Friday June 22, 2012 - 5:54 PM

Oh fuck.
It’s happened again.
Jagdish is dead.
It’s my fault.
Oh shit -- Uncle Bob's knocking at my bedroom door -- probably wants to "talk" to me again about everything. Dammit.

Thursday June 21, 2012 - 9:03 PM

I was sitting in the cafeteria today with Harley, Neil and Jagdish. Man, I missed those guys.
I’ve been sitting on my own, or just wandering around like a space cadet for so long, I never got caught up with my friends. Sure, I hung around with them for the occasional event, chatted with them in the hallways and sometimes sat with them during lunch or spares.
But today was different.
It was like old times, back before things between Sarah and I fell apart.
I hadn’t felt normal, like one of my old pals since before Christmas. But they welcomed me right back into the fold.
We were talking about old man Cottman and his fuckin’ end of year pop quizzes. We ended up getting all razzed about that morning’s pop quiz surprise and the fact that none of us passed this one. We started worrying about the upcoming History exam that Cottman would present us with when Harley made an announcement.
“We should fucking party tonight!” he said.
“What?” Jagdish looked at him, stunned. “It’s a school night.”
“Fu . . . Screw that,” Harley said, quickly changing the first word of his sentence because a teacher was walking by. “We all flunked this pop quiz, we’re likely going to flunk Cottman’s exam. Why don’t we take a moment to just say ‘to hell with this’ and party it up?”
“Not a bad idea with all of the bizarre shit that’s been going on around here lately,” Neil said. “Both a teacher and a student died just this semester, never mind the accident that nearly took out Miss Hamilton and Sarah.” Neil paused very briefly to look at me when he said this, sensitive to my reaction to her name. “We could use the release. Besides, this is our last year in high school. Next year -- who knows? We should make the most of our time together.”
I started laughing. “Hey, Neil, that’s awfully sentimental of you.”
Jagdish leaned toward him. “C’mon, Neil. Give us a hug.”
“Yeah, you fairy.” Harley said. “Let’s have a group hug and a cry. What are you, like Oprah?”
“Lay off Harley,” Neil said. “I was agreeing with you, okay.”
The group was quiet for a minute when Jagdish spoke up. “Where?” he asked.
We all looked at him.
“So, we know we’re going to do this. So where? The pit?”
"Fuckin' A, Jag." Harley said
The rest of us immediately agreed as well. The pit was an abandoned dump that was just off the highway. There was easy access to it, but the deep pit allowed us to make a lot of noise and have a bonfire without anyone being able to see or hear from the road.
Plans were made as to when we were going to meet, who was going to bring what and it was all settled by the time the bell rang announcing our lunch period was over.
Man, was that ever a good thing. It’s been way too long since I’ve felt that good. I’m so looking forward to getting drunk with my buddies later tonight. Going to pretend to go to bed early then sneak out. Can't wait.

Monday June 18, 2012 - 9:56 PM

There was a note in my locker this morning. Nothing on it, other than the words:

Thank you

Not signed. No indication who it was from. And while I wouldn't recognize her handwriting I know the note was from her.

She passed me in the hall this afternoon and didn't even give me a second look. I understand that she doesn't want to talk about it, doesn't want to acknowledge what we both know.

But it made me feel good to know that by writing that note to let Monica know that her secret was safe with me, and that Robbie’s love for her was true, it was appreciated in the spirit I’d intended.

That and the fact that Monica DID get the note and it didn’t fall into any one else’s hands.

Thursday June 14, 2012 - 9:28 PM

I’ve been watching Monica these past few days, trying to judge by any difference in her if she got my note. I hadn’t spotted anything yet. Maybe the note fell out of her locker onto the floor.

Oh shit. What if someone found it? What if someone found it, realizes what it’s related to and knows there was a witness that night.

Holy fuck. What’ll I do?

Tuesday June 12, 2012 - 10:10 PM

I slipped a note into Monica’s locker. I thought she had the right to know.

It was an anonymous note, and it simply read the following.

Robbie loved you dearly and was regretful
for what happened, that you ever got hurt
because of him. He died trying to avenge
his wrongs, and ensured that nobody
else will ever be hurt by that evil man
again. Robbie died a hero.

Don’t worry, I’m not a stalker, I’m just
someone who cares and thought you
would like to know.

A friend

I know it was a risky and silly thing to do, but it was the least I could do to let Monica know how deeply Robbie had cared for her, how truly sorry he’d been about what happened to her.

I think Robbie would have appreciated that.

Saturday June 9, 2012 - 10:06 PM

The group sessions ended on Friday, and they’ve been good. It still hurts, still fucks with my mind -- and nobody has a clue, of course, of my involvement, that I’d witnessed Robbie’s death.
All they know is that Robbie was found dead, his body entangled with a known drug dealer in Sudbury.

The police hadn’t even showed up the night that I fled the scene. They must have been heading out on another call. Or I guess it could have even been an ambulance.

Robbie was found the next morning by a morning jogger. There was an investigation, but I was never even questioned. The evidence seemed obvious. A drug deal gone bad.

Could I have stepped forward and given the authorities details about what had happened that night? I suppose I could have. But what was the point? Robbie was dead, the bad guy was dead -- there wasn’t really anything to tell.

Except where it came to Monica. I mean, sure, if Dillon or whatever the drug dealer’s name was -- I think it was in the papers when they found his body, but they only used his real name once (I suppose the media rather enjoyed the nickname “Dillon” maybe because it sounded like an outlaw’s name) -- if he were still alive, then sure, I could perhaps give the authorities details on what I knew about him. But he wasn’t. And besides, it wasn’t really my place to bring something that Monica herself wasn’t comfortable bringing forth to the surface.

Yes, I cared about her, but it didn’t happen to me, so how could I possibly know the right thing to do for her?

There’s only one thing that comes to mind, and I think I’ll do it.

Thursday June 7, 2012 - 10:32 PM

I can’t believe how utterly exhausting it was to write about what happened the night that Robbie died. I never would have thought that it would take me such a long time to actually tell the story. But reliving it so I could write about it was extremely difficult. I needed to take a break, let the painful and disturbing memories kick around in my head a bit so I could get everything straight.

So many times I just wanted to get it all out at once, let it flow. Maybe I could have done that if I were speaking to someone, telling them the story. But I wasn’t. I was writing it down. The mere fact that I had to slow down made it more difficult to do in longer pieces.

In any case, sure, it almost took me an entire month to go through it, but at least I’ve been able to. And I’m tempted to say that I feel better, but I still feel like a walking sack of shit. But just typing the story out, getting it out of my head, that actually has helped.

So much has been going on lately that I don’t even know where to begin to get caught up. For the most part, since Robbie died, I’ve just been going through the motions, getting up, going to school, coming home, watching TV and going to bed. And that’s been enough. It’s been hard enough just doing that.

At school, our guidance counselor started up sessions again with groups of students, much like he had when Chad broke through the ice. It was different this time, though, at least for some of us.

Robbie was well loved by many of the students. Sure, both Monica and I had had a special personal relationship with him, so maybe we felt the loss differently than most. But we were in different group sessions, so I never heard how she spoke in the group, or if she even spoke in the group. I wonder if, like me, she just played along pretending to just be another student and not someone who shared a special link to this man.

Sarah was actually in the same group session as I was. And she did speak a lot. About feeling guilty over Robbie, but also feeling guilty about Miss Hamilton and the accident. It seemed like she had a lot to get off her chest, and I remember losing myself in Sarah’s words, as if it were just her and I and it was the way it had been before, the two of us together.

I remember listening to Sarah and then picking up on something that seemed to lie between and beneath her words. Sure, she was expressing grief and feelings of guilt about the loss of two much cherished teachers. But there was more grief, more guilt beneath the surface. The guidance counselor didn’t push with her, as if he knew not to go there. But I could tell. I’d heard enough psycho-babble lately to understand that Sarah was transferring the guilt and grief she felt about her father’s cancer death-sentence onto the loss of these teachers. It was almost as if she was trying to pre-grieve her father’s loss.

I openly cried while Sarah spoke, and I remember her noticing when she looked over at me once. I could tell she noticed because her eyes didn’t just pass over me but lingered a moment longer. I looked back at her, not wiping the tears, just looking at her. I wanted to get up, walk across the circle our chairs had been placed in and just hold her; tell her it would all be okay if she just let it out.

But she averted her eyes again quickly, and I knew that I was reaching beyond my grasp again.

Monday June 4, 2012 - 11:13 PM

My head was swimming with the recent knowledge of the events that had led up to Monica’s rape and beating. A wonderful mentor and father figure had been destroyed in my heart’s mind by admitting his involvement in the whole deal. And the alcohol I’d been drinking was flowing through my veins, clouding my perception.

So when Dillon appeared at the driver side door, his switch-blade already out, it was very much like a dream. He reached in the open window with his other hand and hauled Robbie out by the neck without opening the door. He’d looked tall and lanky in the store, but he was a strong son of a bitch, that was plainly obvious.

He kicked Robbie in the face then leaned into the car door and said. “Oh, so what do we have here? Get out of the car, now.” I complied. He stood there and smiled at me across the top of the car. “You fucking him, too, Robinson?”

“Hurt me, kill me, do what you want,” Robbie said struggling to his feet. “Just don’t hurt the boy.”

“Oh I plan on doing more than that,” Dillon said, a huge grin on face. “I don’t do the Hershey highway stuff, but let’s see how good he is at giving me a blow job, and if it’s good, I’ll kill him quickly. If it’s not good, he’ll be begging for me to kill him before I’m done with him.” He pointed the knife at me. “Over here and on your knees, boy.” He said to me.

“No!” Robbie said, and reached forward, but a simple thrust of the blade by Dillon into Robbie’s shoulder stopped him.

“I’m coming,” I said, starting to walk around the front of the car.

“No,” Robbie gasped, stumbling back, grabbing at the gash on his shoulder. “Leave him alone.”

“No, you listen, you dumb fuck. I thought you’d learned your lesson last time, but you obviously need to be taught a more serious lesson now.” He grabbed Robbie’s shoulder, the one he’d just stabbed, and squeezed, pulling Robbie forward. “Get moving. We’re heading down to the water.” He turned back toward me. “You lead now, pretty boy,” he said to me. “Keep those fucking hands on the top of your head and no funny moves or your lover here gets the knife through his jugular. Capeesh?”

“Y-yeah,” I said, starting to walk through the parking lot toward the waterfront.

He steered us through the dark, down some steps, around a few corners. The whole time I listened to their footfalls behind me, Robbie’s heavy breathing, wondering how badly he was stabbed, how much he was bleeding. But I didn’t dare look back at all.

When we got to the dock, he told me to stop. He stepped closer, his left hand on Robbie’s shoulder, still squeezing it, the blood seeping between his fingers, Robbie wincing under the grasp. Dillon then placed the hand with the knife in it on my shoulder so that the blade touched my neck.

“On your fucking knees, boy,” he said to me.

I froze, just stared at him, feeling the tip of the blade against the side of my neck. I didn’t move.

Dillon kneed me hard between the legs and I doubled over, seeing bright spots of light in my vision. He pushed down on my back and I folded to my knees, still hunched over, gasping for air.

I didn’t look up, but could hear Dillon saying something in a laughing tone, and the distinct sound of his zipper coming down.

Things started to happen really slowly at that point. I remember hearing Robbie’s voice, a strangled, frustrated cry saying. “No. Not again. No more. No more.”

I started to look up at that point and saw Robbie grabbing Dillon by the throat with one hand and wrestling the knife hand with his other. Caught completely by surprise, Dillon stumbled back. It was only then that I realized Robbie had succeeded in stabbing him. Dillon held a hand to the blood seeping out from a puncture wound in his stomach.

Robbie ran at him, the knife extended, and the blade glanced off his chest as Dillon flung himself back. In a single, fluid motion, Dillon hit the dock, rolled, pulled a small handgun from a holster beneath his jacket and let off a single shot.

It was Robbie’s turn to stumble backwards, holding onto his own stomach, looking down at the blood which started to pour from where he’d been shot.

I still could barely breathe as I watched this scene unfold from my knees. But even if I hadn’t been hoofed in the nuts, I’m not sure if I would have moved. The whole moment still had that strange murky dream-like quality to it as I watched. I’m not sure if I would have actually been able to pull myself out of that state and do something.

Robbie looked up at Dillon who by then had the gun trained on me as he was getting to his feet. I remember noticing the gun pointed in my direction, but not actually registering what it meant. It was like I was watching some foreign language film and not completely understanding what was going on.

Robbie let out a hoarse battle cry and rushed at Dillon, the blade extended. Dillon turned the gun back towards Robbie and it went off as Robbie tackled him. I didn’t see where that second bullet went, but I did see Robbie manage to sink the blade deep into Dillon’s neck before the two of them fell backwards off the dock and splashed into the water.

When I finally managed to drag myself to my feet and walk over to the edge of the dock there were barely ripples visible in the moon light.

I’m not sure how long I stood there, looking down at the water before I realized that neither one of them was going to surface. I remember whispering for Robbie, wondering if he was okay and just hiding somewhere, under the dock, or treading water quietly, just out of my line of sight.

“Robbie,” I called a bit louder. “Robbie,” and I started to break down and cry, huge, hiccoughing sobs, as I realized that he was gone and I’d never see him again. I thought back to that first day in class, when he made us stand on his desk to see the class from a different viewpoint. I thought of all the new viewpoints he'd afforded me, all the hope he'd given me. Now gone. And I cried.

I finally got up and moved when I heard sirens in the distance.

I ran off down the boardwalk that led to Bell Park, and from there crossed Paris street near the hospital, walked through that neighbourhood, then meandered through side streets mostly on my way back to the downtown area and started walking along the highway that Elm Street turned into, on my way towards Highway 144 and Levack.