And the other shoe has dropped. It’s one big shoe, too. Shaquille O’Neal big. I’ve stopped my car in the middle of the street and only moved to the curb after several pretty angry honks came from behind me. Now I’m out of the car and staring up in shock. I can’t even feel my feet anymore.
The wall is big...she always said she’d need help to paint it. Guess not. There it is. All painted, the whole thing, and I wonder foggily how she managed to do this without being arrested for the graffitti. Without being arrested for a painting that is clearly more of an indoor moment than an outdoor one. The whole wall is covered with paint. And there I am. In my birthday suit. Jesus.
There’s also a big red “Yes” at my feet. I don’t even want to know what that’s about. And all my unmentionables....well she mentioned them. I stare up and despite my embarrassment can’t help but feel some pride. The painting is beautiful. So alive.
I notice something else after staring up again. My left hand is holding something. It’s at the very edge of the wall and probably not the first thing you’d stop to notice, but in my hand is Joey’s hand. I know it’s hers...it couldn’t be anyone else’s. She painted her hand in mine. And a “yes” at my feet. Wow.
I reach into my car, grateful now that I never clean it. Pulling out my camera I take a few pictures of it. I need some proof that it’s there. I zoom in on her hand in mine, another picture of her signature, hidden in the tangled bedsheets near my waist. Joey’s an artist. I want to have a record of her first big thing. Even if it is me naked. I throw the camera back into my car, and walk back up to the wall.
I stand on the dirt we stood on so much last year. I stare up at Joey’s painting, feeling in love and thrilled to pieces. I never expected this. Then I start to feel eyes on me. Eyes on our wall. Turning, I notice a crowd forming. Tourists, locals, all of them staring up at the nude boy on the wall. All staring at Pacey naked. At me naked. Shit. A few look over at me and I yank the collar of my jacket up over my face. My cheeks flush hotly and my pulse beats quickly, jumping out of my racing heart.
Then I hear a high pitched wail. It sounds like a dying hyena. What the hell? The tourists, the locals and I turn to see Dawson Leery staring at the wall, with a gaping mouth. His eyes are bugged out and his head looks like it might explode. He screams again and some of the crowd departs, grumbling, hands over their ears. I look back up at the wall and follow Dawson’s eyes down to the red “yes.” Heh. Joey may have painted this for us, but I realized now who the “yes” was for....it’s Dawson’s answer to the unspeakable question. Did he actually ask it? I wonder.
He notices me in the departing crowd and glares angrily, beady eyes narrow and mean. Running toward me he tries to plant a punch square in my mouth. I duck easily and he loses his balance and falls to the hard ground. “Go home, Dawson,” I mutter gently, offering him my hand. He accepts and I pull him up and lightly turn him in the direction to his house. He’s in pain and as much as I hate him, I still don’t wish him this hurt. I couldn’t bear to be in his shoes right now. They must be plummeting.
He turns back to me for a second and whispers pitifully, “She can’t take this back.” Then he starts away.
I call after him, “No we can’t. We won’t.” So a little hurt falls his way. Lots of things were said that couldn’t be taken back, that’s not always a bad thing. I stand there for a few more moments, memorizing the moment. Memorizing Joey’s hand in mine. Then I climb into my car and speed over to Joey’s. I can’t wait to see her. And there’s no way on Earth we’re going to the movies with Jen, Jack, and George. Thinking that, I turn my car abruptly to head towards Jen’s instead. I’m gonna make sure that once I get to Jo’s I don’t have to leave.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21