Through the Screen Door – E.W. (ꈍᴗꈍ)

Okay, okay, I admit to being wrong. I admit it only insofar as a Miss Peggy Drew admits to not responding to not three or four or even five ( ! ) of my text messages that I sent when I was deep in a love sickness that she, Peggy, was the most definite cause. Because, because — was I ever unreasonable? I don’t think I was ever unreasonable.

My reasoning, I guess, was something like: if it’s broke you better fix it. I guess that’s my reasoning. If it’s broke you better fix it.

Now, please, and I want the truth only, does that sound too bad? Tell me. And remember— ha, ha—I’m just interested in the truth. Because, because — ha, ha, ha. Did Miss Peggy Drew really think she could get off that easy, that she could break my heart and getaway with it? She’s kidding herself. Really, she must be kidding herself.

I don’t think I can hold out on the details any longer.

I was in rehearsal for the play based on the novel of the same where an outsider through the strength of his heterosexual charisma alone inspires the patients of a mental ward to rebel against their nurse. For our school it was considered risque. I played a patient.

Peggy said, “Have you been fitted for your costume yet?” She said, “Stand where the light can see you.” She said, “I’d really prefer if you knew the lines by now.” She said, “Stop it, Parker!”

She was the stage manager.

Parker was the boy who pinched up her skirt.

And I was walking around backstage inbetween set changes and not thinking of any one thing in particular as I opened the door to the fitting room and (oh Lord, oh Lord) saw her legs spread out in opposite directions like a star. I saw her skirt pulled all the way up. She sat on the counter. Then I saw the busy back head of Parker like yummy, yummy as a Miss Peggy Drew let out a soft moan.

Parker—yummy, yummy—played the tormented teen patient and yummy, yummy, it was his character who committed suicide in the climax and yummy, yummy, it was he who forced out tears like shit when he gives an emo monologue to the hospital before his off stage death.

He had a face like yum.

And his body, too, also yum.

(I could not even find a way to put him down. He was scrawny like me but his scrawny was marked by arm veins and a jawline that could spread butter on toast. He wore his hair long. He looked vaguely European, though I’m not even sure what that means.)

Because, yum, yummy, yum, I watched Parker eat out on my ex-girlfriend of only two and a half months.

I felt sick to my stomach. I felt a nausea that touched my soul. And I swear, I swear, I swear, as I stumbled backwardly, as I tried to close the door without a peep, I made eye contact with Peggy Drew who—and here’s the real kicker—did not even tell Parker to stop.

Here’s what I think.

That Miss Drew is not all sunshine like she has led the school to believe. That really she has a sadistic edge and is mean in spirit.

I left the door open as I charged out of the building and called Mom asking her to, please, could she pick me up and, please, it was a real emergency and, yes, I was extra sure, and oh my God, oh my God; what did she care about more — the welfare of her only son or a job? I was inside the minivan in less than half an hour.

(And what more could be done than praise the romantic agony, the throb of my stabbed heart—? I was bleeding on the bedroom floor. I was crying so hard that my face had become sticky, stuck to the carpet. I texted Drew once. I texted her twice. I text her more times than I could count before I no longer saw the ᴅᴇʟɪᴠᴇʀᴇᴅ below my message. I was blocked.)

The minivan sped by so many streetlights that my vision blurred from the strength of the three soft beers in the family refrigerator. I swerved into her neighborhood.

I walked up the driveway to her home. I wept louder and louder as I came to the screen door where inside her family was having chicken dinner.

“Lucas,” said Peggy, “go home.
I sobbed at the moon. I said, “Why?” I said, “Why would you ever. . .?” I said, “We just broke up.
Peggy said, “Go study your lines.”
I said, “Let me inside.”
I pulled on the latch. It was locked.

I took out from my backpack the sweater she had forgotten to ask back after dumping and which she originally sprayed with a bottle of her perfume so I could sleep with it in bed. I would always be close to her.

I wrapped it around my head. I could no longer see.

The mother gasped.

The father said, “Now listen son.”

But I was no longer listening. I was curled up in a fetal position and clawing at the screen door and begging them, please, let me inside and, please, I didn’t want anything from Peggy, I wanted only all of us to be together like we were before I turned to sixteen and everything was ruined. I wanted to sort it all out.

I screamed so loud that it hurt my throat. I said, “You’re a stupid, stupid slut.”

I heard the creak of the door opening and I thought for a second that my pain had finally gotten across before I felt a tightness around my neck. I couldn’t breathe. I was lifted up in the air, the sweater thrown off my head, and I was face to face with the father with his dog eyes and ungroomed beard.

And have you ever met a bigger sucker for love?

He punched me like—ow—and I felt the warmth of blood rush into my mouth and—ow—I thought about our first date together—ow, ow—where we walked around the mall holding hands and—ouch—we traded hearts in the food court. My face became numb. I heard the cries of both Miss Peggy Drew and her mother.

You have never met a bigger sucker for love.