Read The Perks of Being a Wallflower Online

Authors: Stephen Chbosky

Tags: #Social Issues, #Emotions & Feelings, #Epistolary fiction, #High school students, #Juvenile Fiction, #Bildungsromans, #Diary novels, #Coming of Age, #Homosexuality, #Epistolary novels, #Friendship, #School & Education, #Death & Dying, #Adolescence

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (6 page)

I did start working for a fanzine called
Punk Rocky.
It's this xerox magazine about punk rock and
The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
I don't write for it, but I help out.

Mary Elizabeth is in charge of it, just like she is in charge of the local
Rocky Horror Picture Show
showings. Mary Elizabeth is a very interesting person because she has a tattoo that symbolizes Buddhism and a belly button ring and wears her hair to make somebody mad, but when she's in charge of something, she acts like my dad when he comes home from a "long day." She is a senior, and she says that my sister is a tease and a snob. I told her not to say anything like that about my sister again.

Of all the things I've done this year so far, I think I like
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
the best.

Patrick and Sam took me to the theater to see it on Halloween night. It's really fun because all these kids dress up like the people in the movie, and they act out the movie in front of the screen. Also, people shout at the movie on cue. I guess you probably know this already, but I thought I'd say it anyway in case you didn't.

Patrick plays "Frank 'Not Furter." Sam plays "Janet." It is very hard to watch the movie because Sam walks around in her underwear when she plays Janet. I am really trying not to think of her that way, which is becoming increasingly difficult.

To tell you the truth, I love Sam. It's not a movie kind of love either. I just look at her sometimes, and I think she is the prettiest and nicest person in the whole world. She is also very smart and fun. I wrote her a poem after I saw her in
The Rocky Horror Picture Show,
but I didn't show it to her because I was embarrassed. I would write it out for you, but I think that would be disrespectful to Sam.

The thing is that Sam is now going out with a boy named Craig.

Craig is older than my brother. I think he may even be twenty-one because he drinks red wine. Craig plays "Rocky" in the show. Patrick says that Craig is "cut and hunky." I do not know where Patrick finds his expressions.

But I guess that he's right, Craig is cut and hunky. He is also a very creative person. He's putting himself through the Art Institute here by being a male model for JCPenney catalogs and things like that.

He likes to take photographs, and I've seen a few of them, and they are very good. There is this one photograph of Sam that is just beautiful. It would be impossible to describe how beautiful it is, but I'll try.

If you listen to the song "Asleep," and you think about those pretty weather days that make you remember things, and you think about the prettiest eyes you've known, and you cry, and the person holds you back, then I think you will see the photograph.

I want Sam to stop liking Craig.

Now, I guess maybe you think that's because I am jealous of him. I'm not. Honest. It's just that Craig doesn't really listen to her when she talks. I don't mean that he's a bad guy because he's not. It's just that he always looks distracted.

It's like he would take a photograph of Sam, and the photograph would be beautiful. And he would think that the reason the photograph was beautiful was because of how he took it. If I took it, I would know that the only reason it's beautiful is because of Sam.

I just think it's bad when a boy looks at a girl and thinks that the way he sees the girl is better than the girl actually is. And I think it's bad when the most honest way a boy can look at a girl is through a camera. It's very hard for me to see Sam feel better about herself just because an older boy sees her that way.

I asked my sister about this, and she said that Sam has low self-esteem. My sister also said that Sam had a reputation when she was a sophomore. According to my sister, Sam used to be a "blow queen." I hope you know what that means because I really can't think about Sam and describe it to you.

I am really in love with Sam, and it hurts very much.

I did ask my sister about the boy at the dance. She wouldn't talk about it until I promised that I wouldn't tell anybody, not even Bill. So, I promised. She said that she has been seeing this boy secretly since Dad said she couldn't. She says she thinks about him when he's not there. She says they're going to get married after they both finish college, and he finishes law school.

She told me not to worry because he hasn't hit her since that night. And she said not to worry because he won't hit her again. She really didn't say any more other than that, although she kept talking.

It was nice sitting with my sister that night because she almost never likes to talk to me. I was surprised that she told me as much as she did, but I guess that since she's keeping things secret, she can't tell anybody. And I guess she was just dying to tell somebody.

But as much as she told me not to, I do worry a lot about her. She is my sister, after all.

Love always,

Charlie

November 12, 1991 Dear friend,

I love Twinkies, and the reason I am saying that is because we are all supposed to think of reasons to live. In science class, Mr. As. told us about an experiment where they got this rat or mouse, and they put this rat or mouse on one side of a cage. On the other side of the cage, they put a little piece of food. And this rat or mouse would walk over to the food and eat. Then, they put the rat or mouse back on xsdc original side, and this time, they put electricity all through the floor where the rat or mouse would have to walk to get the piece of food. They did this for a while, and the rat or mouse stopped going to get the food at a certain amount of voltage. Then, they repeated the experiment, but they replaced the food with something that gave the rat or mouse intense pleasure. I don't know what it was that gave them intense pleasure, but I am guessing it is some kind of rat or mouse nip. Anyway, what the scientists found out was that the rat or mouse would put up with a lot more voltage for the pleasure. Even more than for the food.

I don't know the significance of this, but I find it very interesting.

Love always,

Charlie

November 15, 1991 Dear friend,

It's starting to get cold and frosty here. The pretty fall weather is pretty much gone. The good news is that we have holidays coming up, which I love especially now because my brother will be coming home soon. Maybe even for Thanksgiving! At least I hope he does for my mom.

My brother hasn't called home in a few weeks now, and Mom just keeps talking about his grades and sleeping habits and the foods he eats, and my dad keeps saying the same thing.

"He's not going to get injured."

Personally, I like to think my brother is having a college experience like they do in the movies. I don't mean the big fraternity party kind of movie. More like the movie where the guy meets a smart girl who wears a lot of sweaters and drinks cocoa. They talk about books and issues and kiss in the rain. I think something like that would be very good for him, especially if the girl were unconventionally beautiful.

They are the best kind of girls, I think. I personally find "super models" strange. I don't know why this is.

My brother, on the other hand, has posters of "super models" and cars and beer and things like that on the walls in his room. I suppose if you add a dirty floor, it's probably what his dorm room looks like.

My brother always hated making his bed, but he kept his clothes closet very organized. Go figure.

The thing is, when my brother does call home, he doesn't say a lot. He talks about his classes a little bit, but mostly he talks about the football team. There is a lot of attention on the team because they are very good, and they have some really big players. My brother said that one of the guys will probably be a millionaire someday, but that he is "dumb as a post." I guess that's pretty dumb.

My brother told this one story where the whole team was sitting around the locker room, talking about all the stuff they had to do to get into college football. They finally got around to talking about SAT

scores, which I have never taken.

And this guy said, "I got a 710."

And my brother said, "Math or verbal?"

And the guy said, "Huh?"

And the whole team laughed.

I always wanted to be on a sports team like that. I'm not exactly sure why, but I always thought it would be fun to have "glory days." Then, I would have stories to tell my children and golf buddies. I guess I could tell people about
Punk Rocky
and walking home from school and things like that. Maybe these are my glory days, and I'm not even realizing it because they don't involve a ball.

I used to play sports when I was little, and I was actually very good, but the problem was that it used to make me too aggressive, so the doctors told my mom I would have to stop.

My dad had glory days once. I've seen pictures of him when he was young. He was a very handsome man. I don't know any other way to put it. He looked like all old pictures look. Old pictures look very rugged and young, and the people in the photographs always seem a lot happier than you are.

My mother looks beautiful in old pictures. She actually looks more beautiful than anyone except maybe Sam. Sometimes, I look at my parents now and wonder what happened to make them the way they are. And then I wonder what will happen to my sister when her boyfriend graduates from law school. And what my brother's face will look like on a football card, or what it will look like if it is never on a football card. My dad played college baseball for two years, but he had to stop when Mom got pregnant with my brother. That's when he started working at the office. I honestly don't know what my dad does.

He tells a story sometimes. It is a great story. It has to do with the state championship for baseball when he was in high school. It was the bottom of the ninth inning, and there was a runner on first. There were two outs, and my dad's team was behind by one run. My dad was younger than most of the varsity team because he was only a sophomore, and I think the team thought he was going to blow the game. He had all this pressure on him. He was really nervous. And really scared. But after a few pitches, he said he started feeling "in the zone." When the pitcher wound up and threw the next ball, he knew exactly where that ball was going to be. He hit it harder than any other ball he ever hit in his whole life. And he made a home run, and his team won the state championship. The greatest thing about this story is that every time my dad tells it, it never changes. He's not one to exaggerate.

I think about all this sometimes when I'm watching a football game with Patrick and Sam. I look at the field, and I think about the boy who just made the touchdown. I think that these are the glory days for that boy, and this moment will just be another story someday because all the people who make touchdowns and home runs will become somebody's dad. And when his children look at his yearbook photograph, they will think that their dad was rugged and handsome and looked a lot happier than they are.

I just hope I remember to tell my kids that they are as happy as I look in my old photographs. And I hope that they believe me.

Love always,

Charlie

November 18, 1991 Dear friend,

My brother finally called yesterday, and he can't make it home for any part of Thanksgiving weekend because he is behind on school because of football. My mom was so upset that she took me shopping for new clothes.

I know you think what I'm about to write is an exaggeration, but I promise you that it isn't. From the time we got into the car to the time we came home, my mom literally did not stop talking. Not once. Not even when I was in the dressing room trying on "slacks."

She just stood outside the dressing room and worried out loud. The things she said went all over the place. First, it was that my dad should've insisted that my brother come home if only for an afternoon.

Then, it was that my sister had better start thinking more about her future and start applying to "safety"

schools in case the good ones don't work out. And then she started saying that gray was a good color for me.

I understand how my mom thinks. I really do.

It's like when we were little, and we would go to the grocery store. My sister and brother would fight about things that my sister and brother would fight about, and I would sit at the bottom of the shopping cart. And my mom would be so upset by the end of shopping that she would push the cart fast, and I would feel like I was in a submarine.

Yesterday was like that except now I got to sit in the front seat.

When I saw Sam and Patrick at school today, they both agreed that my mom has very good taste in clothing. I told my mom this when I got home from school, and she smiled. She asked me if I wanted to invite Sam and Patrick over for dinner sometime after the holidays are over because my mom gets nervous enough as it is during the holidays. I called Sam and Patrick, and they said they would.

I'm really excited!

The last time I had a friend over to dinner was Michael last year. We had tacos. The really great part was that Michael stayed over to sleep. We ended up sleeping very little. We mostly just talked about things like girls and movies and music. The one part I remember distinctly was walking around the neighborhood at night. My parents were asleep along with the rest of the houses. Michael looked into all the windows. It was dark and quiet.

He said, "Do you think those people are nice?"

I said, "The Andersons? Yeah. They're old."

"What about those people?"

"Well, Mrs. Lambert doesn't like baseballs going into her yard."

"What about those people?"

"Mrs. Tanner has been visiting her mother for three months. Mr. Tanner spends his weekends sitting on the back porch and listening to baseball games. I don't really know if they're nice or not because they don't have children."

"Is she sick?"

"Is who sick?"

"Mrs. Tanner's mother."

"I don't think so. My mom would know, and she didn't say anything."

Michael nodded. "They're getting a divorce."

"You think so?"

"Uh-huh."

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