"It would have been just as busy, and this is closer to your house."
"Still, why couldn't we go to some low key movie theater where the singles outweighed the couples?"
"It's Valentine's Day. The couples will dominate EVERYWHERE."

While Aaron and I took care of the singles' side of the equation, Mark and Mal were definitely taking care of the couples' side.

Mal arrived at Mark's house with rose petals sprawled across the floor, creating a trail to the kitchen. Mal was greeted by a candlelit table and a very dressed up Mark.

"What is all of this?"
"Well, it's our first Valentine's Day together, so I wanted it to be really special."

Mark pulled out Mal's chair for her and waltzed to the oven.

"For our first course, we have freshly baked bread, and butter churned by the good people at the Landolakes company."

Mark opened the oven and out poored the aroma of the bread...but it certainly wasn't a pleasing aroma as a cloud of smoke emerged with the smell.

"Oh no!"

Mark grabbed the fire extinguisher that his mom kept by the window and sprayed sodium bicarbonate all over the bread. Mal flipped on the kitchen light and blew out the candles so as to not spread the fire.

"Well, the bread's ruined. I don't even want to think about the pasta! God, I am SUCH an IDIOT!"
"Mark, you made me dinner...well you ATTEMPTED to make me dinner, but regardless it's the thought that counts! No one has ever gone through that much trouble to make me a Valentine's Day dinner."
"But what are we supposed to do now? It's not like we can go out; neither of us has a car!"

Mal had picked up the phone and dialed.

"Hello, we would like a large cheese and a large pepperoni, extra cheese on both of those please. Thank you!"

Mark looked at Mal as she put the phone back on the receiver.

"You are SO resourceful! I love you!"
"I love you too!"
"So, when did they say the pizza would be here?"
"30-45 minutes."
"Perfect! That gives me just enough time to give you your other present!"

Mark grabbed Mal and carried her up to the bedroom.

Michael and Leslie's dinner was much less romantic.

"Have you two decided on an entree yet?"
"No, still looking."
"Yeah, just give us a few minutes."

The waiter left and Michael and Leslie silently perused their menus.

"So, um, I was looking in my sophomore yearbook today and saw our picture on the couples page."
"That's nice."
"Yeah, it's funny to think that we've been together for almost two years, you know?"
"Yeah, funny."

They were silent for another minute before Michael broke the silence again.

"So, um, what did you do today."
"Not much of anything really."
"Okay, I give up."
"What do you mean you give up?"
"I mean I'm sick and tired of trying to read you! Why don't you talk to me anymore?"
"Are you two ready to order yet?"
"Yes, I'll have the--"
"No, we'll be ready in a few more minutes!"
"Ever since you lost the baby you have been extremely distant. You won't eat, you won't talk to me, you'll barely even look at me during school. I don't understand what's going on!"
"Of course you don't! YOU didn't lose the baby!"
"Yes I did! It was my kid too and I would give ANYTHING to get it back for you, but I can't, and neither can you. I lost the baby too, Leslie. It was just as much mine as it was your's."
"Ready yet?"
"Actually, I don't believe I will be eating here tonight."
"But thank you so much for your time."

Leslie walked away from the table fighting back tears and after a moment or two Michael got up and chased after her.

Back at the movie theater, it had become even busier. Shows were selling out left and right, and angry couples were pushing their way through the crowds of people in order to be next in line (it was like the Valentine's Day Massacre for the 21st century).

Finally Aaron and I reached the front.

"Two for Valentine's Day please."
"Sold out."
"When in Rome?"
"Sold out."
"Percy Jackson?"
"Sold out."
"Do you have ANYTHING left?"

"My name is Clareece Precious Jones."
"I can't believe we're watching this."
"I'm going to get a refill. I'll be right back."
"Don't leave me!"
"I won't be gone long."

The lines at the concession stand had dwindled a little bit, but there were still lots of couples, a lot that I recognized from school--and one that caught me completely off guard.

"Do you want to share a popcorn?"

She was clutching the arm of a member of Summit Peak's basketball team.

"Oh my God! Um, hi David. What are you doing here?"
"Going horseback riding, what do you think I'm doing here?"
"Can I, uh, talk to you for a minute? Over there?"
"Isn't your boyfriend going to be lonely?"
"Excuse me for a minute, Todd."

We walked over by the arcade.

"So, it has a name?"
"What's the big deal? Todd and I are friends."
"Friends who clutch each other's arms in public on the most romantic day of the year?"
"David, YOU'RE the one who said we should take a break. YOU'RE the one who said we need to figure things out. I mean, if YOU wanted to see other people that would be fine! It's none of my business what you do in your spare time. You obviously came to the movies with someone."
"David, we have GOT to get out of here! That movie's disturbing!"
"Callie, you know Aaron, my MALE friend. Okay, let's go."
"Enjoy your movie."

We reached Aaron's truck and got in.

"What was THAT about?"
"She's seeing other people. It's been two weeks and she's seeing other people."
"Dave, you can't stop her from living her life. A break is like a temporary break-up. Plenty of couples see other people when they go on a break."
"I guess I just didn't expect it."
"So, you wanna hit up Coffee Plantation?"
"Sure, I just want to get home and grab my car first."

As Aaron drove me to my car, Michael sprinted to Leslie's car, grabbing her just as she was about to get in.

"Michael what the hell are you doing?"
"Why won't you tell me what you're thinking or feeling?"
"Let go of me!"
"Answer the question! Why are you shutting me out of your life?"

She collapsed into his arms, hysterically crying.

"I'm not thinking or feeling anything! I'm numb, and I hate it, and you wouldn't understand because you DO have thoughts about it, you DO have feelings about it, and you just don't get it!"

She cried in his arms for a few more minutes before she collected herself.

"This isn't going to work, is it?"
"I don't think so. I can't force you to communicate with me, and I can't force myself to be okay with that."
"So this is it."
"No more on-again/off-again crap."
"This is the end of it."
"But we can still be friends, you know, after a while."
"Yeah, that would be good."
"Well, safe driving I guess."
"You too."

Michael started toward his car.

"It was a boy. The baby, I mean."
"How did you--"
"The doctor told me a couple days before I miscarried. I wanted to surprise you."
"You know I'll always love you."
"And I'll always love you. It's just that--"
"--too much has happened."
"Take care of yourself, kid."
"You too."

They shared one final glance as a couple and walked toward their separate cars as single people.

We got to the Coffee Plantation around 9:30 and the place was emptying out.

"I'm going to go to the bathroom. Get me a hot chocolate and I'll pay you back when I get out."
"Will do."

I was first in line, and there was no one at the counter.

"Anyone back there?"
My ex-girlfriend Joy came running to the register, obviously happy to see me.

"What are you doing here?"

We looked at each other silently for a moment. Maybe it was seeing her for the first time in months, maybe it was the fact that we had just reenacted the way we met, or maybe it was the strong smell of coffee, but the next thing I knew, I jumped behind the counter and we shared a very familiar, yet passionate kiss. The passion moved through both of our bodies as we moved to the storage closet and began romoving each other's clothes.

"Do you have a condom?"

She gave me the condom and we made love for the first time--MY first time. I wasn't thinking about my past experiences with Joy or my future experiences with Callie. I was simply living in the moment.

David Adler
Normal High School Student