Crazy: Part Two.

She wears the kind of black dress that both a mother and a date would approve of. Something ruffled but tight that reflects moonlight subtly.  

                “Lexa,” he says, spotting her blond waves littered with casual braids.

                She turns and has a light purple wildflower twisted between her pointer and middle finger.

                “Brought this for you,” she says, “I just found it growing out by the beach, and it… reminded me of you.”

                “This purple wildflower?” he asks.

                She nods and her small smile shows the glitter glinting off her cheekbones.

                “I love it,” he says taking it from her and starts to put it in his pocket.                     

                “No,” she says, taking it from his hand and twisting the stem around his ear.

                “Two?” asks an overly chipper waitress looking hopelessly white under the Mexican pattern of her uniform.

                “Yes.”

                “Right this way.” She starts leading them out into the pier side restaurant, illuminated only by festive-colored candlelight dancing along the wood planks.

                “Is this satisfactory?” she asks, forcefully cheerful and barely older than the two of them.

                “Yes, thank you,” says Lexa, watching the blackening waves swirl beneath them.

&&&

                “I’ve really been into art lately, and poetry. Something about the poetic way of thinking makes life worth living, you know?” she says.

                “Exactly. As in merging theory and artistry as opposed to never questioning the daily grind? That’s what kills me about society.”

                “Oh God, please don’t tell me that you’re the kind of person who goes on rampages about society. Hellbent and hypocritical, party of one.”

                “No, no. No rampage, but can’t a man have a pinprick of contempt for the current generational standards? Hello, it’s been called the death of intellectualism.”

                “Okay, you’ve got me there. I’ve always had intellectualism close to my heart; no way do I want to see it buried.”

                “Glad you understand.”

                “However, one could make a case that it’s not simply society causing such a death.”

                “Well I’m sure there are other contributing factors. But isn’t society alone just an smorgasbord of abstract contributing factors?”

                “Maybe yes and maybe no.”

                “How so?”

                “Society doesn’t encompass all aspects of life, does it? In fact …”

&&&

                “I don’t know, maybe translator or marketing director. My Dad’s pushing for engineer. But I’ve always sort of had this dream of being a writer,” he says.

                “A writer? Seriously? Are you writing currently?”

                “I’ve been working on a few pieces.”

                “Wow, that’s exciting. What about?”

                “Oh, I don’t know. Life, I guess. Most of my stuff has to do with life. I’m kind of proud of my most recent piece, I mean it’s no Great Gatsby or anything…”

                “I don’t understand why it couldn’t be.”

                “Are you being serious? Or is that wrinkled brow meant to set up an oncoming guffaw?”

                “I am serious. F Scott Fitzgerald was just a man with thoughts. You’re just a man with thoughts. Just because he’s dead and immortalized in print doesn’t mean he’s God or anything.”

&&&

                “That’s completely irrelevant!” he cried.

                “It is not completely irrelevant! Childhood is the sole factor that molds you for the rest of your life. Hello, look around you!”

                “Not true! Not if one can overcome it, it takes a lot of strength and greatness to do, but of course it can be done. The world had high expectations, he turned out not to have that strength and greatness, and therefore deserves none of my sympathy or respect.”

                “But that blatantly disregards psychology!”

                “To hell with psychology!”

&&&

                “You’re perfect.               “

                She’s silent for the first time all night, crossing her arms in an x over her torso and looking off at the water.

                “Lexa?”

                “I’m not perfect,” she says forcefully with a real intensity that had been absent from their previous argument.

                Carl smiles and drums his fingers on the table. It’s been at least an hour since their plates were cleared but he feels like maybe six minutes have passed. However, his vocal chords tell a different story.

                “You know,” he starts, “When I saw you for the first time, on the pier today. I just, I just knew. I just knew that you were perfect and that we’d be perfect together. This relationship is just, it’s… kind of flawless, don’t you think so?”

                “Don’t say that,” the dewy sparkles along her cheekbones are shining in the candlelight.

                “Don’t be self deprecating.”

                “It’s not self deprecation. It’s honesty. Nobody’s perfect, especially me.”

                “Perfection is in the eye of the beholder.”

                She’s quiet. Stuck between truth and better judgment.

                “Let’s go, I want to show you something,” she says.

                “Okay but we still have to pay. Should I take care of it, or are you the kind of feminist who likes to go fifty fifty?” he asks, thumbing through his wallet, realizing he’ll probably have to skimp on the tip.

                “I got it,” says Lexa, slapping down a single bill that covers the expenses and then some.

                “No, Lexa. Come on.”

                “Trust me my parents are loaded. It’s no problem. You keep your Pizza Hut money.”

                “You left her a fifty percent tip.”

                “Yeah, well she was a great waitress, despite being the palest Mexican I have ever seen,” she simpers and turns to walk out.

                “You’re perfect!”

                “Shut up!”

&&&

                “I’m sorry, but why did we have to take your car?” Carl asks, watching a beach bonfire grow dimmer and dimmer in the rearview mirror.

                “Because I am not telling you where we’re going, first off. And secondly your car was probably made when Eisenhower was president, and I am not waiting for a tow truck on the side of the road. That is just not happening.”

                “Okay, I choose to ignore that heinous swipe at poor Tina. But may I also point out that you are going to have to drive me all the way back to the restaurant after this secret, sketchy event, just creating more work. I could have followed you.”

                She cocks her head like she did this morning and runs a hand through her hair, never taking her eyes off the winding beach road.

                “I’ve got enough gas. So for now just be quiet and get high on some Nirvana,” she says, jamming her hand into the on button of her CD player.

&&&

                “Oh my god, Lexa. What are we doing here?!” Carl says, walking only a step behind her and keeping all limbs close and rigid.

                She doesn’t respond for about thirty more seconds of walking before she turns around and lightly touches her fingers to a gorgeous limestone headstone.

                “Okay, I don’t mean to freak you out or be weird or morbid or anything but, you told me that I was perfect. And I think that’s a dangerous thing to think in any situation, but especially in regards to people.”

                “I don’t understand. Why did you bring me here?”

                She sighs and shivers slightly in her thin dress. “This is Mara.”

                He looks at the grave. The words ‘Mara Thomas 1994-2007’ are etched in the stone. Blocky text in all caps.

                “I am the reason that she is here…” says Lexa, looking down, looking like she’s struggling to breathe.

                “What do you mean?”

                “I bullied her. Constantly, from the time we were in third grade. I hated her. At least that’s what I told myself. My friends and I would just torture her, mercilessly. Every day I would waste time and energy thinking of hideous things to say to her just because she was pretty and smart and didn’t know how to socialize properly.”

                The cricket chirps sound eerily ambient against Lexa’s wavering voice.

                “And… at thirteen she decided to end it. With her dad’s shotgun.”

                She looks up at the stars, all three of them visible behind the orangish light pollution.

                “It was the worst day of my life, but it was my wake up call. However, I can never take back what I did. I can never give her family back the child they’ve lost. A girl is dead, because of me. I thought that maybe my life would be perfect if hers wasn’t, maybe I would be pretty if she hated her body, maybe I would be smart if I got enough people believing that she was stupid.”

                She hung her head and shook it.

                “No. No, instead I got this.”

                Carl sighed, his breath walking on eggshells.

                “I am not perfect and perfection is a dangerous thing to chase.”

                He embraces her, and she lets him. It’s a long time before either of them can talk again.

                “But I feel like it’s destiny,” he says wistfully.

                “Whoever said destiny was flawless?”

                He nods and intertwines his hands with hers. “Thank you for showing me,” he whispers as the headlights of a passing car illuminates them in the darkness.

Thoughts?

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~ by Jade Elizabeth on August 14, 2011.

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