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Obsession of the Future
Halfway through class, my attention starts to fade. The teacher’s monotone voice along with the ever rising temperature in the room forces my eyes to wander to the window, where the weather is fairly nice, the trees moving in a silent breeze. I resume this position until I’m forced to succumb to my daydreams; the unwanted, terrifying future that could become my own.
Before I open my eyes, I feel the weight of robes on my body, heels strapped to my feet, and a hat placed crookedly upon my head. I feel the warmth of the sun as well as the same silent breeze I was just admiring in the small classroom, my old classroom. Caps slowly fall to the ground. Just as soon, the boy’s hand falls limp in mine, the girl who was once innocently day dreaming in the back of the classroom.
“So?” the boy simply asks. I sit there for a few seconds, pretending I don’t hear the ominous tone in his voice.
I respond wittily with, “So what?” trying to act as innocent as I still feel inside.
“Stop stalling for time. I feel like I’ve been waiting a lifetime for you to answer me,” he snaps.
Not quite, I think, but a year was long enough I suppose.
“This day holds a lot of promise for us, you know? It should give us a sense of accomplishment. We should be content. It should be a corner stone for our new exciting lives. How come we can’t seem to hold onto that? Onto the idea of hope and happiness?” I say out loud to him.
He sighs and looks away from me, away from the world. “Kay,” he says, though I flinch just like I always do when he says my name with such defeat and exhaustion, “you know I wonder that exact same thing. I also don’t understand why you can never just give me a straight answer. A simple yes or no can never be good enough for you can it? You always have to keep me waiting, always guessing at what you want and what you need.”
Then and there it was my turn to look away. I observe those happy faces around me, wishing I could just enjoy this day along with them, my friends and my family. I hear a sigh to my left, and I turn to look at him. I take this as my cue to reach over and brush away the hair that has fallen onto his face. As I move closer, however, he recedes, while saying,
“No, not until I have a concrete answer. I’m done with all the lies.”
I am bewildered, “Lies? I haven’t given you anything but the truth. Forever and always.” The incredulous look I receive back is enough for me to, again, look away, but this time with a single tear that falls from the corner of my eye. I brush it away before anyone dares to see it, not wanting to seem weak or in any way frustrated with the magnificent person that sits besides me.
How funny we must look, I think, still sitting here while everyone else is celebrated. How funny we must look, after three years, still questioning our future. How funny we must look to those around us.
“I can’t do this. I have never been able to do this. I can’t just sit here and pretend that everything is that easy; as easy as saying one word or the other. You know me and I know you; we both want what we can’t have. Why does it have to be this way? When did life become so difficult?” I ramble on, but don’t really realize what I’m saying.
He stops me, “Kay, life has always been difficult. We were just too naïve to see it. Weren’t you the one who told me that?” I suppose I was, but sometimes I can be blind to my own words.
Instead of responding, I look around again, hoping to spot something that will make my decision for me. My family is waiting for me. Everyone seems to be waiting on me today, I think. In response, I look down at my hands in despair.
I hear my name being called from a distance. I brush it off thinking I may have imagined it; no one else really seems to matter but me and the guy sitting next to me. “Kay?!” I hear it again, though this time firmer and more demanding; more demanding than the guy sitting next to me would ever be capable of. My surroundings instantaneously change. I can no longer feel the warmth of the sun, and the stench of the classroom fills my nose and my lungs.
“So? Kay? Do you have an answer for me?” the teacher asks. I look up from my hands, the one thing that didn’t fade away or alter from my dream world. “No,” I respond, looking back down at those same fidgeting hands, “I have no answer to give you. Or to give anyone.” Distantly, in another time and another place, I hear the chair next to me being vacated, scraping against the ground, footsteps fading, and a car door slamming shut; and this time it might be for good.