I didn’t think the last time I spoke to Michael would be in the back of the limo coming back from prom. I didn’t think about how calling him and singing some cruel song to him while my friends laughed would be the last time he heard my voice. I didn’t think about how terrible it was that I let his brother, Cory, kiss me at the bonfire at Brandi’s house. I *was* trying to get a response from him, after all. I was young and had no idea how to communicate.
Michael was so sweet, so calm, and so patient with me. We dated for five months…my first “adult” relationship. He was 20 and I was 17…and he was the first man my family approved of…it was surreal for my dad to meet and shake Michael’s hand. Michael had fled his hometown and came to Covington to try to escape the drug and alcohol abuse in his town. He worked construction, rented an apartment we fixed up together…and he worshiped the ground I walked on. My mom helped me pick out stuff for Michael’s apartment. She knew he was good for me.
I don’t even remember the fight. I don’t remember the song I called and cruelly sang to him in the limo coming back from prom. I remember my two best friends telling me that they were hanging out with him and that I should really contact him. I remember ignoring his phone calls. It was only a few days.
Cory called me that morning. I woke up to the phone ringing. The day was so bright…the sun poured through my bedroom windows.
“Michael is dead.”
I hung up on him. I stared at my phone in shock. What a fucking cruel joke to play on me.
He called again.
“Savannah, I’m serious, he died last night in a car accident. He died on County Line Road…I think he was coming to your house.”
I don’t remember the next few months. There was a funeral. I went alone. I met his mother finally…but I knew no one else. No one comforted me when I cried. His mom spoke to the crowd and said her radio alarm went off and played “Only the Good Die Young” that morning, and she knew Michael was looking down at her and smiling.
Cory didn’t come to the funeral. We never spoke again.
Some details came out about the accident. Michael had gone to a party and got drunk. He hit on a girl at the party and it turned out it was the host’s girlfriend. So the bunch of drunk rednecks chased him with baseball bats to his truck and chased him from the party….there was a telephone pole…
Oh. It gets worse.
A few months after his death, a teenage boy came into the pizza shop where I worked. He hit on me repeatedly. I went home with him. I didn’t give a fuck who I slept with at this point. It didn’t matter to me after Michael died.
I saw the boy a few times. One time, after he climbed off of me in one of the worst displays of male virility I’ve ever seen, he asked if I wanted to smoke some pot. I said no and walked outside. One of friends came down into the basement and plopped down on the still-warm couch next to this pot smoking waste of my time.
I listened while I sat outside. The friend was talking.
“Do you remember when his truck hit that pole? Remember how it burst into flames? He must’ve died so slowly. Serves him right, fucking asshole…hitting on Ashley like that…too bad y’all broke up anyway…”
“Yeah, man, good thing my dad is the sheriff, we could’ve been fucked for ramming his truck like that. But my dad fixed the paperwork. Says it will never come out. Ol’ boy just goes down in history as a drunk driver with shitty taste in women.”
Realizing that I slept with Michael’s killer, I stood up, got into my car, and drove away.