For You, I Would.
"I guess my biggest character flaw is I'm not who I want to be.
"See, there's this local band called the Gollymommies. And they have this song they play a lot at gigs called, 'For You, I Would.' The last line of the song is almost whispered by the lead singer. He sings, 'For you, I would. Of course I would. You're the purest girl I know.' Well I happened to have a recording of this song because the Gollymommies had been giving away copies at gigs. I gave it to my roommate for a listen one time, and she was automatically in love with it. I told her the recording was hers, since I didn't care for it that much.
"One night she was singing loudly along with it in the living room, and I was wondering what it was about the the song that she found so captivating. I asked her what the word 'pure' meant to her. She reached for a dictionary, but I told her, 'No. I want to know what it means to you.' After a slight pause, she replied, 'Clean and good. Abstinent against evils. Never drinks or does drugs. Virgin. Religious. Beautifully perfect. Not contaminated with anything. Clean.' Later, I pulled out my notebook and recorded her answer. I realized she had probably gotten carried away throughout the whole thing. But, if she was right, I wondered if that was what wanna-be rock stars like the Gollymommies wanted. Assuming, of course, that the song was from their perspective.
"I went on a quest to find out how the Gollymommies defined the word 'pure.' I would not settle until I knew. I can't tell you now why it was so important to me, but I was driven. So, I think the weekend after that, I found myself at a Gollymommies gig at Pat's Bar on the corner of Main and Barry. It was there that I realized why my roommate loved the song so much. The lead singer was gorgeous. I couldn't believe I hadn't seen it before. I had definitely been to more Gollymommies gigs than her. When the set ended, I did not stay to talk to the Gollymommies. Instead, I went home and fell asleep.
"The next morning, over breakfast, I asked my roommate if she considered herself pure. I didn't see why she wouldn't. She came from a nice, religious family. I had never seen her watch anything bad on television, let alone utter a swearword. I knew she had gotten awesome grades in high school, and she had gotten into a great college. But alas, she quietly shook her head 'no.'
"I felt really bad for her. It was all too easy to fall madly in love with that singer. Just the way he moved was mind-boggling. And to think that he didn't even have that great of a voice. But she listened to the recording I had given her over and over. I figured she must have pictured him when she listened to it. Well, I had an appointment with my therapist that night. Miss Spencer, the woman I used to see, always had little 'in-session' assignments for me. That night, she wanted me to tell her all of what I considered my character defects – or flaws. I took a deep breath and listed a few. 'I'm a huge procrastinator, I'm lazy, I'm never helpful, I'm always getting in the way, I'm ugly, I have manners, but I never use them, and I suck at math.' She patted my hand and said these exact words, 'You're human.'
"I was fucking pissed, to say the least. Ask me what I think are my flaws, and then say that shit? Well...you can imagine. So I got in my car and went where I always went when I was fucking pissed. Tommy's. Tommy is the guy I had been hopelessly trying to convince myself was my boyfriend for over a year. He was always strung out on pills. Tommy acted crazy when he was on pills, which was – allow me to repeat myself – always. He always moved really slowly, stared at walls, and claimed he could see into the future. He mostly acted over-calm, but sometimes he would break out into screaming fits. He would never hurt me, though. Anyway, Tommy was sitting in his recliner and staring at his blank T.V. screen when I barged into the place. He had some old, weird, slow music playing loudly, the type that uses violins. The place smelled like smoke.
"Right off the bat, it calmed me. I sighed and let my shoulders drop. After awhile of standing silently on his welcome rug, I stepped in. I hurried over to his chair and pulled him up by the hands. After a second, he stood up easily on his own, but he still gave me a blank stare. I put my hand on his shoulder, and placed his hand on my back. He followed my feet as we danced to that sad music. It seemed like forever that we did that. I was thinking of my roommate and how she must be so deeply in love that she felt in-human. And she wouldn't believe what my therapist had told me.
"Finally, Tommy, who was still staring into my eyes with no apparent expression whatsoever, put his cheek to me cheek and whispered, so softly, 'I hate to be the one to tell you this, but the human race will not last much longer. The world won't end, but we'll be erased.' His head dropped onto my shoulder as if collapsing, 'How much time do I have, Tommy?' I whispered back. 'Presumably...a few more years,' he said into my neck. 'You'll be okay until then,' I reassured both him and myself.
"Tommy delivered me that night. I believed what he said to be absolutely true. So I got fucked up with him. And now I'm delivered, I've arrived.
"And my biggest character flaw is I'm not who I want to be."
She looked up. In the movies, and theoretically, the other graduates would get up out of their chairs and grandly applaud. She looked up, and that just isn't what happened. She calmly folded the piece of paper three times and stuck it in her pocket, in the utter silence.