Obvious

Monday, August 18, 2014


Obvious
A fictional interpretation of a song by Hey Monday.

There’s always a point in a scary movie when the protagonist hears a noise, and instead of running for their life, they go toward the noise, unarmed, unaware.

That’s how I felt the night of the biggest party of the school year.

It was my first party to attend ever, and I was pretty sure the only reason I was invited was because I was currently dating the most popular guy in school, Ken. Before Ken, I was just the nerd who spent all her time reading. But after helping Ken pass all his classes this semester, he asked me out on an actual date, and now I was reserved the best seats at lunch and invited to all the coolest parties.

But something didn’t feel right.

There was a movie-esque feeling to my life, and though I had always wished my life could be as eventful and predictable as one of my favorite novel-turned-movie films, I knew that real life wasn’t supposed to be this way.

Maybe I’m just pessimistic, but it seemed obvious to me that something was bound to happen. A fateful twist to my storybook life.

And I was right.

***

I’d lived my first fifteen years in perfect mediocracy. The only thing about my life that wasn’t so stereotypically average were my grades in school. I’d always excelled easily in school, but since it came so easily to me, I didn’t think it all that impressive.

I took the job as an afterschool tutor because I was hoping it would present a challenge. Teaching, for me, seemed to be much more difficult than doing the work myself. 

Ken came to me desperate to improve his failing average in time for the playoffs. I didn’t understand how anyone could be failing every single one of their classes, but during the few weeks I helped him, I learned.

Not only was he the basketball team’s key player, but he was also the primary caregiver for his disabled little sister at home. His father was non-existent, and his mother worked full-time, leaving him in charge of picking up his little sister from school and taking care of her. He was failing his classes because between the team and his family, he couldn’t find the time to dedicate to his schoolwork. 

Until he didn’t have a choice.

And that’s why he came to me, and forever changed my life.

***

The party was smaller than I imagined.

For some reason, I was expecting the biggest party of the year to be a wild, reckless mass of people, giving barely enough space to breathe. But instead, it was a eardrum-busting blast of music, and scattered clumps of people talking, laughing, and smoking.

“Want a hit?” One of Ken’s friends and teammates asked me, holding out the pipe.

“No, thanks.” I said.

“She doesn’t smoke.” Ken said, smiling before taking the pipe from the guy. “Brain cells.”

He flicked the lighter a few times, and inhaled deeply, sucking in the smoke. I tried not to picture the effect it was having on his lungs. Not to mention his brain. 

“That’s good stuff.” Ken said, handing the pipe back to the guy who gave it to him. He put his arm around me, and began leading me toward the kitchen. “Let’s get you a drink.”

I should have said no. I should have tried to steer him toward something less dangerous, perhaps something legal. But I always seemed to lose my voice around Ken. I didn’t want to disappoint him. 

So we drank. One sweetly spiked drink after the other. We drank, and Ken smoked and I fluttered from one group to another underneath Ken’s arm.

The feeling of danger was muffled.

***

Ken was my only ride home.

And like the protagonist in a horror movie, I made the reckless decision to do the opposite of what you’re supposed to do in a tricky situation: I agreed to ride home with him, even though neither of us was particularly fit to drive.

“It’s okay. I’ve done this a thousand times.” Ken assured me. “I’ll get you home safe. I promise.”

It was a promise he wouldn’t be able to keep.

***

Nobody was paying attention.

Yet it all seemed to happen in slow motion. The red light; Ken’s delayed reaction. He slammed on the brakes when we were already in the middle of the intersection. The truck smashed into his side, and I screamed.

Then I was waking up in a hospital bed.

***

Ken didn’t make it.

They say it was instant. No pain. But I didn’t get so lucky.

My legs were crushed in the accident. The doctor’s predict I’ll never walk again. 

No legs. No Ken.

A fateful twist to my storybook life indeed.

***

But I’m still here.

I’m still alive and I’m not giving up. My life has been changed, but it is far from over. Everything happens for a reason. And maybe I don’t know what that reason is just yet, but I will.

One day I’ll even look back, and realize it was obvious.


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