– On Love, Life And High School Essay, Research Paper
I was sitting laughing. This was my graduation, but I was not giggling for any reason like the friends I would miss or the remembrance of good times past, I was just laughing my ass off. People had been telling their children about this occasion for years, they described it as a huge thing, ?the turning of a page?, they said or ?the birth of your adult life.? Bullshit, I thought. Those people had forgotten that for their class and every class since theirs it was just another reason to get drunk. I was about halfway from the back, in the middle of my row. At this time in my life, a time of supposed celebration, I felt, overwhelmingly, like a mediocrity. A feeling I was not accustomed to. This is what was so funny. What a sarcastically wonderful time to realize I was normal.
A girl in my honors history class was making her speech. She had sat two seats behind me for two years and always seemed to smell like bananas. Although I had never talked to her, I always wondered if she just liked bananas a lot or if she worked in the produce department at our local farmers market. I wouldn?t know if she worked there, because I didn?t shop for groceries. I only noticed this because in 8th grade our Biology teacher taught us how to put on a condom on using a banana. I still can?t eat a bananas without the feeling that I was giving head to every person in the room. She kept speaking and I kept trying, unsuccessfully, to concentrate on her naive advice. Campaign reform. Exiled Tibetans. Illegeracy. Aliteracy. And Ramon. My mind kept slipping away to more important subjects. Banana girl had no idea what problems she would face in her life. None of us did.
I could see my friend Ramon from my seat; he was a couple rows up. Smiling his huge smile, he was so happy to finally be there. He had been through a lot. Even with his injury, he moved like liquid, a natural athlete. I had met him my freshman year. Like all good friends, he noticed right away what was special about me, not only did he love my flaws but he created some also. He told me one day ?I don?t buy designer socks, I buy white socks at K-Mart and have my mom sew Polo into all of them,? I have loved him ever since thatBanana girl had finally finished her speech and was back in her seat.
Yes, a mediocrity. The funny thing about me thinking this about myself was the timing of it. I had walked around campus for the last four years with a chip on my shoulder. I was okay with that; I had good friends, good times and good stories. A chip doesn?t mean anything.
A couple years back Ramon and I had been at Jack Off?s drinking 40?s of Mickey?s and talking shit with a our friend Paco. Jack Off?s was the preferred choice for a hang out spot. It was by the river, it was the only place that was accessible from back roads. All the other popular spots had openings onto the main road. In a small town the identity of the driver was known to all by what car they were driving. Everyone in town knew that Ramon drove a red Mustang with a bumper sticker of Darwin?s name in the Christian fish. Everyone knew when we turned off the main road onto the ditchbank we were going to get drunk. So for that reason we always went to Jack Off?s, to save our asses. The road to Jack Off?s was also the road to my house. That day was especially fun because Ramon and I were both in good spirits and we had dared Paco to swim across the river for a joint. He was about halfway across and the current had carried him about 20 yards down the river from where he started. Ramon and I laughed and joked about how nice it would be if the river just carried him all the way to Mexico. He kissed me. I have to tell it this way, suddenly and blunt, because that is exactly how I remember it. All was friendship and beer and then, his warm lips were against mine. Enjoying for only a moment and then pulling away and laughing at this boozy action, I smiled and told him, ?I love you.? Then after realizing what I said added, ?well, not love, but, you know I mean.? He did know what I meant because he felt the same way, which is why he kissed me. On that note, Paco reached the other side of the river and we continued laughing about smoking the joint that was now supposed to be Pacos?.
Madison Bennetti. Madison Bennetti. Realizing that my name was being called I walked up to the podium and got my diploma, I was slightly annoyed by the timing. I was in good thought back at my seat and the actual action of getting the diploma was a bit surreal. Remembering suddenly of my mediocrity I was again disturbed. I was class president for 5 years; I had played sports, dated football players and god dammit if that didn?t make me special I didn?t know what did!
Ramon had only the chance to kiss me a couple times after the day at the river. All the kisses we shared ended with me pulling away but still wanting more, there was something about the taste of the gum in his mouth and the touch of his lips. One day after a soccer game he had kissed me unexpectedly, his kisses were always unexpected. He had just lost a game. He was all sweaty, dirty and most of all needy. I waited for him outside the locker rooms for quite a while. When he finally came out I walked over to him and brushed some hair out of his face. He kissed me, in front of all our friends, his entire team and most of all, my boyfriend. He didn?t seem to realize anything that day, other then the fact that he wanted to feel good. He kissed me harshly but I could feel his passion through every nerve in my body. Still in the midst of the kiss I saw my boyfriend drop his head and walk away. It was odd, liberating and painful all at the same time. Painful, partly because I knew my boyfriend would never understand and partly because he kissed me so hard that his teeth busted my lips. After a short session of him devouring me, I pulled back and we stopped. We had places to be.
Looking around at all my fellow graduates I felt we all shared sameness. It might just be the fact that we were all wearing the same costume but I felt I could relate to every one of them. With the exception of Skyler Tolmas who had pink hair and drove an Oldsmobile. I would shoot my own toe before I would dye my hair pink and I wouldn?t be caught dead driving and Oldsmobile. And also with the exception of Brett who once told me, ?I know I don?t like her because I can?t picture her when I?m jacking off.? He was talking of his current girlfriend. She was beautiful.
Then I asked, ?Well who do you picture??
?Well, you, of course.? I had always loved people for the things they said. I loved Brett.
Thinking again about the chip on my shoulder I noticed that my entire school had supported it. They had given me the chip and I had embraced it and held onto it as though my life had depended upon it. I had nurtured it by conforming myself into what people wanted me to be. Once I had become that, I looked at myself as higher then everyone else. In reality, I was below everyone else because, even though I was happy, I didn?t have freedom. Yes, I had the freedom of choosing certain things. I had enough efficacy that my voice echoed in the heads of school board members and that the state senator, my mentor, called my personal line weekly. I just didn?t have the power to stop being the chicken dancing for the fire. I had also chose to become a dope dealer my junior year and to carry an orange SoBe with half juice and half vodka to school everyday. As a drug dealer I wore a black, leather jacket and spiked my short, blond hair. I sold to everyone. Everyone did drugs. The reasons people did drugs were always different; some got high to fit in- a toke here, a toke there, others needed to feel them in their blood. Kids liked the fact that they were buying from the class president. My at home customer base consisted of many people that liked coming to my house, they liked looking at the pictures of me that were up in my foyer and imagining me naked up in my room. I always had the maid tell them I was showering and that I would be right down. Depending on their age she would give them a vodka tonic or a peach bellini and get them liquored up. Customers under 16 got the bellini. I lived my life like an annoying character. I only showed people what they wanted to see. I was normal because people saw only the image I portrayed and not the true me. I was going to be a great politician. Ramon saw the true me. He saw the me that never wore matching socks. I didn?t see the point in matching something if no one was going to see it. He even seemed to understand why I stole metal milkshake mixers from the local diner-my personal religion required me to drink water from nothing else.
The place we had to be after the soccer game that day was not urgent. Basically, Ramon and I just wanted to me alone. We had felt the need for aloneness quite a lot lately. After our kiss he grabbed my hand, and playfully gave me a piggyback ride to my car. Alone at last, he was not needy anymore. I always knew what he wanted, and right now he just wanted me.
Graduation was almost over; I had said my speech. It had gone just how I had wanted it to. I got laughs from the students and parents, and dirty looks from the administration and teachers. It was black comedy and I loved it. I had talked of funerals, chitchat, and a bunch of other bullshit. They had liked the part about my friend, Steven that pierced his belly button in the dark. Unlike any of the advice given at graduation I had given guidance that was useful. I had told them, ?liquor before beer, have no fear,? that would help them get through the post-parties at least.
Ramon needing me the day after the soccer game is all I will need to get through my life. We had both left the sports complex for my house at the same time. I speed and he doesn?t so I figured I would get there before him. I waited outside on the steps for a while and then moved my wait into the house where it was warm and I could make some coffee. I don?t know how long I waited up that night but the caffeine from the coffee wore off and I fell asleep.
They were playing our class song-Ozzy Osbourne, Goodbye to Romance. The energy of my class was surrounding me; I stood up on my seat to see if I could find Ramon. I found him walking away from the crowd. After a couple moments he turned smiled at me and then disappeared into the crowd.
The morning after the soccer game I woke up and suddenly remembered that Ramon had never came to my house as we had planned. A little worried but more then that pissed off I tried calling his cell phone. Whoever answered his phone told me Ramon had been in a car accident the night before. He had died. They went on to tell me that they had tried calling me but I wasn?t listening anymore. I had already started pretending that Ramon was still alive.
At graduation that night I had did what everyone expected of me, danced like a chicken. I was still pretending. Walking away from graduation with a diploma didn?t mean anything to me that night. I was smiling but, in a sad way. It was kind of like the giggling fit I had after realizing my mediocrity. When I think of our last hours together I can?t stop from wondering if on a conscious level Ramon knew his fate. Maybe he did, maybe he didn?t. I had been many things to him; a mediocrity was never one of them.