Tire Swing

I watch my van pull up at eleven p.m. You needed to use it for your gig and asked to borrow it. I could've told you no but I want to be your friend. I watch you unload your crap from my van quietly. You don't want my parents to know you're using my car. I want to go out there and help but I can see you're not alone. That creepy groupie that always hung around after our sets is with you.

Now you're telling her to put back the drums. That's right, bitch,those are my drums. She puts them back and closes the back doors. I see you run up to my window and knock three times, even though you can clearly see me. I open the window and grab my keys without a word.

"Thanks," you whisper breathlessly.

I want to say 'You're welcome,' but the words never come out. I just shrug my shoulders and close my window. I watch you run back to the street and to your own car. I wish I didn't have that stupid van, so you wouldn't borrow it every time you have a gig. Why did my parents listen to me when I asked them to get me it? Why couldn't they be like normal parents and say no to my ridicules requests? They could've said no but I told them I would never ask them for anything again—a somewhat lie since I ask them for money all the time, but it's not my fault that they forget what they said.

I hate that van.

I'm thinking about crashing it so I don't have to look at it anymore. So I don't remember that that was where you broke up with me.

I don't dwell on that. I go to my bed and fall on it face up. All my posters surround me and some pictures of us and our friends are scattered on the walls too. But there's one that I'm staring at now that I don't want anymore. It's the Polaroid that we took last year, right after we told our friends we were dating.

It's from our first gig. You're in the front playing your guitar, Marilyn (after Manson not the actress that killed herself); I'm close to be back, behind my drums. Toby II is playing the bass and—even though you can barely see her—Toby girl's sing and trying to play her guitar. That was when I was a part of your band. That's before you broke up with me in my van.

My cell starts to ring. I see Toby 1's picture flashing so I know it's you calling. I look at the phone like it's going to answer itself. I eventually pick it up and answer my usual way: "City morgue."

"I'm trying to find a body," you reply.

"Name?"

"My crappy set."

"Ouch, that bad?"

"Words cannot even begin to explain. We bombed so badly we were booed off the stage."

"You were booed? What happened?"

"Without a drummer, we learned we have no rhythm." You sigh. "Since we're drummer-less we suck."

I'm waiting for you to ask me back but it never comes. "What are you going to do?" I finally say since I can't ask to come back. You have to ask me back.

"Try to find someone…"

You're waiting for me to ask but I'm not. You have to ask me.

There's a pause. I can hear your car engine in the background. I can't take the silence anymore. "Well, good luck with that."

I hear you breathe out heavily. You want me to me ask to come back but you were the one who told me to leave the band in the first place. You needed your space after our breakup and I said 'Sure, I'll leave'. But then months passed and you never asked me to come back. We both know what I'm looking for; at least I hope you do.

"I've got to go, Kimya." You say defeated. "I'll see you at school."

"See you later," I say, trying to keep the anger out of my voice.

We hang up and I want to slam my cell into the wall. But this is already my third cell, so I can't do that. My parents won't give me another one if I smash this one. I sit on my bed for awhile and look at the picture. I think it's mocking me.

I give up on it and fall on my bed. I see the poster you got me after our first date. It's that horrible B-movie we say at the film fest. That horror movie that made no sense at all. I remember we laughed throughout the whole film and were even kicked out because we were laughing so much. You got me the poster so I could remember that night.

Damn you and you wanting me to remember shit I'd rather forget right now.

I listen to the quietness of my room and drift to sleep.

At lunch I'm at a war path right to our table. You're there with Toby I, II, and . I got to the table and slap it hard. All of you look at me.

"Okay, two things: Joey stole another bike," I see you laugh. What I don't tell you is that it's your bike again. "And, I need to get laid," I say angrily. I also say it loud enough that some people from other tables are staring at me too. I sit down and talk quieter. "I had a sex dream last night."

"I'm leaving," Toby II says. I know he doesn't like when we talk about sex so at least I warned him. "See you all later."

"With who?" Toby asks. She loves gossip.

"Paul." You look at me. "Not you, the other Paul." I see you think about who I mean. "Asshole Paul."

The light bulbs flash on for everyone at that moment. "Ew…" Both Toby's say. Nice Paul is confused and you're mortified. That's what happens when we break up, I want to say, I have sex dreams about Asshole Paul.

Asshole Paul is the last person I should ever have sex dreams about since he makes fun of everyone all day long, him and that bitch Jenn. At least we have Shawn to protect us.

But I should be thinking about you, even though we've never had sex. I have seen all of you though and I think you remember. Let's just say you have a lot going on.

"We need to find you someone," Toby says while she fights the images of me having sex with anyone back. She then adds, "Quickly."

At that everyone turns to you—I was staring at you before that, so I don't count.

"I'm not doing it," you simply say and take a drink of your milk. "We broke up remember?"

Toby I clears his throat. "I would help but all the guys that'll be perfect for you have a small flaw."

"Which is?" Toby and I ask.

"They're gay."

I roll my eyes. Of course. The person who has perfect matches for me is also the gay one, who is almost exactly like me. "Well, thanks for trying."

"Do you know anyone?" Toby asks you. You shake your head. Of course you won't."Maybe Toby II will." She gets up from the table. "I'll see you later." And with that runs out of the cafeteria.

I need to ask you something so I give Toby I a look and he gets what I want.

"I'm going to the library? I need to check out a book." When he leaves, we are finally alone.

"So…Who was that girl yesterday?" I ask finally taking my lunch out of my bag.

"What girl?"

I look at you. "The one you were giving that ride to."

"I wasn't giving a ride to any girl."

I'm getting angry but I'm trying to keep cool. I pull out my food and then look at you. "Then who was that girl who was helping you, last night?"

"That was Toby." You are starting to sound irritated.

"No it wasn't!" I yell and the cafeteria goes quiet. I take a breath and talk softer. "It was that weird groupie who was at all of our gigs."

"So what if it was?" You ask angrily. "I can't give her a ride home?"

"Not in my van, you can't."

"I didn't give her a ride home; I gave her a ride to your house. There's a difference."

"Don't go all technical on me!" I growl. I will win this round of our fight. "Why are you hanging out with her? Are you dating her?"

"And what if I am? Why should it bother you? We broke up, remember?"

We are silent for a while. Neither of us are moving. I start to put my food back in my paper bag. "You can't borrow my van anymore." I say as I'm slamming the bag in my backpack.

"Fine," you say and walk away from the table, leaving your tray behind.

I turn to leave but I want the last line. "And throw your trash away, asshole!"

You continue to walk away like nothing happened. But I can see that you're shaking your head. I know I've lost the round, and it sucks.

The whole day I'm furious. So furious in fact that I yelled at some poor freshmen that accidently bumped into me. He didn't deserve that and yet it made me fell a little better.

When I got home, I opened the door and shouted at the top of my lungs. The only reason I did it was because I knew I'd be alone.

"Kimya? What's wrong?" My mother asks, running from the kitchen.

"Nothing," I say somewhat embarrassed that someone was there. "What are you doing home so early?"

"Just wanted to." She says. "Is that a problem?" After I told her that we broke up, my mom thought I was going to off myself or something.

"No problem. I'm going to my room."

Before I leave the room, I hear my mom say something about me recommending another book to her co-worker, Scott—or as I like to call him, Scotty.

I run off and try to forget about my day. You don't make it easy, since most of the things in my room are things you gave me. I fall onto my bed face first and hope that God strikes me down. That would be the best end to my day.

I get up, remembering that stupid picture of us. I go over to the Polaroid and pulled it off the wall. I think about tearing it but I just can't. I throw it on the ground and fall back onto my bed.

I then feel my phone vibrating in my front pocket, and I can hear the weird noise it's causing in my bed. I don't care who it is but the vibration is starting to feel really weird. I get up again and pull my phone out of my pocket. Toby I's staring up at me. I consider not answering it but I just can't do that to you.

"City…" is all you let me say.

"We need a drummer." You say forcefully.

I'm silent for a while.

"Are you there?" You ask. The forceful tone is still in your voice.

"I'm here," I say blinking rapidly as I talk.

"We need a drummer," you repeat.

"Are you asking me?"

"Yes," your voice is softer.

"Can you actually ask me?"

"Why do I need to ask you to…?"

"Just do it. You're the one that asked me to leave, so I want you to ask me to come back."

I hear you sigh over the phone. "Will you come back to the band?" You ask it awkwardly, like you want to ask yourself the question and not me.

"Thank you."

"Will you?"

"I gave you my answer already."

"When?"

"When I told you you couldn't use my van."

You're silent. I can hear the TV show you're watching. "And?"

"Yeah, I'll go back."

I hear you breathe into the phone relieved. "Great!" You shout into the phone. "That'll be great."

I laugh despite myself. "Sucked that much?"

"Oh, yeah!" You laugh. "That weird groupie tried to play and she was really bad."

"Why did you let her in the first place?" I'm angry again.

"Calm down." I take a breath. "She said you sucked as a drummer and to prove her wrong, we made her play with us."

"And?" I was very interested.

"She was so off beat we didn't know what the hell was going on." You laugh as you talk. "That's why we were booed off the stage."

"So, no more weird groupie at our gigs?"

"I hope not."

I fall on my bed and laugh. I'm so happy. And I'm in the band again.

"So…when's practice?"

"Tomorrow," you say smoothly.

There's a silence that we both reach that makes me uncomfortable. I have to fill it. "Are you dating anyone?"

More silence.

"No, are you?"

"Would I have had a sex dream about Asshole Paul if I was?"

"I guess not."

Even more silence.

"Well I have to go." I say.

"Yeah me too."

"See you tomorrow."

"Yeah…And Kimya?"

"Yeah?"

"Why didn't you tell me that Joey stole mybike? I had to walk home today because of that."

I'm silent for a short time. I say the only thing that comes to my mind. "Joey never met a bike that he didn't wanna ride."

You laugh a pity laugh. "That's weak."

"I know," I laugh too, "but it's true."

"Hey, before you hang up, do you still have that tire swing?"

"Yeah, why?"

"You wanna go swinging? I'll push."

I laugh. "Sure." I laugh again a little harder. "Maybe you'll sing to me like Paul Baribeau."

"Wrong last name."

"I know. Come on over and I'll tell you about my dream."

"Your sex dream? Tell me now."

"I give you a summery." I switched hands so I could get comfortable. "I had to drive to Madison and deliver a painting."

"Okay…Weird."

"I know. I don't know why I was doing it, but anyway, somehow I wound up in Michigan."

"Where does the sex part of your dream come in?"

"I'm getting to it. Zip your pants."

"Zipping."

"There was a tire swing and I saw Asshole Paul and…"

"Oh…"

"Yeah…"

"That is weird. At least you had sex." We share a laugh. "I'll be over soon."

"Cool. And Paul?"

"Yeah?"

"It's good to see we're still friends."

"I know. Maybe it'll work out thistime."

"Maybe."