The Way It Looks
The way it looks is not the way it is. Gigi Boudakian is screaming at me so fearsomely, I think I could just about cry. I almost don't even care what the subject is because right now I am sick and I am confused and I am laid so low by the very idea that Gigi Boudakian is screaming at me that the what-for hardly seems even to matter. I love Gigi Boudakian. I hate it when people I love scream at me.
And I don't feel guilty. That is, I don't feel like I am guilty. But I sure as hell feel sorry.
I am sorry.
I am one sorry sorry bastard. And I feel very sick.
I am so sorry.
"What are you sorry for, Keir?" Gigi screams again, grabbing me by where my lapels would be if I had a jacket on, or a shirt, or anything. She can't get a purchase because I have no clothes, and very little fat, because I have been good about my health lately. She grabs, can't grab, scratches instead at my chest, then slaps me hard across the face, first right side then left, smack, smack.
"Say what you did, Keir."
"Why is Carl coming? Why do you have to call Carl, Gigi?"
"Say what you did, Keir. Admit what you did to me."
"I didn't do anything, Gigi."
"Yes you did! I said no!"
I say this very quietly, but firmly. "You did not."
"I said no," she growls. "Say it."
"I don't see why you need Carl. You can beat me up just fine on your own. Listen, Gigi, it was nobody's fault."
"Yes it was! It was your fault. This should not have happened."
"Fine, then it didn't."
"It did, it did, it did, bastard! For me it did, and it's making me sick."
"Don't. Don't be sick. I don't want you to be sick or anything. I just want everything to be all right. Everything is all right, Gigi. Please, can everything be all right?"
"It is not all right! It is not all right, and you are not all right, Keir Sarafian. Nothing is all right. Nothing will ever again ever be all right."
She is wrong. Gigi is wrong about everything, but especially about me. You could ask pretty much anybody and they will tell you. Rock solid, Keir. Kind of guy you want behind you. Keir Sarafian, straight shooter. Loyal, polite. Funny. Good manners. He was brought up right, that boy was, is what you would hear. All the things you would want to hear said about you are the things I have always heard said about me. I am a good guy.
Good guys don't do bad things. Good guys understand that no means no, and so I could not have done this because I understand, and I love Gigi Boudakian.
"I love you, Gigi."
As I say this, Gigi Boudakian lets out the most horrific scream I have ever heard, and I am terrified by it and reach out, lunge toward her and try and cover her mouth with my hands and I fall over her and she screams louder and bites at my hands and I keep flailing, trying to stop that sound coming out of her and getting out into the world.
I am only trying to stop the sound. It looks terrible what I am doing, as I watch my hands doing it, as I watch hysterical Gigi Boudakian reacting to me, and it looks really, really terrible but I am only trying to stop the awful sound and the way it looks is not the way it is.
The way it looks is not the way it is.
Excerpted from INEXCUSABLE © Copyright 2005 by Chris Lynch. Reprinted with permission by Atheneum, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
- Genres: Fiction
- paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
- ISBN-10: 1416939725
- ISBN-13: 9781416939726