Drifter

March 27, 2011
By , Ellicott City, MD
My POV
Drifter, that’s what they called her. Once she stopped being herself, everyone stopped being her friend. No, wait, that’s a lie. Once she stopped being herself everyone tried to help, but she didn’t want any. I’ll explain later. Oh, by the way it might be helpful if you knew my name. My name is Alex, my last name is irrelevant, and I’m a habitual liar. No wait, that’s a lie. I tell the truth, sometimes… maybe. I tend to ramble and say something that I don’t mean and I go back and say, “oh no, wait that’s a lie…” so and so. But yea I’m doing it now, crap. If you ever find that there’s rambling, feel free to slap the paper a few times. ANYWAY, moving forward to the important things like my hopefully still best friend.
It started out in the beginning that her parents stopped talking to her. Then her friends left her high and dry after they found out. She used to be the life of the party. She used to light up the whole room with one flash of her smile. But all that disappeared about four years ago. No one can explain what happened; hell no one even knows what happened much less can explain it. I was her closest friend, and I don’t even know, and I won’t ever find out. It wasn’t an immediate change, but it was obvious that something was different. Her once outgoing personality slowly turned into a quieter gloomier attitude. She was drifting from everyone she was ever close to. No one could explain why either. Everyone suspected that something happened between her and her parents, because that’s around the time they stopped talking to her. But in all truth, it was all speculation.
Everyone was so confused, because they couldn’t seem to grasp the idea of how someone, once so happy and lively, could do an exact 180° with so much as a why or how. But no one was more frustrated and confused than her. You could see it in her eyes every day at school; the confusion was just filling her eyes to the edge. By now, no one dared to go up to her. To ask her what’s wrong? Can we do anything for you? Why have you changed? Why are you so different than before? Believe me, way back when, when they did have the nerve to ask her, that’s when she really shut up for good, she stopped talking period.
But even when she did clam up for good, they tried; they tried for a good long while. They still sat at the same lunch table with her. They tried to make conversation with her, but never succeeded. So they just carried on with their conversations as normal, but without her input. A month came and went, and so did some people at the table. Everyone was slowly starting to not care anymore. They thought, “Well if she refuses to talk to anyone, then why should we keep making an effort to make her feel like she’s fitting in?” So, three years later and twelve people less later, it’s just me, her and 3 other odd balls that leapt at a chance for an empty table.
For some reason I felt the need, or rather the impulse to stay there and not give up on her. I don’t talk, and neither does she, of course, but by now I’m used to it. I have become accustomed to the silence. She eats her lunch quietly, like everything else she does. Then when she’s done, she just stares out the window, or around the lunchroom. The only time you hear her voice is in the classroom. Besides that she’s practically a mute. I don’t really know why I know so much about her- no wait that’s a lie. I know because I watch her, and I’ve learned her usual routine. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m no creeper; it’s just that when you’ve been eating lunch with the same, uninteresting weirdo’s for the past 3 years, what else is there to do. I mean, it’s not she notices really. She probably doesn’t even care; she’s so absorbed in her own little world that she wouldn’t notice me studying her. For you people with the creeper-state of mind, I just really glance and sometimes look. It’s not like I stare intensely at her or something.
But moving on… oh I forgot to mention, I have four out of my seven classes with her, so least to say I know a few things about her. Way back when, when she was the spontaneous, outgoing girl we were the best of friends. I knew a lot about her, but it seems that I’m learning so much more about her now when she doesn’t speak. Don’t ask me why, it just seems that way. But there’s one thing that I think is the most important thing that I’ve learned about her. It’s that it’s taken me tree years to realize that maybe she didn’t want that attention and maybe it got to her, maybe she wanted to be a drifter all along.
Her POV
Loneliness. Abandonment. Sadness. Confusion. That’s what I’ve felt for the past four years. It’s been a long time, but I can still remember those events like it was yesterday. Ok, so maybe I should introduce myself first. I am Elizabeth Alice Kojiton. Weird last name I know, blame by father for that. I blame him for a lot of things actually. I had what most people would say a pretty damn good life. I had straight A’s in every class, I had amazing friends, and not to sound stuck up, but I had basically anything a teenage girl wanted. I mean, I really didn’t ask for much. My parents would just ask me if I wanted this or that, and I would just say I didn’t care if I had it or not, so I guess they just took that as a “sure.” I’m serious too, they really did that.
It didn’t start happening all of a sudden, although that’s not what I want to believe on the bad days. On the good days, I just live with it. I’m more rational when I’m in a good mood, well as good of a mood that’s possible for me. When I first noticed it, I just ignored it. I ignored it for years, even when it was there staring me in the face, I just looked the other way. That was until it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to accept the fact that they didn’t care anymore. They haven’t cared for a while, but like I said, I ignored it. At first, they’d be there almost every weekend. They’d leave me a couple hundred just to keep me happy and not calling them for help. They knew I was a good girl. I wasn’t going to go around town and wreak havoc. I did my homework, hung out with my friends, went to the mall, and took care of messes I made. I didn’t cause much disturbance in their lives. Then it started progressing into they were gone for weeks and I’d only see them once a month. I felt like a car. They’d clean me all up, satisfy my biological needs, and then park me in the garage and cover me up until next time.
I didn’t even notice that what they were doing affected me. I guess you could say, I was slowly losing my glow. That pep in my step was disappearing; my personality was slowly going with it. Apparently my friends noticed it too; they’d always ask if I was ok, if anything was wrong. I would always tell them I was fine, just some drama. Oh the drama, the thing one can use as fall back. If something’s got you upset, mad, or happy you can always just blame it on this so-called event filled with drama. I thought my friends were alright with the new me. Hey, I’m the same person, or so I thought, just a bit quieter. But I soon found out that they liked the “old” me better. It was like every week someone else was leaving the lunch table. But that didn’t really bother her. No, nothing really bothered me then. I felt like I was living in this dream world, and every now and then I’d get bits and pieces of reality. Time just seemed to literally fly by. It was like I could see it go by and I knew I was a part of it, by I had no strength or will to reconnect myself with time. I’d just sit there at lunch, eat my sandwich or whatever I feel like bringing, and wallow in my thoughts. Believe me, I have enough things up here in my mind to last me years upon years.
But that’s besides the fact. The only person in my old circle of friends that has bothered to stick around was Alex. I don’t know if it was because she lost friends too, or that maybe, just maybe, she wants to help me in a different way. I kinda like it too. There’s no question every ten seconds, no stares that bore into your head. Another thing I like about her company is that there’s silence. Out of the few times that I’m in reality, I glance over to her, and see that she “looks” like she’s in complete content. The reason why I put “looks” in quotes is that looks can be deceiving. A cliché statement but, I know for a fact that it’s true. Once I had this feeling, this urge really, just to ask her a simple question. ‘Why? Why are you still here? You must have other friends and you can’t be happy just sitting here in silence the entire lunch period.’ That’s what I’m thinking about today, as I look out the window.
The reason why I don’t is because I’m truly scared. You may laugh when you see this, but it’s true. I’ve been so used to not using words, that I’m scared to use them again. I know I still have to talk in class, but that’s in class. I know what I have to say in class. It’s either to answer a question or read, etc. But when I stopped talking for good, almost 4 years ago, I went by this quote. Well it’s not really a quote, it’s a paragraph but I’ve memorized it because it’s important to me. Or at least that’s what I’ve convinced myself. I’ve written it on the inside of my notebook, it says:
“Words hurt, they can destroy you as a person...I don’t want them to ruin what is to become. I've been hurt and I know what words do. I don't want either of us to be broken by words. Then the words aren't needed anymore. We find comfort in the silence. I won't tell you how scared I am of getting close to someone, because people can destroy worse than words, people destroy with words. I'm tired of being hurt, and I fear that at some point that’s what will happen with you. I hurt myself so others can’t”
I read it every now and then, and I still believe in it, just not as strongly as before because words don’t hurt me as much. Over the years, I built this wall intended to keep me in and others out. But once in a while it cracks, and when it does that I try to fix it. I’ve tried to block people out for so long, that even if I do start to talk again, I don’t think I will know how to. I’d be a 1st grader again, god knows how much I’d want to be that age again, but at this age, in reality, it would just be stupid. I’ve gotten along just fine without words; I’ve learned that they’re not important.





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