Chapter 26 - Bringing Stars Down From the Sky
I got up bright and early the next morning and went to Jill Booth's house. I parked right in front of her house and walked up her sidewalk, up the front steps and knocked loudly upon her door. She answered on the third knock.
She looked even more beautiful than usual. Her honey blond hair was slightly tousled, and she was still wearing light blue flannel pajamas. When she saw it was me, her green eyes widened with fear and surprise. Her words came out sharp and angular, "What do you want?"
"I came to get a tear back." I replied. A day before and I would stood before her mumbling and making a fool out of myself. The conversation with my mother had woken something inside of me.
"What?" she asked, her face revealing her state of disbelief and curiosity.
"That one fucking tear I cried the night you dumped me! I want it back," I spoke boldly.
"Are you drunk? I don't know what the hell you are talking about, Danny Wilson; what tear?"
"I almost had myself under control that night despite how much it hurt me. But I was betrayed by one, single, damned tear slipping out of eye and running down my check. I know you saw it. I saw your reaction."
"Are you crazy. This is all about one tear? You're not the only boy who ever cried in front of me. In fact, Mickey does it all the time."
"I don't give a damn about Mickey does or doesn't do. I'm talking about me. It was only one, and you didn't deserve it in the least. I didn't do anything wrong for me to cry in front of you like a little baby. You're the one who played me for a fool remember. I should have been the one dumping your ass."
She was stunned and surprised. I could tell by her expression. There was a look of doubt in her eyes, but she was still there and hadn't slammed the door in my face. I watched her eyes carefully as she composed her thoughts before answering, "I told you I was sorry, Danny. I used you to make Mickey jealous, and I was wrong for doing it, and I'm really sorry. I don't know why I keep doing it, I can't seem to control myself."
I waited patiently until my words were lined up before I answered her with a question, "Do you remember when you were in the ninth grade and some letters started appearing in your locker telling how beautiful you were?"
It was an old memory but a powerful one. When she remembered it, her eyes suddenly softened. I had stood off in the distance and watched her open one of the letters once and the smile on her face as she read it was etched permanently into my own memory.
“My heart always timidly hides itself behind my mind. I set out to bring down stars from the sky, then, for fear of ridicule, I stop and pick little flowers of eloquence.”
Whatever resistance and anger she had when she opened the door and first saw me melted away.
"It was you! Damn, I feel so stupid. I should have guessed right away. Was that why you started talking about Cyrano the first time you came over?" She paused to hear my reply, but I didn't give her one. So, she went on, " I was in sitting in Lit class and the teacher read those lines reminding me of those letters. They were so sweet. They made me feel special at a time I was having a lot of trouble with my step-father. I still have them in a box in my closet. Tell me, why did you stop writing them?"
"You started going out with Mickey. He had the nice car, the perfect teeth, perfect tan, money, football star, every fucking thing that a high school girl looks for in boyfriend. I figured I didn't have a chance in hell."
"But why didn't you tell me?"
"Same reason, and I was a coward. I had a lot of self-esteem issues back then. I couldn't help myself. I felt such love for you I had to do something to let it out. So, I wrote the letters, and I would come early and help Mr. Jenkins clean classrooms so that I could put the letters in your locker unnoticed.
"I once went through the day thinking of all the guys in school who could it could be. You remember Lisa, my best friend? We made lists of names. Your name came up as someone who would know the reference to Cyrano De Bergerac. Lisa said you'd be too shy to be the one who sent them."
"Is this the same Lisa who told you that Micky was wrong for you?
She nodded yes and then looked down at her feet and didn't say anything. After a long pause, she finally mumbled, "He treats me like shit, you know that don't you?"
"I know, and it's lot, lot worse than you think. He's been with a lot more girls than you know of, and he talks bad about you in front of every one of them and in front of all of his friends. He's told people that the only reason he goes out with you is that his Mom and Dad like you. He doesn't deserve you in the least, and that's why you think that you love him. If he ever stayed faithful long enough for you to see him as he really is and how totally vacuous and stupid he is, you'd drop him in a heartbeat."
She winced as I spoke, the words slammed hard into her false view of reality. She raised her head slowly and looked me in the eyes before she spoke again, "And what about you, Danny? What's going to happen to you." I watched as a single tear collected at the corner of her left eye and slid slowly down her cheek.
"Me? I'll be better. I had to wake-up from a dream reality myself and had to realize that anyone who would place Mickey above me doesn't deserve me. Way, I figure, it's the height of stupidity to love someone incapable of loving you." I reached out and gently wiped the tear off of her face with my finger. Holding it up for her to see, I said, "There you go. Debt paid in full."
I left her like that, I turned, and I walked away down the sidewalk back to my car. I fumbled in my pocket for the keys, got in the car, started it up and drove away without looking back. It was the hardest fucking thing I ever did.