I was getting very stressed about what had happened to Yvonne, but I figured I’d finally find out when I saw her at school. There was a problem with that. There had been a meningitis outbreak in the District while I was away, so the School Board closed everything down for two weeks. No one was allowed in any of the buildings and we had to take our classes through remote learning. During all that time, there was not a hint of her. Her phone was still disconnected and I had absolutely no other means of getting a hold of her. I knew that she posted pictures online, so she must belong to some picture-sharing forums. But she had never told me which forums or her user ID.
To make matters worse, my parents were home that entire time. Dad was in and out a lot, but Mom was planted in the living room doing a bunch of contract work. For some reason, she took a real interest in my remote learning and watched me while I was working and checked my assignments. I was thinking: WTF? She’s been blowing me off for the last five years and now all of a sudden she’s interested in what I’m doing?
My parents tied up even more of my time by insisting I go out to eat with them. Mom started asking me a bunch of questions about how I was doing and what my life was like at school. After a while, I realized what was going on. I was about to graduate and leave home for college, and she knew I wasn’t going to be around much longer. She had blown her opportunity to spend time with me over the past five years, because she had been sitting around drinking on cruise ships and beaches. It suddenly hit home what she had done. Now she was trying to make up for it. Uh, a little bit late, Mom. Still, I felt I needed to indulge her. I knew we wouldn’t be seeing much of each other after I graduated, so I’d try to make her happy for the moment.
I had wanted to tell Mom about my relationship with Yvonne. I came close a couple of times, but it worried me that she had dropped off the face of the earth. Where the fuck was she? I decided to hold-off on saying anything to my parents until I made contact with her, and then hopefully I could bring her over to the house to introduce her. It would be embarrassing and weird to talk about her, only to have her never show up again.
In the back of my mind I always had that doubt, that Yvonne could disappear someday. In spite of all the time we had spent together, she had shared almost nothing about her personal life. She had deliberately made herself hard to track. The only reason I even knew about her job was her t-shirts. But I knew nothing else. If she disappeared, I’d have a hard time finding her. Was it possible that’s exactly what had happened, that she had decided to ditch me? Was it possible that she had planned to ditch me all along?
When school started up again, there were only three weeks remaining for us graduating seniors. The teachers were frantic to get us back on the class schedule so we could finish on time. The whole mood of school had changed and everything was rush-rush-rush. There wouldn’t even be a senior prom that year, partly because of the meningitis scare and partly because the planning got messed up with the District being shut down for two weeks.
Yvonne never showed up. I didn’t know what to do, because I didn’t know who to ask about what had happened to her. The day I got back to school, I saw that her locker had been cleaned out. That’s when I knew, for sure, she was gone. But, what happened? Why would she have just disappeared? Why didn’t she say something to me? Even just left a goodbye text, or something? How could she do that to me?
I didn’t know who I could ask. I was afraid to talk to any of her friends ’cause they’d want to know why I’d be worried about her. It sounds totally stupid now, but in my school, we just didn’t do stuff like talking to members of rival cliques. I couldn’t go over to Eastwood to look for her, ’cause I didn’t know where she lived. I mean, I knew that she lived somewhere in the Eastwood Apartment complex, but we’re talking about fourteen huge buildings and thousands of apartments. I didn’t know where Gi-Gi’s was, or else I would have gone there to look for her. Anyhow, I didn’t have much time to go out wandering around if I didn’t know where I was going, not with my parents bugging me and the frenetic make-up schedule at my school.
I was very hurt and very angry, and assumed the worst. Yvonne must have decided to run off and ditch me. That was the only explanation. And to think, that was after I had talked about building a life with her. Fine. Fuck you, Yvonne. If that’s how you’re gonna be with me, then fuck you. In my anger, I deleted her pictures from my cell phone and bought a new SIM card. I realized that I didn’t have anything else to remember her by, but I was in a destructive mood. When I deleted those pictures, I deleted her. Fuck you, Yvonne.
So, when I graduated, I was completely alone. I no longer gave a shit about the girls in my group, not even enough to pretend. I quit hanging out with them and told them the truth, that my parents were back and Mom wanted to spend time with me. That small piece of information really pissed them off. All this time I had an entire house to myself, with a hot tub and a pool, and I never invited them to come over and party?
The three last weeks of school blew by and that was it. My graduation ceremony was about a big a let-down as it could possibly be. I didn’t talk to anyone and left with my parents as soon as it was over. I didn’t bother to go to any after-graduation parties or talk to any of my classmates. I did not give any of my former friends my new cell phone number and I did not even take part in the high school annual signing. I was done with school and done with being a teenager. I needed to move on. I’d be leaving for California in a few weeks and starting over. I’d never see any of those people again and that was fine with me. I wanted to get as far away from high school as I could, both physically and mentally. I’d make a clean break with everyone and everything.
I decided to enroll in the summer session at DSU and move out to Davenport early. I figured there was no point in spending three months just sitting around at home, doing nothing and getting depressed. I’d live on campus and give up the idea of having my own apartment. Mom agreed with me on that and told me she wasn’t sure Dad was willing to pay all that extra money for my own place, so that was one fight with my parents that I avoided.
The first evening I was here, I looked at the sunset over the ocean from my dorm window and thought about how different my life in California would be. I started thinking: maybe it’s just as well things with Yvonne worked out the way they did. I’m still hurt about it, but now I can start something totally new in Davenport.