The Short lived Rise of a Smile

March 13, 2011
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In school there are three big buildings connected to each other through hallways. They make a shape of a triangle in the middle with the sun resting above it. It’s a garden full of colorful roses, blood red poppies and sweet scented rosemarys. There is a full blush of green grass with no brow spots like a disease; it’s just green. It’s a grass you could fall on and it steams would help you float. There are light red benches, one sitting next to the flowers, another sitting under the umbrella shaped leaves of a tree and then there is this other bench sitting lonely in the center where the sun would rest. It’s rusted, the paint was leaking off and peeling into the rain; the rain.
It was raining that day, first soft like the numerous clouds were hesitant to drown us. It was peaceful, the type of peace one gets when their alone and on the verge of sleep with their dreams playing lively in their heads. We sat in class listening to the light drips and drops like Mozart was creating music within our own backyards. Everyone was silent, for once, in class. There was no gossip, screams, chatter or even the slightest grunt of annoyance. There wasn’t even a hum. Even the teachers refuse to teach. It was the clamming before and after the storm.
Second, the rain had suddenly turned against us and began to stab till our souls cried out. It was violent; winds crashed shaping clouds into grey shadows that haunted over us. Rain was no longer Mozart; it had drowned him, sucked out all his artistic ability and replaced it with chalk shrieking on a board. It screamed down, punching the ground with hard fist. Our silence was over. We assumed back into our rudeness and the teachers began to teach lessons we didn’t need in life.
It was one of the lunch periods when I first saw her, seventh period to be exact. She sat on the bench. The one with the rotting pain and no one sat on unless they were forced by armed men to; people never sat on ugly things. She was a pretty girl, one I knew since third grade from afar of course. She very popular and her beauty was memorizing. She had luscious blonde curly hair, clear ocean blue eyes, and creamy tasteful ice-cream like skin. She always wore the best brands, I’ve noticed and token notes, and the best thing about her was that she had friends; friends that hung to her like bees to honey.
Her name was Scarlet Essen and she was a dream walking among the living. Yet now as I get this quick glimpse of her she seemed more like a nightmare than a beauty fantasy we all wanted to capture during our sleep. The first thing that was noticeably wrong with the picture was not that she was sitting in the rain but she was sitting there alone. All her friends, beyond a handful, those bees that paraded around their queen were nowhere in sight. They had been sprayed with gas and without even thinking had abandoned their queen as if she was hazardous. She just there like a statue just exactly like me.
You couldn’t see it but she was crying. You couldn’t see it because her tears mixed in with the rain and created a depth river that ran through the grass to the edge of the building. The water was thick, constantly falling without a breather, that it was hard to see her at all even through the big windows. Yet as I walked out on my Spanish class, she was all I saw. I got a pull in her direction, wasn’t surprising, and as I turned to the windows I caught a quick glance of the yellow sweater.
“Donna, what’s that” I asked as I slowed down with my eyes squinting and leaning closer to get a better look.
“Rain!” Donna replied sharply. I had my hand resting peacefully on her shoulder but just like her tone she sharply and maliciously shrugged it away. My hands were always unworthy to touch queens. I stood still and watched her strut down the halls; it was a picture seen too many times and began not to bother me as much.
I was becoming late for Public Speaking class but for some reason I kept trying to make out Scarlet’s figure behind the never ending darkness of the dead sky. I could only see her yellow sweater shinning, like a glimpse of hope that we all needed to overcome the sadness of the rain.
The bell rang, it shook me and I was officially late. My hands crippled to the door, it was warm like the rest of the hallway. I laid my book bag and books down and with only an inch width sweater I buzzed outside to Scarlet. The rain was blinding and punched me hard. I couldn’t even see my hands in front of me and had to feel through the thick air until I touched something. It was wet, of course, but soft like cotton. I then got a glimpse of yellow and realized that I was touching Scarlet. I was touching Scarlet Essen, an unbelievable site that I couldn’t take a picture of or could barely see. It was surprising that she didn’t shrug like Donna. She didn’t lift up in fright instead she just stayed indifferent like the weight of my hand wasn’t upon her.
I felt the rust of the bench and sat down. For some reason no matter how many times I’ve played the scenario and scene in my head, a million since 3rd grade to be exact, my mouth was open but no words flew out. I was frozen with fear and the cold winds didn’t help. We sat in silence but in my head different words, phrases, thoughts and questions ran around creating a headache worse than the shallow breathing the rain had caused. Scarlet didn’t seem like the type of girl to just be sitting there, alone; she didn’t seem like me, not even the least bit.
I realized I couldn’t speak because this wasn’t the way I pictured my first words to her. In my head we’d be sitting at lunch and I’d helped her find something she held dear to her and with great gratitude she invited me to sit with her forever and ever or it could be in English class and I recited a poem I wrote and falling in love she’d sudden want to be my best friend.
Scenes played in my head creating life of their own but this wasn’t it. I whispered softly knowing full well that this would be my only chance, “Are you okay?” I didn’t think she could hear me since the rain still singed loudly and horribly so I asked again louder this time. Still though, there was no answer and I began to think she wasn’t there; maybe my companionship was unwanted. There was quick flash of lighting that broke the dark barrier and created a blink of light and I saw her, still unmoved just staring straight ahead. “We should go inside” I yelled after the volcanic sound of thunder. My heart was pounding and my skin started to shake. I should of just left her there but couldn’t, if she got struck by lightning I wouldn’t be able to live. With the sudden boldness I got I forcefully grabbed her hand and pulled her up. She showed no resistance instead I just pulled her light, almost lifeless, body inside.
Maybe the rain was her oxygen and without it she was a fish out of water, maybe being in it too long made her unable to live in this world or maybe she was just waiting for the perfect moment just to make it drastic and have an audience. Whatever the reason is once Scarlet got back inside she fainted. It was a loud thump that suited well with the lighting and thunder. Under the light on the hall I could see her. Her skin was grey turning green, the golden color in her hair had faded and it looked droopy and lethargic. Her eyes were closed but I imagined that her ocean eyes were now populated with oil, her make-up was running down her eyes and her lips were replaced with dead skin and lastly the color in her clothes had been washed away in the river. I screamed at the imposter.
My Spanish class door flung open and Mrs. Castillo came into view with kids crowding around her. She tried to push them back in as she grabbed the phone and called the office. “Oh my god, Scarlet’s dead” someone said. Even though I knew it wasn’t true, I don’t know why but I could still feel her pull. I knew that she wasn’t lying here right now. Scarlet was miles away, probably in California, New York City or Pairs. She was somewhere fancy that suited her and she would be having the time of her life. This is where Scarlet is and only that thought could still keep my dream alive.
I stood over her like a murder and just watched as my teacher tried to revive her with CPR. The kids with their uptight lifted nose staring down at me and their nosy attitudes pushed me aside and crowded around. I didn’t care to try and push my way through. I just grabbed my books and book bag and with no hesitation I walked away. There was no need to waste any more of my time on a fake doppelganger Scarlet; the one without color, friends or beauty. The real Scarlet, the one my eyes light for, could have my whole life if she wanted yet to this one, the cold one, I had no kindness. I was just as cold as she was.
I went to the locker room, walking silently passed security guards who were rushing to reach her. Nobody noticed me or my damped clothes and the trail of rain I left; I hoped no one slipped. I changed into my gym clothes and by the time I was done the bell had rang, the ambulance carried Scarlet’s body away, the school uproar in rumors and I walked to my next class forgetting the moment I decided to go into the rain.
“Hey” I was greeted by a bright Donna. Her face was unlike I’ve seen before. She was smiling, her lips curling up into a big full of life smile, at me. I looked at her tanned pimples face bewildered. She was wearing glasses, the kind that looked chic instead of geek. I’ve never seen her close up; up close she looked happy, joyful but far she was an emotionless being who seemed to not care about anything. It was an attitude that Scarlet’s friends wore better than Donna. I didn’t know how to answer her; it was the first time she voluntarily talked to me. A dream I haven’t dreamt but still wanted and now that it was here, laying flat at me, I was lost. “How are you?” she continued ignoring my confused expression.
“Oh-ka-y, I guess” I replied. She grabbed my hand and without asking pulled me to a seat next to her. My mind began to explode, my heart pounding and sweat leaked down my forehead slowly. I sat down cautious reading her expression over and over in my head. It had only been forty minutes, what features on me could have changed in those short seconds for me to sit next to Donna. Did my hair get longer? Were my teeth shiner? Were my gym clothes somehow stylish and I didn’t notice? What happened in the past forty minutes made me worthy of such an honor?
“What happened to you last period, I didn’t see you anywhere. You totally disappeared!” she asked casually facing the board and taking notes as if we’ve done this million of times and I’ve somehow lost count.
“I was busy” I began more serene, “I had to change my clothes because I got wet”
“Wet!” she gasped. She turned to me in a shocked expression. Maybe she had just realized I was sitting with, I thought. “Oh right,” she said softer and then in a whisper style and nodding her head slightly to its side she added, “You were with Scarlet, right?”
I pulled back leaning on the edge of my seat and sudden I became aware. Fake Scarlet was Scarlet all along. I had met the real Scarlet and despite the deadness in her she was in fact alive and well. Whether she’s dead or not at the moment I didn’t care. Scarlet had already given me the one thing I wanted. She has given me her thrown and the crown was beautiful engraved with my initials. I laid it on the head with every single eye watching closely to see if it fit and it did. They smiled; a smile I didn’t bother to figure out if it was of fright or pure gratitude. It was a smile and I took it and squeezed the life out of it.
“Yes I was with her” I said proudly.
“You were?” questioned another voice. I turned around to find not only football player Alex looking at me but everyone else too. Even the teacher with her eyes glued to her book had an open set of ears just for my words. “What happened?”
“Well….” I began and the story was told. It was a short story but over the course of three days I told it. It was an inch that I turned into yards. With the story came bees, my own set of bees. They buzzed around sucking the air out of me as if it was nectar. I said, “I don’t know” to most of the rumors and when they seemed to get bored I’d replied a “Maybe” to their questions and drew them, like a fish on a hook back to shore. I didn’t mind that my soul had quite me, my poems were scarce and second thoughts were dead. Nobody would have minded. The story brought me life and nights spent with a crowd. It also brought an emotion buried under tears but I dug deep and found it resting peacefully below my heart. A smile was what I pulled out; it was gorgeous better than diamonds. It made me cry one night like a daughter whose father has just returned from war.
I wore my crown proudly till the first bell of Friday rang. I saw yellow again. This time it was a belt wrapped around a white shirt that had ruffles and there was also a yellow necklace hanging around a perfect neck on perfect skin. Her heels clicked and clacked and her bees seeing yellow just buzzed on right pass me. It was raining that day too, first soft like the clouds were hesitant but then hard with fist of furry. I walked the crowded hall ways with a distant yet familiar feeling. So many people around and yet I wasn’t one of them.
I walked out of Spanish class that day hoping to see a glimpse of the yellow sun underneath the dark rain but no matter how hard I leaned my face against the cold windows there was nothing. There was just the fog and shadows left to die on the walls.
“Hey” said a voice as I sat in the corner near the window in English. I looked up from my daydreams and found Scarlet’s real face for the first time in front of me. Her eyes were at their finest, her skin was creamy, her hair golden and overall she was colorful. Her voice was soft, one I’ve studied many times to the point where I could emulate it but not to perfection; I was always missing a pitch that only Scarlet herself could get. She was staring at me with a simple smile, a smile nerveless though. “Thank you” she said, “for pulling me out of the rain.” She looked down with a sudden pain in her heart, “I don’t know what came over me” she said shaking her head slightly. Her blonde curls went flying like birds and as she picked her head back up she brushed it smoothly away. “I just wanted to say thank you, I could have died.”
She reached her hand over and touched mine. I would have been hesitant to let it rest because my heart was shocked but with the fear and astonishment I had my body was just as frozen as hers was in the rain. With that small gesture I had gotten my wish. I didn’t speak a word. Talking would make this moment no longer considered perfect.
The real Scarlet had talked to me, had opened her mouth just to say a few kind words. After a few slow seconds she got up and walked back to her bees. They opened their arms and let her in then closed their gates for a final farewell. Everybody else including Donna was outsiders but I found myself not caring. So what if her words hadn’t suddenly made me likeable, so what if she didn’t change me drastically, she had already given me everything I ever wanted.
I took off the crown and walked down to the rain. I entered it for the last time to lay the crown on the rotted bench; even it deserved to be beautiful. I left it sitting there till Scarlet was ready to claim it again. After a few seconds the rain turned light then suddenly just stopped breathing.





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