Mood Swings


Jamie and I were not doing well.

I loved him. Oh, how I loved him! I think I had known it the minute he got in late to Math class.

He stood there, in the doorway, calmly waiting for the auto-teacher to notice him and pause its explanation of exponential equations, his blue eyes searching the classroom for a place to sit. When those blue eyes rested on me I silently cursed the bad luck that caused Ted to sit next to me, on that day of all days. The auto-teacher paused, introduced Jamie who, it said, was new in town, and picked up its lecture right where it left off.

Jamie found an empty seat, but when he passed my desk he smiled at me, and that was it, I was lost. My new phone mood case shone bright pink, and I covered it with my hand.

For about two weeks I watched him from afar. Sometimes he smiled at me, and I smiled back, and was happy for the rest of the day, and if you looked at my cell you could see that the case was all kinds of bright colors. Sometimes Jamie looked preoccupied, distracted, and he didn’t notice me at all. On those days my mood case was a deep blue or even a shade of grey, and not one of the sexy ones.

After two weeks I worked up the nerve, not to ask him out, but to invite him over with some lame excuse why we absolutely had to spend the evening together at my place. After all, the midterm exams were coming up. My girlfriends didn’t need to look at my rainbow shining case the next day to know how that evening had gone. I was shining, too.

We went out a few times after that, holding hands in the dark pub or even dancing, but in school he never put his arm around me or kissed me or anything. Still, I hoped that with time he would feel more secure in our love and be more inclined to make it public. When we went out I always drove my car. I was an only child and my parents and I lived very comfortably, so when I got my driver’s license they got me this brand new little red car, and I loved it! It had all the latest gadgets, not just the auto drive and crash failsafe, but awesome things like you could change its color or ask for a selection of music or have it meet you wherever you wanted or park for you.

I was driving home from Jamie’s one night, happy as a clam, not thinking about anything but the touch of his lips, when I suddenly realized music was playing in the car when I didn’t remember asking for anything in particular, but instead of shuffling all my music, the songs that played, one after another, were the happiest songs that were ever written. I smiled. The music suited my mood perfectly, and I was happy for this coincidence. The next day, however, driving home from school after Jamie ignored me all day, the car played the saddest collection of love songs. Even being depressed as I was I couldn’t have overlooked it. I wondered if this was some trick my car could do that I hadn’t known about.

I told the car to take me home, brought up the manual and started reading. I found nothing that supported my theory and kept thinking that my friend Iris, who was our A.I. expert, would probably know more. When the car finally pulled to a stop I raised my eyes to find that I was parked in front of Iris’s house. That was strange, because I specifically remembered telling it to go home, but I thought I must have said Iris’s name inadvertently when I thought about her, and so the car thought the command had changed. I called Iris to see if she wanted me to drop by and I could see her mood case turning a cheerful orange when she invited me up.

Iris listened to my mad theories, and as it turned out, didn’t find them all that crazy.

“There are mechanical things that can pick up your mood, right?” she said.

“Right. The mood rings, the mood case… but those things do nothing but change color.”

“And your car is a thousand times more sophisticated. It can do plenty. What’s to say it can’t both get your mood, or even your thoughts, and decide what to do on its own?”

“But it’s not supposed to do anything unless I order it to.”

“I guess when a machine gets this sophisticated you can expect the unexpected. But we are talking ideas, theories. Are you absolutely sure there’s no other explanation?”

“Maybe… I don’t know,” I said, wondering.

Iris and I moved to talk about our boy-problems, and the car was soon forgotten. When I finally went home it was waiting for me, all bright red and silent, just the way I had left it. The music selection was a pure random shuffle, and I started to think I had imagined the whole thing.

That evening Jamie said he couldn’t see me. Something came up with his family, he said. I was so wrapped up in misery I practically jumped when my cell played the music that was reserved to my girlfriends, and Iris’s face came on the screen. From the look of her, she wasn’t doing much better than I was. She didn’t even want to talk about it. What she wanted was to go out and forget about guys for one evening! I couldn’t agree more.

When I picked her up she said: “Wasn’t your car red?”

“Yes, it was. Why?”

“Well, I think it’s darker now. More like a wine color… But I could be wrong. It may be just the light.”

“I didn’t change it, anyway,” I said, “and I don’t care much. Now, tell me where you want to go so I can give the command.”

Iris wanted to drink.

I never drank alcohol. We were both underage, of course, and frankly, I saw what it did to other people, and I didn’t like it. It made them lose control. People who were cool and composed suddenly laughed too loud, sobbed uncontrollably or got into fights. I didn’t like that one bit. But Iris couldn’t be talked off. She had brought her fake ID and was determined to get drunk. She said she would buy drinks for me too, and since my car was perfectly capable of bringing us both home safely, there was nothing to worry about.

The car played rowdy, rebellious songs the whole way, and Iris complemented me on the selection, only it wasn’t my selection.

I had never set foot inside a pub before, so I was a little insecure coming in, but no one stopped us, and it seemed we weren’t much younger than the other people there. Indeed, some people from my school were sitting at a table in the corner, drinking beer, and here and there I recognized more faces. I still had no intention to drink, so when we sat at the bar, and Iris flashed her fake ID at the auto-tender and ordered a beer, I ordered a soda, and I was sipping it absentmindedly, thinking about ways to get Jamie to spend more time with me. Just then my eye caught a glimpse of a familiar blond head in the corner. The face that went with that head was sunk deep inside the face of a girl that must have been at least two years older than us. Her fingers were curled in his hair when she pulled him closer into that kiss.

My Jamie.

My heart stopped beating and all the blood drained from my face. I turned my gaze away and wanted to run, but there was no way to leave without them seeing me.

Iris saw my face. She followed my gaze and understood right away. Her face was like a storm cloud, dark and ominous.

“Shit, we’re trapped,” she said, and then: “Bartender! Vodka on the rocks please!”

When the drink arrived she said: “Here, drink. It’ll make you feel better.”

I thought about it. The pain was intolerable. Maybe I would have done it, too, but Jamie and the older girl chose that moment to leave the bar together, laughing, probably headed for her place, and I was at least spared having to abandon my principles.

“Can we just get out of here?” I asked Iris through a curtain of tears.

I was silent on the way home. The silence in the car was broken only by Iris mumbling: “That son of a bitch!” from time to time. There was no music of any sort. I felt like my heart was about to burst. Tears were running down my face and I didn’t even notice them.

The next morning, when I got into my car to go to school, the red was so dark it was a deep burgundy, and the music it played was one I had never heard before, a strange kind of “Death Metal” that sounded like demons were howling in anger from the pits of hell. I didn’t care enough to switch it off.

When I got to the school parking lot, Jamie was just getting out of his car and making his way towards the building, smiling and whistling to himself. Seeing him like that made me want to hit him, tear out his hair, hurt him the way he hurt me.

My car turned the darker black I had ever seen, the engine roared and the gas pedal squeezed all the way down. I had no control, no matter what I did. I tried frantically to break or turn the wheel, but to no avail. All I could do was scream as my car drove forward at full speed, and crushed Jamie onto his own car, which remained strangely passive.

Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts, הבלוג של: Gal Barkan

My role in life is to speak in favor of LOVE, all love.As edtor in chief of Amour, I decided that our readers in English deserve more than Google translate :)So this is my English blog, for your pleasure.

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