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Want to Be

Want to Be

A Story by 49k_jdys

Teenage love and angst.


They played "Beverly Hills," by Weezer, and it was the first time I heard it. I was balancing in a cracked plastic lawn chair with Katie, in the oddly clean garage that smelled of gasoline. I didn't know that I could fall in love at all, much less at first sight. I didn't know that dreams of a sweaty, curly-haired drummer with veiny, muscled arms could be true. I didn't think affection and reverence and longing could be violent. But as the rest of the crowd (all three of them) began to leap and gyrate with each determined slam of his splintered drum sticks, I began to think that my never having heard the song before was a crime, a disgrace, something I had to cover up. 

My insides were burning. I stumbled more than I danced. I had polka-dot tights on under velvety shorts and fuchsia lipstick on my lips that I thought had looked alright. Now, because of him, everything about me was all wrong. Katie knew right away that I was maddened and tense. She pushed me playfully toward the drum kit and I hated her for just a little bit.

Everyone was screaming "that's where I want to be!" and I closed my eyes and thought about his arms that swung baseball bats and moved so rhythmically. That's where I wanted to be. But I had a 10:30 curfew and needed to be home, so I took the dark back roads and my head rang with "that's where I want to be."

I was innocent then. Pin straight hair, never had a beer, choked on my first cigarette, longed for accidental knee-brushes and the smell of cheap cologne. High school basketball games were sweaty affairs like mosh pits. I hoped to see him there. Katie would jab in the ribs when he came through the doors. Life was a routine of angst and doing nothing about it. 

Eventually I knew all of the words. Blink 182 clogged my iPod even though I didn't like it very much and I spent hours tolerating punk rock so I could sing along when we all gathered in the warm garage and he took his place behind the drums. Beverley Hills, Beverley Hills, if that's where he wanted to be, so did I. I was sixteen and thinking about backstage at concerts and hand-holding and rides down gravel roads in his red Mustang. He was perfect, and I worked so hard for him. He didn't even know.

I fell out of love with him when he graduated high school. Sometimes Weezer came on shuffle in my car and I skipped it without thinking. Red Mustangs cruised by and mostly I didn't care, but once in a while, I'd check for the giant stallion sticker on the back window. I didn't think about him much, or how we first met as high school band nerds in the percussion section. I didn't dream about his curly hair or his kind brown eyes, or his dorky laugh that was both embarrassing and endearing.

I had my first kiss. I decided I liked blue eyes. I sped down a gravel road in the back seat of a black Impala. I stopped playing the drums and the piano. I drank at skeevy bonfires with people I didn't like but wanted to make-out with. By all appearances, I'd moved on. 

And then we crossed paths again.

He was twenty. Taller. Curlier. More talented. Soon I found myself sitting on a makeshift bench on his driveway in the starlit summer dusk. The familiar garage was open and the music I'd sacrificed my ears to all of those years sounded like family. I went back again. And again. And again. I started listening to punk rock again and learned how to smoke without choking. But this time, when he said goodbye, he hugged me long and tight, just as I'd always dreamed. We made flirty eye-contact and touched knees together. I rode in the front seat. I jumped off of the cliff gain and prayed Cloud Nine would catch me.

We all played dare games and showed our asses to passing cars. We joked about butt-chins and wannabes, and how cool and individual we all were. It was like they were my universe and he was the sun. He gave my dreams life. I sang again. I tried the piano again. I called it Round Two and it was filled with possibilities and pool tables comparing blisters on our hands from the drum sticks we seemed to use to communicate how we really felt.

Then what happened, I still don't know. There were three boys in love with me; one who worshipped me. But I didn't care because the late night texts about Eric Clapton, and concerts and us had stopped. I craved them so badly that I decided after a while to tell him how I felt. I made a playlist of happy songs just in case the phone call went south. There was a textbook with a frog on the cover at my feet. It was dark. I was isolated.

Two minutes, thirty-eight seconds. It was all the time it took to pound my racing heart into a pulpy mess. The secret smiles and body smushing meant nothing to him, if it ever had. I cried noiselessly to my happy playlist, tried to read the frog textbook. My heart hurt, my eyes burned, and I failed biology that semester.

Less than eight months later, he married a girl he drunkenly approached at a bar he didn't even like. It was the first time I hated him. I hated her first, but I didn't know her and she didn't know me, or how he had tried to teach me guitar and sometimes poked me on the nose.

I kept "Beverly Hills" on my phone. I like it now. It reminds me to whisper "f**k you" to all the heartbreakers and raise a sarcastic glass to all the a******s who missed out on something great. I don't say his name because it tastes metallic and unripe on my tongue. It makes me shudder at the thought of twenty-three and home insurance and a wife that doesn't like Weezer. 

© 2018 49k_jdys

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Featured Review

Wow, this is really good! I was truly expecting a teen aged angst fest that wouldn't bear reading to completion, and to which I could not comment on the grounds that "if you can't say somethin' good don't say nothin' at all".
Gee, nice stuff. Thanks.

Posted 7 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Brilliant storytelling & originality! I seem to recognize some current trivia that I'm unfamiliar with, mixed with old classic imagery that stirs nostalgia in my soul. I'm most impressed by the way you piece together disjointed imagery as a way to tell your tale -- poster child for "show instead of tell" (first rule of good writing). I'm also very impressed by the way you "passed the time" between the early part & the later part . . . perfectly stated assortment of things & actions to denote the passage of time! It really did feel like I was fast-forwarding thru these times, but not a bit like the typical "fast-forward" that's so often used in storytelling. I understand that this is a story that's being "thought out" in the narrator's mind, but for future stories, it might be fun to try using some dialogue too! (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 6 Months Ago

Wow, this is really good! I was truly expecting a teen aged angst fest that wouldn't bear reading to completion, and to which I could not comment on the grounds that "if you can't say somethin' good don't say nothin' at all".
Gee, nice stuff. Thanks.

Posted 7 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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2 Reviews
Added on January 8, 2018
Last Updated on January 8, 2018
Tags: music, band, teenagers, love, crush, fiction, short fiction, short story



Grand Rapids, MI

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A Story by 49k_jdys