From High School to 1997
I always thought Brant Garrison and I were going to get married. Not the way that everyone knew that Dani and Caleb were sure to wed. I just had this feeling that Brant was the one. Of course, he spent most of his time coming up with reasons why it would never work out, but I was sure that one day he would embrace his true feelings.
I’ll never forget my first high school dance. I’d met Brant that summer down at the pool. Dani had decided that we needed to develop friendships with the older boys since we were going to be big bad high schoolers. I was smitten from the moment I laid eyes on him. I told Dani right away that I wanted him and I talked about him constantly to the point she called me pathetic. But despite my swooning, she insisted on setting me up with everyone except for Brant – well not everyone, just all the ones that no one else wanted. I was convinced that Brant didn’t even know my name – I was just the girl who hung around with Danielle Harris.
But then on that September night, he asked me to slow dance and I about screamed. It was the last song, too – Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry” – the long slow song. And at the end he gave me a quick kiss on the lips and said, “Goodnight Meredith.” Of course, Dani missed it because she was too busy losing her virginity to Curtis Sanders in the girl’s locker room (Except she made swear to tell people that she only let him get to second and that she didn’t lose her virginity until she met Caleb). At first I didn’t tell her. It was the only secret I kept from Danny, and I made it almost until summer. I just wanted some happy moment that she couldn’t ruin with her perfect logic – which, of course, she did when I finally told her – saying me that he was only dancing with me to make another girl jealous. Sometimes, though, I still think it may have meant something more than that.
Brant was the one that suggested I become a writer. He said I had to put my elaborate storytelling to good use. Of course, the day he found my journal and teased me for keeping a diary, he hadn’t the faintest memory of suggesting that career path.
I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the journal though. Caleb said I should write down interesting things that I saw, pulling my characters and plots from people and places that I knew. Dani said if I made a character out of her she’d have to be super fabulous; that if I portrayed her in a negative light she’d sue me for defamation. Caleb said she wouldn’t be able to sue me because I’d have changed the name and the character would only be loosely based on her. Then Dani said I should write a negative character based on her, so she could sue me and prove Caleb wrong. I’m sure she would even want him as the lawyer on the opposing side.
Caleb said if I wanted to some raw material, I should people watch. I tried a stake-out at Liza’s Pizza, but those patrons were just boring folks who couldn’t even branch out to new pizza toppings. And then I had the brilliant idea of camping out at the police station, soaking up the juicy lives of our town’s delinquents. In exchange for my presence, I brought Brant 2 slices every day for lunch. That’s how his free lunches started. Some people say it’s pathetic. Maybe they’re right. Maybe it is.