The People I Sort of Remember: Part I

by Noise Pollution

I’ve had this weird nagging in the back of my head ever since my disappearing act in August. (Quick aside, I’m not going to give you any context for that right now. That might come up later, it might not.) I keep having passing thoughts of past friends and acquaintances, and I’ve been wondering what their lives are like. I have almost completely quit using all forms of social media, so all I can do is aimlessly wonder about these people’s lives.

It’s kind of a weird thought to even have. I feel concerned about the possibility of forgetting these people completely. The idea of it disgusts me. I mean, they were a part of my adolescence, the slice of my life that feels more real than any other. Forgetting them feels like a denial of myself.

There was this girl who I met in a cooking class, right after starting my junior year of high school. Let’s call her V.

Now, for context, I went to a high school where ninth grade was held at the junior high across the street. There was no such thing as “freshmeat” at my high school. Instead, juniors and seniors would attempt to prey on the hearts of sophomores if they were desperate for sex or affection. I was pretty damn desperate for sex or affection. I had just had my heart broken (a common thing for me, it’s pretty fragile) and developed a somewhat misogynistic attitude over the summer. It’s not something I’m proud of, but that’s where I was at that time in my life.

V was a sophomore who was very short, and quite cute, I have to admit. I decided that she was going to be my chance. I was going to hit my home run; I was going to make it into the big leagues; I was going to participate in all the other shitty baseball metaphors.

It didn’t quite play out that way, obviously. I’m a fucking awkward person to speak with. I am quiet. I have a much easier time expressing myself through writing than through speech. This shone through completely to this girl, and most of the time she spent interacting with me was filled with slightly one-sided laughter and light insults. That wasn’t so bad, though. Most people would just get skeeved out and avoid talking to me at all. At least V was entertained by my awkwardness. She accepted me.

I asked her to Homecoming once. She already had a date. I was let down, but not all that much. She was cool, and I liked talking to her, but our interests didn’t line up at all. We made a fun duo as friends, and that was it. I was actually cool with it. I still lightly pursued her, as I was a teenage boy, but never made any obvious moves or uncomfortable complements after that.

Her “clique” was the skateboard brigade. I was friends with a few of them, but I was friends with a few people from every clique, so that was pretty meaningless. That group mainly consisted of friends I made in junior high whose lives quickly spiraled into shit.

The last time I saw V, she was pregnant. And fifteen. The future father was kind of a scumbag. I guess that’s being too judgmental, I actually liked the guy, but he sure as hell wasn’t ever going to get a real job or do anything to support her.

She was tired. She was sad. I could tell. I don’t really know what I could have done for her. Probably nothing. I had no intention of “taking her away from her rotten life” and she had no desire to leave it. She didn’t want a knight in shining armor, and I didn’t want to wear that heavy garbage, anyway.

V has a life, somewhere. A life that I know isn’t great, and I couldn’t have made it better in any way, even if I tried. It’s such a weird thing. It goes so completely against my ideals of wanting everyone to be happy, but I can accept her likely-rotten life so easily.

To be honest, I’m not even sure if V actually does have a life. The skateboard brigade started getting into some pretty rough shit when I saw them last. V could be dead. I don’t know. I won’t ever know. I’m not that concerned, to tell the truth. There is nothing I can do, could have done, or that she even wanted done that could have changed that.

I’m just going to make sure that I don’t forget who she was, even if that’s a completely meaningless endeavor. She wasn’t a bad person. She fucked up, and her whole life changed because of it. She wasn’t a slut, she wasn’t a bitch, even though other people called her that. She was someone who laughed at my awkwardness when other people just kept their distance. She kept me company when I was alone during lunchtime. She wasn’t one of my better friends, but she was a good person.

I don’t miss you, V, but I do remember you.