Read Be Good Be Real Be Crazy Online

Authors: Chelsey Philpot

Be Good Be Real Be Crazy

BOOK: Be Good Be Real Be Crazy
11.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

DEDICATION

For Levi,

I

fell

in

love.

That changes everything.

EPIGRAPH

Listen to the scientist . . .

“Do not look at stars as bright spots only. Try to take in the vastness of the universe.”

—Maria Mitchell

the poet . . .

“In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.”

—William Blake

the philosopher . . .

“All things in the universe arrange themselves to each person anew.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

and then, perhaps, write your own. . . .

THE PARABLE OF LOPSIDED LOVE

ONCE UPON A TIME, THERE
was a gentle giant of a boy and he fell in love with an unknowable mystery of a girl who did not, could not, love him back—at least not in the way he loved her.

When did their one-sided romance begin? The day they first met? Was that when his heart flooded? It was so strange that he could remember everything else about that afternoon and not that one detail.

It was a beautiful Tuesday in June on the small island paradise off the coast of Florida. The Girl didn't drift into La Isla Souvenirs the way that most tourists did, sliding their hands over bric-a-brac, clicking and clacking shot glasses against one another, rubbing the T-shirts between their fingers to gauge the scratchiness of the cheap cotton.

No, she pushed her way between the stuffed racks and packed shelves as if her default mode was to anticipate resistance. Her
feet were bare and coated with a layer of white sand. Her hair was the color of fruit punch and her left ear was a semicircle of silver, copper, and plastic piercings.

She didn't say anything as she made her way toward the jewelry display on the wall near the dressing room. She hummed like she wanted to be heard while she picked up tacky necklace after tacky necklace. She tried on all the plastic bangles at once and wiggled her arm in the air, making them rattle like pebbles trapped in a balloon. She slipped cheap rings onto her left hand until all five fingers were hidden and then shook them off, letting each one fall onto the aluminum display tray with a
ping
.

The first time her eyes met his in the warped floor mirror, the Boy blushed and changed the paper in the cash register, even though the roll in there was far from done. The second time, she smiled and puckered her lips like a fish. He laughed. The third time, she crossed her eyes and stuck out her tongue. He laughed again. He laughed all the times after, too.

Her exit was as abrupt as her entrance. She left slapping her feet to an inconsistent rhythm that oddly complemented her off-key humming. When she reached the place where the shade from the store's awning stopped and the sun-baked wood of the boardwalk began, she paused, spun on the balls of her feet, and smiled. Before the Boy thought to smile back, she was gone, leaving her footprints on the floor and a feeling of emptiness where there had been none before.

The Boy knew he should have stopped her. He should have
asked her to turn out her pockets or called his dads to the front or recited the warning on the sign taped to the cash register, the one that promised, “All Shoplifters Will Be Prosecuted to the Fullest Extent of the Law.” But he did none of those things.

Maybe he
had
started loving her that first afternoon? When, after all, does the fall begin—at the first thought of flight or the moment you're airborne?

However, the Boy
could
tell you the exact moment he
knew
he loved her. It was 3:03 p.m. on a July Thursday. She had just come through the curtains that separated the front of the store from the back. Her shoulders were hunched, her steps uncertain. On her wrist was the rope bracelet he had seen her take the first day. The Boy liked the idea of sharing a secret with her, so he never told his dads—not before, and certainly not after they hired her.

The curtain was still swinging behind her when the Girl looked up and saw him watching her. “I need your help,” she said.

Four.

    
Very.

        
Simple.

                
Words.

In that moment, the universe paused.

In that moment, he felt the bliss of being needed, of having a purpose. In that moment, he
knew
he was in love.

He understood from the beginning that she could not love
him back the same way he loved her. She was too not-of-this-place. Too strangely beautiful to love a confused boy with a worried heart.

Theirs would be a lopsided love. But it would be enough.

It had to be.

BOOK: Be Good Be Real Be Crazy
11.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

My Lady Smuggler by Margaret Bennett
El fútbol a sol y sombra by Eduardo Galeano
Twisted Paths by Terri Reid
Mad Season by Nancy Means Wright
Rode Hard, Put Up Wet by James, Lorelei
Go Long! by Ronde Barber
Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater
Flipped Out by Jennie Bentley