I knew things had gotten out of hand when I got out of his moving car. I’d been screaming at him to let me out for several blocks, and when he wouldn’t slow the car down, I just got out, which was no easy thing because I was wearing high heels. And crying hysterically.
All through the baccalaureate mass I’d held it in. During the opening lines of the benediction– Welcome to the mass of celebration honoring the class of 1991– I’d noticed that he had a purple “bruise” on his neck. Hmmmm. That’s strange. Right before the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit visited the part of my brain that was shrouded in denial and whispered to me: “Your boyfriend just got back in town with a hickey on his neck he got from another girl.”
A hickey. I almost fainted in the pew, but I gripped the seat in front of me and took deep breaths like they do in the movies. He didn’t even notice.
Don’t ruin this beautiful morning I said to myself as if I was the guilty one. I decided to wait until after the breakfast to confront him. I couldn’t swallow anything, but I watched him stab the skin of his poached egg with his fork, letting the runny yolk soak his English muffin. As he chewed, his hickey bobbed up and down on his neck.
I’m going to be sick.
“Listen to this new Poi Dog song,” he said, when we got in the car. I held the program from the mass in my hands and watched it start to shake as I prepared to ask about his neck. As soon as the music started, I flipped the radio off.
“Hey, what are you doing?”
“What’s on your neck?”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about how you have a hickey on your neck.”
Caught. He knew it. He didn’t even deny it. “I ran into Sherri. We shared a Fresca and she kissed me.”
“You have a hickey. You must have kissed her back. Hickeys are like the AP classes of kisses– you don’t just end up with one, you have to do a bunch of lip kissing first. I’m getting sick thinking about it. Let me out of the car.”
“Let. Me. Out. And thanks for ruining Fresca for me, Asshole.”
He reached for my hand. I threw the crumpled program at him. My 17-year old heart was shattered, and I wanted out of his stupid Honda Accord.
Once I jumped out, I turned my back on him. “Cee, get in the car. I love you. Come on. What’s the big deal?”
I slipped out of my heels and started walking towards my house. Then, I thought about what I would do when I got there. I didn’t have a key and my parents weren’t home. How was I going to walk all that way in my bare feet? How was I going to explain to my family that he’d come back from his trip with a hickey on his neck? They hated him and this would confirm their every suspicion.
Also, I wanted a boyfriend for all the graduation parties.
“Please get in. I swear I’ll never cheat on you again.” He was playing my favorite CD; I could hear the Indigo Girls singing Love’s Recovery.
I stood still until I heard the chorus, then I put my shoes back on and got in the car without looking at him. Not because I believed him, but because I needed a ride.