I Punched a Girl: Part I
There was blood everywhere, and tears in her eyes.
God, that sounds like the chorus to a Hawthorne Heights song.
I didn’t mean to punch Shelby Waters in the face. I didn’t mean to break her nose. I didn’t even know I could break noses. I couldn’t even snap a pencil in two, which was pretty embarrassing when I tried in front of my sister, then the next day she told her whole second grade class.
Maybe I should back up.
I’ve been balls-to-the-wall in love with Shelby Waters for two years, ever since she transferred to my high school and lent me a pencil during sophomore year English. She smiled at me, and that was it. It was all over. I’ve never been able to look at another girl. I think I still have it. The pencil, I mean. It’s pink. Don’t tell her, though, ‘cause I don’t want her to think I’m a stalker. I’m not a stalker. I mean, I stare at her a lot, but I don’t wait outside her house in the rain dressed like the Unabomber.
She’s insanely beautiful. She’s got the body of Christina Hendricks, well, maybe less hourglass-y, but big boobs, and definitely not as tall, Shelby’s only like 5’1’’. But she’s still beautiful. She’s got this really long brown hair that only curls at the ends. It smells like strawberries. Her teeth are perfect and she’s really pale but her cheeks are always so rosy and she has this extensive collection of vintage marching band jackets that she wears all the time with mini skirts and God, her legs are fantastic and her eyes are so huge and they’re this weird combination of colors, like blue-brown, almost purple, and and and she’s… I ran out of breath. She’s gorgeous.
She eats blackberries for lunch everyday. One time I brought blackberries to school, you know, as some sort of lame conversation starter. I was planning on offering her some. But as I walked to her table in the cafeteria, I wondered what I was doing. If she already had blackberries, why was I giving her more? So I put them in my locker and… wait, are they still in there?
Anyway, back to the point at hand, the thing that ruined my life. I punched her in the face today.
See, there’s this guy named Todd. Todd is a dick. Todd’s been making my life hell since we were in eighth grade. He bleaches his hair and parts it to the side and gels it, it’s so gay, but he constantly calls me gay. He wears Ralph Lauren polos every day, too. So he pretty much looks like a mannequin. A mannequin that tans every day, like The Situation. A douchebag mannequin. A douchequin.
Dochequin Todd has had several sexual conquests. Don’t ask me how, the guy looks like a flight attendant, but he has. Recently, he developed an interest in Shelby, and Shelby, like all other girls that apparently get hot and bothered for gay guys, fell into his trap.
Todd always sets the same trap for girls he wants to sleep with. He calls it “study buddying”, which isn’t even a good name. Basically, he uses his shitty GPA to goad girls into tutoring him in whatever subject he may or may not be taking. Regardless of their knowledge in whatever school subject he’s chosen, they always agree to it. After building up the sexual tension for a few days, he says, “Listen, Insert-Female-Name-Here. I have a confession to make. I don’t really need you to teach me Latin/Physics/English/Trig/Home Ec./Whatever. I need you to teach me… how to love again.”
Then he seals the deal.
I kid you not, he pulls that shit like clockwork. And it always works. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve become sexist against women’s intelligence.
So this morning, I opened my locker and six dildos spilled out. Six. And I’m the one who’s gay? Yeah, right.
After I found my new dildo collection, I went to tell Andy, my best friend since eighth grade (wouldn’t you know it? We bonded over hatred for Todd), who’s been telling me to stand up for myself for five years. Along the way, though, I saw Todd talking to Shelby, saying, “You’re so good at American history, Shelby. Would you mind tutoring me?”
The whole memory seems so hazy, but I remember stomping up to Todd, having him mutter something about how I should be off enjoying my new dildos somewhere, when I cocked my fist and hurtled it toward his smile with all my might. In slow motion, like in The Matrix, he swerved out of the way at the last minute and my fist went smashing into Shelby’s shocked face.
Then, there was blood everywhere, and tears in her eyes.
Everything was quiet for a minute. She had fallen to the ground and blood was spouting from her nose onto the linoleum and onto one of her cool jackets, which of course had to be white on a day like today. I stood there, frozen like the cafeteria food pre-oven, my jaw agape.
Todd was the first to react, of course. “Oh my God, Shelby! Are you okay? What did that dick do to you?”
I’m the dick? He’s the one who swerved out of the way and let a girl take the punch.
I found myself on the floor, picking her up by the shoulders and putting my arm around her. Somehow, punching her in the face had finally caused me to garner the strength to talk to her.
She looked at me with her big purply eyes, clearly confused, partially angry, and with crimson rivers cascading from her nose.
“Here, let me take you to the nurse’s office,” I said as I dragged her down the hall.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Todd asked in a He-Man voice and put his hands on his hips in a girly fashion. “Shelby, here, come with me, I’ll take you to the nurse.”
She didn’t go toward him when he tried to usher her away from me.
“Shelby!” He called from down the hall. “Don’t go with that asshole! He punched you in the face!”
Shelby and I didn’t talk on the rest of the way to the nurse’s office, but it was okay, it just gave me time to actually realize what was happening. I had my arm around Shelby Waters. I was touching her, she was walking with me, leaning on me. It was heaven, minus the hell of smashing her cute little nose into bits.
When we got there, she sat on a bench outside and I barged into the office, saw a kid barfing his lungs out, got nauseous at the sight of his nausea, and got pushed out by the school nurse, who looked like a man but was technically a woman.
“Wait outside!” she barked in a raspy, I’ve-been-smoking-for-twenty-years-voice.
I closed the door behind me and stood against it timidly. I stared at the empty seat on the bench next to Shelby. Slowly, I made my way to it and sat down, holding in my breath the whole time.
“It’ll just be a minute,” I squeaked.
Holding her nose in her hand, she just stared at me unrelentingly.
I felt my face get hot. Swallowing became difficult. My breathing got shallow and I started to sweat.
Then I realized her nose was still bleeding.
I abruptly stood up, cried, “Tissues!” and ran down two hallways to the men’s restroom.
Bursting through the door, I neglected to notice the wet floor sign and slipped and fell on my face, but quickly scrambled to get back up and unrolled an armful of toilet paper.
I sprinted out of the bathroom, slipping but not falling, streams of toilet paper flailing behind me as I collapsed onto the bench and tossed the white heap onto Shelby.
She stared at it for a minute, then tore off a small amount and held it to her nose.
“Has the nurse come out yet?” I asked, winded.
She slowly shook her head.
“Oh, uh… okay,” I said.
“This is enough toilet paper to mummify someone,” she said.
“Oh,” I said.
She gave a faint smile. “It was a joke.”
“Oh!” I laughed breathily, then stammered, “I really am sorry, though, about… about…” I pointed to her nose, “…that.”
She smiled weakly.
Oh God, I thought. She hates me.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
“Who, me?” I asked, shocked. I pointed to myself like an idiot.
“Um, there’s no one else here,” she said.
“Oh, right,” I muttered. “I’m Cavan.”
“Gavin?” she asked.
She nodded. “Interesting. I’m Shelby.”
“I know,” I blurted. “I mean, um, uh…”
The nurse threw open the door with her manly biceps. “It’ll be a few more minutes.”
“A few more minutes?” I asked. I couldn’t believe it. “Look at her nose! It’s still bleeding. She needs urgent care.”
The she-man scowled at me. “Anyhow, you shouldn’t be here anyway. That nose is broken. If you wait a while longer, I’ll call a doctor, but I can write you a pass if you want’a go to the hospital.”
Shelby nodded eagerly.
“Oh, uh, you want me to call your parents?” she asked.
“No, thanks, I can call them,” Shelby said.
The nurse rummaged through her pockets for a pad of paper and wrote something down with her chunky hands.
“Herya go,” she said, handed it to her, and shuffled back into her office.
Shelby and I sat in silence for a moment.
I cleared my throat. “Uhhhm, do you need a ride? To the hospital?”
She stared at me blankly. “I have a car.”
“Me too,” I said like an idiot. I mentally slapped my forehead. “It’s just… do you think you’re in any shape to drive?”
Her brow furrowed and she looked deep in thought, then sighed. “No, you’re probably right. I shouldn’t drive. I’ll call my mom for a ride.”
“I can take you,” I murmured. “It’s kind of the least I could do after…um…being the reason for you going there in the first place.”
She paused and tilted her head to the side. “Okay.”
“W-what?” I gulped.
“Okay,” she said. “Let’s go.”