I stand there, my mouth slightly gaping open, the letter in my hand fluttering slightly in the morning breeze. A bird’s chirp breaks me out of my stupor, and once again I skim the contents of the letter. I look around me for a man holding a camera, anything to to show me that this isn’t real, nothing but a practical joke. Finding nothing, I turn back toward the piece of paper. “Act calm so as not to alert anyone, but not everyone around you is who they say they are. You need to get out of there and meet me at the spot where you had your first kiss. You know the place. ~Mark.”
Mark. As if I could ever forget his name, the bastard who embarrassed me in front of everyone I knew. I was a foolish freshman in high school. We shared one kiss together, a kiss that blew my mind and had me craving more. Unlike other horny teens though, I wanted him, and only him. The football captain who left a string of heartbroken girls behind him in middle-school, and against all odds wanted me. Me, the girl with nerdy friends, frizzy hair that couldn’t be tamed, and the glasses that had no business being anywhere near my face. Foolish as I was, I confronted him in front of all my friends – and his – and asked him if he would go to Sadies with me. The jerk had the nerve to laugh in my face like I was a stupid little girl, though he was less than a year older than me.
“What?”, I had asked, suddenly shy and embarrassed, wondering whether I had done something wrong. “What is it?”.
“It’s just that…why are you asking someone like me to the dance? You’re the girl who has literally 4 friends, while I’m the most popular guy in the grade. So tell me, why ask ME?”
“Bu-, but you kissed me…?”, I stutter, what was meant to be a statement coming out more like a question.
He snorted. “Yeah,” he says it like it should be obvious, “because Jack bet that a prude like you would never kiss someone ’till about the seventh date or so. I bet that I’d get you to do it on the first. And I did didn’t I, sweetie?”
I stand there in shock, wondering how this could be happening to me of all people. I was the girl who no one would even want to be mean to, the only person who had no drama, no enemies. I was the girl who always faded into the background, the one nobody noticed, or particularly minded. This, this was beyond embarrassing. My breaths started getting shorter and my eyes widened. No, this couldn’t be happening. I couldn’t be having an attack in front of all these people, just because of a boy. I closed my eyes, willing my breath to return to normal. Unfortunately, it had the opposite affect; I was suddenly really dizzy.
“Hey, hey! You all right there? George! Georgie!” I couldn’t make out whose voice it was, but at this point I didn’t care. I couldn’t breathe, and yet even through the pain, I knew this would go down as one of the worst days of my life. I could make out more and more voices surrounding me, all of them combining into one loud murmer pounding its heels into my head. My knees buckled beneath me and I felt myself falling as if in slow motion. Suddenly arms wrapped around my waist and there was a hand slapping my cheeks. I tried to get tell the person to stop slapping me, but it was all I could do to get air into and out of my lungs.
One voice stood out above the others, and I assumed it was the person keeping me off the floor. “C’mon Georgie, open your eyes. You’re okay, you’re okay, just open your eyes.” I tried to tell the person that I’d be fine, that this happened a lot, but all I got out was a wheeze. The darkness was closing in, but it felt like I was being lifted onto a stretcher. I made what sounded like a whine, grasping for the fading remains of warmth from arms previously braced around my waist. As I slowly zoned out of consciousness, I couldn’t be sure, but I thought I heard a whisper of “I’m sorry” make it to my ears. Then everything, the sounds, my pain, the shame, it all faded away.
I gave a slight gasp as I came back to myself. I shake my head angrily at the letter, furious at the fact that even his name still has the power to affect me so, forcing me to relive a memory I’d rather never remember. Still, I read through the message once more. Despite knowing I shouldn’t believe a word on that page, I still get chills as I furtively look around me. It’s a regular day, with students fresh out of high school milling around on campus, eager for their first day of college. Nothing dangerous or mysterious here. Unlike Mark, it seems everyone here is exactly who they seem to be. With a certain smug satisfaction, I toss the letter into the nearest trashcan. Like I’d ever voluntarily go within 100 feet of the tool.
I start walking toward my first class period, determined to enjoy my first day of real freedom away from my parents. For a second, I get the feeling that something’s not right, but I shake it off, blaming it on first day jitters and the prank letter. Sooner than expected, I reach my first class. As I step into the room, all thoughts of the mysterious letter are flushed from my mind as, frozen in place, I meet the solemn green eyes of none other than the very man who seems intent on ruining my life.