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Sometimes I sit here in my room seemingly far away from reality and I wonder how things got to be this way. I wonder how did I grew to be this person who barely recognizes himself in this dirty mirror. Where did things change? How can I keep wanting things that are so far out of reach I can barely see them? H*ll, I can barely even keep peace in my mind. Especially in my mind.
I run my fingers through my untidy hair that’s due for a haircut, really. The blonde mess of my head gleams in the mirror as if I would have some promise, but really it only mocks me. I shake my head impatiently, grab a red shirt crumpled in the corner of the room to throw over over my tired body, and head out into the torrential downpour.
I went to school today and walked all the way up the stairs and opened my mediocre locker full of mediocre books and walked all the way back down the hallway and sat with my mediocre friends and we talked about mediocre things. And I realized that I don’t want any of this. I can’t even tell you what I want but I know for sure that this isn’t it. I’m just a girl lost in a sea of uncertain rebellion – the worst kind of rebellion for sure. But before I could project my private revoltings upon the ever-expectant world, the bell rang.
I walked slowly to English class with that pleasant smile on my face like the inner jumblings of my thoughts could not be any more perfect if I tried. Which was a lie. I don’t think anybody would want to live in my head. It’s confusing and depressing. But I don’t think I am depressed. I mean, I might have been a while ago. But you can’t just stop being depressed. You need expensive medicine or a therapist and I didn’t have either of those things but I’m feeling better, so I couldn’t have been depressed. If I’m honest with myself I was probably just “circumstantially unhappy”. But aren’t we all? Aren’t we all like that always, if we really think back on things?
I listened in English class and nodded politely at my mediocre teacher who created the mediocre curriculum that was being shoved into my clenched fists. She, with her knee-length plaid skirts and quiet way of placing every item she picks up neatly on the table, annoys me. She has the worst way of putting her pencil or stapler or whatever back on the table as if it is a kitten or something that has to be delicately and softly handled. Sometimes I just want her to slam things or throw stuff or, god forbid, maybe even yell. Because literature is not a kitten, you know? It is full of slamming and throwing and yelling and we just struggle to keep up. But she does not know this. In her mind, writing and reading can be reduced to a formula. I want to tell her that it can’t. It just can’t, because writing is an imitation of life and life certainly breaks all of the formulas. Her incompetence angers me more than it should, angers me in a scary way where I want to turn over tables and stand up and speak truth. But I sit quietly. I am a good student.
Really, what is a good student, anyways? We get our papers back and I have made a good grade as usual. It’s a grade I don’t think I deserve. I did not work hard on the paper because I did not care about the book. I don’t know if she even reads my papers. She has decided that I am smart, so I get good grades. I guess I am smart enough. Actually, to gain notoriety I really only have to be smarter than those around me, and judging by the red slashes bleeding through my listless classmates’ papers, I don’t have to try very hard.
Frustrated and bored I began doodling randomly, and I ended up drawing an ocean scene on my notebook paper for the rest of the class.
It was time to go back to the mediocre locker and wave at my mediocre friends in the hallway as I passed by. I walked out of my English class unhappy on the inside because of the farce it all was. Because of the farce I was. I like the word “farce”. Lost in the fresh taste of my newly discovered fondness for a word meaning nothing more than “falseness”, I unintentionally knocked my elbow up against a blonde boy in a shirt the color of Maybelline Very Cherry Lipstick and mumbled indistinct apologies before shuffling away, trying to escape to the solitude of Calculus where I could simply sit and wait and be at peace with the multitude of thoughts in my head. A futile attempt, but an often one. Sometimes I don’t feel like I live in the same reality as the rest of my blurred classmates. Even teachers don’t seem to realize that all of this around us is indeterminate. We are not absolute or infinite. I cannot be certain that this apathetically pervading gloominess I live with is any more concrete than the contact of my elbow up against that boy’s ribs, the one with the hair like sunshine.
I sit in the hallway, watching people waltz in and out of the glass doors of the school. They go everywhere. Up the stairs, through the hallways, all around me, down to h*ll. They could be saying things – any things – even things said to me, and I wouldn’t notice. I am a stranger in a world of community.
But there she is. I haven’t been waiting for her, not exactly. The more appropriate term would be anticipation. I watch her pause in the midst of the incoming flood of bodies for a split second, a look of intense weariness on her face. She seems like the type to be riddled with secrets. I want to know those secrets. But she turns quickly and its like she is a different self, mounting the stairs and disappearing in an instant. I could have imagined it.
I sit for quite a while longer staring at my reflection in the window in front of me. I am only a blur of colors across the pane streaked with rain drops. In the authenticity of the glass, I am nothing but a red swatch, the reflection of my shirt constituting my being.
And then it is time to go to class. I see her as I walk, looking as perfect as perfect can be. But I know she’s not. I see the sad gaze in her watery blue eyes every once in a while and I want to fix it. She enters her classroom, and I mine.
I do nothing productive during the lecture, daydreaming as the rain rages audibly outside. I see a leak forming and the school filling up with water, up to the very top, a beautiful blue-green existence in which we all float in our own relative solitudes. I could swim along contentedly for days, if not for the nagging need for oxygen that my system selfishly craves. That’s what I feel like life is like sometimes. My innermost uncontrollable desires are the downfall of everything.
My twisted fantasies aren’t fulfilled, so I doodle an ocean scene on my notes instead.
Exiting the classroom, I see her once more. I don’t know what pulls me to her, but I find myself in her path as she lights out of her class, unaware of those around her, lost in thoughts as deep as the ocean on the unfulfilled paper in my binder.
She turns sharply. I am too close. I see it happening. I try to move. I cannot. He elbow juts out and sharply nudges my side. And at this moment I cannot pretend that we are strangers any more.
She looks at me, flustered, all brown hair and soft eyes and small pink lips. But there is nothing between us other than mumbled “sorry’s” and then she is out of my path with nothing more than a glance. It is over.
I watch her stumble away and I don’t feel changed at all.
I sit here alone with my thoughts, of which there are many. And out of the grievances and the fakeness, I realize that I saw something real today, for the first time. The boy with a shirt like cherries and hair like the sun? The one my appendage unknowingly battered outside of English (after my spirits were broken and my hope fell flat)? That boy, the one I don’t know.
He was sort of maybe a little bit beautiful.