What She Doesn’t Know Will Kill You -Matt Brochu

this piece affected me in significant ways when I was in high school…amazing how it still rings true today.  Matt Brochu, wherever you are, thank you.

You met her a few months ago, and somehow she managed to seep into your subconscious like that “Suga how you get so fly” song. Just like you have no clue who the hell sings it, you don’t know why she’s there. But she is, whether you like it or not. You know her cell phone, her room phone. You can dial her Aunt Doreen’s house in West Springfield (where she goes to do her laundry every two weeks) faster than you can peck-out 911. But she doesn’t know.

Her screenname, that generic one with her first name followed by three to five random numbers or UMass, has its own category at the top of your buddy list. Not only do you know what a “Buddy Alert” is, you’ve rigged your computer to play “Fat Guy in a Little Coat” from “Tommy Boy” every time her screen name changes from gray to black. Then her away message comes down, and you have a decision to make. To IM or not to IM? These are the ridiculous games that you play on a daily basis. But she doesn’t know.

She’s it. All right, so maybe not “it” it. Not necessarily Ms. Right, but closer to Ms. Right - up - there - with - Anna - Kournikova - and - Lizzie - McGuire - on - your - list - of - people - you’d - give - anything - to - be - stranded - with - on - a - broken - down - elevator. But it’s about more than that. When is it ever about more than that? Never. Not like frilly white dress, overpriced catering, embarrassing drunk in-laws more, but closer to UMass sweatpants, two D.P. Dough Roni Zonies, a futon and a movie you have no interest in seeing more. But she doesn’t know.

She’s gorgeous, but gorgeous is an understatement. More like you’re startled every time you see her because you notice something new in a “Where’s Waldo” sort of way. More like you can’t stop writing third grade run-on sentences because you can’t remotely begin to describe something … someone … so inherently amazing. But you’re a writer. You can describe anything. That’s what you do: pictures to words, events to words, words to even better words. But nothing seems right. More like you’re afraid that if you stare at her for too long, you’ll prove your parents right: that yes, your face will stick that way. But you wouldn’t mind.

You wouldn’t mind that the questioning, “Hello?” on the other end makes you want to smile and throw up at the same time. You wouldn’t mind worrying about what to get her for her birthday and spending $300 when you only have $17.50 and a Triple-A card to your name. You wouldn’t mind that she left your TV on and the blaring infomercials wake you up at 4 a.m. … because it gives you a chance to watch her sleep. You don’t mind that you’ve slipped up twice when you were hammered and hinted at how you feel, but she was too drunk to remember. So she doesn’t know.

Sure, she’s pretty, but it’s about more than that. You two connect. Anything you throw at her, she can throw right back. You figured out what’s going on in that predictable head of hers in under five minutes, but something tells you her heart would take about five years.

You remember everything she’s ever said to you, and when that freaks her out you blame it on your photographic memory (which is a lie, you have a 2.7 GPA). You can’t remember your teaching assistant’s name, and you can’t remember that your Puffton rent check was due four days ago, yet you remember the middle name of the kid who tripped her in fifth grade and gave her that cute little scar on her shoulder. Maybe it’s because you actually listen when she talks. When do you actually listen? Never. But she doesn’t know.

But she has a boyfriend. The kid is a tool, and you are not. He has no redeeming qualities, and you have about 38, even when you’re hung over. You could kick his butt, and you’ve never been in a fight in your life. He treats her like crap, and you would treat her like the princess she believed herself to be on Halloween in 1988.

But she loves him. He wouldn’t know what he had even if she slapped him across the face and dumped him, but somehow she still loves him. And somehow she still doesn’t know.

Then, out of nowhere, she slaps him across the face and dumps him. She comes to you. You’ve been there before, so you seem like the smartest guy on earth. She cries, but your corny half-joke, half-compliment somehow gets a smile out of her that almost makes you feel ashamed that you’re the only one around who gets to witness it. It looks like you might make her realize that all guys don’t deserve to have rocks thrown at them.

But nothing changes. She doesn’t know. You get that library elevator feeling in your stomach that she’ll never know. You get that feeling that you’ll be forced to write a cheesy Collegian column about her that makes “Sleepless in Seattle” look like “Girls Gone Wild.”

You go to sleep. You wake up. She doesn’t know. You’re not in love. You’re not obsessed. You blame it on the fact that you just need to get some, but still, it’s about more than that. It would just be nice if once in your life, things worked out the way you wanted them to.

So ___________, it’s about time you know*.

Now cut this out, fill in her name, and give it to her, coward. Just let me know how it works out.

Matt Brochu is a columnist (my personal favorite) at the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, a college newspaper run out of UMass Amherst. This article appeared in the Nov 21, 2003 issue, and has achieved wide fame because of its sheer truth. The Daily Collegian doesn’t host this article anymore on their archives, and so I am one of the many webizens/bloggers out there devoutly preserving this wonderful article for whatever its worth.