Picture Me Gone- meg rosoff


And I think, OK. So a dog isn’t the most important thing. But a dog like Honey loves one person completely, unwaveringly, with perfect faith. That has to be more important than most things.

And Gabriel, I say. He has Gabriel too. Gil says nothing but I know the answer. The answer is that Gabriel can’t save Mathew any more than Gil can, or Honey. Or Jake. But we are all woven together, like a piece of cloth, and we all support each other, for better or worse. Gabriel is just a baby but eventually he will see the world and his father as they are: imperfect, dangerous, peppered with betrayals and also with love.

I cannot think about these things any longer. I droop against Gil and inhale the familiar scent of him, and he puts his arm around my shoulders and tells me to go to sleep now, not to worry about anything.

the world will trundle along, he says, and kisses the top of my head. Despite us thinking it must grind to a halt. The world has seen worse than us, Perguntadora. It is not so easily shocked.

I rest against him, aware of how tightly we are bound together, through thick and thin. For the moment I have stopped thinking of a time when we will no longer have each other. Marieka was right to tell me to take care of Gil. He and I will watch over one another as long as we are alive, and Marieka will watch over us both, each of us according to our capacity for care. I will not always be happy, but perhaps, if I`m lucky, I will be spared the agony of adding pain to the world.

And then I close my eyes and drift off to the great white noise of the engines, dreaming of a future I know nothing about.




I swung my backpack over my shoulder and probably whispered “Excuse me,” but when I moved around him , I purposely avoided his eyes. 
I had the door in sight, ready to leave, when he grabbed my wrist and spun me around. 
He said my name, and when I looked into his eyes the joking was gone. 
I yanked my arm, but his grip was tight.
Across the street, the neon sign of Restless Videos flickers erratically. 

I know who Hannah’s talking about now. I`ve seen his wrist grabbing stunt before. It always makes me want to grab him until he let’s the girl go.
But instead, every time, I pretend not to notice.
What could I do, anyway?

Then the jerk let go and put his hand on my shoulder.
“I`m only playing, Hannah. Just relax.”

Okay, let’s dissect what happened. I thought about it the entire walk home from Blue Spot, which is probably why I don’t remember which candy bar I bought that day.

I sit on the chipped curb outside of Blue Spot, setting the orange soda next to me and balancing the Butterfinger on my knee. Not that I have an appetite for anything sweet.
So why did I buy it? Was it because Hannah used to buy candy from the same rack? And why does that matter? I went to the first red star. And the second. I don’t need to go everywhere or do everything she says.

First his words-then his actions. 
Statement number one: “I`m only playing, Hannah.”
Translation: Your ass is my play -toy. You might think you have final say over what happens to your ass, but you don’t. At least, as long as I say, “I`m only playing.”

I tap one end of the candy bar, making it teeter-totter on my knee.

Statement number two: “Just relax.”
Translation: Come on, Hannah,all I did was touch you with no indication that you wanted me to touch you. If it`ll make you feel better, go ahead, you can go ahead and touch me where ever you`d like.

Now let’s talk about his actions, shall we? 

Action number one : Grabbing my ass.
Interpretation: Let me back up and say that this guy had never grabbed my ass before. So why now? My pants weren’t anything special. They weren’t overly tight. Sure, they were slung a little low and he probably got a hip shot, but he didn’t grab my hips. He grabbed my ass. 

I`m starting to understand. I`m starting to see what Hannah means. And that opens up a black hole in the pit of my stomach.

Best lips. That was another category on the list.

Alex, am I saying your list gave him permission to grab my ass? No. I’m saying it gave him an excuse. And an excuse was all this guy needed.

It wasn’t until that list came out that I even noticed Angela Romero’s lips. But after that I became fascinated by them. When I watched her giving speeches during class, I had no idea what words came out of her mouth. I just watched those lips move up and down. Mesmerized when she said things like “slippery slope,” which, behind her lips, exposed the underside of her tongue.

Action number two: He grabbed my wrist then put his hand on my shoulder.

You know, I`m not going to interpret this. I`m just going to tell you why it pissed me off. I’ve had my butt grabbed before- no big deal- but this time it was grabbed because someone else wrote my name on a list. And when this guy saw me upset, did he apologize? No. Instead, he got aggressive. Then, in the most condescending way, he told me to relax. Then he put his hand on my shoulder, as if by touching me he’d somehow comfort me. 

Here’s a tip. If you touch a girl, even as a joke, and she pushes you off, leave…her…alone. Don’t touch her. Anywhere! Just stop. Your touch does nothing but sicken her. 

The rest of Angela was nowhere near as mesmerizing as her lips. Not bad, just not mesmerizing.

Then last summer at a friend’s house, we played spin the bottle after a bunch of us agreed we were spin-the-bottle virgins. And I refused to let the game end till my spin landed on Angela. Or till her spin landed on me. When that happened, I pressed my lips, agonizingly slowly and precisely, against hers.

There are some sick and twisted people out there, Alex- and maybe I`m one of them- but the point is, when you hold people up for ridicule, you have to take responsibility when other people act on it. 

Later on Angela and I made out on her back  porch. I just couldn’t get enough of those lips.

All because of a list.

Actually, that’s not right. You didn’t hold me up for ridicule, did you? My name was on the Hot column. You wrote Jessica’s name on the Not column. You held Jessica up for ridicule. And that’s where our snowball picks up speed.

Jessica, my dear………………….you`re next.

(Cassette 1: side B, page 50-53)