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Circumstances - 5. At 15

A boy still has a few things to learn about himself.

It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. I had a date with the hottest girl in my class for homecoming. It was gonna be great. I’d seen her around school and I thought she was hot, but then I thought nothing of it. Then a couple of weeks before homecoming, one of her friends told me that Talia thought I was cute and that was great ‘cause it’s always great when some girl notices you. But I still didn’t do anything ‘cause there was no reason to. Then I broke up with the girl I was going with and I needed a date for homecoming and my best friend Dyl was pressuring me to take his girlfriend’s best friend. And I like his girlfriend all right and I like her best friend, but the best friend really isn’t very pretty. So I figured what the hell, I’d ask Talia, and she said yes.

The day before homecoming we went riding. That was great because it’s always fun to show off my horses. And Talia was pretty good on them though she said she really didn’t ride very much and didn’t know anything about horses. She also hated the cleaning up part.

“How can you do that?” she asked as I was cleaning up after her horse. But that’s part of having horses and I’ve been around them since I was a kid so it’s no big thing.

The next day, we were gonna pick Talia up at her house. Dyl and I had rented a limo ‘cause neither of us are old enough to drive and we didn’t want our parents driving us to homecoming. The limo cost us a hundred bucks each and it cost me another fifty for the homecoming tickets and fifty more for a new shirt and tie and another fifty for a three-rose corsage for Talia. So I was out two hundred and fifty bucks before we even started. The idea was to pick up Talia then pick up Dyl’s girlfriend who doesn’t go to our school and lives in Valencia then go to the homecoming party. But right before we went to get Talia, she calls me on my cel saying she wasn’t home and I should pick her up at school after we picked up Dyl’s girlfriend.

“What are you doing at school?” I asked.

“Nothing.”

“Then why are you there?”

“I’m all ready for homecoming. I’m with friends. You just have to pick me up.”

“Then we’ll pick you up now.”

“No, pick me up later.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m with friends.”

“So?”

“Just listen to me.”

“O.K.”

Now my friends aren’t really Talia’s friends. My friends are Dyl and the guys. And while I know Talia’s friends, I wasn’t really friendly with them. So if she wanted to hang out with her friends while Dyl and I went to pick up his girlfriend, that was O.K. with me. It was stupid, but it was O.K. Except when we finally went to pick up Talia, her neck was all covered with hickeys. Now wasn’t I supposed to notice? Did she think I just fell off a turnip truck?

“What’s that?” I asked.

“What?”

“On your neck?”

“Oh.”

“What?”

“Nothing.”

“What is it?”

“Just an allergic reaction.”

“An allergic reaction?”

“Yeah.”

“To what?”

“I don’t know. To allergies.”

“An allergic reaction to allergies?”

“Yeah.”

That isn’t how it works and I know a hickey when I see one, let alone a whole neck full of them. But I let it go because I was all dressed up and she was all dressed up and she looked hot and we had the limo waiting. But after we got into the limo, Talia wanted her friends to ride with us. They were all waiting with her at school.

“Don’t they have dates?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

“So?”

“So they’ll meet them at the party.”

“They’ll meet them?”

“Yeah.”

“Don’t they want to get picked up?”

“No, they’ll meet them. O.K?”

O.K. but not really. Talia’s best friend, the one who told me Talia thought I was cute, was going with a senior who had a car. So he could have picked her up and he probably wanted to. Instead we all crushed into the limo.

“This isn’t what we said,” Dyl complained.

“I know, but it’s just a little way.”

“This isn’t what we planned.”

“I know.”

“Then what’s up?”

“Plan’s change, Dyl. Plans suck. Just live with it.”

So he lived with it, but he wasn’t happy. And I wasn’t happy. And Talia just talked with her friends.

Now Dyl’s girlfriend didn’t know Talia at all since they went to different schools. So Dyl’s girlfriend only talked to Dyl. And Talia only talked to her friends, not to me or Dyl or his girlfriend. Which mainly left me talking to the limo driver.

“How’s it going, man?” he said. He was trying to be friendly, but he must’ve been thirty years older than us. And he was mainly looking at Talia.

At the party, Talia went off with her friends again. Her best friend’s boyfriend, the senior, showed up and they all hung out together. Dyl’s girlfriend didn’t know anyone at the party either, so she mainly stayed with him. I got in maybe a dance and a half with Talia and a couple more with Dyl’s girlfriend when he went for drinks. I tried to hang out with Talia and her friends, but they didn’t really talk to me and I didn’t have anything to say. So I went back to Dyl. The next time I saw Talia was to take pictures and they looked great, but they cost me another forty-five bucks.

After the party, we were supposed to go to an afterparty in Bell Canyon which I really wanted to go to. Except Dyl had to take the limo to take his girlfriend home and that left me with no way back from the afterparty. So Talia went with her friends and the senior, and Dyl and the limo dropped me off home, and I was pissed. I did some stuff there, if you know what I mean, then I went to soak myself in Dyl’s hot tub. Kind of boil myself, ‘cause that’s what I deserved for wasting all that money. And I didn’t even get to kiss Talia. I mean I did for the pictures, but then she wouldn’t kiss me goodnight. She didn’t even say, “See you at the afterparty,” ‘cause I bet she was hoping I wouldn’t go.

When Dyl came back from his girlfriend, he joined me in the hot tub. Then in the middle of the night, I jumped into his pool. The water was like fifty degrees and the air was like sixty and I didn’t want to get hypothermia so I didn’t stay in very long. But I didn’t just run back to the hot tub. I walked there slowly, with my towel. Then I went back to boiling myself.

Today at school, everyone was talking about the afterparty. There were about three hundred kids there, and cars were parked all up and down Bell Canyon, and everyone was drunk and high and having sex.

“You’re lying,” I told the friend who told me.

“No way,” he said. “And it wasn’t just in all the rooms. I had to pee and the bathrooms were all full, so I went outside and there were kids like six feet away from me having sex in the bushes.”

“No shit,” I said.

“No shit.”

“What about the parents?” I said. “They could’ve stopped it.”

“They didn’t care. And they couldn’t have done anything anyhow. It was way out of control. If the music was really loud, someone might have called the cops. Like the neighbors or something. But the music wasn’t that loud and besides the parents were drunk and high too.”

“No shit.”

“It was a great party.”

And I was in a hot tub with Dyl.

Today at school, Talia also saw me and she said, “You must be really mad at me.”

I looked at her. “What do you think?” I said and walked away. Her neck was so covered with hickeys, it was all red.

2019 by Richard Eisbrouch
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