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Disposable People

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March 1990

Gavin was taking his drink from the counter when Debbie bumped into him.

"Oh I'm so sorry!" she exclaimed grabbing a napkin, wiping his shirt.

He stood in awe. The prettiest girl in school, the Queen, was wiping his shirt, apologizing, buying him another drink.

Everyone saw this.

Gavin felt elevated as Debbie guided him to a two seat table, got their drinks, and sat with him. He stared into that perfect face, so stunned that if asked his name, he'd be unable to recall.

What he did recall was that he'd seen her and Billy passing by the lunch counter as he approached. Considering that Billy was a full back on the football team he asked; "Is Billy going to..."

"Billy and I broke up...". Debbie replied as if it were common knowledge and unimportant. Gavin couldn't but make that quizzical face, for he'd seen them.

"Billy spoke to me just before I entered, telling me a friend of ours had been involved in a traffic accident."

Gavin sat staring. Could it be that this perfect girl was interested in nothing him?

As if prompted, Debbie gave details of the accident. He sat, looking into her eyes.

And then she said; "Did you see the new movie yet?"

He had no idea what she was talking about but shook his head, 'no'.

"You want to go with me tomorrow night? I'm dying to see it."

His head wobbled.

"I'll meet you at the College Theater at six thirty, is that okay?"

He nodded.

"Oh that's great!" She replied giving a blinding smile, then bidding good evening.

Gavin sat unmoving until all the ice melted in his soda, completely dazzled.

The Next Day

Gavin couldn't believe he'd spoken to Debbie. The idea he actually had a date with her had him going into zombie mode.

What would he wear?

He went through his closet, his drawers, tried on everything and finally settled on a casual kind of suit with a shirt. He hoped he wasn't making an idiot of himself.

He didn't know what to do with his hair, so washed it and combed it, and on and on and then went to the theater to wait.

He didn't really expect her to show, but she did. On time.

They went in and sat together. He put his arm around the back of the chair, not knowing if it was right or wrong.

After a time she leaned her head on his shoulder.

Gavin had no idea what the movie was about. Only that Debbie was with him. Debbie, the Queen of the school was with HIM!

At the end they came out and he walked her home, she kissed him on the cheek then said; "Oh, I'm going to the Museum tomorrow to work on that project for science class... you want to go with me?"

He nodded.

"You can pick me up at ten... okay?"

He nodded, she smiled, another cheek peck then went into her house leaving him on the sidewalk, his head bobbing up and down.

Back Story

"Who was that?" asked Debbie's mother.

"Nobody," she yawned.

"Billy called. I told him you were out."

"That's right, I'm going to be out or unavailable."

"For how long?"

"Until he gets on one knee... and then... I'll think about it."

"Ohhh you are cruel..."

"Mom, Billy gave me that stupid speech, 'we need more time' , 'we should take a break', blah blah blah. And you know what I did? Perky as a jay bird? I said, "Okay!" Then walked into Carl's Soda Place and picked the easiest target... that's my puppy, Gavin. He's coming over tomorrow and we'll go to the museum."

"Billy's just afraid..."

"Mom, I know. He loves me and it scares him. If he thinks that's scary, wait until he sees what it is like to be totally without me."

She kissed her mother good night, went upstairs, proud of herself. Proud of how she made Billy think she didn't mind not seeing him. Proud of how quickly she roped in Gavin.

The Next Day

The next morning Gavin came. Debbie opened the door. Her mother was there, they were introduced, then went off.

Debbie had a notebook. Gavin didn't even carry a pen.

They spoke of nothing much on the journey, then once inside she went immediately to a particular exhibit and began taking notes. He stood like a mannequin, realizing that he should have a book, paper, and focus on what was before him.

After she had completed they went to a table in the refreshment corner. At that point, Cammie, Lisa, and Anna appeared, exclaiming over this and that, scanning Gavin. He noticed they all had pens and notebooks.

Cammie asked him why he hadn't carried a notebook. He didn't know what to say. She asked if he wanted to borrow her book and pen. He nodded.

"Okay. I'll be here..." as she sat down.

As he went off, Anna poked Debbie with; "I didn't know you were seeing Gavin..." in a snide way.

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"I just ran into him as I did you..." Debbie tossed, then turned to Cammie to talk about something that happened in class.

Anna and Lisa went off and Cammie and Debbie discussed seeing in real life as opposed to online or books.

"Hey!" Debbie said; "For Art Class we're supposed to research a particular artist... let's say you and I go to the Art museum tomorrow. We pick the paintings that catch us and write with that 'I see' ability."

"That is brilliant!" Cammie said, "For we can get into how we feel about the work and little technical things..."

Gavin returned. Cammie told him about the Art museum tomorrow and Debbie suggested they meet up and go in together.

"And carry your notebook..." Cammie flipped.


Gavin rode with them. He wanted to walk Debbie to her door but she said something about shopping, so got off a stop early.

Cammie was talking with him about the exhibit and the plan for tomorrow. When they reached the stop, they parted.

Gavin wandered home confused.

He realized this hadn't been a date, it had been classwork. He ought have taken a notebook, a pen, and paid attention.

The scribbles he made were meaningless, for he had been more focused on Debbie than anything else.

Quiet Victory

Debbie walked home feeling proud of herself. As she reached the corner she saw Billy sitting on the ground by a tree, waiting. She pretended he was invisible.

"Deb!" he called, rising to his feet.

She kept walking, tossing a; "Hmmm?"

"Deb! I want to talk to you."

She kept walking and he followed her.

"Listen..." he began.

"I did listen Billy!" she flung with a smile; "You said you wanted time apart, you said we should see other people..I listened!" she nearly sang.


"I'm going in now...okay?"

"Don't leave me!"

"You left me.. remember?"

At that point Debbie's mother opened the door; "I thought I heard voices," she said.

"Yes, had a great time..." Debbie said entering as her mother looked for Gavin, then asked; "Is Billy coming in?"

"No.." said Debbie.

"Yes..." said Billy.

Debbie gave her mother a smile as she entered and went towards the bathroom. Billy followed.

"Excuse me?" Debbie crowed, going in and shutting the door.

Billy stood for a moment, then moved to the living room like a hurt puppy.

How it Works

The smile on Debbie's face was radiant. She pressed her lips together to keep from laughing.

She had known when Billy did the usual break up speech that this would happen.

Maybe he thought she'd cry or plead or mope. But then, he didn't really know how she thought. No one but her mother did.

She'd known that other students would be at the museum and whoever they were she'd instantly bring them into the circle so Gavin would have an obstacle course.

All Debbie wanted was the inference she was seeing someone else which would ignite Billy. He'd be hit by the 'fact' she didn't care all that much, and asking for space meant he'd be without her.

She had expected him to find out about her 'movie date' and want to confront, so was not shocked he'd be waiting outside her door.

Now, he'd have a bit of groveling to do before she took him back.

Oh this was going to be fun! Debbie giggled.

Of course, she didn't think of Gavin.

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