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The end of the world as i know it
I wake to the high screech of the bell as seventh period ends and I swim out into the hall with the torrent of people rushing from every door of the school. It’s easy to drown in the rush of bodies but I manage to float my way down to my locker and finally out of the school. My eyes squint with pain as they try to adjust to the bright light of outside after a long day of the yellow incandescent lights of the school. I attempt to shake away the paste my brain seems to be stuck in after seven periods of sleep and day dreaming as I make my way to my car.
“Loren!” I turn as I hear my name and feel my heart jump as I see Mara jogging toward me. Her blonde hair sways side to side as she runs and she looks more beautiful in her sweatpants and hoodie than most girls did at prom.
“Hey, what’s up?”
“My car won’t start again; do you think you could give me a ride home?”
“Yeah of course.”
I mentally thank whatever higher being had granted me this good fortune and step into the car. I have always loved just driving around with Mara, singing songs together; watching the people in cars around us. Just listening to the sound of her voice like the soft chimes outside my window was immensely soothing to me. There were never any awkward silences, we had gotten to the point where we didn’t have to fill every quiet moment with conversation, the silence said more than we ever could.
“How are your applications going?” she asks, I give her a look she knows this is my least favorite topic.
“That bad huh?”
“At this point Mara I would be surprised if the community college accepted me.”
“Oh come on Loren! I know you will get in somewhere, and even if you don’t you will only be at community for two years then you move on. It won’t be that bad.
“Yeah whatever dude lets just drop it.”
“Okay I’m sorry I brought it up, I just worry about you sometimes.”
“I know I know its okay”
We both sit in silence for a few minutes until a song that has been drilled into our heads by the radio comes on. We look at each other and join in as loud as we can, the moment before pushed to the back of my head by her laugh.
On the way to my house after I drop her off my thoughts flow back to school and I’m hit with a strong feeling of depression. Its like a punch to the stomach from the hulk and I’m forced to pull over and wait for it to pass. As soon as get home I throw my back pack on the ground and run up to the bathroom. I throw off my clothes and step into the shower, pulling the knob all the way to the hot side. I let the hot water wash me away until it feels like I’m not even there anymore but soon my mind drifts back to school. I begin to think of what I’m going to do in a few months, where I'm going to get money for school, if I will even go to school, the fact that everybody I love is leaving me. It’s too much; I’m crushed by my own thoughts I slip to the floor of the shower and curl up in a ball and let the feeling pass. Eventually I get out of the shower feeling raw and sore from the water, get dressed, and go flop down on my bed. I don’t wake up till seven when my mom calls me for dinner.
After an uneventful dinner I go back to my room where I begin to think about doing my homework. Twenty minutes into playing in my mental playground or daydreaming as some people call it I get a text from Mara.
“You coming out tonight?” What day was it? They had begun to blend together in an endless cycle of school home sleep eat sleep. It was the only way to function glide through life, don’t look around, don’t get attached, soon everything would be leaving and I didn’t want to be hurt anymore than I knew I already would be at the end.
“Maybe, what day is it?”
“Loren, wake up for once its Friday! Jeremy is having a little get together.”
“Uh I'm kinda tired maybe I’ll just stay in.”
“Loren, you are going out stop moping around. I’ll pick you up in twenty minutes.”
I guess I'm going out now. This is usually how our conversations went. I could never say no to her, not when there was so little time left.
As soon as I got in her car my mood changed I could feel her energy next to me, her constant fidgeting, her slight lisp, all just adding to what made her Mara. I fed off her radiance, rejuvenating myself as we pulled into Jeremy’s driveway. Inside I could hear the deep bass rumbling like a summer thunderstorm. This was no little get together; this was an official FDA approved high school party. Warm light seemed to pulse from the front door pulling us both in like an alien tractor beam. Our weak minds were helpless in its awesome power. It was like a primal instinct, a birthright even! We both felt it building up inside, party, party PARTY!
So we walked inside side by side the whole party seemed to turn to greet us. Another few friends to join in the revelry were always welcome handshakes and hugs were exchanged and we were soon enveloped by the atmosphere of lighthearted fun.
After awhile I sat on a couch and just watched, disconnected. The loud conversations, the clumsy dancing it was all a part of it, everything I would soon be without. And just like that I started to feel it all surround me, slowly closing in. The pressure came from all sides and soon I was lost no longer at the party but caught in the labyrinth of worries created from my own laziness. I could see them all leaving me everyone I knew, everyone I loved all leaving I would never again feel the warmth of good times with my friends my world was ending.
“Loren! What did I say about moping?”
“Huh?” I had been so absorbed in my puddle of depression I had not noticed Mara plop down next to me on the couch. I started to feel my mind return to me, she was like ice on a hot summer day just her presence made me feel as good as I ever have. I turned to look in her eyes and in those two deep pools of hazel I saw my salvation. I flashed back to my happiest times, singing in her car, watching TV at her house, just watching her laugh. With a shock I realized, I was only happy when I lived in the present, those times when I forgot about my worries when I saw only what was in front of me. I saw that I had lost myself in a labyrinth of worries that truly did not matter. It was so simple, Life goes on. We are all caught in our labyrinths but the people who find happiness are not the people who can only think of getting out, they are the people who have fun finding their way through.
With this realization I felt free! Happy for no reason for the first time in months. I turned back to Mara realizing again that she was there. With my mind clear I saw what I had wanted to do for years. I leaned in and kissed her, and was lost in something that felt everlasting but at the same time too short. I pulled away and looked in her eyes again nervous about her reaction. But my fears were dispelled when she smiled that inimitable smile and said,
“It’s about time!”
My world was ending as I once knew it, and I had never felt happier in my life.