Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 23

For each day of November, I am going to post an excerpt of the novel I'm working on for the next 30 days through National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The goal is to reach 50,000 words in 30 days. And, go!

The big thing in school was to write notes. We wrote notes in class, and then handed them to our friends during the passing period between classes. As part of our courtship, Joe and I began exchanging notes. We asked each other benign questions about favorite candy bars and music, and whether we had pets or siblings.  

One day Joe wrote me a note and told me he thought he was going crazy. I was completely dumbstruck; I was too young to know how to respond or what to do. I wrote him a light hearted note in reply about how we were probably all a little crazy and that I knew how he felt. A week later I broke up with him.

In high school, Joe found acting. We took theater arts classes all through high school together and remained friends. I thought he was still cute; he kind of reminded me of Jackson Browne, and he was always nothing but sweet to me. We even joked about the two weeks that we ‘went together' in junior high school.

He was an amazing actor. I still remember the one-act play he performed our senior year of high school. He was the only person cast in it, and the premise was based on an actor’s worst nightmare; ‘coming to’ on stage and not knowing his lines or why the audience was there. He was amazingly gifted. I watched him back stage while her performed, and I noticed he was perspiring. It got me thinking about the note he’d written to me almost four years earlier, and I wondered how he was doing. He seemed happy. He had an enormous talent for acting and also had a girlfriend. 

I asked him if he’d like to start exchanging notes again, and he said that would be nice. We wrote a few notes but I never worked up the courage to ask him how things were really going, or if he was still feeling the same way.
The last time I saw Joe was a couple of years after we had graduated from high school.  We chatted briefly right before he went inside the Bank of America with a group of protesters. I actually thought what he was doing was kind of stupid. I couldn't understand what would compel someone to take a risk of getting arrested like that – but I kept my opinions to myself. 

Shortly afterward, I ran across a small obituary of his death. An acquaintance told me he had shot himself in his apartment. I was devastated to learn about his death. Although there is likely nothing I could have done personally to change things for him, I still felt terrible. I wish I had alerted an adult or just told him how much I cared about him. He was always nice to me even though I was such a terrible flake in junior high. Depression is stupid.   

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