I remember doing a lot of stupid things when I was younger. For example, when I was just ten years old, I killed my neighbors guinea pig. I was doing my best to be gentle with it, but I ended up literally squeezing the life out of him. The stupid part was what I did after I murdered Fluffy. Basically, when my friend came back upstairs from getting us a snack, I played “Weekend at Bernie’s” with the poor bastard’s dead best furry friend. While we ate apple slices and pizza flavored goldfish, I’d nudge it’s blue wheel to make it squeak. Then, before I left, I made him believe that he was Fluffy’s killer. Even though it was an accident, I never went over there again.
Looking back, being fourteen was by far the best. I mean, my search history should’ve been cleared more, but I was always careful with what I did, or at least what I looked at. As a pre teen, I spent my days watching youtube videos and playing x box. Every Thursday, my buddy Jim would come over to play video games with me. He’d bring over all the “M” rated games my mom wouldn’t let me get. Jim’s parents, unlike mine, were really cool. They’d let him do almost whatever he wanted. Jim taught me how to be a stereotypical teenage boy. He taught me how to come up with the best comebacks to win an argument, and how to properly use swear words. We’d walk to his house after school sometimes. During these trips, we’d throw rocks at his neighbor’s windows. They’d come outside and start yelling, so we’d start sprinting incase they tried to chase after us. I never had much luck with neighbors.
When I got older, my actions became even dumber. Like when Jim and I skipped english class in eleventh grade to get high. We were goofing off in the red Jeep he’d gotten for his 17th birthday, whom we later named Ruby. After a while of puffing and passing, and a few snorts of who knows what, I decided to head home. Since I was too high to drive, I walked. I watched Jim drive off and yelled for him to be careful. It wasn’t that surprising when the next day at school, the principal announced that he had wrapped his new jeep around a telephone poll.
The summer after school ended was by far the best. My friends and I would go out and party as a “hooray” for finishing high school. The boys would brag about who had the best looking girlfriend at the time, or fight about why the football team was better than lacrosse team. They’d make fun of me for playing baseball, and on top of that, not having a girlfriend. As the only post-grad virgin left, I got teased quite a lot. But this was the summer I met Kate. I didn’t know her age or even her last name, but I did know that she was beautiful. The only thing that mattered at the time was that she made me feel special. Jim used to remind me that I was a sensitive guy and that’s why I fell in love so easily. I knew that I was definitely in love with Kate. I thought that she was in love with me too. I took her on a few dates over the month of July. I remember my most special night with her. She invited me over when her parents weren’t home. Looking back at it, I don’t think she was into it as much as I was. Halfway though, she got a little weird. When she suggested we stopped, I got a bit angry. I mean, it was her idea to do it in the first place. I wouldn’t say I forced her to keep going, but she did cry. I felt bad… I think, but I just assumed that all girls cried after sex. When she didn’t answer my call later that night I knew something was wrong. As I stalked her social media accounts in hopes she’d brag about the night we had together. Instead, I found “Happy Thirteenth Birthday” posts from a few weeks prior. I guess we all make mistakes sometimes.
For my twenty first birthday, I did what most newly legal drinkers do. I got plastered at a local sports bar with kids from my english lit class. Besides Jim, I normally didn’t hang out with people I went to school with, yet alone people I’d just met, but college brought out a bit of a social side in me that I didn’t know I had. I briefly remember what went on that night. I played beer pong for the first time, danced on a table, and Becky; the blonde who sat in front of me in class, let me do body shots off of her. By then end of the night, I was at least eighteen jagerbombs in and used Heineken as a chaser, so I guess you could say I was pretty drunk. I was offered multiple rides home, but in my mind being twenty-one meant that I was an adult, so I had to take care of myself. I guess I didn’t learn anything from Jim and I got into my car anyways. I remember having the windows down so the cold air would slap me in the face to keep me awake while I drove. I’d get distracted watching the miniature puerto rican boxing gloves dangle from my rear view mirror. They were a gift from my great aunt, whom I’ve only met once. I recall singing along with Lenny Kravitz, totally botching American Woman. I was having the best time of my life. If I remember correctly, the road was quiet, and I couldn’t really see the lines either, so swerving between lanes wasn’t that big of an issue. Someone once told me that your whole life flashes before your eyes right before you die. I wonder if the girl biking around the corner got to see her whole life in that flash, or just my ridiculously bright headlights. I did stop for a brief moment to see if she would miraculously get up and go back to peddling, but as far as what I remember, she didn’t. I’ll never forget the pink, polka dotted dress she wore. Or even the half eaten ring pop that was still on her small finger. Though I took pity on her after realizing that she’d never be able to have a long, happy life, I was almost jealous because she didn’t have to deal with the awful people in this world. If you think about it, I basically saved her that night.
My mid twenties weren’t so great. My days consisted of job hunting and binge drinking. Old college buddies would stop by here and there but no one ever stayed past an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. At that point in my life, I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted to do. Jim always knew what he wanted to do with his life. All that time of not having a job gave me the time I needed to find myself. I tried the whole dating scene but I don’t remember it really working out for me. I had younger cousins still in high school who’d invite me to parties if I supplied them with booze. Which for me was no problem, since I always had enough for more than a dozen people in my cabinet anyways. So about once every couple of weeks I’d get to be a “hero” to drunk seventeen year olds.
For my twenty seventh birthday, I bought myself a red Jeep. Though I was only working a few part time jobs, I decided to treat myself for a change. My relationship with my family wasn’t doing the best and the last girlfriend I had only lasted for a few months. I think it’s because I’m scared of hurting people. Now-a-days, I spend my afternoons at AA meetings, or finishing up court mandated community service. I have yet to forgive myself for mistakes I’ve made in the past. My guilty conscious has kept me up at night for about a decade.
Maybe if I told someone about what happened, I wouldn’t feel like this anymore. I remember his voice still being raspy from the nap he took in chemistry. We talked about how we both failed the math quiz we took the day before, and how he was sick of his brother taking his shoes. I had a gut feeling that something bad was going to happen, but I let it. I should have told someone I was with Jim moments before he died yesterday, but I was too scared to say anything. I mean, it was my fault for letting him drive off the way he did. I guess I wasn’t that good of a friend.