"Jesse liked doing things her way."
As I press play, I feel my anxiety hitting an high, breaking the level meter. Maybe I wasn't supposed to receive this package, maybe it's the wrong address.
So I'm dead. Mm, I guess I'm being heard now. Well before I start, let's say I learn a lot from these eight women, each having their own tape.
Ugh, it’s so weird hearing his voice now he's dead. It almost feels twisted.
But wait what? He killed himself over girls he dated in the past, girl he mostly broke up with?
They each taught me a lesson. None of them know though. And none of these girls did nothing to harm me or inspired my suicide, so please don't attack them. Because I'm the reason for my death, I tied the rope, I tightened the rope, I committed the crime. I'm the murder. Not them… Not anyone, but me.
Well true but, why did you do it? You had such a good life.
So just listen and by the end you probably know why I did committed the crime and reasons for it because nothing was perfect.
You had it better than most, Louis. Much better. Because liking boys is such a sin and I can't keep myself for being gay. You didn’t need to handle anything like that.
Anyways, meet Jesse, brown hair, blue eyes, on the edge of a bad girl, but still a high grade student. She was my very first girlfriend at Mary Smith High School.
Oh man, I remember her. She moved away a few days after they broke up.
She liked doing things her way, reasons why she asked me out and not waiting for me to do it. She was strong, hard headed, just like her mother. Her mother demanded to meet me once she heard about me, seems like she was filling in for the dad role in the family. I never found out what happened to her father, never been my place to ask. Yet Jesse’s mom was stunned at my table manners, knowing football players can be rather reckless.
By the way, that woman could cook a mean meatloaf, best I ever had in fact. My parents never really cooked and when they tried it turned into another visit by the fire department. But Jesse's mother was the complete opposite, I grown rather fond over her cooking during the time I dated Jesse. But what I'm really here to talk about, is that night we had together on the city. A place so full of life and it was called Manhattan.
My God, he would talk about that city like none other, always going over there on Fridays nights, sometimes during the school week. He would take the public bus down, with a few dollars and he was set. He never mentioned about what he did in the city though. When I asked, he said, "What happens in the city, stays in the city." Which is a bit cheesy, but I didn’t push it.
She took me to a club, which I will not name, but man it was one of the best nights of my life. Not because Jesse was there but everyone in that club was themselves - there were drag queens, gays, older age people, drug addicts, dropouts, name it they were there. I felt like I belong for once.
But you always fitted in. Always. You were so popular, everyone knew your name.
I walked into the club and I was drawn to the all the colorful lights and music. All the people and their stories for coming here. Trying to get over someone? Maybe they want to get away from reality for a bit? Maybe they were like me - a confused teenager who doesn't know what path they're going to take later in life? I want to know every page of their story for some reason.
Wait he's lost? Again, how? He had such a perfect life. How in the world could this kid be lost?
Jesse got us in by the back door, some help with a close family friend of hers, knowing we are only sixteen we couldn’t get in alone. She took my hand and lead me quickly to the bar, where a guy was pouring of a couple drinks; and the night only got better from there.
Afterwards, we headed to the dance floor, hundreds of people, having the times of their lives, in such a small, compact space - it was amazing. I just needed to join. And I did, I danced, dirty danced. But not with Jesse.
What kind of date is this?
I paused the tape and moved down stairs, with the box and my Walkman. I felt sticky and dirty, due to all my sweat. It didn't feel right to be here, listening to these tapes. I feel like Louis would have wanted me to be somewhere important to him. The football field.
Putting on a pair of shoes and a jacket, I hurried down the sidewalk, to the train station.
I soon get off the loud train, not listening to the tape until I reach the football field. Being dropped off a block away from school, I walk breathing large breaths, the sweat on the back of my neck drying up.. The sun is still in the sky was setting behind clouds, but it was still shining. Passing by houses and I enjoy the peace and quiet, which without Louis my life has been a lot more silence. And I don’t think I like it.
Finally, I reach the front of the high school and jog towards the football field on the side of the building, seeing the lights at every corner already turned on due to the lack of light the sun is providing. I slow down, feeling the difference in the texture, from the sidewalk to the soft, freshly cut grass, under my feet.
Taking a minute to imagine, Louis running down the field, in with the football in his hand, making the winning goal at the last game of the season. The crowd rose to their feet, going crazy. Girlfriends come down and kissed their boyfriends. The band started playing again, making the screams seem like white noise. Everyone held up Louis, as he had the first place trophy in hand with the biggest smile of his face. We won because of him. Only if he could come back and win again.
I climbed the stairs up to middle of the bleachers, sitting right in the middle. It somehow felt right but, wrong at the same time, but it will make do. I adjust the headphones on my ears. Here we go, again. I pressed play.
I danced with a woman, she was in her mid-twenties. Jesse was talking with another bartender. But this woman soon approached by another woman, this woman looked around her age. They kissed. They kissed, right in front of hundreds of people.
"Are you just gonna stand there or are you gonna join us at our table?" One of the ladies asked, leading me and the other girl to a booth.
They looked appositely crazy and I loved it. They were themselves. I sat down, watching the probably lesbian couple kiss again. They were so in love, that it warmed my heart.
Lesbian? They can't even get married. The sweat runs down my back, even though I have goose bumps from being cold.
"How long how you two been together?" I asked, everyone turns their head to me.
"Not long enough, sweetie," the one sitting in the other's lap, both smiling.
"What's your name?" a guy with a short, purple Mohawk asked. Another round of shots came and everyone drank theirs like it was just water, not straight up vodka. Of course, being a first time drinker and everything, I coughed and made an odd face after I downed mine.
"Louis, Louis Tomlinson," I said, pushing in the glass to the middle.
"You're new, right?" The guy questioned.
"Well yeah but, this place is awesome. Only been here for two hours and I'm already in love with this club," I claimed, straighten my posture.
"I guess we all feel in love," he said, "Oh also my name is Mow, claims the Mohawk."
"I'm Ashley," A girl with black glasses and half of her head shaved, and a notebook in her hand said, "I'm a writer for Splash Magazine."
"I'm Joe," A more normal looking guy with brown hair with a lip ring joined in, "I'm a street performer."
"I'm Kate," The blonde girlfriend claimed, "I own this place."
"I'm Billy, I'm the co-owner of this club," The other girlfriend with rainbow colored hair said, "What about you?"
"I'm a senior, star football player at Mary Smith High School," I take a sip for my bottle of beer that just came.
"Hey, a student, awesome! Your Jesse's boyfriend right?" she questioned, taking a sip of hers.
"Yup, indeed. Are you the one who got us in?" I asked, trying to connect the dots.
"Totally, anything for little Jess," Billy smiled wide.
"Thank you," I said.
You could've got kicked off the team from drinking that much, or drinking at all for that matter. You're lucky you didn't get caught.
As the night got older, I learned more and more of these people. They were starting to be strangers anymore. They enjoyed what they did for a living and they were proud of it too. Ashley worked at a strip club once and never regretted it since; she says it helped her found who she really was. I was so drawn to all their stories and they actually listened to mine. They treated me like I was one of them, they didn't look at me differently because I was still a student.
You didn't belong with those people though.
I watch the sunset and I readjusted myself on the bench.
I just felt right with these people. They understood me. Sadly, Jesse got really drunk and I needed to be the bigger person here and bring her home.
"Hey sweetie, remember if you need anything, you know where to find us. Seven days a week, eight pm through five am," Billy smiled and waved goodbye, same did Kate. I waved back, helping Jesse out the door.
Sitting on the train, Jesse leaning on my shoulder, asleep. I stare out the window, over the city, the city of life. Right then and there I realized this city felt more like home then my real home ever did and I would be back soon. And the lesson Jesse helped me learned is: Sometimes what's most unexpected, effects you the most, good or bad.
The type went silent, signaling that it was over. I'm covered in sweat and goose bumps still, trying to decide to take off my jacket or keep it on. But I knew one thing, I was going to finish listening to these tapes by the end of the night, before the funeral.