The rain dribbled slowly down the side of the house. Michael could not sleep. The wind began to beat against the same side of the house. Michael felt like he would never be able to sleep. As the wind and the rain slowly began to quiet and eventually fall silent and still, Michael walked into the kitchen for some ice cream. He opened the freezer door and the bright blue ambient glow from the Antarctic innards of the appliance illuminated his teenage face. He reached for the container of chocolate ice cream. When his chubby fingers grasped the pint he had overestimated the level of contents. It was much lighter than he had anticipated and so the back of his hand nearly hit the shelf above. It was a stormy Tuesday night around 10:30pm. Earlier in the evening Michael had just been dumped by his girlfriend of 3 weeks. Tammy was his first girlfriend and at this moment he swore to himself she would be his last. Michael didn’t even make it back to the couch before he had the lid of the pint tossed across the counter and a spoonful of ice cream in his mouth. He was fighting back tears. His parents had gone to bed 2 hours ago. His father was a stockbroker and his mother taught kindergarten at the local elementary school. He was an only child. One of the reasons Michael dealt with his emotions through food was because he never had any brothers or sisters he could confide in. He was a bit of a loner in school. He got picked on because of his weight. It didn’t bother him at first. His father taught him that sticks and stones may break his bones but words will never hurt him. That was true until Tammy broke up with him. As he carved out the last bit of ice cream, Michael began to whimper. He threw the spoon into the sink with a loud clank. Just then his father called from the upstairs hallway on his way to the bathroom, “Mikey? Is that you? What are you still doing up, buddy?” Michael didn’t answer. Instead he wiped his eyes and trashed the empty pint of ice cream. As his father entered the kitchen he noticed the lid of the ice cream on the counter near the chopping block. “Having a late night snack?” His father’s disposition was that of a goofy uncle. Michael both loved and hated this about his father. “I just needed some chocolate.” Michael said. “Well don’t stay up too late or make yourself sick. You’ve got school in the morning. Don’t you have that big test tomorrow too?” Michael’s stomach dropped. He had forgotten all about the test ever since Tammy had destroyed him earlier in the day.
“I just can’t do this anymore, Michael. The other girls… they’ve been talking shit behind my back about us. They were my best friends for so long. And I mean look at us, do you really see us as being a fitting couple? I’m sorry, Michael. I am. But I really can’t do this.” Michael just stood there completely defeated. He couldn’t utter a single word. He just swallowed his heartache over the lump in his throat. Tammy at least had the decency to speak to him in private after school. She had always been petty and shallow. Michael knew this but he was happy to have someone actually pay attention to him for once. He had done really well in school, when he actually applied himself. He was so lazy that he hadn’t studied at all for the test. He was planning on doing it when he got home from school earlier. But Tammy had fucked that up for him. Michael grabbed the lid to the ice cream container and tossed it into the trashcan. He then went up to his room to try and forget about Tammy through a Physics textbook. “The total energy in a closed or isolated system is constant, no matter what happens.” Michael was about to finish his 9th grade year at High Pointe Middle School. His teachers all thought of him as a good kid who stayed out of trouble. His only flaw was that he was very apathetic toward school. Many kids his age were but Michael stood out as he often skipped class. His parents were aware of this. His father didn’t mind so much as he knew his son was smart and was still getting an education. His mother was furious. Teachers are like that. They just care so deeply for the betterment of the kids and the world. Michael continued to read his textbook. “Energy changes are associated with work so no work is done on a body if there is no energy change in that body.” Michael chuckled to himself, “Damn right.” His studying continued well into morning. His father had come to wake Michael up and saw him passed out with his textbook as a pillow. There was a small pool of Michael’s drool puddling in the spine of page 341.
The test had ended and Michael felt relieved. He was pretty confident in his studying the night before and the answers in which that resulted. The grades wouldn’t be posted until the following week. But that gave Michael more time to slack off and brood over Tammy. His normal after school routine was to hang out at the arcade and master his high score on a KISS pinball machine. His current high score was 35,692 points. Today he will try for 40,000 points. The all time high score on the machine was 120,000 points by someone who put their initials as ‘ASS’. Michael was convinced this was one of his classmates. It was either Jeffery from 4th period math or that biker guy who comes in every Tuesday and Friday. When he got to the arcade he saw a girl playing at the KISS machine. As Michael got quarters from the change machine he couldn’t help but stare at her long dark hair. Tammy had short, strawberry blonde hair. The girl also had on a t-shirt of Michael’s favorite band, The Strokes. He could feel his heart flutter and stomach fill with butterflies when the girl turned and made eye contact with Michael. The lights and buzzers went off on the machine as the girl began to rack up points. The display showed 28,000 points in flashing LED’s. Michael realized he had been staring the entire time and so he began to blink. The girl noticed this and giggled to herself while she blushed. She waved at Michael and blew him a kiss. Michael began to blush and sweat all at the same time. He had a flashback of Tammy’s breakup speech and instantly got the courage to walk over to the girl. 34,000 points. “Wow, you’re almost at my high score!” Michael exclaimed to the girl. “Oh yeah? Watch this!” Just then the girl started slamming the machine with her hip as Michael followed the ball darting around inside the glass window. The LED display began to exponentially increase in score. 40,000… 50,000… 85,000 points. Michael smiled at the girl and the girl smiled back. “My name’s Michael. You just more than doubled my score! How in the hell?!” The girl then said, “Here, let me show you…”