Remember Last Knight

climb back up


Oh, how the tides change and the hours turn. It’s running on six o’clock, which means I’ve spent a whopping five hours with Elle. The five hours have rushed past us faster than the mood of the day has changed.

The food is still sitting on the table; the hotdogs are being attacked by flies, the lighter still sitting beside them, the tubes of Ritz lying out. All abandoned, of course. We’d taken refuge in the better-smelling side of our area, at the playground, where we both laid on our backs in the two lane slide. We’d been here for little over an hour and a half. Talking.

I don’t know when the conversation turned to Louis, and our pasts, but it did. I was surprised and nervous as Elle tiptoed around the conversation, seeing as she had brought it up. This had been, after all, the problem between the two of us from the first place.

“I don’t know when everything went wrong,” she said, beside me. Her voice rose up above the little divide between us, and I just stared up at the sky, wide and blue and cloudless, listening. “I mean, I don’t even understand how that whole thing started. Louis and I. I don’t understand how I could have ever got matched up with a guy like him.”

It was quiet. This is how things had been going for the last hour. Elle would speak, and then it would be quiet, and all we would hear was our breath, our bodies shifting on the slides, and the interstate a few yards away.

“Well, Louis isn’t… wasn’t dumb. He, y’know, thought with his eyes and his head and his penis. Um, well, you’re obviously not ugly, so I mean…”

“No, I understand. He was superficial. He really, honestly was, and I hated him for that. I was barely in high school and I was stressing about a lot, and he was all about the way I looked, how he looked, and how we looked together.”

She talked, and she talked, and she talked, and I listened. As she talked, all I could do was think of how little I had known Louis Campos, and how much I honestly, absolutely hate him.


I was driving, staring ahead, my eyes focusing on the car in front of me, the streetlight, the white lines. There was no music, and the AC doesn’t work. The back windows are rolled down completely, and a lone plastic bag from Walgreens is caught on a seatbelt, floating out the window. Elle is here, only completely silent as she sits, like she always sits, right shoulder leaning against the door, right leg pulled beneath her, hands knotted in her lap.

It’s quiet, and it’s the perfect stage, and I don’t stop myself from talking. I probably should, considering what I’m saying, but I don’t. I just look forward, eyes focused, mouth moving.

“I hate Louis. I hate him. I don’t care that he’s dead, because I don’t think he would have been that great in the real world. I feel for his parents, and his brothers, but I can’t feel for him. He fucked you up, and he fucked himself over in the process. I didn’t know you before all of this happened, but you talk about the changes, and when you do, I can see who you used to be and who you want to be and who you are. I hate him.

“I don’t care that you’ll probably never talk to me after this. You’ll probably think I’m crazy for not being upset that he’s dead, but he wasn’t anything to me, ever. He was that guy I saw hooking up with girls every year at parties, who got wasted and smoked and didn’t give a fuck. And really, when I think about it, Louis and I aren’t that different in that sense, because I’ve done those things. But I was never tied down, when I fooled around. When I did things, the only person it was going to hurt was me. Louis, he took people down with him. He took people with him so he could climb back up, step on them, and push them back down to the bottom.

“I remember seeing him all the time, and I heard he had a girlfriend, but I would have never in my life thought that she would be you, and that you would go through such shit. I would have never in my life imagined that anyone could do something like that to someone else. I want you to understand that you didn’t deserve that. You didn’t deserve anything that that asshole gave you.

“You, Elle, you deserve so much. You deserve someone who will like you, and love you, and hold you, and who won’t turn their back on you or push you down. You need someone who is going to put up with all of your shit, who won’t care, and who’ll be amused even by your temper. You need someone so unlike Louis, Elle. I can’t believe I’m saying this right now. I can’t believe that I can’t shut up. I mean, honestly. I’ve hooked up with people and I’ve drank and I’ve smoked and I’ve fucked up big, but for some reason lately I’ve been writing and thinking more and I just… This sounds weird. This sounds absolutely creepy and odd and you don’t ever have to talk to me again, ever, but Elle. I don’t understand why I want you.

“I want you so bad. I want to make you feel loved and wanted and protected and everything that Louis made you feel, but for real. I’m not going to step on you. I’m not going to use you. I don’t know why, but I just want you for your fuck ups and your pain and your personality and your smile and will you please, pretty please, just punch me really good, right here, so I can wake up tomorrow morning and believe this all a dream?”

I’ve stopped. Both talking and driving. I’m still pointing at the space between my eyes and mouth on the right side, looking anywhere but at the beautiful girl beside me.

My heart skips a beat when I hear her move. Okay, a punch to the face may not set me back to before I opened my mouth. I hesitantly flinch to the left, away, and I feel her breath before I hear her laugh, a few inches from my ear. My breath catches, my chest tightens, and my hand drops to my side, where Elle soon picks it up.

“Look at me,” I don’t know how, but I turn, and Elle is there. She’s sitting closer, leaning toward me, mouth closed, blue eyes open. “Thank you.” Palm warm against mine, she presses one kiss to my cheek, close to my mouth. I close my eyes. “You said everything that I’ve always thought, and I appreciate that. Thank you.”

Then, without another word, she drops my hand, opens her door, and makes a dash for her front door.
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