Ahhhhh prom. That infamous rite of teenage life. All it really means to
me is that there's only two weeks left of high school, but yeah, I'm going. And
yeah, I have a date. Well, I'm going with a friend, Hilde. We've had this weird
thing going on for years now. I don't like her, but she has a crush on me, then
I'll start liking her, but she already has a boyfriend. Then I get over it, and
then she likes me again. The timing's just been all off. I'm hoping maybe this
might be our chance. The crew meets for pictures in Quatre's lavish yard. Our
parents fuss and try to get us to stand still and look grown-up for once, but
I'm sure all the pictures are going to be goofy as hell. My aunt made me get all
dressed up early and took pictures of me because she has a shift that evening.
She was so upset that she was going to have to be gone, but I told her not to
worry about it. I promised to bring her camera to the get together, and Hilde's
parents gladly take pictures for her. Maybe they feel bad for me. I don't care.
This isn't that big of a deal to me anyway, just another high school ritual I
The dance is held in the gymnasium. I know what you're thinking, but really
it looks nice, even I'm impressed. Relena was in charge of it, so of course it
looks great. I don't know, it's pretty fun, I guess. Everyone looks nice. Relena
is stunning. Looks like she cleaned Heero up and dragged him along. She's
holding his arm, but it looks more like she's parading him around. He doesn't
talk to anyone. He looks bored, more sullen than usual. I can't figure out why,
I mean his girlfriend looks like a movie star, you'd think a guy would be proud.
I guess this just isn't his element. Well, that and he hates all of her friends.
Me and my friends dance for a while; the DJ is terrible of course. I get
really sick of it after a couple hours, though. I start to realize that it's
just everyone I usually see at school, only dressed nicer. Nothing's really
different or special. And then there's those annoying starry-eyed people who act
like it's the most wonderful moment of their lives. Man, if high school prom is
the biggest moment of your life, you've got problems. I cynically wonder how
many virginities will be lost tonight. Not mine, unfortunately, although that
was never an expected outcome. I find out the ugly way that Hilde has a crush on
someone else. I haven't seen Heero in a little while, so I wonder if maybe I can
get the guts to go ask Relena to dance. Surely he wouldn't kill me right? I
think about it, but feel... indifferent, so I don't. I don't really know what the
hell I want.
My friends have kind of dispersed. I find Trowa and Quatre sitting together
at a table, drinking mock-tails, and plunk down next to them. They both came
dateless, and have been inseparable all night. Kinda makes me wonder. That's
cool with me. A friendship like theirs is special, makes sense there could be
more to it. Hilde found her crush and is making out with him in an
out-of-the-way corridor. Sylvia is out on the dance floor, sandwiched between
Nikol and another guy. Just the way she likes it. My good buddy Wu Fei is being
dragged all over the dance floor by his girlfriend, Sally. She's the coolest,
she's actually a year older. Pre-med in college, just finished her first year.
He can have a real stick up his ass sometimes, she's like the only one who can
temper him. You just KNOW they'll be together for fucking EVER. Happily ever
after and all that bullshit.
Suddenly, I really want to leave. There's a big party at Quatre's afterward,
but now I don't feel like it. I tell Quatre to tell Hilde and everybody that I
went home. He and Trowa protest, but I turn and leave. I pass a lot of kissing
couples on my way out to the parking lot. I hate high school. I have lots of
friends, why do I feel so lonely? I broodingly walk towards my car and I spot a
familiar figure leaning on a light post, smoking a cigarette. Hands in my
pockets, I wander over.
"Hey," I say. He nods at me and takes a drag.
"No smoking on school grounds, you know," I inform him.
"Dork," he replies, and blows smoke through his nostrils like a dragon. I
swear I almost got a smile out of him that time.
"Have some manners and offer me one, will ya?" I gripe.
"Didn't think you smoked," he says, cigarette still between his lips. He
pulls the pack out of his inside pocket and holds it out to me. I don't smoke
very often, but I have before, usually when drunk.
"Yeah, well, my date is playing tonsil hockey with some other guy in the
hallway in there," I tell him, taking one. He raises his eyebrows and tosses me
the lighter. "Eh, its no big deal," I continue, handing back the lighter. We
smoke for a minute without saying anything.
"Why aren't you in there?" I ask finally. "Relena looks terrific."
"She'll be Prom Queen for sure," I tell him.
He just makes a face.
"I don't get it," I shake my head. "Won't that make you happy?"
He smokes silently, and then shakes his head, "It's all bullshit, you know?"
"Absolutely," I agree.
"I gotta get out of here," he glowers.
"Yeah, I'm heading home myself," I puff smoke.
"Hn," he looks at me approvingly for once. "Then you can drop me off."
"You didn't drive your car?" I ask.
He looks at the ground with the most sheepish expression Heero Yuy is capable
of making. "Relena wanted a limousine," he tells me. I politely stifle a laugh.
"But they're voting soon," I insist. "You should stay. You know, the crowning
ceremony, special dances with mood lighting, your picture in the yearbook, and
I'm sure you have a great party to go to afterwards." He looks ill as I say
He flicks his cigarette butt, not bothering to squash it out, and turns to me
again. "Are we leavin' or what?" he asks, unmoved.
"Ok," I say uncertainly but head towards my car. "But don't you think she'll
"Probably," he answers with a shrug.
"You are such a jerk," I laugh, unlocking the doors.
"She knows that," he unexpectedly continues. "I bet she's half expecting me
I nod and start the car. I drive and he leans his elbow out the window and
stares out blankly. It's quiet, but it doesn't feel awkward. He looks bored. I'm
not offended or anything. I don't begrudge him looking bored anymore. With that
kind of intelligence, high school would bore anyone to tears. Like this guy
could stand to kill a few hundred brain cells. That reminds me of something.
"Hey," I pipe up, "I have some weed I was saving for the party afterwards.
There's no one home at my house, want to come over and smoke it?"
He looks at me. "Why not?" he says. It didn't take much deliberation. I guess
my house is better than any alternative he has at the moment.
We get to my house, and I let him roll it, since he's the expert. I've only
done it a few times. I'd never bought any myself before this bag, but I thought
prom would be a special occasion. Some of us joked that we should do it before
hand, but the girls nixed that idea. I guess when you make your hair appointment
back in December, it's an occasion you want to remember fully. Man, this society
is all fucked up. So, we just planned a party afterwards, which I thought I'd be
going to. Funny how things work out.
"D'you like video games?" I ask, passing the joint back to him. He packed
that thing really full, but it's almost gone and we're both pretty high. I guess
we've decided that tuxedos are just too uncomfortable, because we are hanging
out in our boxers and undershirts. I usually play video games when I'm high,
although it does cause some impairment. He shrugs and nods. I pull out the RPG
I've been working on recently. I'm high, so the dumbest things are damned funny.
Maybe he's amused too, I can't really tell, but he doesn't look terribly bored.
He helps me finish the game. I can't believe it, I didn't think I could beat
the game in only a few more hours. Even high, he solves the logic and temporal
puzzles faster than I do. Damn. I let the credits roll and get up to get us some
more food. I come back with a bowl of popcorn and sit by him on the floor.
"Tell me something," I say. I must admit I'm feeling contemplative.
"Hn?" he grunts.
"Your wrists... when did you do that?" I ask. Honestly, this is not why I
invited him over, but I am dying to know. Morbid, remember? I'm counting on the
trend I've noticed that he's more talkative when he's on something.
Absolutely no flicker of emotion crosses his face. "Four years ago, right
before I moved here." I don't think he's all that shocked that I asked, I mean
he knows I've seen the scars.
I skirt around the Big Question. No one can ever tell you why exactly,
because there's never just one reason, sometimes it isn't even tangible, you
I pause and take a deep breath. I've been wondering something, and I think
I'm too high to have the tact not to ask now. "Do you ever wish you had
succeeded?" I ask. I say it without thinking whether it's right or wrong to ask.
He stares straight ahead at nothing and is silent for a minute. I'm about to
tell him he doesn't have to answer when he does. "It's almost like I did. My
whole life since then has been only half reality, like it's not actually
happening. I really planned on dying. I went away where I thought no one could
find me. I wanted them to think I just ran away. I did it, and I could feel
myself dying. Next thing I know, I wake up in a hospital two days later. The
doctors called it a miracle recovery," he scoffs, "I remember being so confused,
almost scared, like 'Why am I still alive? What the hell's going on?' They
wouldn't release me until my grandfather came to get me. I nearly gave the old
guy a heart attack. He never did know what to do with me, so he sent me to live
with my uncle. I felt so... I dunno, ashamed? Mostly 'cause it didn't work and
everyone was making such a big deal about it – prescriptions, counseling... shit
I wordlessly take in what he's said. I never thought I'd get such a long
answer from him. Maybe he knows me well enough now that he figures I'm just
going to ask more questions
I've got another question. "Do you think you'll ever try again? Or have you?"
I ask him. But it's almost like he doesn't need to try again, he seemed to have
killed something off that first time.
"I don't know," he says, "I haven't yet. They keep close watch on me."
"Does Relena know?" I ask.
He nods and looks at his wrists, still emotionless. "It's not like I can hide
it," he says, although I've noticed he wears mostly long sleeve shirts. "She
kind of helps, you know?" he fumbles, referring to my previous question.
"Hm," I snort, "Ego boost?" I say with out really thinking about it.
He looks at me, slightly offended. "No..." he blinks at me. He searches for
words. "It's... nice to be... loved. It helps," he finally comes up with.
I feel like the asshole now. I try to smile. "So, it's love that does it
after all, huh?" He doesn't answer or even nod or anything, but it doesn't seem
like I've pissed him off too bad.
"Do you love her?" I ask curiously. I really have wondered this a lot.
"I don't know," he says. He stretches his arms over his head and changes the
subject. "It has to end soon anyway."
"College?" I ask. I ask a lot of question, don't I? He nods. "Where's she
"Princeton," he answers.
"How about you?" I want to know.
"I don't know yet. Somewhere not here. What about you?" he asks a question
this time. I'm a little surprised he wants to know.
"Ohio State," I tell him, "gave me a full ride."
He nods in understanding. He's probably in the same boat. But I bet he could
get a scholarship to a really good school. I want to encourage him, but I also
don't want to bug him about it. I bet he gets enough 'wasting-your-intelligence'
speeches from other people. I'm willing to bet that's the core of most of his
arguments with his uncle. I don't hassle him about it.
"Hey," I perk up, "wanna play a fighting game?"
"Sure," he shrugs.
"How about Super Smash Brothers?" I suggest, crawling over and putting the
game in. He doesn't respond, so I take that as a yes. We super smash each other
for a while. He beats me almost every time, but it's fun anyway. And I think I
see him smile a few times. Maybe just smirk. Probably because he's currently
kicking my ass as Jiggley Puff. Shit, he's beating he crap outta me with, like,
the lamest Pokémon ever.
"You know how you said life doesn't feel real?" I ask, still turning our
conversation over and over in my mind.
He grunts in assent and sends my character, Link, screaming off into the
distance for the second time this match.
"Maybe that's 'cause you don't care about anything," I propose
philosophically. He pauses for just a second to look over at me and I glance
back at him. "Maybe if you found something you really liked you'd feel like
living again." Let's hear it for marijuana-induced moments of brilliance. That made sense
in my head, I promise.
He's still looking at me and I take the opportunity to score a few points off
"Son of bitch!" he growls and recovers his character. Of course, he returns
full throttle and poor Link has to endure his wrath in the form of a very
rotund, very pink Pokémon. Finally, we get tired and pass out next to each other
in our little pillow nest on the floor, right where we were sitting. I wake up
late the next morning alone with the TV on static. His shoes and clothes are
gone too, so I figure he walked home. It certainly isn't far.
I don't tell anybody how I spent prom night. I don't see Heero much at school
the last two weeks. It's odd because I used to see him a lot, especially when he
was out to get me. I figure he's just skipping a lot. But the really odd thing
is that the few times I do see him, he says 'hey' to me. It seems like a small
thing, but remember this is high school, people. Plus, it's Heero Yuy. I bet I'm
the only person at school besides Relena that he willingly speaks to.
But he doesn't come over with his car again and he doesn't show up to
graduation. Well, that shouldn't be such a big surprise, I suppose. But they do
say his name, so I guess he passed all his classes.
Graduation is held outside on the football field. It pours. The students
revel in it, we think it's funny, but the parents don't. My aunt is there. She
takes lots of pictures of me being wet and goofy with my friends afterward. Then
she gives me the camera so I can take pictures later at the big party the school
throws for our class. Not everyone looks so happy though. Relena looks down.
She's putting on a good show, but I can see through it. I watch for a moment
when she's alone and catch her on the way to the bathroom.
"Hey, Relena," I say cheerfully. She turns around.
"Oh, hi," she says feebly.
"Hey, um, congratulations on Prom Queen," I say lamely. Couldn't I come up
with anything better than that?!
"Thanks," she says with a polite smile.
"So, Heero didn't show up for graduation, huh?" I ask.
She looks down and bites her bottom lip. "Yeah, it's kind of a relief. It
might have been pretty awkward still," she says softly.
"Huh?" I ask, confused.
"Don't you know? God, I thought the entire school knew..." she says, her voice
pained. "We broke up two days ago..."
They broke up? How could I not know that?! "I'm sorry to hear that," I say,
and I actually mean it. "I'm really sorry, if I had known, I wouldn't have
brought it up."
"It's ok..." she says. "He said it was for the best... and everyone agrees..."
She is starting to choke up and get teary eyed. I am reminded how unstable a
girl two days out of a long relationship is, which is probably why she's
confiding in me like this. I feel bad for her. I bet I'm the only one who does,
and that pisses me off. I bet everyone else is glad they broke up. I wonder if
she's gotten any real sympathy at all.
A big tear spills down her cheek. She quickly wipes it away and looks down
again. "And I know he's right," she says firmly, but falters again, "but it's
still so hard for me..." After a moment, she looks up at me again, her eyes
urgent. "He really isn't like what everyone thinks he is!" she tries to tell me.
I bet she's worried about him.
I give her a sad smile. "I know," I tell her. I hope she knows I'm telling
the truth, and I'm not just bull-shitting her like everyone else. "You know, I'm
sure you had a positive impact on his life. You've been important to him, but
now it's time for you both to move on," I say sagely.
She blinks at me, wondering how I could possibly know something like that.
But she seems to take a certain amount of solace from it. "Thank you," she says
fragilely, "You've been very kind..." She still looks at me in wonder like I'm
some kind of psychic.
"Look, I'm sorry to have brought it up. Try and have some fun tonight, ok?" I
say. I hate to leave her like this but my friends are waiting.
"I will," she promises.
We say good-bye and I dash off to find my friends.