1 – 21st Century Breakdown


Just for the record: I used to always hate the last day of school, especially when it was the absolute last day of your public schooling career ever. You know, like the last day of your Senior year.

I think it’s because I always ended up with a bad, incurable case of insomnia the night before. It wasn’t really for a reason; mostly because I was just damn bored and I really had no reason to sleep.

But, for some reason, I was always an insomniac the night before the last day of school, which lead to my intense hatred of last days of school. So, understandably, the night before the last day of mandatory schooling was even worse.

I slept for basically the whole 15-minute bus ride down to school. It’s a wonder how I ever managed to sleep on that bus; it smelled like feet and crap. It might just be an ability I have, to tune out my surroundings and immerse myself in something else — like music.

First hour English was boring as hell. My classmates threw paper airplanes at each other and, predictably, there were at least a million papercuts by the end of class. All I did was sit on a table with my off-brand MP3 player and nod my head to the music and general chaos around me.

Second hour Calculus was possibly even more boring than English had been. I sat at my desk, passively doodling and — ya guessed it — listening to music. Well, aside from the fact that a guy across the room from me was staring. At me.

I’m completely not used to being stared at by guys. I’m not particularly pretty. I’ve had a grand total of two boyfriends in my entire life, and both of them were completely freaking insane. So the dude staring at me was kind of weird.

I felt slightly unclean about that, and it was all I could think about in period three Physics, which was decisively more interesting than English and Calculus combined. Our teacher was pretty much freaking amazing concentrated into a Physics teacher. He wasa grand whopping total of five years older than us.

In Physics class, we had a dance party.

I was the lame kid who hung out in back of the crowd, sitting on one of the tables. My music was on a loud as possible, because most of my classmates were tone deaf. Which probably sounds really elitist, but… they were tone deaf to my music and I was tone deaf to theirs. Their music, to put it simply, sucked.

The staring dude was on my mind all the way through fourth hour lunch period. Oh, yes, lunch, the ‘class’ where the ‘popular kids’ got to exert their ‘authority’. How cute. Naturally, I was ostracized, kicked out of all the tables and forced to eat crappy, cafeteria-grade food. Fun.

And then we had class together the period after.

Turned out to be that he sat directly across from me in period five History. Ms. Daly, being the awesome tacher that she was, let us have free hour since it was the last day of school. Most kids signed each others’ yearbooks. I, typically, sat at my desk, tapping my fingers on the table and listening to music.

Until he walked up to me.

I paused my MP3 player and yanked out my earbuds. “Yes?”

One close look at him confirmed it to me — he was high, shamelessly, shamelessly high. That goofy grin, that light behind his dialated pupils, the overly confident way he moved were all too familiar to me. It was definitely the effects of a ‘raiser’, or a stimulant, I could tell that much. ‘Downers’, like Novacaine, didn’t give you that glow.

“Hey,” he said, looking semi-nervously into my eyes. “My name’s Christian.”


He coughed into his sleeve. This Christian guy seemed to be losing his cool, at a loss of words to say. “Um… d’you wanna go out sometime?” he asked me quickly. “Ya know, like dinner or a movie, or hell, even coffee…. jsut… do ya wanna go out sometime?”

Christian’s awkwardness was really quite endearing. I couldn’t help but smile and say yes. “How about coffee on Saturday? I work at the Starbucks by Oak and 12th, I can probably get discounts.”

He lit up immediately. “Definitely! Um, here’s my cell.” He tore a scrap of paper off of my ‘doodle sheet’ and scrawled a number on it. In return, I tore off another strip and wrote mine down.

“Yeah, here’s mine… I’ll text you the details tonight,” I added. Christian nodded and pocketed my number. I took his and put it in my pocket, next to my battered old phone. “All right then. See you around Christian.”

That blush contrasted so sharply with his black hair. “See you, Gloria.”

Just then, the bell rang and Christian probably jumped a foot in the air. With a slight, involuntary smirk, I grabbed my stuff and left.

My mind wouldn’t stop racing after that. It was practically screaming, you got a date!!! With a guy! And he actually seems to be pretty decent… and you have a date!!! Stupid, traitorous thoughts.

I’ve never really been adverse to love. It’s just that love seems to have been adverse to me. The boyfriend I had before Christian was quite the basket case. A sort of loveable basket case, but a basket case nonetheless. And we broke up messily.

Well, there was no screaming or anything, but when the situation gets so bad that you have to leave him a letter and run away as fast as possible? That’s basically a textbook definition ‘messy breakup’.

So, for the next two class periods, my mind was solely focused on Christian, my ex, and a date with coffee in three days. Overall, they were pretty damn happy thoughts, especially for me.

I made a pledge then, too, that no matter how bad the situation got, that I would not break up with Christian via letter/letterbomb. The consequences were too severe, and I only heard about his from his friends to told me what he’d tried to do. I would never do that, again.


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