English 1301, Memoir essay
Cigarettes After Nostalgia
I was running 15 min late for class on the first day of school. I sat near the front of the class
because my typical island chair was already occupied. So, I sat down in what seemed to me as
the “chair of divine intervention”. Then suddenly there she was. She walked towards me and sat
one seat in front of me, almost on purpose, as if she knew it made me timid to even be near her.
Well worth it though, just to catch a glimpse of her until the class period was over. I wondered
what kinds of faces she would make when she was confused. To me she was very
multi-dimensional, but to everyone else she was, Lily. She was the girl who would soon teach
me the greatest lesson of my life.
At one point, I thought of myself as being very self-absorbed as well as selfish and entitled to
having an easy life. I would seldom attempt to do any classwork for any teacher, not because I
didn’t know how, but because I felt I was too smart for it, at least for a while. I never knew why I
was this way, but what I do know is that I was never the same after Lily. Just about everything
came so easily to me. I was never shy, but I was not outgoing. I was never a genius, but I was
always clever. I was never rich, but I always had some money. The way I saw it, I may have
been born with blessings, but it did not seem like I was meant for good deeds. Lily was just
another one of those blessings that I thought I did not deserve.
I never looked for anything from her. I was glad to just be somebody she could recognize. So,
when she asked me, “Isn’t this tiny hat cute?”, my mind was left vacant and detached from the
rest of my body. Surprisingly, I didn’t say anything offensive, but something along the lines of
“It would look great on you.” To my delight, she wore it the next day, glued to her plastic hair
band. I smiled at her, and immediately complimented the great fashion designer who gave her
the idea to wear the tiny hat on her head. We exchanged numbers after that.
The weeks that followed, were all identical in the sense that I did not progress from being her
friend. I had gotten to the point where she would remind me that she had a boyfriend every time I
gave a sly compliment. After a while, I have been getting to school about 10 minutes earlier, just
to "coincidently” bump into her in the hallway before our 1st period. This became an
unintentional routine. I never meant to lose a few hours of sleep a night talking to her, nor did
she mean to make me, but I was not complaining. Within another month, my friendship plateau
would soon begin to incline.
The holidays were approaching and her boyfriend had made the questionable choice of leaving
her. She never said much to me about her relationship, but I knew that she spent more time on
the phone with me than with him. So, am I surprised? Not at all. I wouldn’t see nor talk to her
again for another 3 days. Longest time we’ve spent not talking to each other. I guess she
eventually gave in because when I saw her, she couldn’t stop talking or crying. I didn’t really
know how to help her, or shut her up, so I kissed her. I couldn’t tell if that’s what she wanted, but
it felt necessary.
The transition of our relationship was so subtle. We were still great friends, with all the special
privileges. Took us sometime before we could decide what we were. Once we did, everything
else came easy. I knew what I needed to be, what I wanted to do, and how to do it. I kept my
grades up so I would still be able to get classes with her. I got to school on time. I exercised more
often. She never asked me to, but I would also buy her gifts. Overall, I just felt like I was a better
person because of her.
Months passed like this. During this blissful phase of my life, I believed nothing could possibly
go wrong, until it did. It was May 9th, on a Saturday night. I had 10 too many drinks and I needed
to get home. I asked a friend of mine but he said the only way he would take me home is if I
made out with some girl across the room. At this point in the night, if something wrong was
going to happen, it would be now. I did it. I was desperate, and I know that’s no excuse, but you
can’t cry over spilt milk. So, I slept at her house. When I woke up lying next to her, I felt like I
was at the scene of a crime. What’s done is done.
I felt so guilty. When I called to try to confess to her, I felt as if I had already lost her. I
couldn’t even listen to the sound of her voice without thinking about the “crime”. Something
about Lily made me feel so genuine. During our shared time, I felt like my life wasn’t a complete
and utter waste of skin. But even then, I still found no courage within me to tell her so I left Lily
3 days later. She had the assumption that we split because it was something she did and I never
denied it. “How could I?” I still ask myself that. She wouldn’t know the real reason as to why I
left her until 2 years later, but that’s another story. I found myself reminiscing through these
nostalgic moments of Lily, on my walk home whilst enjoying the cancerous tranquility of a
Many things could be said about what Lily taught me; I can always be better in many ways and
still end up with nothing or maybe improving yourself is not enough. But the real lesson that I
just learned while writing this paper is that, if you believe you don’t deserve somebody, you’re
right, you don’t. I never deserved Lily.