Remember Last Knight

your true self


I haven’t seen Elle in person in three days. This is a record since the day I wrapped her in my arms for good. I can’t bring myself to see her, and I can barely speak to her. I’m hurting myself, and I’m worried I’m hurting her, but I need this time to… to reflect.

Since hanging out with Andy and Ayden, I’ve thought about my actions, all of them, since I was young – how could I be such a dump, a waste of everyone’s time? I was such a drag, still am. I’m just a piece of shit.

I started thinking about it – I’ve never settled before. I’ve been going to school with the same kids since the third grade, and I’d never so much as talked to or befriended more than three of them. I didn’t let people in, I didn’t talk about my home life, and I most certainly didn’t ask others about theirs. I kept my parents’ sexuality under wraps until middle school when everyone finally understood the terms “homosexual,” “gay,” and “lesbian.” I ignored the name calling and the taunts and simply let them glide by me, watching as kids disappeared from their seats to my left and right, and just waited it out. I turned to those people who didn’t give a fuck about sexuality or where you came from, just that you liked to party and that you weren’t a rat.

I completely fucked myself up. I started drinking, and smoking – what, it didn’t matter. If it got me high, it was good. If it got me completely roasted and dumb, even better. Julie and Allison noticed, but they couldn’t stop me. They grounded me and locked me in my room, but I snuck out the window. They locked the window from the outside, but I still got out – I’d shimmy through the tiny window in my closet, or clog my toilet and then slip from the house when “peeing” in the half bath. I was unstoppable, and I was a mess.

I drank, I smoked, I got high, and I slept with girls. In that order. I’d sneak off somewhere, because with my group there was always a party. I’d get a drink and a few cigarettes in, maybe a few hits, and find myself with a girl on my arm. They were never good girls. They were always tottering on full-blown drunk and trashy, with beers sloshing in their hands and their tongues in my ear. There were only ever three of them that I went far with, and I didn’t remember their names – I only remembered one name, and that was one that I didn’t sleep with.

Her name was Anna, and she was a virgin. I don’t know if she still is, either. She was a year my senior, and she had dark, brown curly hair that was tied back. She was sweet, and quiet, and completely wasted – she wanted it, and I wanted her, in that moment. But I knew better, because you see – she was a girl I couldn’t get wrapped up in, even for a second, because she was Andy’s older sister.

She was always a quiet girl, graduated top of her class the year before, doing well as a freshman in college now. She was Andy’s pretty, older sister, and she’d never had time for me, or boys in general before, but here she was – hanging on my arm, fingers wrapped loosely around a bottle of beer, her eyes bloodshot and her cheeks flushed. Andy was somewhere, and she was here, right there, leaning up to whisper in my ear, her nails raking through my hair, and I almost did it, I almost took her into the back room and did it, took everything that was hers, but I knew better.

“No, I can’t,” I said, reaching down for her hand, but taking a step back. She frowned slightly, dazed and upset, but I knew I was right. This wasn’t. So, I did what I was good at, I rejected her with all of the suave I possessed. I looked into her eyes, bringing up the side of my mouth and smiling. “You don’t want to do this, Anna. Trust me.” Then, I left the house and went home, at only ten o’clock, and slept in late the next morning.

I didn’t get my New Years Kiss from a girl that night, like I had the years before. I didn’t get anything but a phone call from Andy the next morning and a few thousand Facebook notifications about a tragic accident – Louis Campos had driven himself home the night before and crashed his car, killing himself instantly.

I hadn’t known much of Louis, he was just a guy I saw around school and around parties. I’d knew he’d had drama a few years back with a few girls, and that he got around. I went to the viewing a few days later, and stared down at his body in the casket – lifeless, pale and smelling of heavy makeup – and I’d had an epiphany.

No more. No more of this, this mess I’d made of myself. I was going to slow down, take a time out. A few more drinks and I could have been Louis, dead, my mothers weeping over my body. We had been at the same party, after all.

Later, when I was leaving the funeral home, Anna stopped me. She was dressed in a simple black dress, her coat draped over her arm. She stopped in front of me, stared up at me with her dark, dark eyes and started talking. “Thank you, Knight. For, y’know… not doing… that. For taking control of a situation that I didn’t have control of.”

Her voice was trembling some, and I felt a weird feeling come over me – there were people around us, everywhere. I wondered briefly why she was doing this here, now, but I knew it was because otherwise, when would she? I shuffled my shoulders in my shirt, looking around. I’d never felt this way before, but I associated it with middle school, and the taunting I endured because of my parents – this was how I should have felt then. Trapped. Why did I feel trapped when someone was thanking me? Why did I feel this way now?

“Andy doesn’t know. I didn’t tell him, and he hasn’t said anything about it… I guess no one relayed anything to him. Which is good, because I wouldn’t want something to break you two apart after being friends so long – over something so silly happening…”

“Nothing happened, Anna.”

She nodded. “You’re right. Nothing did happen, and I thank you for that. You know I… I wouldn’t do that. So, thank you. You’re a good guy, Knight.” Then, she reached up, arms around my neck and hugged me. I took in the scent of her hair, a peppermint smell, and thought to myself about how wrong her words were – I’m not a good guy. I’m not. I almost told her that, but she was gone.

Anna’s a sophomore in college now, somewhere across the state. I haven’t seen much of her since the viewing – her profile as she dashed upstairs at Andy’s, the back of her head as she folded clothes in their laundry room – and I didn’t mind that. I wasn’t much for awkward situations.

After Louis’ death, I did slow down. A lot. I quit smoking pot, and stuck to smoking cigarettes when I was drunk – which I only did on the weekends. I cut out my mid-week drinking at Andy’s, and cleaned myself up. I was good. I was perfect, in my opinion.

Until I met Elle.

I remember seeing Elle for the first time. Looking back, I can see how much of a mess I still was on that Friday night. I’d fucking passed out on the ground outside my car, for God’s sake, and she dragged me into her house and onto her couch! Even then, almost six months after Louis’ accident, I was still a wreck.

How could Elle deal with this, with me? I just don’t understand. I’ve been so… so… I drop my head to my hands. I haven’t been a thing, with Elle. I haven’t been a thing I used to be. Of course, of course! Of course Elle can deal with me, because I am what Anna says I am with Elle. I am a nice guy. I am a nice guy.

I let her stay at my house. I comforted her, or well – got someone to do it for me. I got through to her. I tried to help her. I dealt with her mourning of Louis, and I sat with her as she relived the last four years of her life. I rescued her from making a fool of herself at that party – I saved her from herself there. I held her when she couldn’t take the pain of her parents, and when she worried over her brother.

I don’t understand this. I’ve changed every bit of my being for Elle – ever single part of my lifestyle. I’ve done it, not looked back, not regretted it, and not troubled myself over it.

I relay this to my parents, quickly, as I sit on the edge of their bed and tell them. I tell them this and when I’m done I’m breathing in a weird way, and I can’t get enough air. I look at both of them, my eyes darting between their faces, and I wait.

“You’ve changed, yes,” my mom says. Julie nods. “For the better, actually. Look at you, right now. You’re here, talking to us. You haven’t done anything like this since you were younger – and not even then. You actually want to talk to us about your troubles, and you have troubles – and they revolve around important things. You are a good kid, Knight. I’m not just saying that because you’re my son, either. I’m saying that because it’s true, but you’re only now realizing it. We put you through a lot, being who we are, and we always encouraged you to be who you are – and I think you’ve found yourself. You found your true self, when you found love.”


I knock, and I knock, and I knock. My knuckles are hurting, but I knock still. I’m about ready to take a few steps back and toss rocks up to the side window when the door is wretched open.

It’s Elle.

I step forward into the door, barely taking more than a second to take this in.

It’s Elle.

“Hi,” she says, smiling, but I’m already close – closer. Three days right now feels like three years. I understand. I do.

The first thing I do is grab her – arms wrapping quick about her waist, pulling her closer – and the second thing is kiss her. I wanted to tell her how I felt. I wanted this, this kiss – after three days of half-ass phone calls, where I practically fell asleep on her every moment – I wanted her to understand like I understand now.

So, I hold on and hold on and hold on to Elle, the upper half of my body bent over hers, my lips moving against hers. I want her to know. I need her to know. So, finally, I let us both breath, still holding her, and I whisper.

“I love you, Elle.”
♠ ♠ ♠
So, did that clear stuff up for anyone?
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