(looking back over 25 years through some of my archives, pasted verbatim here as I wrote them then, including the parentheticals and intros…)

these two were both written with a certain young lady in mind — one of ‘em’s far more realistic than the other, too. Neither of them is particularly optimistic, but that’s life and I wasn’t too terribly optimistic at the times I wrote ’em, either. I’m not ashamed of the sentiments expressed in here, despite the fact that he finds an easier way out in both of them that I did in real life, it was just easier to pull it off that way…

I walked in and immediately walked right back out — I was looking for the hotel party, and apparently I was on the wrong floor. The couple I accidentally walked in on, though, was just on the floor.

I went downstairs and found the crowd. They were in room 1011 instead of 1101, I guess I need to learn to which end is up on the number. It was still pretty quiet because Frank hadn’t shown up with the van and the nine other people yet. I walked in and saw seven people on the bed, watching the tube. I say seven, but there was an extra set of feet sticking out, so either someone kicked off their shoes or there were eight people. I really didn’t worry about them. I was looking for Kathy, I didn’t see her, but Rachel was there, so Kathy couldn’t be far ’cause Rachel never goes out anywhere without her. The glass door was open, and there were voices coming off of the balcony, so I checked out there, and sure enough, Gary was out there with Kathy — hitting on her and too drunk to realize that she wasn’t interested. She saw me and her face lit up and he thought he was getting somewhere until I said, “Hi Gary.”

He turned around sharply. “Jesus Christ, Jason, don’t scare me like that.” His words were slurred, and he smelled of both beer and rum.

“C’mon Kathy, let’s go inside. It’s kinda cold out here,” I said.

“Hey, we’re talking!” Gary said.

“No, you were talking, she was listening,” I said. I was kinda mad, but realized that since he was drinking, his judgement was clouded — not that it was great during those infrequent sober periods or anything.

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Kathy climbed over Gary and took my hand and we went inside. We weren’t dating or anything, but she was there ’cause I asked her to go, and I kinda felt responsible for her. Everyone on the bed was still glued to the TV. They were watching Saturday Night Live and it was a rerun — the Kyle MacLachlan episode with the great Twin Peaks spoof — and we watched a few minutes before we went to a corner of the room and started talking. What she said was irrelevant, but it made me feel so important, so wanted, as if someone cared, and I needed that, bad.

She had seemed to be ignoring me for quite some time, and she knew how much I loved her but I guess she didn’t think about the pain she caused. That was just part of a bunch of stuff that’d been piling up over the past few months. It actually started as far back as high school. I’d always been the outcast and I wanted to get away from that, and I figured college was a great place to start over, and I thought I’d managed that, but…

I’d been having trouble with my boss. I’m the type of guy that says what he thinks and doesn’t worry about who it bothers. I may lack tact, but that’s about it. He didn’t like what I had to say, and how I said it did nothing to endear me to him. What gets me is that no one bothers to look beyond the truth and its messenger and look at the intentions of the speaker. Their loss.

I’d been having problems with my friends, too. I started up an underground newspaper and they pretty much took it out of hands. I let ’em help out and it got to the point where I really wasn’t doing anything except proofreading and writing an occasional article and eventually they cut me out of the decision-making process.

My band broke up — not because of anything I did — but because of those ubiquitous musical differences. It was kinda traumatic, though, to have a major part of your life get canned after building your life around it for a year and a half.

Another person I knew plagiarized one of my English papers and then lied about it. I got in trouble and he got an “A” on it. There was a lot of little stuff, too, that’s just the big stuff.

Throughout all of this, Kathy was an anchor to sanity. She knew I loved her and that I’d wait patiently for her to decide that she was ready for a serious relationship. I’d go see her whenever I could and I’d call her when I couldn’t stop by.

We talked for a little bit, and then I noticed her ring. It wasn’t one I’d seen before, but she’d gotten two others from her parents, and she traded off jewelry regularly with her friends — I asked her about it.

“Jason, I’m engaged,” she said.

My heart dropped into the lobby, ten floors below. My blood felt like ice and the tears started to well up in my eyes.

“Jason, he’s a good man, he’ll take care of me and he loves me,” she continued.

“Yeah, whatever,” I said hoarsely, “What’s his name?”

“Kieth Bryce. Jason, I know how you feel, but you said yourself that you’d always be a wanderer, never really tied down to anything. You don’t even know what you’re going to do when you graduate. I need more stability than that.”

“Yeah, whatever,” I said, choking back the crying. “When’s the wedding?”

“This summer. I’d like you to be there, too.”

“I hope you get what you want out of it,” I said softly and I walked out onto the balcony. Gary was crumpled up in the corner, asleep. I stared out into the clear night sky, and the tears started to flow freely. My eyes stopped at the constellation of Orion — I’d taught Kathy how to find a bunch of constellations and she liked Orion best ’cause she could find it easiest.

Gary started to stir and I looked at him. He stared at me for a second, clearing his vision.

“What time is it?” he asked.

I glanced at my watch. “About ten ’til one,” I answered.

After looking off into the distance, watching cars come off the highway and pondering going on with life alone, as I had for the better part of five years now, I could hear Frank and the crowd come into the room behind me. I looked at Gary and said, “See you later.”

“You leaving?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said, “I’m gone,” and I jumped.

Joey walked into the room and realized that this was going to be more than he could handle. Rachel was over in the corner sitting on some guy’s lap. It was a wonder he could even see her across the room, as crowded as it was with drunken partygoers, but Joey always had an instinctive way of finding Rachel.

Gary walked up and handed him a beer.

“Keep it,” Joey said, his eyes never leaving the woman he loved.

“Don’t start a scene,” Gary warned him, “they’ve been like that all night.”

“Doesn’t mean I have to like it.”

“It’s not your party.”

“She’s not his girl.”

“She’s not yours, either.”

“Tell me about it.”

Life had been rough on Joey. She was beautiful and liked him a lot, but she was a partygoer. Hell, he thought, I wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for her.

Rachel leaned over and kissed the guy

Joey walked out.

Forever.

Three weeks later, Rachel was starting to wonder where Joey was. He hadn’t stopped by or called, and they usually ate lunch together on Thursdays, but he hadn’t been there. She called around and kept getting negative answers, and then she started to worry. Finally, she called his parents.

“Joey bought a plane ticket to Paris,” his dad said.

“When did he leave?”

“Two days ago.”

“Is he coming back soon.”

“I wouldn’t count on it.”

“Where’s he gonna go from there?”

“He’ll go back to Garmisch and get a job as a ski instructor and just hang out for the rest of the year.”

“When’s he coming back?”

“Probably never.”

As he stood on top of the hill he climbed so many times as an eager youth, Joey looked over the valley again. Garmisch was a second home to him, and he’d always felt like he belonged there. The town sprawled across the valley and Joey picked out some of the places he’d been before — the theatre, the casino, the ski lifts, and his old house. This is home now, he thought, and he turned to walk down the hill alone — again.

This was written (and takes place) in the early ’90s, and has been buried on hard drive archives since the mid-’00s. I’m just still sharing the variety of scenes I’d captured over the years.

If you enjoyed this, please let others know, so they get a chance to see it, too, since that doesn’t seem to happen nearly enough. And please feel free to share your feedback — Lord knows I need whatever I can get… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Dad, husband, game commando, veteran, Army brat, writer, teacher

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