Message from Lizzy Bright: I’m not fine.
I reread it over and over until in was engraved into my brain.
Do you know how hard it is to learn that this entity of perfection suddenly shatters every view you have of them? This was the earth shattering discovery I had been waiting for.
To learn that this girl, this person, was in fact just a normal human being.
It's pretty much like being told that Santa Claus isn’t real and the tooth fairy is just your dad collecting teeth to be later used in a science fair project studying tooth decay. Yeah. It sucks.
I hauled my ass out of bed and went to the kitchen to get ice for my head. Thanks to Jaxson I have gained a welp and a black eye that would make McGregor jealous. I noticed a note on the fridge.
“Hey, I had a date tonight and won’t be back till late. -Mom”
The word stung my eyes. Date. As in moving on. As in gone.
My shit dad left us when I was eleven for his secretary named Tiffany Ensberg. You would think if he is going to leave us choose someone amazing and Lizzy Bright worthy.
Instead, Tiffany wound up to be 20 years younger than my mom with the I.Q. of a two year old. This chick asked me to spell “kitchen”. She is a secretary. Her job is to spell shit out.
So dad left and my mom was stuck with an empty fridge and a wallet with a super savers gift card for 30 cents. Jokes on him in the end. I hear he is living in a trailer somewhere by the river.
My mom’s wealthy uncle wound up passing away that same year and gave us the inheritance we are living on now. Luck is funny like that.
But hearing those words just bring back all those bull shit therapy meetings about coping without a father figure. And a date means it’s over. He isn’t coming back.
It’s so final and close ending.
I had probably been standing there for a few minutes because I could feel my hand beginning to numb against the tray of ice. I put some in a bag and threw some ramen in the microwave.
My brain was thumping against my head and I turned to look at myself in the mirror. Yep. Just as disappointing as the last time I looked. I have this thing about mirrors. I don’t like them.
They show too much of what’s on the outside and not enough of what’s on the inside. They are just fine.
I felt my pocket buzz to life signaling another text, “Hey.”
Wow. Two in one day. Lizzy Bright really is a persistent person. She always has been.
“Hey.” I typed.
Yep. That’s just my luck.
I grabbed the ramen out of the microwave and descended into the pile of homework I had been putting off. Sometimes I wish I could have just gone to one of the public schools then gone to TCC.
There is nothing wrong with it; but, nothing says fuck you dad like getting a full ride to somewhere like Brown or Harvard. That’s what I’m aiming for.
I get through Biology, Calculus, and half way through Philosophy when my brain really feels like it is going to explode. I stand up and reach to open my door.
My eyes go back to the mirror hanging off of the door.
I looked at myself up and down mentally commenting on the ways that I could improve. Make people like me. Not that I care what people think of me.
I just really care what one person thinks of me. I pull out an old composition notebook that had been given to us by the school eons ago. I started listing ways and things I could do to improve.
1. Go to the f-ing gym
2. Stop slouching when you walk
3. Be nicer
4. Be realistic. 3 isn’t going to happen
5. Stop being afraid of everything
I’m a compulsive list maker. I love to make lists. You get to check off the boxes and the more boxes you have checked off the more you feel accomplished.
And the more you write down the things you need to do the less important the other things become. Just what’s on the list is important. By the end of it I had 100.
A magic number full of possibilities. 100 ways to be different. 100 ways to improve your outlook on life. 100 ways to show others that stuff on the inside can in fact show on the outside.
Then it hit me. I just created a 100 ways to get Lizzy Bright.
I dialed up Thomas right away, “Thomas I figured it out.”
“Did you finally find where Jaxson placed your ego after he hit the snot out of you?
Or perhaps you found that missing brain cell that is used to tell you not to fight others!” Thomas’ accent was thicker than usual. He usually gets like that when he is:
“Yeah, turns out it was in the same place your Harvard acceptance letter went. Bermuda triangle,”
“Not cool bro.”
“So I had a bit of a self discovery…”
“So help me if you were reading your mom’s self help books I will slap you across the face with ‘10 Ways to Find Inner Peace’.”
“No. Anyways I have figured out how I am going to get Lizzy Bright.”
“Can’t you be like any other guy and just find some girl at a party sleep with her and move on. In some cultures you would be considered a stalker and obsessed.”
“I just need to change myself a little.”
“I knew you were going to come out as a woman eventually. Lizzy isn’t gay though so I don’t see how you are going to be any closer. Maybe as a gal pal? I hear they are in fashion these days.”
“No I mean like boosting my self confidence, being nicer, you know shit like that.”
“Okay, now you really have gone off the deep end.”
“Really. It’s 2:30 in the morning and you are calling me about some self help crack. I think you hit your head harder than you thought.
” Thomas’ thick accent at this point was making “30” sound like “dirty”.
The phone suddenly started announcing that Thomas had left the building. The thing was this was the girl I would do anything for.
Hell, I already got sucker punched in the face for her less than 24 hours ago. I felt a sudden butterfly feeling warming me through me toes and to my head. Except this time I wasn’t going to throw up.