the perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

August 25, 1991 to October 28, 1991

My friend is Michael. He stopped going to school after a while. I realized he passed away. Apparently, he committed suicide. The guidance counsellor was afraid that we might commit suicide. My name is Charlie. It was suspected that Michael killed himself. I started crying. I had a brother in school too. To me, other people have much worse problems than me. I also had a sister. ‘There are other people who have it a lot worse.’ I was a good student in school with good grades. My mum is emotional and my dad is hardworking at work. I loved Aunt Helen, my mum’s sister. I am starting high school tomorrow and I really dread the thought of school. I didn’t like school and my friend Susan was ignoring me. Michael and Susan were best friends apparently. I hurt a guy named Sean after he was mean to me. My bro was a football player. My whole family was emotional when my brother was featured on television. I hated doing the dishes at home. One day, the boy who liked my sister hit her. I didn’t feel that they were very compatible in the first place. There was a guy named ‘Nothing’ in my class. I got a C for my book review of ‘To kill a mockingbird’. I think interviews of actors are extremely fake. Aunt Helen has already passed away. My entire family was crying when she moved on some time back.

You know…a lot of kids hate their parents. Some of them got hit. And some of them got caught in the middle of wrong lives. Some of them were trophies for their parents to show the neighbors like ribbons or gold stars. And some of them just wanted to drink in peace. – Charlie

I went to a football game alone after Michael passed away. Patrick and Sam said hi to me during the game. Sam was a very attractive girl. The two of them were already together. Actually they were only siblings. I had a dream where I would fuck Sam. I had a nice warm conversation with Sam. Sam admitted that I was too young and that I should not bother to chase her.

I mean it’s not like in the movies where girls like assholes or anything like that. It’s not that easy. They just like somebody that can give them a purpose. Girls like guys to be a challenge. It gives them some mold to fit in how they act. Like a mom. – Patrick to Charlie

The thing is some girls think they can actually change guys. And what’s funny is that if they actually did change them, they’d get bored. They’d have no challenge left. You just have to give girls some time to think of a new way of doing things, that’s all. Some of them will figure it out here. Some later. Some never. – Patrick to Charlie

Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve. – Bill

I was never good with girls. Bill was my good friend at school. My parents didn’t allow my sister’s boyfriend to see her anymore. My sister hated me for telling Bill about their episode. I did believe in God, but I didn’t really visit church that much. My dad talked to the boy’s parents. I am very introverted in nature. My brother threw a house party when my parents weren’t around. Soon, the police visited my place because we were creating a ruckus. Dave raped the girl. I feel infinite. I attended another party and enjoyed myself. Sam always took great care of me. I spotted Patrick kissing Brad during the party. Patrick wanted me not to say anything about what I witnessed. I was a wallflower because I see things. I keep quiet about them. And I understood them. The whole group toasted to me. Brad had a girlfriend named Nancy. And in that moment in the pickup with wind blowing in our faces, I swear we were infinite.

November 7, 1991 to Jan 1, 1992

Mary Elizabeth liked to smoke and led a Zen lifestyle. Patrick and Brad met at a party and they were bored. Later, they ended up fooling around when they were drunk. Patrick now really liked Brad after a few more similar episodes. Later, they had sex. Brad was the female in the relationship. Later, Brad kept crying and his parents sent him to rehab. He liked to get stoned a lot of them. At least now, he didn’t need to get drunk to feel loved. I got a B for my paper on Peter Pan. I wanted to write for a newspaper instead. I started working for a fanzine called Punk Rocky. To be honest, I love Sam. The problem is she is going out with a guy named Craig. Craig and Sam act in the same play. Sam has a low esteem and I wanted her to stop seeing Craig. My brother was super passionate about football. My dad loved to tell stories about his younger days and his football. My bro couldn’t make it back for Thanksgiving. Sam and Patrick would come to my place for dinner. Michael’s parents were getting a divorce. I liked holidays with my uncle and aunt. However, there will be quarrels between them occasionally. Secretly, my dad doesn’t like our grandpa. My grandfather cried when he saw my brother play football on TV. I consoled him.

I had to buy Patrick a present for Christmas. I wanted to get him a mix-tape. Asleep by the Smiths. I loved the books which Bill gave me. Patrick loved the mix tape. I also gave him some magnets and a set of watercolour paints, a harmonica and a book. It was called ‘The Mayor of Castro Street’. I met Sam and Patrick’s parents. Everyone was super friendly during the dinner. Patrick gave me a suit. Everyone else exchanged gifts too. I gave Sam a card and she kissed me, saying ‘I love you’. Sam bought me a typewriter. It said ‘Write about me sometime’. However, she was not ready to see me as she still had a boyfriend. I still remembered Sam’s kiss. Bill gave me a book ‘The Catcher in the Rye’. I hope Sam and Patrick would call me on my birthday, 24 Dec. My family watched ‘It’s a Wonderful life’. I didn’t know what to buy for my dad. He doesn’t read or watch many movies. My mum comforted me and said I could buy anything. My family bought me really nice presents for my birthday. My bro started dating a girl named Kelly. Dad liked the MASH tv series set I bought him. They met at a restaurant called Ye Olde College Inn. My brother was more rude and crude after his stint overseas. Kelly liked Walden by Henry David Thoreau. My brother started saying mean stuff to my sister. My dad gave me the wheel even if I didn’t know how to drive yet. I felt sad looking at some old photographs. We were going to visit grandma’s place. I will never know if Aunt Rebecca or grandma forgave Dad for moving out.

Usually, we visit Aunt Helen’s grave. We want her to know that we miss her deeply. Something bad happened to Aunt Helen in the past and I wanted to find out. She was molested in the past. Aunt Helen had a drinking and drug problem in the past. But after that, she took good care of us. She passed away on Dec 24, 1983, in a car accident. I never had the chance to say a proper goodbye to her. Up till today, I still missed Aunt Helen. I told Aunt Helen about my life at her grave. I was having my New Year’s Eve party tomorrow. I felt very upset all of a sudden after visiting her grave. My mind started spinning. I heard Sam and Craig having sex in the room.

January 4, 1992 to April 26, 1992

I dropped a letter off at a mailbox. I started throwing up and fell ill. My parents brought me in the emergency room. My family all showered me with extra attention. I didn’t want to take LSD again. If was said that people don’t really get out of LSD once they talk it. I was suffering from schizophrenia. The roads appeared like waves, and my face was plastic. I tried a cigarette from Sam. I was up to 10 cigarettes per day

You feel really bad, and then it goes away, and you don’t know why. I try to remind myself when I feel great like this that there will be another terrible week coming someday, so I should store up as many great details as I can, so during the next terrible week, I can remember those details and believe that I’ll feel great again. – Charlie

My psychiatrist was a nice man. I read On the Road. I was now finding out more about Bill. My date was Mary Elizabeth during the Sadie Hawkins’ dance. Craig and Sam didn’t show up at the Rocky Horror Picture. I was slated to play Rocky at the last minute. I really enjoyed the experience of acting on stage. Mary Elizabeth praised me for my performance. I had an erection after the play. Mary Elizabeth announced that she liked me. Sam gave me advice on dating. Mary had many previous boyfriends. Mary wants to get 2 degrees and wanted to explore lesbian relationships. I agreed to go out on another date with her. Sam and I was alone for a while. My sister was crying after her boyfriend didn’t dance much with her and left abruptly. We hugged each other and later she admitted she was pregnant. The boyfriend broke up with her. She wanted me to accompany her to the clinic as well. I was at the waiting room of the clinic. I could not concentrate on any of my readings. I vowed not to tell my parents about the pregnancy for now. My sister finally caught me smoking too. We both laughed over it. My parents didn’t suspect anything. My parents wanted to find out more about the girl I dated. I told him about Mary Elizabeth. My dad wanted me to use protection. Mary and I went out on a date again. Now, Mary started touching me. Now, she started to touch me and kiss me. Mary knew mentioned the record to me.

I don’t understand that. I would give someone a record so they could love the record, not so they would always know that I gave it to them. – Charlie

Patrick and Sam were coming over to my house for dinner. My parents kept talking to Mary instead. Mary wanted to control me. Be honest about your feelings. Mary was kind of attention seeking. She liked to call me all the time. I returned the book she gave me to the store. Back at home, I started crying. Now, I should start getting honest with my feelings about her. I gave her ‘To kill a mockingbird’. I didn’t want to reveal anything about myself to Mary. When I was asked to kiss the prettiest girl in the room, I kissed Sam instead of Mary. I was true to myself. Mary walked out and everyone in the room felt terrible. I started to cry and Patrick took me home. Mary wasn’t interested in my life but she kept talking about hers. The best thing for me was to keep away for a while. I admitted I would date Patrick if I were gay. There was something wrong with me, but I didn’t know what it was. Mary didn’t want to get back with me and I apologized. I truly was. Craig was angry at me too. My sister met a new guy in her life. I was ‘passive aggressive’. I wanted people to tell me what was wrong. I bought pot from Bob.

April 29, 1992 to June 22, 1992

I was trying to avoid the world and escape. I was thinking about changing schools. I realized I didn’t like the feeling of not talking to anyone in the past 2 weeks. One day, Susan came along and I talked to her. She didn’t reply when I asked her whether she missed Michael. I was pretty stoned during that period. I went to Bob to get more pot. He believed in karma. After a while, he keeps saying the same stuff. Brad father’s realized his son was together with Patrick. Brad stopped going to school. I realized thinking too much made me hurt on the inside even more. My sister’s new boyfriend was Erik, a junior in school. Bill gave me a new book, ‘The Stranger’.

Brad returned to school after a while. Brad and Patrick were still not on good terms with one another. Later, I found Patrick crying. Brad called him a ‘faggot’ and Patrick was mad. Patrick punched Brad. I also got involved once Brad’s friends joined in. Patrick was suspended for a week. However, Patrick and I got a month’s detention. Sam was waiting for me after detention. Sam wanted me to apologize to Mary face-to-face. I started to cry. Finally, I apologized and we were now friends. Mary dated Peter now, one of Craig’s friends. Patrick quit the Frank ‘N Furter play.

I was spending a lot of time with Patrick now. I was in his car and we were heading somewhere. We went to see a movie, ate pizza, played golf, drank wine etc. We shared stories with one another and it was great. When we were heading home, Patrick kissed me. We kept kissing each other and I listened to him talk about Brad. Patrick brought me to a gay park. A guy came to chat with me in the park. It was the guy who does sports on the TB news. Patrick brought me to try a Karaoke bar and drugs in an aerosol can. When he saw Brad with other guys, his expression changed. School was ending and prom was coming. Bill gave me another book to read ‘The Fountainhead’. I was only 16 years old. I enjoyed the fountainhead. The seniors were planning a prank. Patrick was going to the University of Washington and wanted to be a musician. Sam got into the college of her choice and a safety school. She ended up in Penn State, the same school as my brother. My sister was going to Sarah Lawrence, a liberal arts college. Mary Elizabeth was going to Berkeley. ‘I would die for you. But I won’t live for you.’

Something like that. I think the idea is that every person has to live for his or her own life and then make the choice to share it with other people. – Charlie

It was the last day of high school. I started running after the sun. Patrick performed his last Frank and Furter. The party at Craig’s was excellent. Patrick was with Alice now. It was prom night. Now, most of my friends were out of school. I didn’t have anyone except my psychiatrist. I hope everyone would be happy and everything would turn out great. I had two final exams now. Bill invited me to his place. Last night, Craig and Sam broke up. The thing was Craig was cheating on Sam by flirting with other girls. Peter encouraged Craig to reveal the truth to her. Peter threatened to tell Sam if he refused to take action. Sam was crying and she was devastated. We drove Peter home and prevented a fight. I visited Bill at his place. Bill thanked me for the fact that he enjoyed teaching me.

Charlie, you’re one of the most gifted people I’ve ever known. And I don’t mean in terms of my other students. I mean in terms of anyone I’ve ever met. That’s why I gave you the extra work. – Bill, the teacher

He thought I was special. I started crying a little and told him he was the best teacher I ever had. I believe everyone is special in their own way. It was the last day of school for me. My brother came home and he had a beard. I looked out for Patrick and Sam in their graduation caps. My sister had to give a speech on stage after she came in 2nd in class. My mum cried with tears of joy. It was a great day, apparently. I visited a dance club in the evening just to see Sam. Sam and Patrick later appeared and we hugged one another. I danced with Sam on the dance floor too. I wanted the clock to stop now. Later, we went to Peter’s apartment. ‘On the road, Naked Lunch, The Stranger, This Side of Paradise, Peter Pan and a Separate Peace; To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, Hamlet, Walden and the Fountainhead.’

Sam was leaving in a week’s time. Craig finally reconciled with Sam. We entered Sam’s room as she wanted to pack some stuff. Sam was wondering why I didn’t ask her out after the Craig episode. I realized that I wanted her to be genuinely happy.

It’s great that you can listen and be a shoulder to someone, but what about when someone doesn’t need a shoulder. What if they need the arms or something like that? You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things. Like take their hands when the slow song comes up for a change. Or be the one who asks someone for a date. Or tell people what you need. Or what you want. – Sam to Charlie

I needed to be more honest with others. Sam was also afraid to do certain things when she was together with Craig because he might think differently about her. I kissed her and we ending up kissing. We touched one another. Sam admitted that I was her best friend.

I’m going to do what I want to do. I’m going to be who I really am. And I’m going to figure out what that is. But right now I’m here with you. And I want to know where you are, what you need, and what you want to do. – Sam to Charlie

August 23, 1992

I was in the hospital for the past 2 months. I was in the couch in the family room completely naked. The doctor helped me to sort out my relationships and I loved visitors. Patrick and Sam wanted to drive me through the tunnel when I was better again. I received mail from grandma, grandpa etc.

I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them. – Charlie

Sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there. I was finally discharged from hospital. I was very comforted to have friends all around me who offered their support. Sam, Patrick and I finally drove in the tunnel. It was great to have close friends and family. I started crying and smiling at the same time. Tomorrow was my sophomore year of high school. I wanted to participate more in the school activities.



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