Standing out on the pier, looking over the ocean is how I usually end up before I head home for the night. It is a sort of ritual that has lasted for the past few years, ever since I left the city to move to a small coastal town. The place is sleepy, but with a population of less than ten-thousand, it can afford to be. Tonight is like any other night. Me on the pier watching the sunset. The gentle breeze ruffles my hair, blowing the stray strands around my face. In the almost five years I've lived here, not a day goes by that I don't miss the years before. Not a day goes by that I don't miss Lima, Ohio.
Seven years ago.
Disinfectant, sweat, and the underlying scent of feaux-expensive perfume permeate the halls of my new school. My eyes scan the slip of paper in my hand again. The top block of my schedule clearly says, P1; 7:15 Spanish Rm. 115 W. Schuester. I check my phone. 7:05, ten minutes early for my first class of the year. I stand there, next to the door, trying to kill the pressure building in my head. Did I bring my Vicodin? A quick search of my bag brings up nothing, meaning my pills are sitting on my nightstand, mocking me with their absence. Still feeling through my bag, my fingers catch on something that crinkles. There can't be scraps of paper in there yet, not after I had cleaned it out and restocked it with the District's required reading materials. I pull it out and smile. A small ball of paper, covered in writing. The elegant script and the trashy scrawl of my two best friends from Houston. I know what is inside before I even put it away. I look around and head to the bathroom, locking myself in a stall and pulling out the wad of paper and my student ID. I unwrap the bump and wipe down the toilet seat with one of my ever-present alchohol wipes before pouring out the white clay-like powder. I am quick to chop it up and snort it up my nose. The flavor thrills me in a way I haven't felt since moving to Ohio. Within seconds my throat and nose are numb and I fall in love with the chemical sweetness of my favored drug. I look at the not it was wrapped in, finally reading the words.
Try to have a fun first day. In the elegant script of my best friend Alisha. Our other friend, Markus, had written, rather sloppily, We paid for you to have the BEST first day. Love ya bro. I almost laugh as I flush the evidence down the toilet and head out of the stall. I check my face in the mirror, looking for signs of coke around my nose. Whan I am satisfied that nothing is there, I head to class. The entire hour is as boring as I knew it would be, and my foot keeps tapping the tile, my turquoise converse quietly tap-tap-tapping away. The teacher ends class early, allowing us all to talk in our seats with a reminder to sign up for the Glee club. I snort, filling my throat with the taste of blow, and catching his eye. "Is something funny about Glee club to you, Mr. Fervor?" I shake my head. "Not at all, if anyone here is gay enough to join." Around our conversation, the class has fallen dead silent. Mr. Schuester is about to explode, I can feel it, so I throw up my hands. "It's cool, I can say that. I am a certified steak-lover." I smile at him viciously. "Then why don't you come try out this afternoon?" The bell rings, but I'm going to take him up on his challenge, and I know I am going to kick ass.
Later, after the final bell rings, I make my way to the choir room and slump down in a chair. I had retrieved my violin from my locker on the way, and I set the case on the chair beside me. The buzz of the coke has long since left me feeling low and tired, but I still have the energy to sing for Mr. Schuester. It isn't until the room is filled with people that I realize I'll have to sing in front of all of them. I'll have to dig deep into my repitoire to impress them, not that I want to. The teacher himself shows up and brings everyone to order, and calls me up. "Everyone, this is Adrian, and he's going to be auditioning first." I try not to smirk at him, but let it happen anyway. I turn to the band and ask, "You know S. O. S. by Apocalyptica?" Not a single one of them seems to comprehend what I'm saying, so I grab my violin and pull it from the case. The song was written for a cello, but I manage to make do with Halcyon, my instrument.
Bound to your side I'm trapped in silence just a possession.
Is it sex or only violence that feeds your obsession?
You send me to a broken state where I can take the pain,
Just long enough. Then I am numb, then I just disappear.
My voice doesn't really do Cristina Scabbia's justice, but I manage to make it through the entire song without choking or cracking. When I finish, and my last not trails off into silence, I bow and pack up my violin. No one claps for me, not that I expected them to, and no one says anything until I am at the door. "We'll see you tomorrow after school. Welcome to Glee Club." I look at Mr. Schuester over my shoulder and smile. "Can't make it tomorrow. I have a prior engagement. Just ask the principal if you want to know." I leave the room, humming to myself as I make my way to the student lot to my car. The black '13 Dodge Dart SRT4 that my dad bought me for my sixteenth birthday is one of the three things in the world I love more than my own person. The other two being my violin and my dad, in that order. I toss my stuff into the floorboard of the passenger seat and place my violin in the seat. I shake my head and try to pretend that buckling it in never crosses my mind as I start up my car and speed out of the lot, racing to get home before my dad. When I get there his car is idling in the driveway, is door open. I pull in beside him and get out of the car, grabbing my things before I lock it up. "You're late Adrian." It isn't an acusation, or even harsh, just a statement.
"Not for nefarious reasons dad. I joined the Glee club." His face cracks as he smiles and then starts laughing. "Come on, that's a good one. Glee club." He laughs again, shaking his head. "I thought we agreed that you'd stop lying to me." I'm heading up the walk and shrugging. "I thought we agreed that you were going to start believing me when I actually told the truth." I unlock the front door and let myself in, heading up the stairs to my room. I lock myself in and flop down on my bed, grabbing my Vicodin and popping three. I put in my headphones and fall asleep to Volbeat screaming in my ears.
The next morning, I am in the kitchen cooking pancakes when my dad walks in, on the phone with someone. "Yes, I'd love to come in for an interview today." He rolls his eyes at me and makes a talking motion with his free hand. "Yes, of course, two-thirty will be perfect. Yes sir. I'll see you then." He hangs up and tosses his phone on the counter. "Well, if this doesn't work out, I'm starting up my own private practice." I frown and shake my head, knocking my hair out of my eyes. I turn off the stove and set a plate of pancakes on the table. He stacks up three on his plate and starts to devour them. I put one on mine and pick at it. I am grateful that he knows me well enough not to comment on it. "So, after school, you're heading straight to Dr. Bridge's office, right?" I nod and take a sip of my coffee. "Then I come straight home and fall asleep on the couch watching sappy love stories and wake up covered in tissues, I know." He smiles and then stands up. "Be careful today. I don't want you getting hurt."
At school, I am stopped by my third period teacher, asking me to remove my piercings. I give her a look and then walk passed her into the classroom and take my seat. She follows me, badgering me about how they're a distraction and I shouldn't wear them. "If you don't remove them now, I'll write you up and send you to the office." My eyes meet hers, and I force all the ice and poison into them I possess. "If I have to take out mine, then every other student in this room better take out their's, or I'll sue your ass for discrimination." I end up in the office anyway. The principal tries to console me, telling me that Miss Sadler didn't mean it, and that I don't actually need to take them out, but that I shouldn't cuss at teachers. "So, you're going to stay after school for detention." I look the man dead in the eyes. "I can't. I have a therapy session. You know that." His response is to schedule me for tomorrow, on return duty in the library until four. He dismisses me and as I am leaving his office, the bell rings, signaling that lunch has begun.
I'm sitting on my own in the lunch room, in a secluded corner, trying to pretend to eat my food in peace, when I am approached by three members of the Glee club I vaguely recognize from the day before. The mousey, nerdy girl speaks first. "Hi, I'm Rachel Barry, and I'd like to officially welcome you to the Glee club." She places a pink sterio on the table and hits the play button, the area instantly filled with some crappy broadway number I couldn't give a shit about. Before she can start singing, I cut off the music and pull out my phone. I have an entire folder filled with karaoke tracks of my favorite bands. I attatch it to her sterio with my auxillary cable and hit play. The air is filled with the buzz of a guitar and then the pounding of a double bass drum. I begin my favorite BFMV song without hesitation.
Am I going insane? My blood is boiling inside of my veins.
An evil feeling attacks. My body's shaking there's no turning back.
Don't take your eyes off the trigger. I'm not to blame if your world turns to black.
As your eyes start to blister. There's just no hope of a final embrace.
So here we are, I'm in your head, I'm in your heart!
I jump up onto the table and sing my freaking heart out, and when my song is over I unplug my cable and return my phone to my pocket. I leave the table and make my way outside, ignoring the stares and whispers that surround me. I pull up the hood of my coat and hide under a staircase until lunch is over.
When the last bell rings, I make my way to the lot and find the three people from the cafeteria waiting outside of my precious Dart. All of them have murder in their eyes. Rachel is behind a large black girl, who is glaring at me with a fire I've never felt until then. "You think you're good and all, but I've got news for you. No one interupts my girl but me and Kurt. Got it?" The sterio starts up again and I stand there, impassive, as Rachel belts her heart out. I admit it, the girl has talent, but it doesn't impress me. She's too good, and it almost makes me sick. The moment she is done, I start up, pulling from the few musicals I do know to throw her off.
He met Marmalade down in old Moulin Rouge
Struttin her stuff on the street.
She said, "Hello, hey Joe, you wanna give it a go?"
Come on. Guichi guichi yaya dada
Guichi guichi yaya here.
Mocha choka lata yaya
Creole Lady Marmalade.
My plan backfires because the guy standing with them picks up Pink's part after I cut off, and the the black girl is pulling off such a perfect 'Lil Kim I have to applaude her. Then Rachel starts in on Christina's part and I lose it, shifting gears so fast my own head reels.
Never would'a hitchiked to Birmingham if it hadn't been for love.
Never would'a caught the train to Louisiana if it hadn't been for love.
Never would'a run through the blinding rain without one dollar to my name,
If it hadn't been, if it hadn't been for love.
I belt out Adele like a madman, my voice following her notes perfectly, rising and falling and never missing a single beat. And my the end of the song I am panting, light headed, and I just want to fall over, but I don't. I force my way through them and into my baby, reaching into the glove compartment for my inhaler. I gasp and draw the madicine into my lungs, hoping it will help. My lungs calm down and I groan, resting my head against the steering wheel. I start the car, toss my bag into the seat, and speed out of the lot, trying to make it to my meeting on time.
"So, Adrian, how is school going?" I'm sprawled out on the couch in Dr. Bridge's office, starring up at the celing. I've known her almost three months now, and she just sort of lets me be me. "It sucks, like major ass. I joined the Glee club, but cut out on a meeting so that I could be here. I got detention today because my English Lit. teacher is a total bitch." I explained the situation, and she just nodded. "So, do you think she was singling you out for a reason, or do you think she was actually disturbed by your piercings?" When she sks me, my tongue shoots out to slide over my snakebites, and I start fiddling with the bar through my tongue too. "I think that she's just a bitch that hates me already because word spread through the scholl like a freaking forest fire that I'm a flaming slut of a homo." I growl at her, not because I'm angry at the Doc, but because the entire situation pisses me off. You would think that people would just shut up and get over the fact that some dudes liked other dudes, but no. They had to shove a stick up their asses and start a war against me for liking the way dick tastes. I roll my eyes and then look up at Dr. Bridge. "You kow, the entire time I've been comming to thses sessions, you've never made a big fuss about me talking about being gay. Why?" I swear she smirks at me before she answers. "I don't 'make a fuss' as you put it, because what kind of a therepist would I be if I judged someone for who they loved? It's my job to listen to people and not judge them, but provide counsel." I nod along with her words, wondering why it truly bugs some people.
Dinner is a depressing show. Dad is in the living room, on the phone to some friend or another about getting the job at the local hospital. I'm sitting in the kitchen flipping through a magazine, looking at the voilins. I find one that has a body shaped like a sugar skull and I circle it in sharpie and pin it to the door of the fridge with a magnet. There are only three other things on the fridge. One is a picture of a bright purple electric violin and amp set. One is a picture of me and dad on our last day in Houston before the summer ended. The last is a picture of my mom. She looks just like me, same high cheekbones, same white-blonde hair, same pale skin. She's sitting in a chair reading a leather bound copy of Grimm's Faery Tales to her very pregnant belly. It is the last picture my dad ever took of her before she died. He won't tell me the real reason, all he'll say is that her body couldn't handle the pregnancy, and that she told him to make sure I would live if she didn't. And he did.
I turn away and head upstairs to my bathroom. I lock myself in and take a quick shower, washing out my hair and letting the color conditioning creme sit in it for sevel minutes before rinsing it out. After I'm done, I blow dry my hair and bruch my teeth, then take my antidepressants. I wrap up in my bathrobe and go crawl into my bed, curling up under my comforter and falling asleep.
School the next day is a nightmare. I barely make it through to lunch and the urge to call it a day and skip out is overwhelming. I sit in my usual corner, alone, and pretend to eat. I pick at my food, moving it around the tray, periodically taking sips of my V8. I'm only alone for ten minutes before Rachel and Kurt and the black girl are sitting in front of me. I'm trapped. "What do you want now? I'm not singing with you again. I'm not even going to come to Glee club again, so just leave me alone, all right." Rachel gives me a pained look. "Don't say that! Look, we're sorry we made you feel like you were under the spotlight, but we won't do it again." She smiles at me and I'm about to tell her where she can shove her apology when the PA system cuts on.
If you ever leave me baby
Leave some morphine at my door
Cause it would take a whole lot of medication
To realize what we used to have, we don't have it anymore.
The voice singing makes me cringe. Not because he's bad, but because I know him. When the song ends, I hear him again. "You didn't even say goodbye baby. I thought you were better than that." I shove myself out of my seat and haul my ass to the quad, up the staircase and out to the student lot. I'm at my car and locked inside and pulling out my phone in the span of a few minutes. I'm dialing my dad's number and trying not to sound like a baby when he answers. "Adrian, what are you doing calling this early? Did something happen at school." It takes me about thirty seconds to get my voice under control, and all I can manage to do is sob out brokenly, "He's here... Daniel is here."