everybody talks by neon trees
Saturday, June 16th; It’s been a month since Ivy’s death. Head on down to the beach tonight where we’ll be having a special Burning Boat ceremony. Bring anything you want to burn that might represent ‘bad karma,’ or something about the deceased. We’ll put it in the boat before setting it on fire in hopes of starting to put the past behind us
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Walking downstairs to my mother holding my report card in her hand was not something I liked to see. I internally groaned but said nothing. “What’s that?”
“Your grades,” she didn’t look up. Was that a hint?
I walked over to where she was sitting at the dining room table and sat in the chair adjacent to hers. I sighed. “Okay so how bad is it?” I felt like such a disappointment, a burden, and a complete and utter failure.
Like, really, I couldn’t even get past the eleventh grade? “Well, you passed.” she started. “But just barely. Say hello to a nice sixty seven.”
“Are you mad?”
“Whatever, Alexa.” My mother finally decided to look at me. “I’ve given up, at this point.”
I didn’t know what getting punched in the stomach felt like, but I was guessing this came pretty close. My words were stuck in my throat. I suddenly couldn’t breathe, and despite my mind screaming at me, I couldn’t help the tears that came to my eyes.
Quickly, I looked away and blinked the tears away so I didn’t look so pathetic. “Oh,” I said, which was barely audible. Let’s just put it this way: It hurt. It hurt real f-cking bad and there was nothing I could do about it now. It had gotten too bad to turn back now.
My relationship with my parents would always be rigid and cold and there was no changing it. “I-“ I tried to say something, to make up for it but there was nothing to say.
“It’s fine, Alexa.” she muttered. “I don’t care.”
That, at least, I knew was true. She didn’t. Nobody did, really.
I had let myself fail, refused help, let myself make bad decisions and continue to screw up, time after time. Words weren’t enough at this point, so I scooted off the kitchen chair with my report card in hand and left the house. I didn’t need to be there anyways.
Somehow, the Burning Boat thing felt fitting. I dressed in shorts and a crop top, even though I was pale beyond belief. I didn’t need to drive because I could walk the distance. When I arrived at the beach, the party was already in full swing.
I was glad because I needed a drink desperately. I knew the next week would be spent constantly with people I didn’t like nor got a long with, so I needed a little alcohol to dull the dread that kept building up.
“What did you bring?” Was the constant conversation amongst people.
I basically stayed by myself, no surprise there. When I got up to the boat, which was filled with everything from old photos and diaries, to stupid things like a bad outfit or a fourth place trophy, I threw my paper in and watched it burn away to ashes.
And that was pretty much the end of that. I got a few (okay more like ten) more drinks and went home, where I dreamed about a certain someone (hey, I gotta’ keep some secrets) and fell asleep, even though it was hardly ten at night. I didn’t know what was wrong with me.
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Tuesday, June 19th; Can you say beach party? Slather on some sunscreen, break out your sunglasses, and find a nice spot to put your towel down because we’ll be spending the day on the gorgeous beach. Later on we’ll be cooking weenies and then gathering around the campfire when it gets dark.
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The drive to Cape Cod was utter torture. No matter that Gossip Girl somehow found out about a little sexting incident (hey, no shame), Finnley also found out about it, too. And we were driving down together. Whoops.
So, the conversation pretty much went like this:
“Are you sure you don’t wanna put on less clothes?” he commented on my cropped top and shorts, a traditional beach outfit. “I mean, now that the entire world has seen your tiits.”
I rolled my eyes and took the last exit before we’d arrive at the hotel… and I could get away from Finn. It was so surprising, just a week ago I was on top of the world and now, well, I felt lower than ever.
“Can you just stop?”
“So who was it?” he retorted. “Grady?”
Of /course/ he would bring up my ex-boyfriend from freshman year. “Um,” I sort of chuckled to myself. “Yeah, okay. It’s totally Grady.”
“What the f-ck Alexa?” Finn shouted. It seemed all we did was scream at each other. “I thought-“ he suddenly stopped.
My blood was boiling. I was angry. I had come to learn that I was going along through everyone alone. Who did I have? My brother, who was moving out to California for college in a matter of weeks. A few fake friends that were too caught up in their own dramatic lives to care.
“Yeah, you thought we were ‘a thing’,” I read this mind. “Guess you thought wrong.” Okay, so that was a lie. Even /I/ thought we were
But now I didn’t know. We pulled up to the hotel and Finnley jumped out of the car before I even had a chance to turn the car off. I sat there, my head in my hands and for the second time in the past few days, I let myself cry a few tears because there seemed to be nothing else to do.
Once I regained my composure, I sulked up to the hotel and found my room, which I was sharing with Tabby and Naomi. I didn’t like or dislike them, but you could just say I wasn’t in the mood to put up with other people now.
I threw my bags on a random bed in the room and went down to the beach, tearing off my clothes as I walked. It was insanely hot here, hitting the high nineties. There were a million people on the beach, and it was hard to find someone I knew.
So I didn’t look too hard. I set out a towel and decided to tan for an hour. After I was sufficiently burnt to a crisp, I walked casually in the water. I was alone and I was sun burned. I was alone and I was not having fun. I was alone and… I was alone.
There were voices and kid’s shouts and drunk laughter all around me, but I was alone. I was practically the only one actually in the water, something I really didn’t understand. I floated on my back, not caring that I was being dragged out farther and farther.
Once I did realize though, I had to fight like hell to bring myself back to shore. I started swimming hard to the left, and eventually I landed on the sand. I panted, trying eagerly to catch my breath. I was a horribly weak swimmer and needed a moment before continuing on.
I already didn’t like Cape Cod. There was nothing really amazing about it, ‘cept for the fact that it just seemed to ruin people’s lives. An hour went by, another one, I didn’t keep track of the time. I still didn’t see anyone I knew.
Eventually it got dark. I started walking down the beach for something to do, or to clear my head from everything. My throat burned for a sip of alcohol. That was sure to clear my head, but alas, I didn’t have anything with me. I had even left my clothes a half mile back down the beach. It didn’t really matter at this point.
I was lost now. There was nobody in sight and the only sound was of the roaring waves. They seemed to calm me, and frighten me at the same time. The loneliness was calming yet frightening. A seagull called overhead and nearly scared me to death.
Where was everybody and why wasn’t I with them? Why wasn’t I with anybody? I didn’t know what time it was, but I was suddenly exhausted, so I sat down on the beach. At some time I must’ve passed out on a patch of sea grass.
When I woke up, I could feel the light of early morning hitting me. I stood, brushed the sand off on my legs and out of my hair. I walked just a little longer before I finally found it – a small campfire and a plethora of beer bottles.
Finally, I saw familiar faces. Some were drunk out of their minds, some were laughing with exhaustion, some were all kissy-kissy with their significant others and some just looked haunted. It was official: Cape Cod was not treating us well.