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My Memoirs Thus Far

by Kyle Michelsen

Part I

 

I was conceived in May of 1983, my mother having accidentally given in to wild feelings of lust for her ex-boyfriend Scott, whom she had dated in High-School.  He was a drop-out.  These feelings were most likely the result of some sort of mind-altering drug.  Either way, they got married six months later, and I was born three months after that.  These details are sketchy, because my mother DOES NOT like to talk about this. 

My first place of residence was the downstairs of a two-family home, shared by Scott and his sister Lorraine, and her severely coke-addicted husband.  There was nothing but fighting going on, and my mother would frequently run away to stay with my aunt, who had a 1-year-old son of her own.  She would always go back, and be miserable, because she felt it was her duty.  One day, she ran to her parents, my grandparents, back to the house she'd grown up in, and they told her, having always dissapproved of Scott, that she did not have to go back.  She never did.  I was three months old. 

Thus concludes the chapter of my past that I have NO recollection of. All of this I was told, some 13 to 15 years later. 

I do remember growing up in the care of my grandmother, my mother going to college and my grandfather a travelling businessman.  I knew who my mommy was, and I knew who grandma and grandpa were, but I didn't realize that mom was the main person in my life.  I thought it was grandma's job to take care of me, and my mom was just a nice lady who played with me on weekends.  My daddy was just a nice man who came to the house once a week, but never came inside.  He just brought me lots of presents, from giant lolly-pops to large red bouncy-balls (I still have the ball he gave me).  I had no idea that a daddy was supposed to also be the caretaker.  When other kids at the day-care center talked about their daddies, I assumed they meant the nice man who came and brought them stuff every week. 

One day, when daddy was supposed to come, he didn't.  Next week, he also didn't come, but nobody had told me it was the day he was supposed to come.  Months and months later, I remember thinking “I haven't seen daddy in a long long time”.  I haven't seen him since. 

The death of my great-grandparents and the graduation of my mother from college left the opportunity open for us to move into their former house in Upstate New York (I had been living on Long Island up to this point).  That was my second place of residence, and the time my brain made its first crucial developments. 

My mother worked all day at a law firm, and I was on the waiting list for a day-care center known as Cedar Bend.  While I was on the waiting list, my mother had to drop me off with a woman who volunteered to watch me all day until I got into the day-care center.  So I spent my days in the trailer park with a very large woman and her very large, disgusting, dirty son, whom I could not get away from because...well, a trailer is not a very big place. 

Finally, I got into Cedar Bend, and discovered something about myself. I was a trouble-maker.  I was a bad boy.  I had to stand in the corner for one reason or another almost every day.  Why?  I later realized it was because I would do the most ridiculous things to get attention.  Attention was what I needed.  I had always been the center of attention with my grandma and with my mom at home, but at Cedar Bend, where there were quite a lot of kids, I just wasn't getting any. 

I turned 6, and went into Kindergarten, full-day.  This was slightly better than the day-care center, because we were actually kept occupied by learning about dinosaurs and other such nonsense.  I kept to myself mostly, and only remember two people.  Colin, whom I would always move towards in a crowd because he didn't back away from me, and Thomas, who liked to punch me in the arm and then tell the teacher that I punched him in the arm, then we would both stand in the corner. 

On my 7th birthday I learned the most important lesson of my life.  My mother invited everyone in my class to the party, and all the kids got me action figures and things I had no interest in.  Upon opening each present, I would make it clear that “this is stupid”.  I was given a severe scolding afterwards from my mother, who realized she had never taught me humility.  From that day forward, whenever someone gave me ANYTHING I didn't like, I would act like I liked it.  That goes for EVERYTHING, not just toys. 

At the after school program in Kindergarten, KAP (Kids At Play), I befriended a girl named Ashley who was quite smaller than me, and we shared the same interests.  I was confused by the fact that I didn't like anything else that all the boys liked, so I went on a serious “become a man” campaign, in which I rented lots of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, and got G.I. Joe action figures and such.  I took quite a fancy to the Ninja Turtles, but so did Ashley, and instead of playing Ninja Turtles with the boys on the playground, I would play it with her.  We would either do that or play House, which I actually preferred because it wasn’t so violent. 

Throughout this time, my mother had been dating a man named Bruce, and he offered to let us move in with him.  The catch was that he lived in a condominium in Edison, New Jersey, not the best place to grow up.  So I moved to New Jersey, and spent 5 years in Edison.  These were my elementary school years.  I shall now take you through them, one by one. 

1st Grade: teacher-Mrs. Hanshaw, young and very nice.

Recess was the main story here.  90% of what I remember from first grade takes place at lunch time or the time directly after it.  We ate lunch in the classroom, with our lunch-lady Mrs. Doshi, whom I had decided I hated simply because I thought she wielded what little authority she had too tightly.  I was frequently asked to go eat my lunch outside in the hallway.  It was this way that I met Susanne, a third grader, whom upon returning to her classroom from purchasing her lunch would stop and pick on me.  I became quite infatuated with her, and would sometimes be bad just to get sent outside for the chance of seeing Susanne.

After lunch was recess, and that's where I can look back to see how my personality shifted throughout those elementary school years.  I actually started playing with the boys this time.  At first, I played by myself, as I had learned to do from being raised by a single mother who really didn't have that much time to play with me (I had invented clever ways of making all my board-games suitable for 1 player.)  I also had developed a very highly over-active imagination.  A kid named Mike noticed me one day while I was playing Mission: Impossible.  He wanted to join in, and thus I had made my first friend.

Throughout this time, I'd developed a theory that when you die, you can re-live your life in heaven however you wish.  I decided that I wanted to live my whole life again but with magical powers.  Not just some, limited powers, but the power to do anything I wanted from fly, to be invisible, to read minds, to make someone like me, ANYTHING.  A black kid named Jonathan was intrigued by my ideas, and he became my follower.  One day I began planning the Move, in which I would die, and then return with these magical powers that I coveted.  That's right, I’d started a suicide cult in the first grade.  I let this slip, and when the teachers heard of it, I was sent to the school counselor, who told me my ideas were crazy and I had to stop thinking them.  Jonathan was also called and de-brainwashed. 

2nd Grade: Mrs. Petrucelli, old and nice but very naive

It was in 2nd grade that my mother married Bruce, I got adopted and had my last name changed to Michelsen, and my little brother Billy was born.  All in the course of one year, everything changed drastically. I couldn't keep up.  I got more detentions that year than any other year of my life.  I decided I liked getting in trouble.

It was also in this grade that I started writing.  In school, we were given a few assignments in which we had to write short stories, and I discovered I was quite good at it.  I began writing books.  Little short books with illustrations, and giving them to my family members as presents.  One kid, Peter, wanted to team up with me in writing, and we named ourselves the Tiny Brothers, and began a book called "The Cat Who Eats Dogs"  I ended up writing the whole thing myself, and liked it so much, I made a sequel, and following the lead of my favourite movies of all time up to that time (the “Back To The Future Trilogy”, I made a third one, and it became a trilogy.  I still have those books, and I still enjoy reading them. 

3rd Grade: homeroom-Mrs. Januszewski, young bitch; math and language arts-Mrs. Sevell, older but ever more of a bitch

Third grade was where they made the switch.  The school looked at every student and labeled them, thus deciding their academic fate for the rest of their lives.  Those whom they decided were stupid went into the stupid Math and Language Arts classes, and figuring they were stupid, never decided to try and get better.  Those whom they decided were smart went into the smart Math and Language Arts classes, and figuring they were smart, continued to be so, at least for the present.  It was quite clear that I was of above-average intelligence, but my reckless behaviour had held me back from being skipped ahead a grade.  I was, however, put in the smart classes.

It was a terrible year.  The homework load was impossible.  I'm talking literally 5 hours worth of homework a night, and this was elementary school.  Hardly a day went by that I wasn't yelled at by one teacher or another for not doing an assignment.  Pardon me, but there were just so many of them that I was bound to forget at least one.  If they had looked at the QUALITY of my work they would have realized why this was, and why I complained about spending 5 hours a day on it.  When we were asked to read and answer questions, I actually read BEFORE I answered the questions, then in my answers I would incorporate the questions themselves.  I aced all my tests, got perfect scores and above on all my long-term assignments (especially those that allowed us some measure of creativity), and was basically just naive to the fact that none of what I did in elementary school mattered a SINGLE IOTA in the long run.  Basically, I used up all my academic energy, and it began in third grade. 

4th grade: homeroom-Mrs. Santulli, older and nicer; Math and Language Arts- Mrs. Fink, my favourite teacher of Elementary school, older but very nice and creative and APPRECIATIVE of creativity.

This was the year of the playground.  Our recesses would switch from grade to grade.  One year we'd be on the black-top, then the playground, then the black-top again.  We had the playground this year.  A LOT of psychological shit took place on that playground this year.

Mainly the BIG thing now was Boys vs. Girls.  The boys would always be teaming up against all the girls, chasing them around and shit...that's just what they did.  I fucking hated them, and their violent ways.  So I sided with the girls, and a few others followed my lead, a boy or two joined the girls and a few girls joined the boys.  Looking back, I find it remarkable that I was able to fuzz this line of division.  People just had respect for me, I guess.  Perhaps it was because I knew the answer to every question the teacher ever asked me.

Clubs were also forming, and I thought they were all stupid and pointless.  I wasn't going to join any club.  I wasn't a follower.  So I started my own club, the Tsunami Club (me thinking that Tidal Waves were the coolest thing in the world at the time) and once word got out that I'd started a club, everyone wanted to join.  Basically, I went mad with power.  I started assigning homework to the members, giving them rankings and working out a point system based on the work they did.  It wasn't long before a Revolution formed, and half my club went with Ryan, the first dissenter, and the other half, the LOYAL half, stayed with me.  Consider it the Protestant Reformation of recess.  I abandoned all my rules and the rival clubs spent most of their time fighting each other.

Ace Of Base bursted onto the charts with “The Sign” and all the girls listened to it on their walk-mans at recess.  I quickly picked up a copy of the tape, and found my way into popularity.  I enjoyed the music, as did most of us elementary school kids, and the girls accepted me easier when I knew all the lyrics to “All That She Wants.”

It was in fourth grade that I learned what the term “gay” meant.  And I thought I fit the bill perfectly.  I was different, I enjoyed the company of girls over boys, I thought Zack from “Saved By The Bell” was cute...it all seemed perfectly logical.  My mistake was telling everyone I was gay.  It wasn't long before I was forced to retract my statement, but I continued to think I really was. 

5th Grade: homeroom-Mrs. Norman, younger and nicer; math-Mr. Molnar, my first male teacher, stern but pleasant; Language Arts-Mrs. Norman.

They split Math and Language Arts into separate classes this year, but my Language Arts teacher also happened to be my homeroom teacher.  That's trivial.

It was here I began to actually realize how “popular” I was.  I had always thought of myself as a loner, outside and looking in on the rest of the world, and I didn't think they thought too highly of me.  But I finally began to realize just how much “respect” I had.  It was from little things like coming up with different variations of Tag on the black-top, buying a ball that I brought to school to play 4-squares with, doing all the work on group assignments, and giving away my sandwich at lunch to the person who could correctly give me the capital of the state I named in the shortest time (I was single-handedly responsible for most of the students in my class learning all their states and capitals.)  I was held in an extremely high esteem by everyone.  I was a cub-scout, and when we graduated to Boy Scouts in 5th grade, I was elected Patrol Leader by my fellow students.  Yet I still thought of myself as a loser.  It's a strange phenomenon.  Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that while everyone wanted to hang out with me at school, not a single one of them would express any interest in talking outside of school, and whenever I invited anyone over, they would leave the phone for a few minutes and come back with some excuse, even if it was just “Um...I can’t.”

Here is where things get weird.  Here is where they start becoming important, because here is where they carry over into the next segment of my life.

By now I was writing a lot, and reading a lot.  I read a lot of science-fiction, and began a few failed attempts at sci-fi novels of my own.  This was also the year that Jurassic Park exploded onto the screen, and it was ALL the people talked about.  It was my dentist who told me about the book, and how it was much different and much better than the film.  Most kids my age would cringe at the sight of a book that said anything but "Goosebumps" on the cover (I was the first to read "Goosebumps" back in the 3rd grade, thus setting off a trend that I grew out of long before everyone else), but I salivated over it, and read the entire thing.  I quickly recommended it to everyone else, and quite a few people picked it up and read it.

Now it gets a little complicated.  After seeing the movie, I’d become infatuated with the character of Lex.  Older than me by a lot, and very pretty.  In the book, her character is younger than me, and a little brat.  I did not appreciate the way Michael Crichton portrayed her.  One day at lunch, while fooling around, someone hit me on the head with my copy of Jurassic Park, and I pretended that it did something to me.  I had no idea where it was going, it was just a joke.  When they hit me again, I returned to normal.  They were curious, so they hit me again, and I changed again, taking on an entirely different personality.  Another hit, and I was back to normal.  Now, they were REALLY intrigued, and hit me again, leaving me that way.  It was sometime during then that I got the idea.

When they hit me, I had been transported to another dimension, where the characters from Jurassic Park were real.  I switched places with one of the characters.  I chose Lex, so my mind was supposedly in her body in the other dimension, and her mind was in my body in this dimension.  When I had thought of this, I made them figure it out, and I kept the game going.

For most of fifth grade, I maintained the Lex personality.  It was extremely interesting for me.  I had this whole surreal world going on inside my imagination, and seeing other people’s reactions was quite fun.  Most people eventually learned that I was indeed a girl trapped inside a boy's body, and I acted the part perfectly.  So perfectly, that these kids actually genuinely believed me.  It was so great.  I was somebody totally different, and they were okay with that.  I had enough phony respect going into the thing for people to accept it.  In Gym, they would chant “Go Alexis!!!” when I was doing good, and they would even casually call me that sometimes.  I grew comfortable in that part, until I preferred being Alexis over being Kyle.  I knew what it meant deep inside: I wanted to be a girl. 

The world was my oyster, a book I was writing as I went along, and everything was going for me.  I lived inside my own imagination, and everyone seemed to accept it.  Then, elementary school ended, and my parents sold the condominium, and bought a house away from the large suburban town, in Glen Gardner, an almost all-white community out in Rural New Jersey.  Over the next three years, I transformed from a little boy (or girl) into a man, both physically and mentally.  It’s the shortest age of my life, but important enough to be considered its own.

Part II

 

It was September 11 (a date which has all of a sudden become enriched with multiple meanings) when my family made the move from the suburb Edison, New Jersey to the rural small-town known as Glen Gardner, New Jersey.  I hated New Jersey before.  This was worse. 

It was a little hick-town, almost 100% white, and it couldn't afford its own school, so they sent all their students to the K-8 school in Clinton, New Jersey (the quintessential little town, with its Main Street and business districts and so forth).  In many ways Clinton Public School was a lot different then Martin Luther King elementary, the most culturally diverse school in ALL of New Jersey, where I had spent the previous five years of my life. 

I was no longer a minority.  Everyone was white and christian.  It was so odd.  I just blended right in.  On that first day of school, I talked to almost no one.  Everybody knew everybody else, and I was just some new face to them, and they had no interest in me.  My mistake took place at the end of the day.  I told a couple of kids that I wanted to be a girl. 

I had no idea of the intense ripple-effect this would have on the school community.  Within minutes, this news was all over the place.  I went from not being noticed at all to being the talk of the entire student body.  On the bus ride home, I heard people talking “I hear there's a boy on this bus who wants to be a girl...what?...that's sick...i know”  Everyone in my elementary school had been so accepting.  How was I supposed to know this one aspect of my character would do such damage to my yet unscathed reputation? 

I would not retract my statement.  I was made the subject of fun everywhere I went.  The only people who would talk to me were the outcasts themselves, very ugly, very large girls with serious personality disorders.  Kind-hearted maybe, but also the kind of people who spouted the most ignorant, naive comments about everyone else in the world almost all the time.  Needless to say, this was not fun.  Meanwhile, I'm getting called gay and just accepting it.  I explained to everyone that I wasn’t gay, and if I was a girl I would not have sex with boys, but eventually I just gave in and lied to appease them.  “Sure, I'm gay.”  That shut 'em up. 

But...as time went on, and the novelty of me wore off a bit, a few more people would approach me.  One girl named Jenna took a particular liking to me, finding me extremely funny and clever.  Jenna was also friends with the most popular boys in the school, and implored them to give me a chance.  They told me they would if I just said that I didn’t want to be a girl.  I figured there was no point in fighting it, so I retracted my earlier statements, and went back into the proverbial closet of my life.  But, I was accepted, and the people actually gave me a chance based on my personality and not my other peculiarities. 

Then, one day, it all changed.  It was at the Winter Concert in which all the choruses did some numbers for the student body in rehearsal for the real show.  Her name was Megan, and she sung “Blue Christmas” solo, and blew me away.  I fell almost instantly in love.  And this wasn't just a little infatuation like with Susanne in the first grade, or Heather Baxter in the fourth grade whom I opted not to tell you about because of its pointlessness, this was the genuine article.  This was Love. 

The school, in that year, decided to start performing musicals again. They put on the production of Annie, which I auditioned for and was given a couple small roles, including Officer Ward, who shared a scene with Annie just after she sung “Tomorrow”.  Annie was played by Megan. 

So, things went on, I kept my crush on her to myself, until I just couldn’t bare it any longer and told a few people, who actually kept it quiet for some reason.  But it was official that now I definitely didn’t want to be a girl. 

The show went well, Megan took a particular liking to me, although I must confess I was quite a nervous wreck around her.  She would screw up on stage and all I could think of to say was “I feel so sorry for you” in the most sincere of ways.  I would stutter when speaking to her, shake while I was around her, and just basically be a stupefied moron.  Still, she continued to speak to me, probably just thinking I was like that naturally. 

The culmination of all this business occurred at the last dance of the year, in which only grades 6-8 were invited to attend.  I wanted to dance with her so much, but I had no courage whatsoever.  So one girl went up and asked her for me, despite my vocal objections to this.  She came back with the answer: she said sure, she’ll dance with you, as soon as the next slow song starts.  I was flabbergasted with happiness. 

The next slow song was unrecognizable to me, but she came over and began dancing with me.  It soon became clear that the song was, in fact, a fast song, with a short slow opening.  We had to stop, and she went away, and I wondered if she would come back when the next, actual slow song came on. 

The song was “Kiss From A Rose” by Seal, from the Batman Forever Soundtrack (a very good soundtrack, by the way).  She came back and danced through the whole thing with me.  I was in total blissful ecstasy like you wouldn’t believe.  A month later, I had sent a messenger to ask her out, and she sent a messenger back saying I was too young, but she was very flattered.  Ah, my first taste of sweet, sweet rejection. 

But this didn’t hurt so much.  It was when she graduated, and I knew I would never see her again.  They split the school up into two High School sending districts.  Kids from Clinton went to North Hunterdon High, and kids from Glen Gardner went to Voorhees High.  She was from Clinton.

I cried like a fucking baby when school ended. 

Where is Megan in my heart now?  Completely absent.  I have no feelings for her any more other than disgust.  It pains me to say it was love, because now when I look back she was rather ugly, and not even the nicest of all persons, but I can’t deny what I felt.  I just don't have those feelings any more.

[Fate has a sense of irony.  Megan went to the same college as me.  I cried so hard when I thought I’d never see her again, but I ended up seeing her again quite frequently although I felt nothing towards her.] 

Gee, this is taking long, and I'm only up to the second year.  Fuck.  Well, I'll condense 7th grade into one word: Sara. 

Now, I will elaborate.  One of my “friends” was Randy.  Randy had a sister, one year older than him, named Sara.  In 7th grade I joined the soccer team, and Sara, in 8th grade, was also on it.  With the absence of Megan, and all these untapped feelings having no target to be focussed on, I looked around for my possibilities, and chose the sexiest person around that I could think of: Sara.  This was a Love definitely not at first sight. 

As time went on, I paid very close attention to how my feelings for Sara grew and grew until I could finally identify them as matching those feelings for Megan.  I was in Love once again, and once again, she barely even knew my name. 

But this was worse.  She had a boyfriend.  A High School kid named Greg, and I curse that name and all who dwell under it.  I know a lot of very nice Gregs, but dammit I hated this person.  I was over Randy’s house one day, where Sara also dwelt, and he came by and I’d never been more disgusted.  Fucking teenage hotty pothead asshole who couldn't go for girls his own age, but fished around in the middle school.  How I hated this man. 

Forgot to mention, my writing took a drastic turn in 6th grade with the purchase of a certain Microsoft Program known as Space-Simulator, which I took on an obsession with shortly after I purchased it.  One night, while simulating a mission to the Andromeda galaxy, an outpouring of inspiration like I’d never perceived before came to my mind, and I began the first book that I was ever to complete, at age 11.  I inserted a character based on Megan, who was rather minor, and not of the same name.  When I was writing the sequel, I inserted a character based on Sara, who was very important, and I didn’t bother to change the name.  In the 4th book, the antagonist was named Greg, and he died, but after hearing through rumour that Sara had dumped him, I went easy on him and gave him a more honourable death. 

Back to the story.  I Loved Sara so passionately that all I could think about day in and day out was her her her her her.  She became my everything.  All the pent-up emotional shit in my life was now given a direction, and it all pointed to her.  Obsession of the most unhealthy kind.  Every song was about her.  Every poem was about her.  Every thought, every breath, every step, every single aspect of my life revolved around her. 

I did not keep my love a secret.  When she was told “guess who likes you?  Kyle Michelsen.” her initial reaction was “eww”  But whatever. 

She was very graceful about it.  She would talk to me whenever.  She would not avoid me like certain *other* people (see part 3).  She was just so sweet and great about it. 

At the last dance of the year, I asked her to dance.  I did this by myself.  Nobody saw it coming.  I just got a surge of adrenaline, and went with it.  These surges of adrenaline were to become quite common in my life, and not always went to good results.  This, however, did. 

The song was “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey and Boys II Men.  I love the fucking song, I don't care what anyone says.  I melt when I hear it. 

The year was quickly coming to a close, and I needed peace of mind.  I needed confirmation that I would in fact see her again, lest I go through that same pain I had suffered with Megan.  I had her sign my yearbook, but that wasn't enough.  I decided to write a note (my trademark in brilliant flashes of idiocy, as you will see in Kyle: Part III)  However, this note I kept short and sweet, after scrapping about 5 other notes that were long and mushy.  I still have it, and I still remember what it said: “I know we'll never go out, but I was wondering if we could just be friends”  She answered back “sure, and maybe i'll see you this summer if you come over my brother's house”  And indeed that did happen.  I did see her again, many times after that, that summer, and beyond. 

Where is Sara in my heart now?  Still there, swimming around my mind.  For years and years to come I would still say without hesitation that she was the single most beautiful piece of creation in God’s infinite universe.  Perfect body, a face like you could only imagine in dreams, and just the absolute sweetest, kindest, caring person you’d ever want to meet.  Such a shame what became of her.  But that's another story... 

Eighth grade.  My glory year.  If I could relive any one year of my life, it would be the 8th grade year.  This is getting very drawn out, so I'll try to keep it short.   

On the third day of school, the first Friday, I was dared to asked out Sara, not the original, but a fellow 8th grader whom I really had no interest in, but I figured what the hell, so I did, and she said yes. That night just happened to be the night of a big birthday party to which everyone in the 8th grade was invited.  I was peer-pressured into my first kiss, and it was horrible.  When I woke up that morning, I was lonely Kyle, whom nobody loved, and would always be alone, and that night I was at a party making out with my girlfriend.  Fucked up shit. Very fucked up shit.  My lack of emotion towards her wasn’t the greatest thing to keep a healthy relationship going, and we broke up that Monday, having never spoken over the weekend. 

8th grade condensed:  I was the star of the play, Jenna was my leading lady.  I had a minor infatuation with her, and she with me. But nothing became of it.  I set my sights on a cheerleader named Sarah.  Yes, I know this Sarah thing is weird, but don't worry, there are more to come.

She didn’t want anything to do with me, and after one of my patented surges of adrenaline in which I went up to her at her locker after school one day, and I spouted the most pathetic line of wishy-washiness “You don't know me very well, but I really like you and I was wondering if we could go out?” She told me she wasn't ready for a boyfriend, and left.  She basically just avoided me for the rest of the year, until the play, when she noticed all her friends were developing crushes on me, so she warmed her heart and actually did me the dignity of speaking to me. 

There was another girl named Andrea.  Not very beautiful, but the greatest personality of any girl I’d ever known up to that point.  Unique, artistic, funny, intelligent...damn.  I wanted to ask her out, and I think she wanted me to also, but I just never did, the chicken that I was. 

I was also named Distinguished Student of the Year.  And there were a number of other things that made me special.  Everyone loved me, all the 6th graders had crushes on me [except the one that counted] because I was the star of the play, and basically just...glory.  Just all-out Glory. 

Then came High School.  But before High School I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to discuss my first job: McDonald’s employee.  Now, I'm not exaggerating when I say that this is the worst job in the history of the job market.  Little underfed Chinese kids in a sweat shop have better jobs than McDonald’s employees.  The customers with their not cleaning up after themselves while I had lobby duty, and their out and out rudeness, impatience, and lust for their dead-rat meat while I was at the register...it was awful, and the other employees were just as mean.  If you’re not a jerk when you start working at McDonald’s it makes you one.

My only incentive was that a few times, Sara (the original) would come in and wait on line at my register.  Even if my line was the longest, she would wait on my line, and I would shake like a marionette and screw up every single order until I got to her.  What a sweet, perfect girl.  Ahh.

I quit the job a week before school started.  It was years before I ever even went into a McDonald’s again. 

High School.  Once again, I enter a whole new social order, where once again I am back on the bottom.  The vast majority of my friends went to the other High School, so I’m left with only one person, Randy’s best friend Drew, whom I used to hang out with.  Jenna is gone.  Andrea is gone.  All Sara(h)s are gone. 

So naturally, I need to focus my raging emotions somewhere, and I picked a girl by the name of Liz.  She was a natural beauty, an athlete, with a very strong face.  I tried to coax myself into falling in Love with her like I had thought I’d done with Sara, but I think Sara was just a lucky guess when I chose her to be the focus of my emotions.  I can see that now with the benefit of hindsight, but back then I truly believed that I could pick whom I fell in Love with. 

I asked Liz to the homecoming dance (through somebody else of course) and she responded with the same messenger saying no.  At the homecoming dance, I did manage to ask her to dance, and she did say yes.  The song was “Take My Breath Away” by some female artist or group whom I don’t know, but that song holds no special place in my heart like the others do. 

A little bit of time went on, and one day my horoscope told me that in order to get that certain someone interested, I needed to share in her interests.  I saw the perfect opportunity for this: spirit week. 

Every year our school, Voorhees High School has its last football match of the year with North Hunterdon High School, the other school in our same district with whom we share teachers, some students, and a superintendent.  The week prior to the football game is called “spirit week” in that we're all supposed to demonstrate our school spirit before the big football match. 

It all culminates with a pep rally on the day of the game, which was to be November 20, 1998.  During the pep rally, members of the different classes compete in various events from tugs of war to pie eating contests and every other mindless thing you could think of.  Also, each class must choose a theme for spirit week (our class chose Space) and perform a Skit during the pep rally (our skit was the Voorhees team representing Earthlings and the North team representing Alien invaders, who would be beaten by the Voorhees team) and we had to decorate a designated area of the school (we got the smallest space, while the other classes were given spaces proportional in size to their seniority) in our theme. 

I took no part in this spirit-week bullshit and had no desire to be in the skit LET ALONE decorate the stupid school, but it came to my attention that Liz was going to be in the skit.  So, taking my horoscope's advice, (the only time I've EVER taken my horoscope's advice) I went and decided to be in the skit.  All of this was decided on the day before the pep rally, November 19, 1998.

Part III

 

[the following is an excerpt from a piece of writing I did years ago]

It is November 19, 1999.  It has been exactly one year since I met my one true love.  It started out so well, then my own stupidity caused disaster, followed by a brief period of hope, and then months of pain and loneliness.

It was November 19, 1998.  I woke up in the usual way, not expecting for a second that I had just begun to live what I would later realize to be the most important day of my life.

It was Thursday, and after school that day, our Freshmen class would be preparing for Spirit Fest.  I was currently infatuated with a girl named Liz, and was hoping for a way to get to know her better, and for her to get to know me.  So when it came to me that she would be staying after school to be in the skit we were developing, I made up my mind to do the same.

It’s ironic how the only reason I met my one True Love is because I had thought I loved another.

After debating in my mind over and over again as to whether or not I should stay, I called my mother at home, and let her know I would be staying after.  It was the first of a series of phone calls I would make to her.

Throughout the day, I sat with little anticipation as to what would go on after school, and I wasn’t really looking forward to exercising my extremely un-developed social skills, especially towards a member of the opposite sex.  Towards someone I liked.

The bell rang, and I ventured to the New Cafeteria, where a bunch of Freshmen were gathering to begin development on the skit which would be performed the next day.  A skit which would become a disaster, and that I would have loved to deny ever being a part of.  But the fact remains in my mind that I do not, have never, and never will, regret being a part of the Freshmen skit.

For the first half hour, we tried to get organized, and I took it upon myself to speed the unprogressive meeting forward.  Once things seemed to be in order, I ventured out of the New Caf in which arguments were still going on, and talked to a girl named Debbie whom I’d known from middle school of my frustration.  I volunteered my services to be an Alien.  This was a group of people who were to be the bad guys of the skit.  Among them was the aforementioned Love of my life, but I did not notice her.  At the front of the line was Liz, and my heart raced as I found myself practicing a dance alongside such a radiant beauty.

The “rehearsal” eventually moved to the gym, where my mind remained focused on Liz, and all other people seemed to just blend in with each other.  By the time rehearsal was over, about 5:10, I felt I had accomplished what I wanted, and that I could go home with the peace of mind that I had made “progress” with Liz.

It happened as I walked the 2nd floor hallway between the gym and the Library, just outside the Art room.  Jokes were made about how poor the skit was, and how it was going to be a disaster.  One such comment was made to me by a girl I could swear I’d never seen before.  She was rather plain, with dark brown hair, and brown eyes, certainly not nearly as beautiful as Liz, but there was something about her smile.  I returned a joke about how the skit would flop, and the meeting was complete.  It was 5:15.

I proceeded to the pay-phone outside the school building to let my mom know I would need a ride home at this point.  This was to be the most important phone call I ever made in my life, because it was a call I never made.  Someone had been using one of the phones, and some cosmic force had put the other phone out of order.  While I was waiting to make the call, the 5:30 bus pulled in.  I figured it would be no trouble to just take that bus home, and I reentered the building, bound for my locker, where I would get my things and leave.

The details of the night here are lost on me.  It was after I had reached my locker, and I was walking down the hall to say good-bye to my friends who were decorating, when the bell for the 5:30 bus rang.  I don’t know what caused my mind to reverse its destination, but as that bell rung, at 5:25, on November 19, 1998, the most important second of my life, I decided to stay and decorate.

So there I was.  3rd floor, front window.  The sky was black, and the walls were being decorated that same color, as the theme was space.  The girl I had met earlier and I, noticed each other, and she handed me a hat.  It was a brown, Tasmanian Devil hat, the same one that was usually on the head of my friend Lars.  We hid the hat from him, and tossed it back and forth when he found it.  When he finally got it back, nothing had really happened, but the girl and I were now qualified to talk.

I went my own way for awhile, looking for odd-jobs to do that would allow me to pass by wherever Liz happened to be working.  At one point, someone decided they were thirsty, and asked me, the errand-runner, if I’d get them a Fruitopia from the vending machines.  A few others also asked this of me, and for some reason, I made it a point that I didn’t want to go alone.  The girl I had been talking to for a little while on and off agreed to go with me.

The vending machine wouldn’t accept five dollar bills, so we could only get the one Fruitopia.  On the way back, while we were walking the outside path, I turned to her and asked, “What’s your name?”  I guess by this point my soul had told my mind that I might be interested in her. I was thinking less and less about Liz, and more and more about what a great personality the girl I was with had.  I didn’t find her physically attractive at the time, but there was something about her that drew me towards her.  She turned to me and answered my question, perhaps too realizing what I had been thinking, and told me her name, the most important name I would ever hear:  “Aimee”

After the pizza break, during which we had no contact, we hooked up again.  We talked about a lot of things that really aren’t important, but whenever the topics are alluded to, my mind always brings me back to when I discussed them with Aimee.  It was hot, and I suggested we go to the fourth floor for a swim.  [there is no fourth floor in my school, nor is there a pool]  Walking up and down three flights of stairs was tiring, and she suggested the school get escalators.  We talked about sketches from Saturday Night Live, in particular the Christmas sketch from the episode hosted by Paul Simon, where the two people who are stranded on an island get gifts for each other, and he gets her seashells and pine cones while she gets him Rolex watches and motorcycles.  Whenever I see Paul Simon, or that sketch, it brings my memory to that night.

We never took on a single project.  We would kill time by walking down the stairs and taking long sheets of black paper needed to cover the area we were decorating.  We would jump at jobs like holding tape, or cutting strips of foil.  It was actually fun for me, and for no other reason than for the fact that I enjoyed her company.

The project was coming to a close, and neither of us wanted to stay and help clean up, so we snuck downstairs.  I had wasted my last bit of change on the vending machines, and I wasn’t comfortable asking an adult for money to call my mom, so she asked Mr. Nanni if I could borrow the fifteen cents I needed.  It’s a year later, and I still owe him that fifteen cents. [I still owe him today]

I was on my way out, and so was she.  We left the building together, and sat on the bench just to the left of the entrance walkway.  We finished the night by talking about how great the Senior’s decorations were, and what we should do when we were seniors.  We agreed that our decorations were better than the sophomore’s or junior’s and we should at least get third place. [we got last, as we also did in every event]

This conversation lasted about five minutes.  It was cool, the sky was clear, and other than the faint noises of cleaning up decorations behind us, all you could hear was the wind.  I decided that I liked her.  I did not know that I Loved her, but I understood that going out with her would be the kind of relationship I want.  Not one from physical attraction like the one I had for Liz, but an intellectual attraction, where we could have a good conversation once and awhile.  I would later become physically attracted to her, and I would understand just how little I liked Liz in the first place, but as far as anyone is concerned at this point, it had been Love at First Sight.

She noticed the car she was to be brought home in, and I said good-bye.  The last words she said to me were “It’s been fun.”

My ride arrived shortly after, and I went to sleep that night to the sounds of my own peace of mind.  It had been a good day.  It had been a long day.  It had been, (and I had a sense of this as I went to sleep), the most important day of my life.

Now, one year later, I am able to write about this with such detail that I amaze myself.  It’s a sad story of rejections, obsession, and depression.  It began with the greatest day of my life. 

That was day 1.  1051 more to go.

The following night was the football game, and I went to it with my friend Drew O’Brian, who had gone to my old school with me.  At one point while there, I mentioned Aimee to Drew, and he said he knew her.  He sat with her at lunch, and told me that she had been talking about me.

It all made perfect sense to me, the naiive fool I was.  She liked me, and all I had to do was like her back, and we could go out with each other.  Drew asked me why I was interested in her.

And then I made my 1st mistake.  I let Drew know that I may be interested in going out with her.

The following week, I saw her in the halls and we smiled and said hi. 

I found out soon that Drew had told her I liked her.  That sonofabitch.  I didn’t hate him for it yet though.  He said her reaction was “No, he can't be” which I assumed meant that she wanted it to be true.  It makes sense, doesn’t it?

I knew all I had to do was find the right scenario to ask her out. 

But I also knew that we didn’t know each other, and we didn’t see each other at all during school.  So I found out that she was a member of the Key Club, and like a motherfucking lovestruck idiot I go off and join the goddamn key club.  [hahaha, the irony of it all!]

It’s at this point that she begins to avoid me.  It was subtle as hell, but I know when I’m being avoided.  It had happened plenty of times before.  She had become afraid of me.

I still thought she liked me.  She was just a little scared.  In fact, over a year later I would be told that at this point she DID like me, and she just had no clue what to do about it.

So I came up with the most brilliant idea I’d ever come up with.  I would write her a note!  That’s it!  I would tell her all my feelings, and just ask her flat out if she wanted to go out with me.

And that night, I wrote the most important thing I’d ever written.  While I was writing it, I thought, “this could be incredibly important if she accepts, but if she rejects, it’s just another rejection.”  I still didn't realize I loved her.  In fact, I almost wanted to be rejected.  Maybe I could use it somehow to gain sympathy from Liz.  I could pull that off somehow.

But the note was the most important thing I’d ever written.  More important than my book (which was not yet finished at this point), and more important than my philosophical essay on the meaning of life.  It was late, I was listening to a depressing song, a single from High School High, The Braid’s version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” the instrumental version, just cycling over and over. (Sara had been listening to that single one night I’d been over her house and I had to buy it)  One of the things I said in the note was “I know I’ve only known you for three hours, but I felt like I've known you all my life.”  Absolute crap, but it was the truth.

So I gave the note to Drew to give to her, and two days later, and after avoiding each other many times, Drew handed me her response while I was on my way to lunch.  My heart was pounding more heavily than it had ever been before as I opened it:

”I don't think I'm ready for a relationship right now, but I still want to be friends” AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  No amount of capital letters or exclamation points can express what I felt when I read those all too familiar goddamn words.  The phrase “to be friends” echoed over and over in my brain.  “I still want to be friends, to be friends, to be friends, to be friends, to be friends...etc.”  I tore up the note and threw it away.  It would be over two years before I was rejected by another girl.

But I wasn’t about to give up there.  Oh no.  She said she still wanted to be my friend, and it was my friendship she was going to get.  So after the next key club meeting (this was about two weeks after 11/19) I pulled her to the side and apologized to her for not talking to her, and explained that I thought she liked me and that’s why I asked.

And I’ll never forget what she said, because I could hardly understand it.  Her mouth opened and words came flying out faster than she could think of them, all jarbled together into one medley of sound that the only thing I could pick out of it was the phrase “i was so scared.”  So I told her I’d love it if we could just be friends, and she agreed, so it was done, and I felt a bit better about myself.

Now by pure coincidence, both of us joined the fencing team (don’t ask me why I joined the fencing team.  I couldn’t tell you.  It just sort of happened somehow.) The boys and girls practiced separately, but there are forty minutes between the end of last period and the beginning of practice, and during those forty minutes, I would meet her and we would talk.

We had the greatest conversations.  Those were the moments of glory that I will always hold deer to my heart.  For a brief, fleeting period in our lives, we were good friends.

But naturally, I wanted to be more than friends.  So when the opportunity came, and the advertisements for the “Snow-Ball” our winter dance came, I worked up the nerve to ask her, and I said “if you're not going to the dance with anyone else, would you go with me as friends?” and she said “sure”

So everything was all set.  I would take her to the dance, and before the night was over I would ask her out again, and now that we were closer, she would have no reason to say “no”.

Then something weird happened.  I had been taking an art class with a couple new half-assed friends I had made, Lars and Kristine, and Kristine knew Aimee pretty well.  And on the week before the dance, she told me “don't take Aimeee to the dance, don't even mention it to her, don't even talk to her about it.”  And pressed as I did, she wouldn’t tell me why.

After asking just about everyone she knew, I finally gathered that she had simply changed her mind.  So I caught her on the way to practice, and initiated the conversation that marked “the beginning of the end”.  It was very simple, and it went basically like this:

Me: I'm confused.

Her: Me too.

Me: So you don't want to go to the dance with me?

Her: Well, I was going to go to the dance with this other guy, but he's not sure he's going.

Me: Oh, ok.  I said “if you weren't going with anyone else,” and I didn't know you were going with someone else.

Her: Yeah, but you went around telling everyone we were going together.

Me: I'm sorry, I thought we were.  But if you're not going with this other guy, would you want to go with me, or would you still rather go alone?

Her: I'd still rather go alone.

Me: (heart cracking) Ok, I'll see you there then.

Her: Ok.

And that was that.  At the dance, we talked.  It was a nice little conversation about fencing, but there was definitely more than the usual awkwardness between us.  She talked about how her older sister had been a champion fencer, so she had “pretty big shoes to fill”

For some reason, that phrase stuck with me forever.  It was possibly the biggest cliché of all time, and she used it on me.  You use clichés when you don't want to come up with something original, when you don't really want to talk with whom you're talking to.  That is why I HATE clichés so much.  Also that night, during a swing dance, her partner, who knew I liked her, gave her over to me, and before it was over, she said she had to go to the bathroom, and left.  And to this day I can’t stand swing music.

But towards the end of the night I did ask her to dance, and she did say yes.  The song was “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly, which I'd always hated up to that point.  Now I can't hear it without my knees going weak and tears coming to my eyes.  I can't function when I hear it.  It was for only about 3 short minutes that I held her in my arms.  I held her closely, and when the song was over, I didn't let go.  I was going to wait for her to do it.  If she didn't let go, I would have held on forever.  But she did.  I thanked her, and soon we were saying goodnight.

And over the next few weeks, we had a few good talks.  When I won my first fencing bout I found her and she had won too, and we talked about that.  But eventually, we just stopped talking, and I knew something was wrong.

Lars knew what it was.  He said he couldn’t tell me, because I didn't want to hear it.  But I HAD to hear it.  I had to know what was going on, and why Aimee wouldn’t talk to me.  I begged him for the information, and he gave it to me.

”Aimee hates you.” 

She hated me.  There was only one thing to do.  Put closure on the whole affair.  I had to end it.  I'd almost been in love with her for 100 days at this point, and I considered this far too long.

So I wrote her another note.  This time, a very good, intelligent, and non-pathetic sounding note which I gave to Lars to give to her.  He couldn't find the opportunity.

And then it was mid-terms.  And by some miracle, I ended up involved in a conversation in which a group of students stood around talking while waiting for the bus after fencing practice, and she and I were talking to each other in this conversation.

And during mid-terms, on our first free period, I managed to score a seat across from her at the cafeteria table.  The exam blocks were 90 minutes long, and we were in the cafeteria, just killing time for 90 minutes.  I talked to her, and she talked to me, sitting next to her best friend.  She was so nice to me, but she was losing patience.  By now I was at the point of annoying to her.  She did NOT want to talk to me, but she did not want to be rude.  Throughout our conversation, she would put her head on the table, and face her friend so that I couldn't see her face, but she made aggravated sounds.  I pretended not to know that these sounds were because of me.  I refused to believe it myself.

She was so happy to get out of there.  I was so happy that we were friends again.  Naiive fucking fool.  I told Lars to tear the note up and not give it to her after all.  So closure was eluded.

But I quickly realized that we were not in fact friends, and that she did in fact not want to speak to me anymore.  She would avoid me, in her splendid way of making it seem like she didn't notice I was there, and then moving somewhere far from me.  I knew damn well what was going on, but I was still in self-denial.

It was brought to my attention that Kristine, whom I'd had the art class with but didn't see any more because it was the second semester, had actually had a crush on me, during that whole time I had been going on about Aimee in class.  Kristine, who now likes to be called Krissy, had an excellent body, but too plain a face, and I wasn't interested in her.  But she did ask Lars to ask me if I would go with her to the Valentine's day dance with me, and I decided to say yes.

That night was the second most important night of my life.  I will now show you an excerpt from the 2-11-01 entry in my journal, in which I flashed back to two years prior and described this night: 

It was the night of the Valentine’s day dance, and my date was Kristine Olson, who at the time was just coming off of a crush she’d had on me.  I absolutely hate dances, but I go to them because I get more raw emotion there than I would get in a normal week.

Kristine danced with me a couple times, but saw I wasn’t interested, so she went and danced with other guys, making sure it was okay by me.  Watching another guy rub his crotch against her leg disturbed me, but the only jealousy I felt was that I was not the kind of guy who could do that.

The night went on, and the music played loudly as I wandered the mall area of my school [large carpeted area in the lobby, scene of almost all conversations with Aimee], trying to find people to talk to.  But amidst the random wanderings, I kept an eye out for Aimee, a girl whom I had only known for about three months, but I already knew I loved more than anyone I’d ever met before.

The last dance was in December, the Snow-Ball, and I had asked her to go with me as a friend.  She said yes, but then changed her mind before the event came, very much to my bewilderment.  I hadn’t allowed it to hurt me though.  I had asked her to dance that night, and she had said yes.  The song had been “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly, a song I’d hated up until those few minutes of ecstasy.  After the dance, our friendship slowly deteriorated, and she began to avoid me.  I had to beg to get the news out of my friend Lars that she hated me.

And it was now the Valentine’s day dance.  My dog died on Valentine’s day.  I hate the holiday and everything it’s about.  My heart pounded inside my chest to the music as I would walk around the dance floor, catching every glimpse of Aimee I could afford, but not daring to speak to her.  I resolved not to ask her to dance, as I knew I would not be able to handle it no matter what she said.

It came to that point in the night where the DJ played the final two slow songs.  Because she was my date, I danced with Kristine to the first song, and she talked about her night.  She then asked me if I was going to ask Aimee to dance.  It was then that I knew what I had to do.  She had suggested it, and now I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.  I told her, “now you’ve said it, so now I have to do it.”  If I didn’t do it, I would regret it forever, wondering what she would have said.  I had to do it.

The song ended, and the final song began to play.  “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin.  I located Aimee and took a deep heavy breath.  This was going to be the hardest thing I had ever done.

“There’s a lady who’s sure, all that glitters is gold...” Robert Plant sang.  I approached Aimee.  She saw I was coming and that my eyes were on her, and she turned around and walked away from the dance floor, hoping she would not have to face the question I intended to ask her.  I knew why she turned, but I didn’t admit it.  She probably just turned away, not because of me.

So I went up to her again, and again she turned.  So I accepted this and decided it was better not to ask than to face rejection, so I sat down on a bench and watched the couples dance, and Aimee standing alone, looking at the dance floor.

“There’s a feeling I get, when I look to the west...”  I knew that I had to do it.  Something supernatural was pushing me to get up off of that bench and go over there.  I never would have done it in my right mind, but my mind was not right.  I decided that if I was going to go down I was going to go down in a blaze of fiery out-and-out rejection.  So I stood up and made my way towards her.

“If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed now...”  She turned and saw me, and I summoned all the courage I’d ever had, and said, “You wanna dance?”

And she smiled, and with pain in her own voice, she said as sweetly as she’d ever sounded and ever will sound, “No, sorry.  Maybe next time.”

The guitar solo broke out as I nodded and accepted the rejection, the worst pain I’d ever felt came flooding into me, but the reality had not hit.  I made my way back to the bench and sat, the music torturing me with every note that came blasting from the speakers.  She would not even dance with me.  She hated me so much that she would not even dance with me.

“And as we wind on down the road, our shadows taller than our souls, there walks a lady we all know, who shines white light and wants to show, how everything still turns to gold, and if you listen very hard, the tune will come to you at last, how all are one and one is all, to be a rock and not to roll...”

The song ended and a depression set in that to this day has not been lifted.  I almost killed myself that night.  The following day I could not muster up enough will to do anything but sit in my room and wonder how Love could be so cruel.  It was on that day that I picked up a christmas present I hadn’t touched yet.  It was a book, and for some reason, I was just drawn to it.  I could not physically get myself to do anything but read this book.  And read it, I did.  It was Illusions, by Richard Bach.  It was then that my mind was opened up to the third dimension, and every day following that day I spent building my philosophy up to what it is now.

“...and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”

---------------------------------- 

I like to get creative with my journal.

But the year went on, and I decided to join the theater program.  And again, just by coincidence, she decided to join too.  The spring show was “James and the Giant Peach” written by the theater coordinator at the school and was to be performed only for elementary school students.  I was cast as James.  She was cast as ensemble.

After the very first rehearsal, she told me “good job”.  And just like that, we were back on speaking terms.

But there was a twist.  My half-assed friend Alex Rupp, who was infatuated with Aimee's older sister had been talking to me, and I had told him I liked Aimee, and he thought for a second and said, “wow, you've got good taste.”  I knew what that meant.

He was in the show too.  He started getting closer to her, and behind my back, the son of a bitch hooked up with her.

I was also in another play with Aimee's sister, and after one of those performances was over, and we were lined up to receive congratulations from the audience, I saw her walking out of the auditorium with him.  She came up to me and talked, her sense of guilt obviously overcoming her distaste for me.

I quickly found out that they had been on a date.  When Alex Rupp knew I knew, he stayed the hell away from me.  He knew damn well that I liked her.  But I wasn't mad at her.  She should be able to have anyone she wants.

But the jealousy was so incredibly painful.  One day after practice, the most incredible thing happened.  Aimee came up to me and asked me if I was okay.  It was the first and only time she'd ever opened up to me in person, and I was so grateful.  I told her it was weird for me, and she told me she wasn't going to go out with him.  (She had done the same thing to him that she had done to me.  I loved that, but it didn't affect Alex nearly as much).  And I figured, as long as we were being open, I might as well be completely open.  So I told her I still really liked her, but I didn't want that to come between us, and I really enjoyed just being her friend.

Soon enough, she was avoiding me again.  And it stayed that way for the rest of the year.

Alex Rupp, who now felt he could bond with me because we shared a common rejector, offered me some shitty advice.  He put the idea in my head to go out with another girl to make Aimee jealous.  I was desperate enough to try it, and who better to try it with than Krissy Olson?

She already had a boyfriend, but she had no problem cheating on him with me.  It was understood that we weren't really going out, and that the whole relationship was a sham.  I told her I wouldn't kiss her until I was her only boyfriend.  And then somehow, before she broke up with her first guy, Alex Rupp informed her that she was also going out with him, and she didn't have the common sense to just tell him “no”.  So now she had three boyfriends, and it was two weeks before we were in a monogomous, yet false relationship.

On a class trip to Six Flags theme park, while we were standing on a bridge above the water ride that came down and caused a tidal wave to drench the bridge, I kissed her just as the water came.  It was my second kiss ever, and she thought it kicked ass.  I didn't really like her though, so it didn't kick much ass to me.  We kissed only on three other occasions, and the school year came to an end, with Aimee as estranged from me as she'd ever been.

I lost contact with Krissy, and when she finally responded to my e-mails, we ended up breaking up.  I have the break-up e-mails saved in my account.  They are very amusing.  The end of a sham relationship.  It was the closest thing to a girlfriend I would ever have [for a long long time].

Sophomore year came, and Aimee still didn't talk to me, but fate had me sitting one seat down from her at lunch.  Occasionally, the person who sat between us would be absent and we would be sitting next to each other, but we never spoke.

I found a good distraction though.  I got heavily involved in theater, and formed a pretty tight friendship with Aimee’s older sister, whom I also had a little thing for.  Care to take a guess at what her sister's name was?  Right.

Sara and I became good friends, and we actually went out to eat together a couple of times, although the restaurant was McDonald's.  The first night we went out was February 11, 2000.  One year after the rejection at the dance.

Then on March 3, 2000, it was opening night for the school musical.  We in the play got out of class to do a special day performance for elementary schools.  I had my costume on, which consisted of khakis, a button-down shirt and a wind-breaker jacket, but I didn't have my make-up on yet.

And just then, an announcement comes on the loudspeaker.  There is smoke coming through the vents.  Everyone is to evacuate the building immediately.  This was a fire.  Not a fire drill.

So outside, we form in groups, and fate landed me in the same group as Aimee.  Another girl in the group was cold, and being the gentleman that I am, I gave her my wind-breaker jacket to wear.  The students were told to move to the football field, so we did, and sat in the bleachers, and talked, and walked around the football field and talked, and before I knew it, Aimee and I were talking again.  When the fire was put out and the building was secure, we were allowed back in, but the show for the day was cancelled.  The show for the night was not cancelled, and when it was over, and I was lined up outside the auditorium, Aimee came out and congratulated me.  And she gave me a hug.

It was the best feeling in the world.  It was beyond comfortably numb.  It was the greatest feeling in the entire universe.  To embrace the one you truly Love.  After that, we were friends again.

But by then I had discovered Pink Floyd, and learned of The Wall, and my ideas about Millennium Earth and how much bullshit school and the rest of the world is, and my grades were terrible.  I was sent to be evaluated by the school psychologist, who diagnosed me with depression, and I was sent to a shrink, and put on medication, which tortured my mind even more.

I was breaking down, and I knew there was only one thing worth living for.  So one day, at lunch, out of the blue, I turned to Aimee and said, flat out, “I love you.”

She laughed, and then reality hit her.  “Oh, you're serious?” she says.  “Oh, Kyle.”

In her facial expression at that moment, I saw our friendship go up in smoke once again.  I failed in killing myself that night, and I was glad I did, but life could not suck anymore, and I had to either have Aimee, or die.

So I asked her at lunch if I could have her e-mail address, so I could write to her and explain myself.  Showing no expression and revealing no emotion, she scribbled it down on a paper and handed it to me.  I knew her e-mail address damn well, but I had to ask for it, for obvious reasons.

So I wrote her an e-mail.  This was a far cry from that first god-forsaken note, and far above the undelivered one.  This was my heart and soul on paper.  I even explained my philosophy to her.  I told her I Loved her, and I told her that we were soul-mates.

For days and days spent agonizing, waiting for her response, I vented my frustrations to those around me.  Those around me being not only my “friends” but hers as well.  And one night, out of the blue, it came.

It is the only e-mail I ever got from her.  It was 100% manufactured faction brilliance.

And I can't tell you what she said, because I made her a promise.  She was disappointed in me for telling everyone about us, and she wanted everything that happened between us to stay between us.  I write this now because it is the best therapy I'll ever get, but I will never say what she had told me to keep confidential.  This was the biggest brick in my wall.  I had done wrong by speaking my feelings openly.  I would never make that mistake again, at least not with people she knew.

But I can tell you that after reading the e-mail it was perfectly clear that what did me in was at the very beginning, when I wrote her that note.  It was that note that turned her off to me.  That piece of shit I wrote was the most important piece of shit I'd ever written, and it cost me my happiness.  At least, that’s how it went in my mind.  If it hadn’t been her, it would have been someone else.  I know that now, but it took many many many many hours of gruelling therapy and soul-searching to figure that out. 

The next part of the story deals with my best friend Lisa Whitehead, whom I'd been involved with since the end of Freshmen year, who was sort of in the background during all the action with Krissy and Aimee and the rest.  When it became clear that e-mailing Aimee was going nowhere (she never responded to another e-mail) and my parents were threatening to take away all my rights and priveleges because I was refusing to do things that I didn't want to do (why is that a crime in this world?), I decided the only way out was death, and I confided in Lisa my plans to kill myself.  I wrote my philosophy down, and posted it on my web page, as a final “goodbye” to the “cruel world” and I might have gone through with it had it not been for Lisa, out of fear of feeling guilty for the rest of her life, calling my parents the night before what was to be my last day at school, and telling them my plans.

I was sent to a mental institution—excuse me, “psychiatric hospital”—and when I came out, it was summer, and it was all over.

Jump ahead to Junior year, two months in, and my second serious suicide attempt.  I won’t trouble you with the details now, in order to make this narrative flow more smoothly.  The day I had my failed suicide attempt, I had the opportunity to talk with her after school, and since I decided this was my last day on earth, I wanted to say goodbye.

So I said hello to her, and we had a conversation until her ride arrived.  I said my final goodbye, and that would be the last thing I ever said to her for a long long time.  When she found out that I had been shipped back to the mental institution again, she may have assumed that it had to do with her, and that would have scared her even more. We shared biology class together, and I was happy if we made eye contact.  I made jokes in class, in hopes that I could get her to laugh.  It's been so long, but it's still my greatest pleasure to just bring a smile to her torturingly beautiful face.

She had single-handedly been my tool for doing myself in.  She was everything to me.  She occupied my every thought.  Everything I thought or said was somehow connected to her.  There was always a motive behind everything I did, and it always related to her in some way.  She was what made the sun rise in the morning, and she was what brought it down at night.  She made time move forward.  She caused the world to turn.  She was more to me than she will ever imagine.  She was the message behind every painting.  She was the meaning behind every note in every song.  She was art itself. 

When I had been diagnosed with depression, I was taken to a shrink named Dr. Chartoff, whose method of therapy was to ask me a question every few mintutes and pretend to take notes, to dwell on trivial things and ignore me whenever I brought up something that was important to me.  After 10 weeks, we decided he wasn’t helping, and they took me to another guy, Dr. Conti, whose method of therapy was to let my step-dad in the room and yell at me for an hour about how I should be more responsible, and chastise me for being such a smart-ass.  It was after two weeks with him that I realized the only way out was death.  That was my first suicide attempt (thwarted by Lisa) and my first trip to Carrier, the mental hospital.

Summer was long and boring, (apart from the death of Val which I will not go into at this juncture,) and Junior year started just as slowly.  I found myself in a study hall with Aimee, and got my lunch switched with the class so I didn’t have to deal with her.  I had dropped from Advanced Placement Chemistry (which I came less than a millimeter away from failing) to CP Biology, and quickly realized I was waaaay too smart for that, so I moved up to Honors, and low and behold, I sat right across from Aimee.

I had now become less friends with Lisa, and very good friend with a girl named Melissa, whom I also secretly liked, but she had been going out with someone she loved for over a year.  I was now on my third psychologist, a woman, Dr. Grosshans, whom I hated ten times more than the other two combined.  She would play sick, twisted mind games with me, in which she would make me imagine myself taking out my anger on her, my mother, Aimee, and probably more if we had the time.  She would ask me questions, and when I told her what I thought, she would tell me I was wrong, that I didn’t think that, and she wanted the truth.  She played all these mind games to try and provoke me into either flipping out or crying, which she believed was the only therapy that worked.  After she made me imagine myself tearing Aimee to pieces, I knew I couldn’t handle it any more, and I had to die.

Melissa was my excuse.  When she broke up with her boyfriend, I decided I would wait awhile and then ask her out, and kill myself if and when she rejected me.  But my old buddy Lars beat me to the punch, asking her out less than three days after the break-up.  She had called me to tell me that, and in that call she found out I had liked her all this time.  She was now faced with the problem of choosing between us, and she ended up going with my suggestion: that she choose neither of us, seeing as how it would be the only thing that could work without hurting the other one’s feelings.

The day she rejected me was the day I talked to Aimee after school, and said my goodbye.  That night, I walked out to the garage and started my dad’s car, trying to plug up the exhaust but failing.  When I realized that wasn’t working, I turned the car off and went inside to try and slit my wrists, but I couldn’t cut deep enough, so I went back to the garage and started the car again, just lying down by the exhaust and breathing in the carbon monoxide.  Unfortunately, my mother had heard the car start this second time, and she sent my step-dad to find me, and between the time the sun rose and set that day, I was back in the mental institution.

While I was back there an idea began to grow in my mind that everyone in the world was out to fuck with me, and they were all in on the conspiracy.  The clinic encouraged all its patients to start keeping a journal, and it was in this state of mind that I began documenting my thoughts.