For Part I, go here
. . . . . .
With his hands firmly in place covering his face, Michael sat all alone in a booth in an all but deserted Johnny Rocket's. Sure, the restaurant had been closed for a half hour, but the workers could clean up around him. No one could convince him otherwise. Depression was slowly setting in through incessant flashes of past wrongdoings and mistakes. It was his most recent slip-up that was causing this particular inconsolable heartbreak. Words he wanted to take back. Images that he wanted to delete from his memory. Anger he wished he had restrained. And now, he believed in the deepest parts of his quickly-breaking heart, it was too late to fix what he had done.
Michael stood a head above most people and his long brown hair was considered beautiful by most girls (guys just told him to get a haircut). He was not muscular, but he was deceptively strong. He had an odd sense of humor that either was appreciated through belly-laughing or scoffed at through shrugs and the like. Michael was the kind of person who brought up random facts and discussed them aloud - the content filter between his brain and his mouth rarely worked. Discussions with his friends had actually led to comments like:
"Have any of you noticed that keyboards and calculators have the number 1 in the lower left and count up from there while phone keypads have the 1 on the top left and count down? Couldn't they have just come up with one way to do that?"
"Why is it a pair of underwear when it is just one item?"
"Instead of food, shouldn't we be sending condoms to the hunger-stricken areas of the world? Yeah, your kids are hungry and so are you - so stop having more children!"
Michael was not the most sensitive guy in the world either. He says himself that he doesn't want to seem "gay or anything like that," as if gentleness was a characteristic that only the homosexual maintain. He enjoyed being heard above everything else - as long as someone was listening, the guy could just go on babbling on without an end in sight.
His one soft spot was for the female gender. Michael did just about anything for any breasted individual. He was the biggest flirt amongst his compatriots and had the worst ratio of girls-hit-on to girls-laid in his group of friends. Michael talked a lot, sure, but he certainly was not everything that he claimed to be.
He had grown up in a neighborhood with two other kids, one boy and one girl. The girl and him were always closer, though, despite him being nearly two years older. She seemed to get his humor and was able to see through his assholeishness (a "term of endearment" she claimed). Michael would make fun of her freckles and she would politely mock his lack of muscles (especially when he wore cut-off, or "muscle," shirts). They grew up together and learned about everything together. They took free anatomy classes at the age of seven behind Michael's giant eucalyptus tree ("I don't have one of those!" his penis-less friend had exclaimed). They discovered elementary school hierarchy together (like, for example, "That's Sherman and he will stuff you in a trash can if you don't give him your PB&J"). Michael was a shoulder for her to cry on when her parents split up and celebrated with her when her father returned home. And they were both secretly jealous when, at their senior prom, they prepared themselves for their first sexual adventure.
It was those beloved memories that rushed through Michael's head as he wondered why he had tried to do what he did. Part of the blame he placed on his penchant for alcohol. But he had been drunk before and never had he done something so stupid, so terribly ignorant as he had this horrific Friday night.
How could Suzanne ever forgive him?