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High Above Me




She's so high
high above me;
she's so lovely.
She's so high
Like Cleopatra
Joan of Arc
Or Aphrodite

- "She's So High", Tal Bachman


She says she doesn't know how

Hell, I don't know how.

And I know you can't believe that, but it's true. I've never wanted anything like this before. Well, not really. I mean, Torres

Torres was wrong. Torres was dumb, and childish well, as childish as that could be, in some sick, demented sort of way. But it was just plain stupid tonto and it happened and now I find myself wishing that it hadn't. But I've put my past behind me. Right?


I was an hombre from the barrio I was tough, I was part of the gang, one of the guys. Everyone knew me, everyone knew not to mess with me. It was just the way it was. And whatever I wanted Well, whatever I wanted I pretty much got. You know, in the way of the hormone thing. I got the urge, there were just plenty of nice-lookin' chicas out there. A one-night stand was all I wanted, was all they wanted; it was nice, almost. I scare myself sometimes when I realize that, but it was nice.

The freedom. Neither of us cared we were never going to really "see" each other again, we were never going to do it again, and that was the way it was. I was free, to pick and choose, and I never wanted anything more.

Except for Torres, but you know what?

I never really wanted that.

I think I was in it really more for the principle of the thing; that's another loco idea, you know? Gettin' all worked up over some principle. Principles make people do funny things, make them do things they regret later.

So does love.

But love? I wasn't even thinkin' of that, and I knew it then just as well as I know it now, only I think I wouldn't admit it to myself.

Hell, there's a lot of things I won't admit to myself.

But that's not the issue here. What is the real issue? Torres? Nothing. I maybe felt something, but like I said, it wasn't love. I don't even know if it was like, all that much. It just was, and neither of us was committed, neither of us was really in it for anything more than the occasional good night and maybe the something bigger. Maybe the gang thing. But that was it.

So I put that all behind me, and I come here.

Sure, I had a brush with Torres, with the old hombres, twice, actually. And man, was she pissed at me. But hey, whaddaya expect? I'd be pissed at me too, ya know? Eh, I probably deserved that. And there ain't much in the way of that that I'll admit I deserve. She'd put it behind her; now I was just one of the other guys the bad guys, no one to her.

And I realized that she was no one to me. Not like that. And she never had been.

So I got it all behind me, all worked out.

And sure, there was Paige. My Country Mouse. She was so nice, so clean, so pretty and innocent. None of the other girls here really appealed to me; sure, it was nice to look at 'em, 'd be heaven to catch a glimpse of 'em, ya know, "without apparel", 'cause all these superheoine types got the looks. But Monet was too childish and prissy, although she could look very nice sometimes. And Jubilee Dios, like that was going to happen. She was cute, in a little kid sort of way. Liked to break the rules, got along with her fine. But more, no. And Frost? Gotta admit, give a guy his fantasies, but I know reality when it stares me in the face. No way.

Paige, though Paige was what pulled at me. If I could get her, man what a catch!

But there was Jono.

Now don't get me wrong Jono's the closest thing I've ever had to a best bud. He is my best bud, if the occasion's right and I'm thinkin' properly. Which ain't often enough, I suppose. And the guy's my friend. So when Paige goes for him when he goes for Paige, I lay off.

I can't believe it, but I lay off. Somehow I'd changed, somehow in putting my past behind me, I'd seen that occasionally, there was someone else in the universe beside yourself. Scary as hell, really.

But I laid off, 'cause the poor guy deserved a chance at something like that. Me, I knew that I could just walk into town and get any girl I wanted.

Hell, who was I kidding? I was freaking grey for Christ's sake! Had I looked normal, then there was no doubt. And there were those handy little image inducers, although they could have done just as nicely for Jono as they did for me. But still, I had more of a chance.

Mama Espinosa didn't raise no dummy, though. Paige wanted him, and he wanted Paige. It was obvious that she didn t give two f***s about me, and I knew enough to keep my feelings, pointless as they were, to myself. She was more'n that, you know? I'd like to think that after all I'd been through, I was more'n that too, sometimes.

And I told myself that they were together, although I don't think they ever really got through it all. It wasn't meant to be. They couldn t work it out. It was beginning to fall apart, and I just sat in the wings, smiling to myself; I knew it'd happen eventually. I'd been patient, I'd been a good little hijo, and now that Paigey and Jono were about to break it off I could have her. How well everything'd worked out, I thought.

Sure, I felt bad for Jono. But not that bad somehow I just couldn't feel as bad as I felt I should. Messed up, innit?

So I was just waiting for them to break it off, waiting to go in to Paige when she was cryin' it off and then she'd see how attractive I was, how much she wanted me, and this Jen girl shows up. Not my type, totally not my type. Too weird and artisty and pale and out of it. But immediately she has it for Jono, that was painfully obvious. Annoyingly obvious, almost, and the angst starts all over again, worse than it ever was. 'Cause see, Jono and Paige aren't quite done yet, not officially over, and Jen can't stand that, and Paige, she sees someone trying to move in on her crumbling relationship and gets all possessive and man, the sparks were ready to fly.

Women. Huh. I'll never understand 'em. Not in a million years.

Well, the whole thing was quite amusing, I thought. Except for poor Jono, who didn't have a clue about what to do. Poor guy. I really did feel bad for him then. But I couldn't let that show, couldn't let on 'cause I wanted Paige as soon as the whole thing was over, and I knew he'd be at least a little pissed over that. He'd get over it, 'specially if he had Jen, but he'd get over it and it would all be cool.

And then what happens?

She shows up.

And Dios, is she beautiful.

I remember that's what I first thought. We were standing in the foyer, goin' to see who Frost had just dragged in from her unannounced little road trip, and in behind her comes this most beautiful little chica I've ever seen.

I never woulda thought. Not in a million years. But I'd never seen anyone like her before. I'd always imagined my type tall, lythe, perfectly sculpted body, long flowing hair, you know. The works, the Playboy model type. That was what I deserved, and nothing less.

But she was so much more. She was so tiny not cute in the same way Jubecita was, though. So small, and with that gorgeous hair I love that hair. And those beautiful green eyes . Dios, to die for. And my heart was hammerin' and I was about the most confused chico you could ever imagine.

What the hell was goin' on? What was this? Angelo Espinosa, ready to fall for some short chica at first sight? But the hormones were ragin', and I realized that this was it. And for a second I hated her for it. I mean, I'd never felt that before. I didn t know it was like that; I thought it was just somethin' nice, you know? Love wasn't anything big, just bein' with a pretty girl who appreciated you back. What was this?

And all these emotions rushed through my head, and I remember thinkin' Angelo, hombre, pull it together man. You're actin' like some third grader with a crush on his teacher. What's with this? Get over it, it ain't nothing but gettin' turned on by some cute chick. It's happened before.

But it hadn't, and even as my head said so I knew it wasn t true. She was different, this was different. But I couldn't let on about anything, so I just kept cool.

"Jen?" she had said. Her voice I'd never heard anything so sweet. It wasn't anything like Paige's, wansn't anything like any voice I'd ever heard before

She seemed to recognize the pale weirdo, and we found out they were best friends or somethin' from back home. Coincidences are funny things, aren't they? Great, I thought. See Ange, she's gonna end up crazy like the first one, and where'll you be when that happens?

But like I said, I knew it wasn't true.

So I played it cool. And I controlled the hormones, and the sweaty palms and goosebumps and racing pulse. Never knew that happened for real, 'till then. Thought it was just in those slushy movies, or those pathetic books I knew Paige read. But I controlled it. Damn proud of myself for that, and I still am.

"Pobrecita," I said sarcastically, to hearing she'd spent two days in the car with Frost.

Devil woman, I thought, before telling my head to shut the f**k up.

And as I got control, Jen introduced her as Alison, and I thought it was the most beautiful name ever invented by man to call something. Dios, what was wrong with me? Act cool, you can get her just like anything else.

Yeah, right.

She wasn't like anything else, I realized. Time went by, we went to the mall to appease Jubilee's shopping addiction among other things (you know, I like her the way she is, but when is that girl ever going to grow up?), and to my surprise, Alison wanted to go with us. With me. Yeah right, she just wants to go to the same stores, get over it ya big idiot, I told myself, but I couldn't help feeling that stupid pathetic little glimmer of hope that she might have wanted to come just 'cause I was there.

How stupid, ya know?

Now I knew how Jono could be turned into such a dimwit any time Jen or Paige was around. But me? No way, Mama Espinosa's little boy wasn't nothing like that, and he wasn't going to be, either. I was not about to let myself get all messed up over some girl. That wasn't the way it worked. Sure, the surge of hormones had hit when I'd first seen her, but I told myself that happened sometimes. It was a part of life. She wasn't worth it, and the whole thing was stupid. So I let it go.

And we became friends. Dios, how I loved and hated that at the same time. It was so wonderful having that angel as my friend, but at the same time I knew it'd never happen if we were friends. It just didn t work that way. And after a coupla days, I began to notice something.

Did she like Jono?

F**k f**k f**k f**k

But she wouldn't let herself. A few of us could pick up on how she liked 'im Ev and Jubilee and myself, mainly; me because I just know what to look for, I've had girls fall for me before. So many coutless, nameless and brainless one-night stands

Ev told me about two weeks after that that the poor chica wouldn't let herself feel anything. He said she'd told him she hadn't really liked Jono, just wanted to be friends and felt she'd failed. I didn't know what was up with that Jono can be such a dick sometimes, you know? But she she wasn't into that, she didn't want a relationship, she wouldn't let herself.

F**k f**k f**k f**k

But I let it go. For her sake. If that wasn't what she wanted, then I somehow knew that I couldn't make it what she wanted. What was I thinking? I was so confused here I was, I could have any chick I wanted, all I had to do was walk in and smile the right way and she'd drool all over herself just to be with me; but Paige hadn't done that, and now Alison wasn't going to.

Like I said, I'll never understand women.

But I wasn't concerned with that I was too preoccupied with the fact that I couldn't understand what was up with myself. We were friends, that was it, and I was not going to get all weak and pulse-happy and pathetic every time the girl walked into the room.

Yeah, and hell was an ice cube.

This was someone else, and for once I wasn't thinking of myself and frankly, that confused me. But it was how it was, and I let it go for who knows how long. The rest of the school year, practically. And the chica didn't want any part of me, just like Paige, and I was beginning to get very fed up with the whole ordeal. So I gave up on it, and it was much better. I just didn't think about it, and we were friends and she was one of the best damn friends a guy could ever ask for. And I was fine with it, and I forgot the whole deal, or so I told myself, and life was all happy, or at least as happy as it could be for an hombre like me.

Until we got sick.

I'll never forget that weekend. We were stuck together pretty much alone at the school, and I didn't care; I was too sick and crabby and still mad at her and myself for this whole thing underneath it all to care. But there she was, my angel, sitting across from me on the couch sick and miserable and it was all I could do not to grab her and kiss her right then. It was so much worse then, and I didn't know why. I thought I'd gotten over the whole thing after that first day at most that first week. That was a fluke, and I was over it and she was just some chica at the school, like Paige, who was nice to look at and fantasize about and nothing more, and then it was back and I had to control myself and hate myself for it all over again.

And I controlled myself, 'cause I ain't dumb and I knew it would never happen and I was just being an idiot, and then she got me up and she danced with me, and Dios, I was in heaven, and I wanted to grab her and kiss her all over again but I couldn't and she seemed so unsure of the whole thing. I managed to convince myself it was one of those one-nighters, one of those damned things that would never happen again and now she'd never speak to me again and that sucked, but in the moment it was the most wonderful thing I could have ever asked for. And I could pull her close to me and she didn t care and I had the best damn time I think I've ever had.

The rest of that weekend was, simply, hell. She was embarrassed, which made me embarrassed, and I hate being embarrassed and make it a point not to let it show. But it was hurting her, hurting my angel, and I couldn't bear to see that happen but at the same time I couldn't do a damned thing, because I was sure that would mess things up and hurt everyone more, and besides, everyone knew Angelo Espinosa was a tough hombre and could handle the women.

Truth was, I was scared shitless. I didn't know what to do, and I'd never felt that way before. There she was, and despite all my experience I didn't know what the hell to do to make it better. And so we made it clumsily and embarrassingly through the weekend and I didn't know what to do.

So I tried talking to Jen something I'd never done before, and wasn't too comfortable with doing, mind you, and what she told me was what Ev had told me, only more reassuring, I think. That maybe I had a chance, if I took it now, but she wasn't into that and was scared to show anything. Dios, I knew that.

But suddenly I didn't know how to talk to her. I didn't know what to do.

And I don't know what I was plannin' on when I went down to the gym and she was running; I don't know what I was going to tell her, and I don't know what she was going to tell me. She was scared to death, and I hated seeing her like that, but it was like I knew she wanted me just as bad as I wanted her, but she wouldn't let herself tell me that and it hurt so bad, and I wanted to just leave forever. But she wanted me to stay, and I was thanking God because I wanted to stay, but I was scared then too, scared at what she might do to me because this girl could hurt me, and I didn't know what to think of that because at that point I'd believed that no girl could ever hurt Angelo Espinosa. But she could, and I think she knew that.

And I could see it was hurting her just as much, and I couldn't take it anymore but I didn't know what to do but make it better the only way I knew how. I couldn't help it anymore I had to hold her and the whole time I was just praying to God that she wouldn't push me away and get up and leave for the rest of my life. And she accepted it, and we didn't need any more words, 'cause she was okay with it, my angel could be with me.

I was in heaven.

And I'd like to think she is too, and it's practically moronic that I should be afraid that some girl is leading me on.

But she still says she doesn't know how.

But hell, it's not like I do, either.

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