At the end of last week I attended my first thrilling installment of golf practice. It wasn’t horrible in that I didn’t have to change my clothes, or get all fucking tired and sweaty, or worry too much about prickish jocks and their brutish, single-minded desire to crush the hope and life out of all who surround them and are different from them—but I realized after just a little while that I didn’t really want to be there and that I’m not really any good at golf. On the brighter side, being good at golf isn’t really an issue when you play on my school’s golf team; the fighting Panthers won’t be taking home any kind of fucking golf cup or whatever the hell the trophy is for putting. Not this year, anyway. Certainly not with Pendel on the team.
It seems silly to call the teacher in charge of this twice-weekly nature walk a “coach,” but we do. Coach Brody is short and thin and rat-like, but he’s not overtly evil—in fact he seems entirely harmless—he’s simply misguided and strange. He seems to think that the high school golf team matters and I don’t think he’s willing to let this delusion go. You wouldn’t believe how many times this guy walked me through a tee-off, and I was knocked over to witness that the one-hundredth demonstration was just as inspired as the first, no matter how half-hearted my efforts. Man, he was FULL of the healing properties of golf, totally consumed by it’s healthful benefits, and this obsession left him so completely bereft of self awareness that—and I swear to freaking god it’s true—he carried his extra golf balls around in the right front pocket of his tight plaid pants, and he always carried two, and they were down right by his crotch, and you could see every dimple in each ball. And in helping me get my swing down (a process which was not helped by the fact that I couldn’t give the slightest bit of shit about my swing), he kept standing behind me and putting his hands on my hips, which fucking FREAKED MY SHIT the first time he did it, but I quickly realized that this joker probably hasn’t thought about any kind of sex in two+ decades. I still felt completely invaded and soon told him that if he planned on keeping his fucking hands he needed to keep them off me.
Brody was taken aback by that, but I got some guffaws out of Sugarbear and Johnson, both of whom have become a point of despair for Brody, it seems. He has totally given up on their swings, and mostly we just walked around taking swigs of cheap wine that we poured into empty Pepsi bottles, occasionally hitting some balls into the woods or sand traps. It was good for some laughs. We got pretty toasted. Best of all, Coach Brody is so into his own head that he barely even noticed I had joined the team. I think he’s happy anyone gives a shit at all. The irony is we DON’T give a shit, and that’s exactly why we are there. Maybe that’s why everyone loves golf. It’s the only reason I can think of.
When practice was over, he simply walked back towards the direction of the school. He said, “Okay, fellahs, that’s enough for today.” Then he turned on his heels and left. It was pretty abrupt. I think he thought we were walking behind him.
I sat around the last green with Sugarbear and Johnson until well after sunset. There’s a small lake right nearby—supposedly it’s meant to throw off your game or some such lame-ass bullshit—but actually it’s very pretty, and I could tell why a person might like to trip acid there. It’s bound to be a good time.
When the wine was almost gone, I got the usual urge to talk more than I should while drinking and I started to tell Sugarbear (and Johnson) about something that happened a few months ago: Clare and I are like two years apart almost exactly, and her friends are all right around 15. Like any other girl, she has her friends over to stay the night all the time. So once, this girl named Vanessa comes over. She’s very pretty and very blonde, and she has the darkest eyes…they’re fucking crazy. It’s like I see the middle of the universe in her face. But you know, she’s very young, just barely not a girl anymore, and I try not to think about Clare’s friends too much as a rule anyway, mainly because I would hate to fuck up Clare anymore than I already have. I guess what the hell would it be to her if I make time with one of those girly girls—and besides, I know so many guys dating 15 year-olds, but oh well. I have enough problems. But Vanessa…wow. Trust me, if you saw her, you would want to change yourself—and then you would find it impossible, and then you would be crushed with the realization that a girl like her could never be yours, and then you would throw yourself off of a building. And as you lay crushed on the pavement and bleeding out of your anus, it would dawn on you that none of the buildings in your town are tall enough to be lethal, and then you would truly rue the day you came to believe you could win the heart of Vanessa.
So that night, she and Clare are watching TV, and I’m sitting on the big chair behind them. I think they were watching the fucking Hills or some such horrendous fucking malarkey. I was just spacing out, until Vanessa started brushing her hair. Before I knew it, I was fixated. It was hypnotizing. Her face was so blank, bathed in the TV’s unnatural light, and her movements so graceful, fluid, and automatic; she was one of the most beautiful machines I had ever seen. I don’t know how long I had been staring at her, maybe like five minutes or something, but it was long enough that I had forgotten there was a room around us, or even a world around us, and so I barely noticed when she said to me—without her eyes even leaving the television or the expression on her face changing—she says to me, “Stop looking at me, creepy Pendel.”
Creepy Pendel. Is that what I am?
When I went to bed, I couldn’t sleep. She filled my vision even with my eyes closed. I tried like a freaking five-year-old to close my eyes even tighter, trying to block my imagination from seeping through the cracks of my lids, but it didn’t work. So I tip-toed into Clare’s room and just watched Vanessa breathe. With her motionless except for the slow movement of her chest, it was even more hypnotic than before. It was like she had never even been born; like she was out in space floating, waiting, without orders yet given, no hopes or fears yet in her; she had no need to be peaceful—having not yet been made aware of the shitty horrors of the world, and thusly had no need to be at peace—and so even peace was absent from her face. And again, I don’t know how long I had been staring. I was maybe even sleeping at her side when she said, so quietly that it thundered in my ears, “You’re scaring me.”
So I went back to my room. Probably I fell asleep. Who knows and who cares.
When I was done telling that story, Johnson was just looking at the ground with a strange smile at the corner of his lips (which I get A LOT, btw), and Sugarbear was shaking his head. “Pendel, you have got to get it together, man.” That was all he had to say about my story. Most likely it’s all I deserve.
I think I write too much for one post. I’ve been looking around at the other blogs out there (it’s a big step for me to come right out and use the word blog in relation to myself), and none of them seem to go on as endlessly as I do. I think I must bore the shit out of people.