Manhattan New York City

The Present




That summer was one of the hottest we've ever had in Manhattan last year it was so rainy we couldn't even go swimming. This year it was your only option for fun. Of course I preferred to lurk inside my dark air conditioned room where the sun was weakened by blinds So my first day back at school when everyone was showing off there tans I melted away into the shadows for I was still small and pale. Though Gemma didn't seem to notice though of course she was sporting her own tan and honey highlights to notice the lack of mine.

That day was unbearable the sun was still strong but it was actually okay to be out in the teachers couldn't remember half of the lesson plan. But what made it worse was it seemed every class I had, so did Tanner, I remember at the beginning of the semester we carefully picked all our classes together, but that was before we broke up, All summer had been brutally hot. Not the good kind of hot, the kind of hot where it felt like your skin was peeling off. The kind of Heat where the only thing I could do was curl up with the air conditioner on and watch movies.

Not that I really wanted to do anything that Summer, as far as summers went this one had sucked spectacularly, which was odd because it had started out perfectly. So there's this Club down near SoHo, it's this old Punk Rock place, complete with old Flyers, brawls and really awesome bands. So it was the summer and we managed to get and I, Gemma always said she would get a gig here some day, but honestly I would be way too nervous to play. See being wealthy wasn't exactly a good thing around these parts, and I didn't want anyone to ever find how much my parent's made. But anyway, that's really not that important, what's important, was there was this song.

I had never heard a song quite like it before, this girl, well it wasn't like she was speaking English and yet the lyrics just spoke to me. The whole club was just under her spell, it was like magic, pure fucking magic. But there was this boy, who had the most amazing eyes I had ever seen, he gave me this smile and asked me to dance. I remember he asked me to dance, and I was like "hell yes!" except I was much more "Yeah sure", about it, (Totally nailed it)

Not many boys knocked down my door to get a date, the only ones who usually knocked were kind of weird, or had some strange habit, that freaked me out. So when Tanner, who seemed normal in every way asked me, I thought it was my lucky day, and in fact it turned out to be my lucky month. His favourite song was Sympathy for the Devil (Yeah I know, awesome) so when he wrote his number on my arm, well I would call that a successful night out. And I had many successful nights with Tanner.

It turns out he was just as nuts as I was, like me he was a snotty Rich kid. So we spent all summer in Central Park writing Music, and racing boats. We spent it in my room watching really awful movies, we spent it in all those Downtown clubs that we were too young to be in, and shooting vodka and smoking too much. but then the weirdness of the world began to shatter my perfect bubble. Everyone knew something strange was going on in New York, with the garbage strike, the rats everywhere, not to mention the murder wave.

But no one was going to come out and say, especially the people I knew, our world revolved around New York City functioning, and it was an unspoken rule that their could absolutely be nothing wrong with it. But when it was affecting my boyfriend I could no longer live in sweet, sweet denial that my parents lived in. I remember the dreaded phone call, in Tanner's low voice that sounded much more raspy than usual, asked me to come meet him, first reaction, was hooray he's talking to me again!

It had been four days since Tanner had spoken to me, which was odd featuring we practically spent every waking moment together (and some ahem sleeping moments) second reaction, was oh shit maybe it's not really Tanner but some one pretending to be Tanner, but then I stopped thinking that that, I had been told I was way to paranoid for my own good. Third reaction was the one I should have felt to begin with, Tanner is breaking up with me. It had been six days since we had even kissed, he kept finding lame excuses to avoid it, and so I went down to the street where Tanner was waiting for me. Tanner looked about ten thousand miles away from okay, he had gotten skinner, which was a bit insane considering he was already pretty damn bony. His gold brown eyes were much wider than usually, like he was really surprised.

"Hi Tanner" I said trying not to express my true emotions, he just nodded at me "Megan hey" he said, Megan? Wait what Tanner had always called me Meg, something was really wrong. Even before the words were out of his mouth I knew what they were going to be. "I think we should stop seeing each other" even though I knew he was going to say it, the words still hurt like a hammer.

I had never been broken up with before, I always thought people exaggerated on how much it sucked, but now I was seeing they weren't entirely wrong. "Why?" I said, trying not to completely lose it, but before I came downstairs I promised myself that I would not lose it in front of him "I-I can't tell you" "Tanner you can tell me anything" my heart was beating like a drum, this was beyond me, but I knew it was bad, all I could think of was those News Headlines that involved Teenagers found dead in the Hudson because they got caught up with the Wrong people.

"I really, can't tell you Meg" he said "But I can't see you anymore" "You can't what?" "Us, I can't" "What? Tanner you're not making any sense" "It's over Megan, I'm sorry" "It's not you, please don't think you're wonderful, it's me, I'm wrong I'm all wrong" "Tanner that is not an answer" I said firmly "You can't just off and disappear for four days, break up with me and then not give me a real answer" I said, I was almost shaking I was so angry. Did he honestly take me for a complete push over? "I'm really sorry Meg but that's all I can tell you right now?" I stormed up to his retreating figure

"Hey! You're not walking away from me" "Not until you give me a real answer" he stopped "You can tell me anything Tanner, I thought you knew that" I said softly. I saw him hesitate, for a moment it was complete silent, before he finally said "I'm so sorry Megan".

The next week involved me crying a lot, and calling up Gemma and then ranting to her. "Okay, I mean what the hell is his problem?" I grumbled "He's a man sweetie that's his problem" "I didn't know he would be such a dick about it" I said taking a sip of Gemma's flask "Yeah well that's something you will never know" "True" I said "Come one Dawn of the Dead is on, nothing like a Zombie Movie to get you out of a bad break up" call Gemma a bit…unstable but I could not argue with her logic.

So I spent the last part of the Summer with Lucy and Zachary, watching reruns of Firefly and getting really drunk, Or it usually ended up, that it was too hot for Gemma to focus, Zachary had forgotten his parents were home this week, and my parents were in Berlin. So for the rest of the summer, we spent holed away in my room, with the air conditioner blasting, Gemma's smuggled in Russian Vodka, watching reruns of Firefly and a deck of cards.

So really, just like every other year. And as much as I wanted to hate Tanner, to call him a fucking prick and be done with it. I kept finding it to be not as simple at that. Forgive me if I like my theories dramatic. But there was just something not right about him. Maybe every girl thought that when her first boyfriend dumps her, but honestly, I wanted him to just be a sleazy bastard, I wasn't looking for anything more.

But my mind just kept wandering back, to the sight of his eyes, that random twitch in his hands, that slight stammer in his voice. And, I was sure he was lying, I had spent enough time around Tanner to figure it out, there was something missing, honestly it could have been anything. He could have been a Drug Fiend or been abducted by Aliens for all I knew.

But it bugged me, I knew that for certain. But I understand pretty quickly, that I wasn't the only one with a story like that, in fact, I would learn later I was one of the lucky ones. I was the only one whose significant other disappeared for a day or two, then came back with a horror struck face, it seemed like Manhattan was leaking. The rats in the Sewer were coming up to face the living, There was something wrong with the stray Cats, I no longer let mine go outside after I saw that strange reflection in the Cat next doors eyes.

it wasn't that bad of a summer, until I realised it was almost September I would have to see Tanner again, I had completely forgotten we had gone to the same school until then. And then suddenly I found myself walking through the halls of Bristol once more, realizing that I had done nothing in the situation about removing myself from Tanner's classes, so I spent most of class angry at everything, especially the fact that Tanner was completely ignoring my existence, then I noticed him playing tonsil hockey with some hot girl with great hair, I was just about to commit mass murder.

Gemma came up to me as I was muttering death threats by my locker, "Did you run it tall dark and greasy?" I looked up at her "Tanner?" I ask Gemma nodded "Yeah I always thought he was really greasy, with the weird indie hair and all" "Yes I did see him, and he completely ignored me" "Never trust a boy with greasy hair" Gemma said I laughed "so true" we linked arms and walked down the hall.

Lucy then stated she had to go get a book from the library, and she would be right back, I nodded "Yeah I'll wait here" There was something very wrong, but no one wanted to admit, people were afraid to. The world was sick but we were ignoring it. And every time I look back, I just can't believe I didn't figure it out sooner.