Who Are You?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: April 22, 2017

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Submitted: April 22, 2017

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Who Are You?

 

 

by Zero Two

 

 

What an awkward high school reunion party it would be if Jackson Rogers didn’t show up!

 

Currently, we were dancing amidst a sea of Bubbles™ reflecting light and bursting out music all around us. This was the new “thing” that replaced the good old disco ball and speakers these days. I observed the countless, curious, searching eyes and the frequent fleeting looks toward the doors. Everyone, especially me, was wondering where the former celebrity of Huron Heights High was, on this special day, fifteen years after our graduation.

Jackson Rogers had been very popular, very handsome and an incredible athlete. Before his unfortunate injury happened, he had been offered scholarships at countless universities for his infinite talents.

I pictured his perfect, ageless smile appearing with a shimmer of light by the door. Then, his handsome figure would follow, instantly attracting everybody’s attention, just like in the high school days. Oh, how I missed those days.

My reminiscence got cut short by the sight of her. Shirley Strangeworth, the girl of my dreams, also a former celebrity of Huron Heights High. She had been the most popular girl, had been elected student body president countless times and had dated The Jackson Rogers. But it wasn’t her good looks that had earned her popularity, (though she had those too) it was her kindness, sympathy and humility. That’s why I was dying to talk to her today.

 

“Hey! Shirley!” I waved at her, pushing through the wave of moving bodies. I saw her adorable unsure smile and she scanned my face. I’m sure she noticed my tangled, unkempt beard, my droopy eyes and my disgusting, rotten teeth. Her eyes showed no recognition, as expected.

 

“Hey! You…” She winced at her awkward enthusiasm, which I adored.

“I’ve missed you!”

“Yeah, uh, me too.”

My heart melted at the sight of her beauty, unchanged by the fifteen years. I couldn’t resist going in for a hug. Alarmed, she dodged my arms, scrunched up her nose at the cloud of stench, and stepped back awkwardly.

 

We were now at the edge of the dancing crowd. Fewer light and music Bubbles™ reached us.

 

“So, how are things going, you know, in the world of journalism?” I asked, unfazed by her previous reaction.

“Uh,” she frowned. She must have thought, “How could he possibly know I’m a journalist!”

“Antarctica must have been great! I loved your article on penguins, by the way!”

Her face untwisted itself a bit, and she said,  “Oh, thanks! I had a great-”

“Well…?” I had to interrupt.

She looked around for her friends, uneasily, as if she definitely wanted this conversation to end. I couldn’t give up yet.

“Well what?” she said.

“Well, speaking of jobs, are you going to ask me about mine?” I said, thinking that maybe if I turned this conversation around to me, she would remember.

“Uh, yeah, I was just about to ask you! How is it going, your, uh, your job? Remind me, you’re an accountant right? Or, do you do insurance? I’m so sorry. I’ve forgotten.”

Oh, how I prized her ignorance. I wished it could stay that way. I knew it couldn’t though, for my sake.

“I was only kidding! You know I don’t have a job. Well, even if you didn’t know, you could probably tell based on my clothes and my appearance!”

“I...I…-”

With fake surprise, she tried to hide her relief, her relief that I was aware of how desolate I looked, and smelled.

“I never would have guessed!” she managed to spurt out, eventually.

Her heart-tearing kindness and her experienced ignorance melted my heart. Well, it was time to begin the act.

“Oh, don’t worry about it,” I said cheerfully, “but, I’m just a bit confused. I’m starting to doubt that you even remember me!”

This, I said in a dramatic, hurt voice. It was much better delivered, very emotional indeed.

“Of course I remember you! You’re, uh,” she sifted through names, hoping to find one which sounded right, “...John… Bobby… Sam… Tony! You’re Tony!”

“That’s right!” I said, and, “Phew,” I sighed with relief. “I’m glad you haven’t forgotten me Shirley, because I’ve never forgotten about you. Not after all these years.”

Confusion darkened her eyes, and yet her glorious face became pale as ever.

“I think of you every day Shirley, all the time. At my best moments I’ve pictured you standing next to me with approval. At my worst, your bright, smiling face has lit up the dark, abandoned alley I was lost in. Your warm eyes fought the cold like a fire when I was huddled up on the street. I love you Shirley, I always have.”

She was speechless. Not in a good way. She stared at me with the pained, sympathetic expression I remember receiving years ago when she nursed my ruined knee, telling me not to give up. Then her eyebrows furrowed and she backed away slowly.

“Who are you, you creepy, disgusting stalker?” she yelled.

Shirley Strangeworth turned and began to plough through the crowd.

How could it have come to this?

 

I tried to follow her, but the dancing Bubbles™ distorted my vision. The pushing and pulling of the wave of moving bodies on the dance floor caused my knee to give out on me. I fell to the ground with a scream, protecting my face from the stomping feet.

 

Almost immediately, I became the center of attention of a crowd that was now circling around me. I searched the faces and finally located Shirley. With great agony I pushed myself up to my knees. I cried,

“Shirley, I’m begging you! That’s all I am now anyways, a beggar on the streets. I need you to remember me and to change me back into the person I was before. After I fell, you told me never to give up. You were my best friend.”

I laughed, harshly, saying,  “remember all those good times we shared, going through high school together? We were like brother and sister.”

The deafening silence and hard stares squeezed me like a lemon. Oh! Truly, how sour I felt inside! I continued my speech,

“I’ve made too many mistakes in my life, given up too many times. I’ve lost all my friends. But now, fifteen years later I have finally found you again, and I’ve worked up the courage to beg for your forgiveness, for your help, and for your love. Have mercy on me, Shirley. Love me!”

By now, all the Bubbles™ had popped. The only sound was Shirley crying, in a tiny voice,

“Who are you?”

“I am Jackson Rogers.”

 


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