The way it looks is not the way it is.
Gigi Boudakian is screaming at me so fearsomely, I think I could just about cry. I almost don’t even care what the subject is because right now I am sick and I am confused and I am laid so low by the very idea that Gigi Boudakian is screaming at me that the what-for hardly seems even to matter. I love Gigi Boudakian. I hate it when people I love scream at me.
And I don’t feel guilty. That is, I don’t feel like I am guilty. But I sure as hell feel sorry.
I am sorry.
I am one sorry sorry bastard. And I feel very sick.
I am so sorry.
“What are you sorry for, Keir?” Gigi screams again, grabbing me by where my lapels would be if I had a jacket on, or a shirt, or anything. She can’t get a purchase because I have no clothes, and very little fat, because I have been good about my health lately. She grabs, can’t grab, scratches instead at my chest, then slaps me hard across the face, first right side then left, smack, smack.
“Say what you did, Keir.”
“Why is Carl coming? Why do you have to call Carl, Gigi?”
“Say what you did, Keir. Admit what you did to me.”
“I didn’t do anything, Gigi.”
“Yes you did! I said no!”
I say this very quietly, but firmly. “You did not.”
“I said no,” she growls. “Say it.”
“I don’t see why you need Carl. You can beat me up just fine on your own. Listen, Gigi, it was nobody’s fault.”
“Yes it was! It was your fault. This should not have happened.”
“Fine, then it didn’t.”
“It did, it did, it did, bastard! For me it did, and it’s making me sick.”
“Don’t. Don’t be sick. I don’t want you to be sick or anything. I just want everything to be all right. Everything is all right, Gigi. Please, can everything be all right?”
“It is not all right! It is not all right, and you are not all right, Keir Sarafian. Nothing is all right. Nothing will ever again ever be all right.”
She is wrong. Gigi is wrong about everything, but especially about me. You could ask pretty much anybody and they will tell you. Rock solid, Keir. Kind of guy you want behind you. Keir Sarafian, straight shooter. Loyal, polite. Funny. Good manners. He was brought up right, that boy was, is what you would hear. All the things you would want to hear said about you are the things I have always heard said about me. I am a good guy.
Good guys don’t do bad things. Good guys understand that no means no, and so I could not have done this because I understand, and I love Gigi Boudakian.
“I love you, Gigi.”
As I say this, Gigi Boudakian lets out the most horrific scream I have ever heard, and I am terrified by it and reach out, lunge toward her and try and cover her mouth with my hands and I fall over her and she screams louder and bites at my hands and I keep flailing, trying to stop that sound coming out of her and getting out into the world.
I am only trying to stop the sound. It looks terrible what I am doing, as I watch my hands doing it, as I watch hysterical Gigi Boudakian reacting to me, and it looks really, really terrible but I am only trying to stop the awful sound and the way it looks is not the way it is.
The way it looks is not the way it is.
Keir Sarafian may not know much, but he knows himself. And the one thing he knows about himself is that he is a good guy. A guy who's a devoted son and brother, a loyal friend, and a reliable teammate. And maybe most important of all, a guy who understands that when a girl says no, she means it. But that is not what Gigi Boudakian, childhood friend and Keir's lifelong love, says he is. What Gigi says he is seems impossible to Keir....It is something inexcusable -- the worst thing he can imagine, the very opposite of everything he wants to be.
As Keir recalls the events leading up to his fateful night with Gigi, he realizes that the way things look are definitely not the way they really are -- and that it may be all too easy for a good guy to do something terribly wrong.
Chris Lynch has written a no-holds-barred story about truth, lies, and responsibility -- a story that every good guy needs to hear.
- Atheneum Books for Young Readers |
- 176 pages |
- ISBN 9780689847899 |
- November 2005 |
- Grades 7 and up |
- Lexile 810L
Read an Excerpt
Reading Group Guide
By Chris Lynch
ABOUT THE BOOK
Keir Sarafian declares that he is innocent of raping Gigi Boudakian. But that's not how Gigi sees it. Polluted with alcohol and high on drugs, Keir shows up at a graduation party where Gigi is brooding over her boyfriend's absence. The two leave the party together and wind up in a room all alone on a college campus three hours away. As Keir tells his story, he repeats "the way it looks is not the way it is." But Keir loses credibility as he relates past events of his senior year: a football accident when he crippled another player, acts of vandalism after a football and soccer breakup party, and late night drinking binges with his father. Through it all, Keir dismisses his bad behavior and attempts to convince his readers and himself that he is a good guy. But "good guys don't do bad things," and Keir Sarafian appears disconnected, angry, and in total denial of any of his violent actions. Is he guilty of date rape? Does he live up to the nickname "killer" that he earned on the football field? Can he admit that his father hasn't been good for him? Will he ever accept responsibility for his inexcusable behavior or is he totally deluded?
ACTIVITIES BEFORE READING
The media is filled with stories about teenage crime and innocent pranks that turned bad. School violence, date rape, and illegal drug and alcohol use are common behaviors reported, see more