Boy Meets Boy

Page 34


“It's Ted.”
“I hope it's not too late.”
“No.” [pause to throw off the covers, turn on the bedside light] “Something on your mind?”
“I kind of figured.” [there is no other reason he'd call me]
“Yeah.” [this is how guys talk]
“I can't get her off my mind.”
“I hear you.”
“I heard what you did today. How she wrecked you.”
“It wasn't pretty.”
“That's not like her. I mean, it's definitely like her to wreck people. But it's not like her to wreck you”
“I know.”
“I mean, she's crossed a line.”
“I think she knows that.”
“Does she?”
“You really think?”
“I think.”
[long pause for thought] “I keep trying to think of something we can do. I keep wondering what it was that I did, and at the same time I know I didn't do anything. She did it this time. And she keeps doing it.”
“Maybe she's just changing.”
“Because of Chuck?”
“It's been known to happen.”
“But not tojoni.”
[noticing something in Ted's voice] “Ted?”
“Are you drunk?”
“Not really.”
“Not really?”
“Well, a little. I was just feeling so gloomy. It's never been like this before, man. It's never been this …”
“Hard. It's never been this hard. I know this is going to sound totally whacked, but before when we broke up, I was kind of okay with it, because I realized that she was better off without me. And maybe I was better off without her. But this time I don't feel like she's better off at all. She's dissing her friends. She's losing herself in Chuck. And she and I—well, we've lost it.”
“Lost what?”
[impatient] “You know—that spark. That electricity. Even when we were broken up, we had it. She could rile me up with a simple look, and I could do the same to her. Now that's not there. And I feel—I don't know.”
“You feel naked without it?”
“Naked? Hah!”
“I mean, you feel empty.”
“Kind of. Is missing something proof of how much you were into it in the first place?”
[thinking again of Noah's smile] “Could be.”
“So what do you do with that, Paul? What do you do with that missingness?”
“In some circumstances, you just let it go.”
“Is this one of those circumstances?”
“What do you think?”
“I think no.”
“I think you're right.”
“So what are we going to do?”
“We're going to wait for Joni to feel the missingness, too.”
“And what if she doesn't?”
[pause] “Then maybe we'll have to let it go.”
[a little alarmed] “But not yet, right?”
“No, not yet.”
“Because Joni's worth that, right?”
“Yeah, she is.”
[hesitation] “I'm not really that drunk, okay?”
“It's okay, Ted.”
“But you'll remind me of all this in the morning?”
“Yes, Ted.”
“You're not that bad, Gay Boy.”
“You're not too bad yourself, for a guy.”
“But you'd prefer earlier?”
“Yeah, two's a little late.”
“Cool. And hey—”
Meet Me at the
Cemetery Gates
Because Amy and Emily have lacrosse practice and Infinite Darlene is prepping for the weekend's football game, we don't meet at the cemetery until the sun is going down. There is only one cemetery in our town, where people of all religions and beliefs rest side by side. Just like a community.
Although my father's parents were born and buried in another part of the country, all of my mother's family is buried here. I suppose one day my parents will be buried here, too. And even me. It's strange to walk around and think that.
In our cemetery, each tombstone has a locked box attached to it. And inside each locked box there's a book. I don't know who started this idea, or how long it's been around. But if you go to the cemetery gates, the keeper will give you the key to any box you'd like. Inside each book you will find the pages from a life. Some of the books have the dead person's own writing. Others have writing from after the death; people who come to visit the graves will write down memories and stories. Sometimes they'll write directly to the person, asking questions or giving updates on how everything turned out in the afterwards. Every now and then I'll look at my grandmother's book, which is filled with recipes and home truths. Or I'll take out a pen and add a line or two in my grandfather's book, telling him who won the World Series, if my mother hasn't already come by to fill him in.
With the keeper's permission, we are going to take some words from the memory books to include in our dance. Amy and Emily are also going to make rubbings of some of the tombstones to help decorate the walls.
As soon as Kyle arrives at the cemetery, he goes looking for something. He doesn't tell any of us what it is. He disappears.
Of all the Club Kids, Amber is the only one who shows up. She arrives with Infinite Darlene, but it's Trilby who asks her for help.
“I need to get some ideas for a dress,” Trilby says. “I need some input.”
Amber lets out a starstruck “Sure.”
Infinite Darlene is miffed. “It won't be as good as last year's dress,” she bitches.
“Oh, please,” Trilby snorts. “You wanted me to wear yellow so you could take home all the boys.”
“The theme was Sound of Music—and they were yellow curtains”
“Yes, but there are good curtains and there are bad curtains. You had me wearing some pretty bad curtains.”