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One afternoon, I am complaining about the confusion of my age, what is expected of me versus what I want for myself.

"Have I told you about the tension of opposites?" he says.

The tension of opposites?

"Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn't. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted. A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle."

Sounds like a wrestling match, I say.

"A wrestling match." He laughs. "Yes, you could describe life that way."

So which side wins, I ask?

"Which side wins?"

He smiles at me, the crinkled eyes, the crooked teeth.

"Love wins. Love always wins."

- Tuesdays with Morrie.


You cannot leave the subject blank.

One of these days, I just want to wake up and realize that everything turned out terrifically in the end. That I made the right choices, went down the right paths, and ended up exactly where I always wanted to. It would be the greatest feeling in the world, knowing that I didn't go through all of the ups and downs without an outcome. Knowing that I went through pains to achieve something in the end. Knowing that everything was worth what it brought me.

Once I turn eighteen, the plan is to get out there and live on my own, even though my dad isn't exactly looking forward to it. I'll probably end up getting an apartment here in a few months, with a friend or two, as long as everything works out. Maybe with at least one of my [currently] two favorite homeless people (cough). You guys know who you are.

Anyway, things seem to be going great right now. To begin with, I'm in love with my group of friends, dude. There's barely drama, and everyone just seems to click together. I've never felt so at ease.

COS isn't anything like I expected big scary college to be. It's pretty laid-back, and the classes aren't as hard as I expected. Sure, sure, I'm still getting used to having to supply my own shit (scantrons, textbooks, and whatnot) but it's really a lot better than I believed it would be. Plus, being able to smoke on campus is a nice plus. The friends we've made has proved worthwhile, too.

Next comes Troy. Damn. I feel so completely comfortable with him that I don't even know what to do with myself. I've just always been so reserved with people. I've been afraid to share myself with them since things that occurred a few years back, and it's utterly simple to hide yourself away from others when you have something that's eating away at you. I don't know, it'd be hard for you to understand, I suppose.


Observation 1, 113, 113, 113.

People are strange.

They walk around, pretending to have everything they need: coffee, newspaper, breakfast bar with the pre-melted milk inside.

It's funny, though. You always see them scrambling, looking in pockets and purses...

Searching for the missing.


Heated discussions.

You've told me countless times, we're not going to fight over this.

But we can't just not discuss absolutely everything. Because I need to know how you feel. I need to hear that you're angry, to hear you say the things you mean out loud. I need to know more than silence, and your back getting smaller in the distance.

Because truthfully, words hurt so much less.


Save my seat.

The last day I saw you, the city was our view. We met down in a little coffee house, and you came later than promised. You always managed to do that.

We brushed the rain off of our coat sleeves and talked it over. We were supposed to figure out what went wrong and make sure we wouldn't lose contact. I guess you had other things in your past to account for, and other things to move on to. Maybe it was just time to let things go.

Nothing was solved and we didn't feel better before you stood up saying you had to "hit the road". We exchanged an awkward hug, a melancholy goodbye, ready to take the journey to new paths in life. Separate paths.

And we left in opposite directions. I realized it would be the last time I saw you, and I didn't let that hurt me. I let the rain claim you away from me, and the city was our story.

We know the end always comes.


Sweet dreams?

I don't know where we were, I don't remember what we were doing. The details don't bother me at all. There's only one thing that I want to remember about last night's dream...

We were in a van, Candyce was driving. I was in the passenger seat. Someone was in the seat behind Candyce, but they apparently didn't matter, because they didn't show up again later. But the seat next to this person was empty for the whole ride. Until, pulling into the parking lot of a restaurant...he was there.

I stared, and I smiled, and I cried. "What are you doing here?"

He smiled back. The only thing he said was, "Shh."

So I shhed. And we went inside, and he wasn't walking with us. We sat down at a table and we talked to people in the restaurant that we'd never even seen before, and then the two people that had come with me in the van took off to sell some things. I don't know what or why, or where they went. I remember for some reason we all had to buy gifts / get them donated so we could wrap them and give them to kids. Fuck, I don't remember the details. But suddenly, once again, he was there.

I hugged him, and I kissed him, and he teased me the way he always did. I wouldn't let him go. God, it felt so good. It was fucking dream, and it still felt so good. He ended up throwing food at me, and stupid things like that. But he was there, and he hugged me and kissed me back, and for some reason it was fucking amazing.

I just...god. It was the best dream I've ever had. We were alone for SO LONG together, and it was like old times. No, it was BETTER than old times, because we knew we hadn't seen each other in a while and we knew we wouldn't again. And for some reason, the dream didn't take a new toll. No, everyone looked exactly like themselves, and we knew why we hadn't been seeing each other. We fucking KNEW that shit. Weird.

So after we spent some time together, he was just gone. And then Candyce and the other kid in the car might have returned, but I think it was just Candyce. Then I started crying and ran out of the place, and I told Candyce the story.

That I had him again. That he was fucking there, in the same room as us, and for a while I HAD HIM AGAIN.

That for a while, the few minutes that my mind took over, Allen Jay was with me again.


Let's be blunt.

She's just leaned over my shoulder and asked me why everything's so fucked up, as if I ever knew the answers.

I just say life is a fucking maze of things we don't want to come across in the dark, and we're trying to get through it with as little problem possible. Besides, we've never really had anything good to say. Now we're just keeping our mouths shut now to save the trouble.

She says that's the saddest thing she's ever heard.

It might be. I mean, maybe we've totally gone off track, fucked everything up, and we're sitting here with nowhere better to be anymore.

I guess life just didn't go the right direction for either of us. Because neither of us are where we thought we'd be way back when we smiled constantly. Way back before our bodies were decaying every day, before the toxins in our systems had us slowing down.

Way back before all of this shit was such a waste of fucking life.


Until someone cares.

It's kind of three am and I'm kind of still awake. It's not fun either. This isn't a good day for my health, I'll tell you that. Lack of sleep makes me nauseous, which doesn't feel good after blacking out earlier one might imagine.

But the fact is, I'm awake and tired and...awake. Okay, so I didn't need to use that sentence at all, but my mind's all goofed now. Sorry. I can't believe I just said 'goofed'. Ugh.

The point here (if there ever actually WAS one) is, I'm up late with a full conscience and a worry burrowing in my brain. I don't even know where my thoughts come from most of the time. They just decide sneak up on me at three am on a Tuesday when I should be sleeping. Instead I'm wasting the night away, sitting in my underwear and a t-shirt, thinking about things that really don't matter.

Like, where did it all go? How did I lose so much, gain so much, and never feel that shift that's so obviously taken place? When did everything become so different?

It must've been one of those moments that I kept my eyes closed, pretending I was happy. Because when you think you're happy, you don't want to let the moment go, ya know? Then you wake up and realize you were surrounding yourself with assholes who are ready to move on to their next target. That's rich.

I don't know what the hell is wrong with me. I don't know what's wrong with the world or any of the people that have to be so...actually, I don't know what to say here.

Anyway, I have absolutely no train of thought, even though I'll probably keep adding to this as I realize that there's no way I'm getting to sleep any time soon. My room's too warm right now, and my house is too quiet. I shouldn't have been watching that show about monsters destroying the peoples' lives. Goddamnit, that stupid little boy was behind the whole thing, too. He was the one controlling the stupid monsters, which were in turn ruining the goddamn lives. Fuck that show. Ugh.

Now I'm awake and thinking of everything that sucks. And that's...well, everything. THAT'S FUCKING FUNNY. Good night...sort of.


Allen Jay Navarrette.

Oh crap, where do I start? I'm going to go on some large rampage here, posting another one of those pages that are so long, no one wants to read it. But hey, maybe that's a good thing. I can be weak and sad and scared, and they'll never take the time to know it. Here goes.

I just wanted you to know that I never meant any of the stupid shit I said to you. I was afraid of loving you, of you loving me, and of everything that goes hand-in-hand with that bullshit relationship concept.

Fuck, I was such a moron. I know it. Everyone who sees me nowadays knows it, too, because they know I loved you. I mean, if they knew either of us, they knew we loved each other. We just both gave up trying after a while, settled on being best friends, talked to give each other advice and to share ourselves.

But fuck, I should have let it slip. Accidentally, I don't care. I should have just said it and gotten over my little chicken act.

Anyway, here's the fucking deal: I miss you - so fucking much, I don't know what to do with myself sometimes. I miss the silly things you said, the voicemails you left me (sometimes five a night). I miss the record we had on how many times you called me in twenty-four hours! "Just to annoy you," was what you promised. But you never accomplished that, annoying me. I loved answering, but if I did, you yelled at me. "Wait, wait, wait. I have to beat the record." You were so fucking adorable it was sickening.

Aw fuck, I miss talking to you. About everything, you didn't care. You listened to everything I could think to complain about. I miss listening to you in return, the way you weren't afraid to cry around me, and you would swear how much everything I did meant to you. I miss you telling me how important I was to you in general. I miss the life we had when the others weren't looking.

I miss listening to that "Ding Ding Dong" song with you, and listening to you giggle - it was a giggle, dude. I'm never going to let you have that one, because it was totally a fucking giggle. I miss making fun of each other on MS Paint when I used to ditch sixth and hang out in auto with you. I miss the way you teased me, in your grease-covered uniform, by trying to hug me, and I'd pretend it bothered me just to watch you laugh. Your laugh was the best sound in the world, and your silly crooked smile was one of the things I think of the most.

It feels so digustingly empty without you here. I remember coming home to hear that you were hit by that car and I laughed - "ANOTHER ONE?!" - and then worrying when I called to question you about it, because you didn't answer. I thought you might not have been okay, and I was so afraid. I smiled my ass off when you called me from the hospital and told me how much you wanted to see me. I regret not getting in there.

I still remember everything about you, but I have to admit that I'm afraid it might all fade away in a short amount of time. It's the thing I'm most terrified of right now, that I'm going to forget you. Your scent, your laugh, your smile, the way you walked, the way you teased me...all of it. I want every part of it for all eternity.

Remember La Joya, and the way you were too shy to even hug me between classes? Getting up your courage all year to hold my hand in the back of Mr. Davis's classroom? Sitting with me at lunch on those stupid tables outside the cafeteria? Hugging me because it was raining, and I was going to get cold? How about declaring me your best friend, or the first time you told me you loved me? Making our 'baby' together? Leaving me for La Sierra and losing contact, and then talking on the phone all night when we gained it back?

There was visiting El Diamante with your blackened eye, coming to my house for the first time, coming back to El D. You listening to me cry over Marc and then trying to express the fact that you would always love me, no matter who came and went. Your Halloween parties, and kissing me for the first time, after years of knowing each other.

And hey, remember when I would walk into auto every so often after ditching, and he'd be like, "You're still hanging out with this guy?" Haha, and I'd be like, "Duh! I love this guy." You'd always smile at that.

There were times I'd go to your classes, times you'd come to mine. You'd break my cigarettes and ask me to please, please quit, because it was so bad for me...I hate that I didn't, and still haven't. I'm sorry for that.

And I'm sorry you were jealous of Alx. I wish I would have spent way more time with you, instead of wasting my time there. I'm so sorry.

I really don't think you know how weird this all is. I don't think anyone knows, even myself, because I can't seem to get a grip on it. I try to explain it, and my mind becomes mush, my words jumble to incomprehensible pieces of shit, and I wonder how the fuck it can feel so intense and sound so stupid.

BUT IT'S FUCKING WEIRD. It's like, I look at your picture, and I think, "Is it real? Did I really used to talk to that guy every night of my life?" Because it's fading, dude, slowly but surely. It's all going away, already, after only three months. I told you, I'm terrified of that.

It's like, "To think, I used to talk to him as much as possible, and now I forget that he's more than just that picture every once in a while." God, I want to kill myself when I think that. I get so overwhelmed with emotion, so fucking PISSED OFF, I don't know what to do. I just want you back, and I can't even comprehend what the hell to do.

I'll try to remember everything about you. Trust me, I'm trying so hard. I'll remember wearing your sweater that was big enough to fit over my own, and the way I loved the smell of your clothes. I'll remember your drawings, your poetry, the Taylor-Allen party, and going to the moon (even though your mommy and daddy will miss you). I'll remember the way you loved to tickle me every time I passed or the way you'd somehow be around every corner, completely willing to walk me to class. I'll always remember the sound of your voice, or the way you said, "Jerky Turkey" every time we walked by each other.

And just so you know, you're still my Allen. You'll always be. You would ask that so adorably, and I'd tease you about it, but the answer will always be the same. Our jokes will always exist and I'll always remember the sweet things you said to me, as long as I live. People may not exactly appreciate these things as much as I do, but they're still important to me.

Thanks for calling.

"Taylor, I hope you fucking kill yourself, because I want you the fuck out of my life."


I hate this memory.

We were playing some Mario game on the Wii. I don't even remember which one anymore, but I remember we were addicted for a few days. Ha, we really were.

Then, you know. Ring. Ring. The phone and all of it's glory.

"Hey, Candyce," I started, "answer that for me, yeah? If they say the have to talk to me, just tell them I'm playing the game."

She picked up the phone. "Hello? -- Uh, she's playing the game. -- ...Oookay." She pulled the phone away from her ear. "It's Allie from school. She wants to talk to you. She says it's important."

I sighed deeply, and, I admit, quite annoyedly. I paused the game and took the phone. "Hello?"



"This is Allie, Allen's girlfriend."

"Oh. Hey, what's up?"

"Did you hear what happened?"

I looked up, realizing Candyce was watching me, waiting to see why the heck Allie had called. She and I met eyes. " Was I supposed to hear something."

She took a breath. "Allen...passed away yesterday."

I think I stopped moving. My heart beat faster, slower, faster, it fucking exploded, I don't fucking know. My voice broke. "What are you talking about?" She didn't say anything. "No, really?"


I put my hand over my mouth and didn't know what to do. I started to cry, and I was shaking like fucking uncontrollably. Candyce stared at me, like wtf? "What?" she was asking, trying to get me out of my shock. "Where's Allen?"

I stared at her, still holding the phone to my ear. I didn't know what the fuck to say. I lipped the words 'dead' to her and listened for what Allie might say next.

"No," Candyce yelled. "No, he's not."

I shook my head, as Allie gave me funeral information. We hung up, and Candyce and I pretty much talked about how much we denied it actually happened. And then we started calling people. Joey, Tammy, Allen's house, fucking answer, somebody, please fucking answer.

They didn't though. No one except Joey, finally. But he wouldn't share anything, until finally. "Just tell me if it's true."

"Yeah. It's true."



May 28, 2008:
Talking on the phone, at all. There are only three people in my existence that I have been a stickler on the phone with: Allen, Alx and Marc. I've lost all three of them. Now a friend calls me, and I want the conversation to be over as quickly as possible. If I'm with friends, having fun, it's the worst. I used to get calls from Allen, and instead of being a dick about me talking to other people like most people do, he stayed on the phone and offered his two cents into the conversation we had. I'd put him on speaker phone and everything. Haha. And now that I don't have him, being on the phone around my friends is a drag. A real fucking drag and I fucking miss Allen more than ever. Topic closed.

The smell of fresh paint. Not necessarily wet, but fresh. It brings back that room and all of its glory, summer nights that were way too fucking hot, chatting with Tyler and Christina on tagged, and a lot of kids that I love way too much but will never see again.

The stupid groggy feeling you get when you're not quite sleeping enough. It gives me a head change, and I walk through the whole day feeling like I'm going insane. But I love it. I feel numbed and lost and fuck. It makes me remember everything I ever loved, and I've never figured out why.

Turning on the light at like, five in the morning. Fuck I hate that. It reminds me of being way too young for this shit, sleeping on my mom's floor while Brianna, Nick and Shelby filed in, watching Cartoon Network at four a.m. Waiting for a day of chaos to begin while Rey ran off to the army. It reminds me of my mother in tears and the way people always stay, even when they're miserable.

Waking up at one in the morning but it's really fucking seven and you're like why god oh fucking why did I have to only get three hours of sleep on a school night? I hate it, I hate it so much. I roll over, and it's nearly impossible for me to get up. I look at the window and I wonder why the fuck the sunlight had to tease me and I force myself out of bed and I hate my life.

The taste of my cigarettes on given days. I don't know what inspires the change, but I inhale and I fucking get a flood of summer flowing into my mind, and I love it. I love it so much, I wish it would happen every time I take a drag, but then I might be happy a little too often. It brings back summer '07, the peak of my existence so far, it brings back downtown at its chillest, the summer I started smoking, quit, and the summer I started back up. It brings back getting into trouble, earning my freedom, my life. Ugh. That taste of my cigarette, that stupid taste that decides to come back to me and tease me when I'm sitting in the Dinuba alleyway, in from of the Coffee Co., or behind the Save Mart waiting to be busted, that stupid taste, is the best thing I'll ever know.

Smoking in the rain has always been a major thing for me. It brings back the summer that my friends and I were closest, sneaking into the backyard during a thunderstorm to smoke, hoping we wouldn't get wet. Well, getting wet isn't bad. Getting the cigarette wet is, and fuck that.

There's a smell, and I don't even know what it is. But Mrs. Carmen's room always smelled like it. It reminded me of that foreign exchange student, of my friends in history and the first time I smoked weed with that one fool. Ugh. It reminds me of sitting in Carmen's during rainstorms, of making Allen do my homework for me, and of so much fucking laughing it's ridiculous. The smell affects me more around Christmas time, as well. I noticed it both years I had her.

The rain. It's pretty obvious due to the others that I really love the rain. There's something about it that just brings things back to me. It rained when my grandpa died (it rained when a lot of people died), and then it rained for my grandma's wedding, and for so many happy things. The rain is everything to me. It's pain, happiness, sadness, the best times of my life and the deepest depressions I've ever known. It's my heart, my soul, everything. I swear to god, the rain brings it all back. The smell of fabric when you've been standing in it, the way you walk around soaked and everyone wonders why the fuck you didn't move, listening to it hit the pavement and watching it out of the window. There's not a thing in this world better than a thunderstorm. Fuck, I wish I could have them all the time.

June 03, 2008 update:
I found this perfume I used to wear. Ha, it's totally last summer, arguing over cigarette brands and then spraying it to hide their stench, meeting kids that I love now and getting high way too much. It's Candyce's first car, and before that, walking to fucking taco bell every day with the turtle backpack and riding the trolley for no purpose whatsoever. Late nights downtown, having my dad flip, and my fucking birthday! It reminds me of Allen. Of ditching to his homeroom every day and to auto, of teasing each other, and of pretty much every aspect of his personality. Ugh. I don't even know why. Shit, dude. This last year is one I'll never get over.

June 07, 2008 update:
The taste of Marlboro Smooth Menthols are the epitome of summer school 2007. I don't think I can explain how much they bring back. Walking through RHS, trying to figure out the school and never completely succeeding. The sights, the smells, the people, walking to the park to smoke, David the Great, Steveo, Alx, Travis, FUCK. Getting picked up in Rodney's car and smoking on the way home, attempting to find just SOMEONE to buy, arguing over who got to wear my sweater, being the first one done, reading too many books, finding out how awesome Ms. Elder is, making tons of new friends, AKSHETA! I'm serious, I don't think you'll ever know how much that summer meant to me, how much that taste brings back, and how much I miss the old days.

June 23, 2008 update:
Walking in Alyssa's front yard at seven in the morning. Her whole street reminds me of my grandma's old house, the place she had lived my entire life up until just after my grandpa died. Then she let all of that go to get remarried AGAIN. It reminds me of being little, getting up way to early to go visit, and then running around the house. I can remember the way it looked, smelled, the way it felt to be there. I loved that house. It reminds me of sitting in the TV room and just watching TV with my grandpa, playing dominoes, eating oranges. Baking cakes. It reminds me of sitting at the kitchen table and picking out the headstone, while getting the call that my little sister had been in a car accident. Every memory is bittersweet.


Something's always gone wrong.

There's not a right time for anything,
Except discussing the meaning of the right time;
And I really don't care if it's the middle of winter.
I'll grab a blanket, heat up a drink;
I'll sit in the basement anyway.
I'll talk with my best friend about
How the world could be a better place -
Our one last desperate hope.
Until we admit that we were just dreamers,
And it's finally time for the meds to wear off.


Poetry on a paper napkin.

Paper dreams.
Nothing's set in stone; paper burns easily, words only linger long enough to hurt until their memories fade. My poetry on that paper napkin won't last with age. I'll look upon the tears and forget anything ever existed.

Life doesn't travel toll.
And don't you know you're facing the wrong direction? You won't get anywhere if you're heading into the traffic of a one-way street. Headlights blind at two am, turn back. That's not the way to go...turn back.

Were you ever real?
You forgot to tidy up the mess you left in your past. Winding your way down the wrong street, too fast, blind to the signs. You were a tornado and the night made you stronger. Maybe you forgot that all storms die down.

Nothing's perfect anymore.
I have a cup, and I'm going to fill it with the hopes and dreams that lie forgotten in the kitchen sink, discarded like used dishes and dirty rags, torn and tattered by the garbage disposal; until it spills over from the unending flow of too many forgotten failures.