dear carly.


dear carly,

i finally have to admit that i liked you. everyone else thought you were just a broke ass white girl, but not me. yes, i thought you were cute, and i don't know why. if i had to guess, i'd say you had a winnie cooper thing going. you joined our class in the sixth grade, and you were tall and thin. i thought to myself that if i was gonna keep up with you, then i'd better drink some milk. that was the only way i knew how to get taller. so, everyday after school, i drank milk, and then i'd listen to shitty romantic songs like all-4-one's "a better man," or boyz 2 men's "i'll make love to you." yes, i was gonna drink my milk, get tall (or at least taller than you), and then i was gonna be a better man for you (to make love to). what a stupid, embarassing thing to admit. but there it is. now you know.

i could tell you really didn't give a shit about me, so i had to do something else to up the ante. when i found out you were into rock music (at the time, whether you listened to rock or rap defined you as a person), i started getting into rock music more, too. i bought the "what's the frequency, kenneth?" cassingle, and i played the shit out of it. incidentally, around that time, my cousin bought an electric guitar, and i chose to follow in his footsteps. it wasn't just for you - no, don't flatter yourself - it was to get all kinds of chicks. crazy, wild, winnie cooper-esque women who wet themselves over out-of-control rockers like myself.

it still didn't work. i tried to be out of control - i really did - but i still failed to win your attention. i wrote band names on my pencil box and book covers in white out. these markings would read: "korn," "nirvana," "smashing pumpkins," "gin blossoms." gin blossoms? yes, gin blossoms. what a lame fucking thing to do, huh? oh, but it got worse. at the class dances we were forced to go to, any time a real rocking song came on, i would headbang and get as crazy as i could. i wanted my friends to laugh, or else think i was crazy. i needed that, or else i had nothing. but more importantly, i needed to be noticed by you, by anyone. what else would i be? just another asian kid who didn't get to be valedictorian.

once, someone saw a little tupperware cup of caramel in your cubbyhole. you used it, i think, to dip apples in as a recess snack. i remember when someone said that it was actually your vomit. i think it was ryan, or else one of the michaels. "she takes that with her to the bathroom, and then she pukes in it!" "why would she save her vomit?" "i don't know, man. she's crazy!" so began the rumor that you were bulimic. we were truly awful kids, weren't we?

at some point, the rocker thing seemed to be working. you and i started talking about bands we liked, and did you see the latest marilyn manson video? i even got you on the phone once in a while. i played the opening riff to no doubt's "just a girl," and you thought it was great. finally, something in my life was going right. i even asked you and claire to go see the red hot chili peppers with me and ben. it would be like a group thing, so it wouldn't really be a date. it didn't happen, though. i think that all our parents turned us down, or else we just forgot about it. good thing, too. the red hot chili peppers fucking suck.

in my yearbook, you wrote that i was an awesome guitarist, and that i should keep in touch. you even gave me your number, but i never called. i don't know why. i never called anyone. at our graduation dance, i didn't even say anything to you. i didn't say much to anyone. i think i was just ready to leave and be done with it. you were just another crush that went nowhere. you could've been a friend, but then again, you probably were ready to just leave and be done with it, too. we were all sick of it, weren't we? ready to press the restart button?

i didn't talk to you at all ever again. in high school, more rumors about you spread. there was one story the guys liked to tell. you were drunk as fuck at some party, and david byrne was there. you asked to give david a blowjob, and he told you that he had just finished fucking some girl. you said that you didn't care; that's how big a slut you were. that's how the guys liked to tell it. i was pretty sure it wasn't true, but either way, i didn't defend you.

i really wish the story turned out differently. i really wish i didn't have to go to a school where i had been constantly subjected to bullshit machismo and hyperhomophobia. i really wish that we had been friends, that i could've defended you, even if it meant raising a fist, losing, and getting expelled. i should've tried, even if it was a guaranteed loss. it would have been fucking worth it. because this long path of pent-up aggression, extreme passivity and constant regret is a lot harder to walk.

i could've been a better man for you. even just a man would've sufficed. but now i'm just a lactose intolerant nerd, pining to remedy the past.

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