June 11, 2017
“Hey, Rock, it sure is a Monday morning,” Jacob said as we walked into the school, as high school students are wont to do on Monday mornings, which I believe I’ve already mentioned this was.
“Yes, it is, Jacob. What an astute, insightful, and accurate observation that was by you. You sure are a genius, you, to figure that out all on your own” Rock said. I may be paraphrasing, but who gives a shit. The point is they were standing around talking about the dumb shit people talk about when nothing’s going on.
“Hey, guys. Guess what?” Lucy said, walking up to them, bouncing with the excitement that comes with being able to introduce the plot.
“What?” Jacob asked. “Is this going to piss me off?”
“No. This is good,” Lucy said, either unaware of or ignoring the fact that most things pissed Jacob off, and her news would in all likelihood do the same. “Sarah Conway’s back!”*
“Who’s Sarah Conway?”
Lucy stared at Jacob. “Jacob, you know who Sarah is.”
“No, I don’t.”
“You’ve gone to school with her since kindergarten.”
Jacob shrugged. “I try not to pay attention or become attached to the people around me. Ignoring their drama makes my life less stressful.”
Lucy sighed. “She’s the girl who left at the end of last year. She had to seek help for her mental health issues. You seriously don’t remember her?”
“I make it a point to forget about people as soon as they exit from my life. Hell, half the time I forget my parents exist while I’m at school. It happens.”
“So, if I left for some reason, you’d forget about me in a week?”
“No, no. We’re close. I’d remember you.”
“Dude, that’s what you said about Sarah,” Rock said.
“I know. I lied to her too.”
“Guys, I’m serious,” Lucy said, not joking. “This is her first day back. I need you to be super supportive.”
“Ugh, you know I can’t deal with people’s emotions. It’s like, ‘ooh, I’m upset because I’m a person and I have feelings’. Come on. Fuck off.”
“Jacob, I’m serious,” Lucy said repetitively, repeating this assertion. Again. “We’re having a big party for her at lunch, and I need everyone to be there to show they care.”
“I care every bit as much about her wellbeing as I do for any of my other classmates. Which is to say, not at all,” Jacob said. “I’m not going to act like suddenly she’s my best friend and I’m super concerned just to show everyone what a great person I am.”
“You’re an asshole. You can’t treat her differently just because she had mental health issues.”
“Has mental health issues,” Rock interjected. “These things don’t just go away. She’s been treated, not cured.”
“Whatever. The point is that you need to treat her the same as everyone else.”
“That’s what I’m doing. You’re the one throwing a ‘look at the mentally retarded’ person’ party.”
“Don’t say mentally retarded. One, it’s not the correct thing to say. Now we say, well, I forget what the sugar-coated term du jour is, but it’s not retarded. Two, she’s not retarded, she’s just depressed. Her intellectual capacity isn’t diminished, she just has difficulty regulating her emotions.”
“Whatever. The point is that you’re the one drawing attention to her disability. I don’t remember you throwing the wheelchair kid who doesn’t have a name because he probably won’t get mentioned again a ‘look at the physical retard’ party for his disability.”
“It’s not a disability. It’s a difference that should be celebrated because it makes him a unique person.”
“I think he’d rather be able to walk.”
“What I’m saying is all I’m doing for Sarah is what I’d do for any of my classmates.”
“No, you wouldn’t. When was the last time you threw Jeremy a party?”
Lucy shrugged. “Who’s Jeremy?”
“He’s the weird, quiet kid. The one who always sits in the back and keeps to himself. He might actually be suicidal.”
“Nobody cares about Jeremy. Besides, he’s not suicidal.”
“How do you know? Have you asked him?”
“Eww, no. I don’t want to talk to him. You ask him.”
“No, because I don’t care. Which is my point. You don’t care either, you’re just pretending to care because it makes you feel better about yourself and everyone is watching.”
“Whatever, Jacob,” Lucy said. “I have to go to class. See you this afternoon.”
Rock and Jacob watched as Lucy turned and walked away. “You two should just fuck and get it over with,” Rock said.
“Shut up, Rock.” Jacob turned and kept his glare on Lucy as she walked away. “She does have a nice body, though.”
Rock laughed, and Jacob heard a small, muffled laugh beside him. He turned to see Jeremy standing there, pretending not to be listening as he opened his locker.
“What’s up, Jeremy?” Jacob asked.
“Oh, uh, hi, Jacob.”
“What you been up to lately?”
“Nothing, really. Just kind of, you know, stuff.”
“Considering suicide?” Jacob joked.
“Uh, actually, a little bit.” Jeremy finished closing his locker and turned to Jacob.
Jacob shrugged. “Well, always good to keep your options open.”
*The exclamation point is the author’s way of showing that she was excited. Though honestly, you probably could have figured out that she was excited from the context. In fact, you probably didn’t need me to explain what an exclamation point is either, making this whole footnote superfluous. Oh, well.