<em>So thank you, Justin. Sincerely. My very first kiss was wonderful. And for the month or so that we lasted, and everywhere that we went, the kisses were wonderful. You were wonderful.</em> (3.221)
Justin crushes every romantic idea that Hannah ever had about love. Even her dreams tell her that Justin is the one for her. But there's a big difference between fantasy Justin and the real Justin she will get to know over the next couple years.
I hardly knew Hannah Baker. I mean, I wanted to. I wanted to know her more than I had the chance. […] [W]e never had the chance to get closer. And not once did I take her for granted. Not once. (3.36)
Really, Clay? Not even once? Even Clay realizes he might be a bit off on this. He could have used all those nights at the movie theater to get closer to her, but her reputation scared him off. Until now, poor Clay hasn't had enough information to fully understand or analyze his relationship with Hannah.
<em>As I filled mine out, I found myself describing a certain someone at our school.</em> (8.26)
We're pretty sure Hannah is talking about Clay here – don't you think?
For just a buck, you get the name and number of your one true soul mate. For five bucks, you get your top five. (8.3)
As we discuss in "Symbols, Imagery, and Allegory," the Oh My Dollar Valentines become a symbol of how everything love-related in Hannah's life turns to pain and shame. What was meant to be a chance to meet her soul mate turns out into a nightmare when her date assaults her.
If I had been smart, if I had been honest with my survey, I would have described Hannah. And maybe we would have talked. Seriously talked. (8.59)
Oh, the bitter irony. If Clay had described Hannah in his survey, they probably would have ended up on one another's lists. While Hannah takes the game a bit <em>too</em> seriously, Clay doesn't take it quite seriously enough.
That truth first came to light a few weeks ago, at a party, with Hannah directly in front of me. An amazing moment when everything seemed to be falling into place. (10.58)
Finally Clay and Hannah meet. They talk, they connect, they kiss. But Hannah is reminded of Justin's betrayal and the rumors, and she pushes Clay away. From that moment on she is lost to him, even though he keeps smiling at her in the hall and trying to catch her eye.
But now it's too late.
And that's why at this moment I feel so much hate. Toward myself. I deserve to be on this list. Because if I hadn't been so afraid of everyone else, I might have told Hannah that someone cared. (10.761-62)
Clay doesn't just lament the loss of what could have been a really good romantic relationship. He's also lost the chance to be Hannah's friend, and probably to save her life.
<em>Romeo, oh Romeo. Wherefore art though, Romeo. </em>(11.46)
How mushy. Hannah starts Clay's tape with these words, making it pretty clear that she was in love with him. While this provides a tiny bit of relief for Clay's guilt, it probably makes his loss of Hannah and the chance to save her even more painful.
Two steps behind her, I say her name.
Clay is doing the loving thing here both for himself and for Skye. By reaching out to her, he takes a stand against all the ugly things he's heard in Hannah's tapes.