if senior year were a mix CD, tracks 1-4


I don't want another pretty face 
I don't want just anyone to hold 
I don't want my love to go to waste 
I want you and your beautiful soul 

You're the one I wanna chase 
You're the one I wanna hold 
I won't let another minute go to waste 
I want you and your beautiful soul 
Your beautiful soul, yeah... 

Jesse McCartney’s one-hit-wonder Beautiful Soul fades into the crisp, Pacific Northwest air as the clock in Keely’s Mercedes station wagon clicks over to 12:05pm. Lunch is almost over. Time to pack up our peanut butter sandwich scraps and head to class.

Oh geez, here comes Andrew and Beau in Andrew’s beat up pickup truck. They take the big bump in the senior parking lot at full speed. The truck catches air as the two teenage boys inside green with glee and adrenaline. They’re such bad asses. 

Cody’s pulling into the lot in his hot, new Toyota Tacoma. Man, I wish he would notice me and take me for a ride. Becca and Matt are headed back to class with Wendy’s french fries in hand. Why don’t I eat french fries again? Rachel pulls up in her yellow beetle, fresh flowers in her dashboard bud vase. I’d give anything to drive that car. 

I slide out of the station wagon in my Abercrombie jeans and team softball hoodie. I head over to my little Kia Rio, aka “the blueberry”, to grab my Washington history book out of the trunk while Keely zips up her North Face vest and adjusts the laces of her running shoes. Tomorrow is game day for me and on Friday Keely has a track meet. 

But before either of us can take the field, there’s an AP English test to pass, pep assembly to help plan, and two scholarship applications to complete. There’s no rest for these two ambitious 17-year-olds. 


Well somebody told me you had a boyfriend 
Who looked like a girlfriend 
That I had in February of last year 
It's not confidential, I've got potential 

A rushing, rushing around 

Pace yourself for me (for me) 
I said maybe, baby, please (please) 
But I just don't know now (baby, baby) 
When all I want to do is try 

“That was Somebody Told Me by The Killers on Kiss 106.1…” Man, I love that song. I hope Keely put it on the mix CD she made for our adventure today. Thank goodness the paper route finally motivated dad to install a CD player in this car. 

The blueberry may be the most basic “brand new” car in existence. How does a car not have power steering? I thought that was a standard feature on any new vehicle. I mean it’s 2005. And no CD player, not even a tape player? What were my parents thinking? And they just had to get a manual too. I really hope we don’t hit any hills when we’re in Seattle today. This stick shift thing is getting easier but I’m still not great at it. How embarrassing would it be if I stalled out on Capitol Hill? 

“Hey girl!” Keely slides into the passenger seat and pops the mix CD into the player. Senior Skip Day is finally here. Everybody who's somebody in our Senior class is going to Howarth Park today to hang out and drink. But this Mormon voted teacher’s pet and her classy, preppy athlete best friend have other plans. 

Green Lake and Starbucks here we come! What would I do without Keely? How is graduation almost here? Thank goodness we’ll both be headed to Utah even if we’ll be at different schools. 


How can I put it? You put me on 
I even fell for that stupid love song 
Yeah, yeah 
Since you been gone 

How come I'd never hear you say 
I just wanna be with you? 
Guess you never felt that way 

But since you been gone 
I can breathe for the first time 
I'm so moving on, yeah, yeah 

Sweat trickles down my temple as I lip-sync Kelly Clarkson’s brilliant, angry lyrics with my girl friends. It’s 9:30pm already? John should have been here by now. He never misses a church dance and he knows this is my last one before graduation. He said he was coming tonight. 

Where is he? I hope he’s not hanging out with Hazel instead. What kind of a name is Hazel anyway? John’s not even a Senior and he’s going to Senior Ball with her. Doesn’t he know he was supposed to go with me? Now I have to go with Caleb. I despise him and I know he feels the same about me. This sucks. At least my dress is going to be amazing thanks to Nana's expert seamstress work. 

I see John walk into the gym out of the corner of my eye wearing his black REI coat and jeans. My chest tightens with anticipation. Our eyes meet. He sees me. 

Would you dance if I asked you to dance? 
Would you run and never look back? 
Would you cry if you saw me crying? 
Would you save my soul tonight? 

Of course there’s a slow song on now. They always play Hero at church dances, sometimes even twice. Is he going to ask me to dance? Wait, he’s walking over. Why else would he come over? Breathe, Clarissa, breathe. It’s going to happen. 

“Do you wanna dance?” asks John. The only guy I’ve ever held hands with takes my hand and we start to awkwardly sway towards the center of the gym. His younger brother Hyrum and his crush Laura are dancing kitty-corner to us. I want to put my head on John’s shoulder so bad. This song is so cheesy but I don't ever want it to end. 

I can be your hero. 
I can kiss away the pain. 
And I will stand by you forever. 
You can take my breath away. 
You can take my breath away. 

I can be your hero. 


This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in this series "Playlist".

1 comment :

  1. Wow! My own teenage experience coupled with many longings crept out of hiding as I read your most descriptive piece! Nice job Rissy. I felt I was right there with you.