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232 pages, Hardcover
First published May 1, 2012
"My mind is not a very forgiving place."
People know how to stop - they just stop. They stop holding their friends' boyfriends' hands under the blanket. It didn't have to happen, even if Ethan wanted it to. I could have taken my hand and moved myself around in a way that he couldn't really get to me, and he would have had to stare straight ahead at the movie even if he was upset or angry, because he shouldn't have been doing what he was doing! He shouldn't have been trying to touch my leg and hold my hand!
“My mind is not a very forgiving place.”
“I feel like a dull and worn-out version of myself, and for some reason I just can’t bridge the gap between who I used to be and the sad sack that’s sitting here now. I don’t know how to reach through it.”
“And that was that. Amanda had noticed something wrong, and I had my warning – and I didn’t heed it. I had proof then that the weirdness wasn’t just in my head. I knew for sure that I needed to stop talking to Ethan so much.
But I didn’t. It was like I couldn’t help it.”
How can you just forget the entire history of our friendship? Doesn’t being best friends for over half our lives mean anything?
“I wasn’t always such a downer. Up until, like, two weeks ago, I was Clementine Williams, happy and upbeat and kind of hilarious, if I do say so myself. But that was before everything exploded in my face.
Now I’m Clementine Williams, outcast. And that’s on a good day.”
“The redheaded guy was about my age, I think. He didn’t look at me like I was a total bitch or some kind of horrible human being. Neither did George or Ruth. They seemed to like me. So did Mrs. Ficklewhiskers, the pirate cat. And I get that that’s because they don’t know me or what went on with me last year or anything. But still. They all treated me like I had a blank slate. Like I was just plain Clem, a girl with a pretty laugh and a nice walk.
But I guess if they knew me, they’d hate me too.”
“We both lean down to pick up the bananas, and – boom! – our foreheads collide.
“Damn!” he says as we stand up. He’s holding his head, one eye shut, the other cocked at me, with a big grin on his face.
Then he puts his hands out in front of him, the basket dangling on one arm.
“Okay, back away,” he says.
“Huh?” I ask.
“You’re obviously an assassin sent to kill me by collision,” he says.
“When he smiles at me, I feel like I’m sitting under a heat lamp. I live for the times when his fingers brush my leg at lunch, or when we pass in the hallways and he raises his eyebrows at me, like we have a secret. I should feel bad – and I do, most of the time – but how can I stop thinking about him when seeing his face makes me feel so alive?”
I didn’t realize that, sometimes, even if a situation is getting out of control, it happens slowly, in these really small moments. And even if what’s happening is wrong, it can feel like it’s right.
I got so wrapped up in the fact that something was happening. Someone was into me. I didn’t have to be boring old Clem all the time. I had a secret.”
“I’d thought of all the excuses that might have made my friends cut me some slack, but none of them were real. The truth was that I liked Ethan, and he liked me. We clicked. That’s it.
It’s a paper-thin reason to start something with your best friend’s boyfriend, and I knew it.”