All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
All The Wrong Ways
Find myself? I didn’t want to find s***. I wanted out, quite frankly, but that wasn’t going to happen. So I was going to have to learn, and quickly, how to talk my way out of life, somehow. Nothing was intending to go right anymore so I said the hell with it. I wasn’t going to try anymore, I wasn’t going to care. I was just going to find a way out. I wanted out.
Life? I should get a life? Was there really ever such a thing? No, my friend there was not. I couldn’t acquire nonexistence so…cheating my way out sounded cool. I was here for a good time not a long time, that’s how I saw it, so trying and failing seemed pointless. I didn’t want disappointment I wanted fun. So the way I comprehended it all, I didn’t have any reason to get myself into deep s***. I didn’t want to pay anyone’s price, not even my own.
Tick…tock…tick…tock…my senior year was going as slow as the clock on the pale white wall of Mr. Hornack’s pre-calc classroom. Tick…tock…tick…tock…went the clock.
Tap…tap…tap…tap…went Jimmy Turner’s shoe.
Thump…thump, thump…thump…thump, thump…went my tiny little heart.
Click…click…click…click…went Jannet Something’s pen.
Slip…slip…slip…slip…went the life of my patience.
November, it was only November. Not May, June, July…November. The month the air suddenly grew bitter, the leaves turned into orange on the sidewalks, the sun vanished from plain sight, I stopped shaving my legs on a daily basis, and jeans and sweaters were reintroduced to my olive skin, soon to be lacking complexion. The clock mocked me as it yelled out, “Still an hour of fourth block!” I chanted lyrics in my head, All the other kids with the pumped up kicks. You better run, better run, outrun my gun…All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, faster than my bullet. All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run, better run, outrun my gun…All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, faster than my bullet. Shallow songs got me through my days at school. After I had field hockey practice, then homework, an event for my parent’s work, then study until I fell asleep.
“Tessa?” I jerked my head to the front of the classroom and sat a little stiffer, straighter. “Yes…?” I kept my voice low, unsure, so that, I hoped, that no one heard me and I could go back to my own private thoughts. “What answer did you get for the question on the board?” I scanned back and forth between the ugly chalk board that made me cringe every time I caught a glimpse of it and my completely blank paper. “Four…” I knew that four had absolutely nothing to do with the “Greek” equation in front of me. “Well, no,” I tuned back out at that moment he started to explain it to me. I mentally scanned through my closet to figure out what I was going to wear that night. Scarlet Creek Maine was imprisoning at this time of year; shorts and skirts without tights weren’t even an option. It was all so hot and cold; I could never get an idea as to how the weather would be because it was warmer one day, cold the next. I wanted consistency, something to stay the same for once.
My parents hadn’t stayed the same; they weren't even happy, all they did was scream. My brother had left me and moved away to Berkley, abandoning me for college life. I was alone in this world, completely and utterly alone and irrevocably doomed to stumble and fall entirely desolate in the darkness with no light to see myself up standing again.
The bell eventually rang and I left my deep thoughts in that empty classroom chair; a solid lonely blue, as deep as the color of my tears, if they hadn’t been hypothetically black. Everything in this world represented colors to me. Starting simple, Mr. Hornack was brown. A particularly ugly color, brown represented dull mud, everything so jumbled together you couldn’t pick one thing out for representation. There were things like my tears, generally more complex. On a good day they were a solid blue; structured, in a timely fashion, and reasonability. On dark cold days they were more like jet black. Once I started it was like a seduction from which I couldn’t come to, and it completely took sole possession of my mind. They told me what to say, how to act, and the way to think. All I thought of was sick disgusting nothingness that was my sad life that day. There were days I couldn’t cry at all, even if I tried. I had told life to kiss my ass and there would be no wavering me of my feelings, not even a sad movie, a handsome boy, anything.
That day was one of those days. My stomach was like a rock; nothing made me feel, so I thought. The only interesting thing that happened that afternoon was when I climbed into my car and Elliott Simmons leaned in the driver window. “Hello, Tessy,” I rolled my eyes and turned the key in its home called ignition. “Oh, God, get a life Elliott, one that doesn’t involve me in it,” He coughed a laugh failing miserably to hide his embarrassment and tapped on the window. “Tessa Coleman what have you turned into these days? You’re so lonely and distant.” I sighed impatiently and fingered the bracelet on my wrist. “I’ve grown out of this town and all these people have only shrunk too small for it. That’s why, Elliott.” I cranked my stereo way high and signaled our conversation over.
She’s fresh to death, she’ll be the death of you, seduction leads to destruction. She’s fresh to death, she’ll be the death of me, she’s fresh, she’s fresh but not so clean. Cute face, slim waste, she’s got em’ in a craze, yeah we think he’s going crazy. When she speaks it makes me grind my teeth, yet he still thinks she’s amazing. And she’s been playing games ever since 98’. Shallow is as shallow does, yeah some people never change. And she’s so fine, she thinks she’s so damn fine. She might be fine, but she ain’t worth a second of your time. You’re as fake as the moans you make, and you’re as weak as the hearts you break. You’re as fake as the moans you make, so just give us, give us a little break. I sang along quietly and loved the fact that no one could ever see my face through my big sunglasses.
I just wanted nothing more than to disappear and for people to not even care. That doesn’t happen when your dad is the s*** in town, or so his cocky ass thinks, and your mom does everything she can to keep all your faces shoved into public eye. I guess I looked down at just the right time because I saw my phone vibrating on the dashboard. I didn’t hear it at all and as soon as I picked it up, the annoying voice of my mother blared into my ears and did something to my eardrum, I wasn’t sure what, but it wasn’t pretty. “Yes?” I cut her off from ranting, my mother by the way, and she sighed dramatically. “I called at least four times, Tessa.” I swallowed and turned right. “Pardon me,”
“Well, I need you to stop at the dry cleaners and pick up my dress, I’m wearing it tonight.” I made an annoyed voice and slowed the car at, like, the only stop light in Scarlet Creek. “I already passed it.” “Well, turn around then, I’m sure you can maneuver the car, Tess,” I hung up and turned around to go back into town. I picked up the dress, nonetheless, and found that my car was practically running on fumes. I stopped to pump gas and stood there a little out of it while the tank filled.
I was sitting on the hood in my own world, not in the slightest mood to care about anyone else. All of a sudden I felt the car rock back and forth in a jolt and I turned around. An asshole of a driver had backed strait into my car. “Whoa,” I held up my hands at the driver and stalked around to the back of my car. The vintage thing was sort of smoking, but nothing prepared me for who came out of the driver’s seat. “Oops…minor detour…” he scratched his head and I fought my jaw from turning into putty. He was tall, thin, and God was he handsome. His hair stuck up in odd careless ways, though fitting, and a sandy brown color I would have never otherwise found attractive. A tattoo across his chest stuck out from his button up, particularly flattering actually, and his folded sleeves bared a few tattoos on his arms. He had on these black sunglasses that made him appear like he was carelessly covering up being stoned and his stance was totally free, nothing mattered.
“Ugh, yeah, that’s my car, asshole.” Was the first thing that came out of my mouth. “Well, I was assuming, but hey, things can get fixed, no?” he flung his head immaculately in the direction of my car. His voice was deep and suave with an edge that dared me to swallow him. My eyes widened under my sunglasses and I ran my fingers through my hair. “Well, generally, but that gives no excuse to what you’ve done to my car, don’t you see?” he smirked and shrugged. “Actually no,” he stood up straight from his hood and walked over to my bumper. “See, nothing life threatening. Just a scratch. If it makes you feel better, I’ll give you the money for the paint.” He fumbled in his pocket. “Well, yeah…” I muttered quietly. He handed me thirty-five dollars and flashed a smile. “Problem solving is always a good skill,” he winked at me and got in his car like nothing ever happened. That may have been the day I started to care, though I’ve never really been sure.
As I drove I watched her slim figure step back into her car. Her long dark brown hair reminded me of brownie batter that I used to eat as a kid when my mom made them. I used to lick the spatula until every last spot of batter was gone, then I’d move onto the bowl; the perks of being an only child. She had a slim waist, good legs, but she was short, maybe five foot three. Her clothes told me she was probably the biggest stuck up b**** around, or at least thought she was, but hey, all I did was give her bumper a love tap and thirty-five dollars of unnecessary repair. With the thought of a strikingly hot girl in my mind I traveled onward to what I think Huck Finn once called the territory ahead.
I felt a vibration in my pocket and reluctantly picked up the phone. “Hello?” I begrudgingly talked into the speaker, hoping that my mother’s voice wouldn’t sound through the other end and I would go a whole day without her nagging me to come home. “Dakota, I’ve called, like, a lot!” the voice that rang through my ears almost made me drop the phone and slam on the brakes of my Pontiac. “Whoa, Alexis?” she snorted. “Yeah, me. Where have you been, Kota? It’s been two weeks; people are talking, a lot. I don’t know what to tell them anymore because I’m not really sure where you are and why you left.” I sighed deeply and bit my lip.
“Well, I can’t tell you where I am, I just can’t. I’m not going to tell you why I left, just know I’m okay; tell everyone I’m okay.” She caught her breath, I heard, and she clicked her tongue. “You’re never coming back are you? You aren’t coming back to me, going to college, living with your parents, you’re never doing that again?” I stopped to think a moment before answering. Those were the things that consumed my daily life, but I wanted them to occupy me no longer. “No, I’m not. I can’t, Alexis, it wouldn’t be right. I was never happy there you know it. I’m tired of being my parents’ kid, I’m no child. I’m an adult now, I’m making my own life.” I knew she was about to spill on me again, but I was so numb from my whole experience that I was too calm to be nervous.
“But, Dakota, what do you have for money? You only took what you had on hand, you can’t use your cards; your parents will find you. You’re going to have to get a job, you have nowhere to live, I’m sure; Lord, what are you going to do? Running from your demons doesn't stop them. What happened last year; it was last year..." I smiled slightly and turned to wherever. I wasn’t keeping track of where I was going, I was just out there. To hell with new s*** like that, I didn’t need material things anymore. “Always the practical one you were, Lexie. I have my cards as a last resort. It isn’t like they haven’t called me to find out anyway. They’d have already found me if they really wanted. But they don’t. They can’t make me come back, love, they can’t make me stay. I’m eighteen, I’m on my own. You know I want this, you’ve always known. As for my demons, I'm fighting them here. Don't worry about them. You're right. Last year is last year.”
“I have…” she mused quietly to herself. “I have, but that doesn’t stop me from worrying, caring.” I smirked. “I know it. But you don’t have to. I’ll be okay on my own. I’m okay with being myself, Alexis. Thank you for your call, I appreciate it.” She swallowed and retreated to one question. “We’re over then, yeah?”
“Lex, I don’t want this for you. You know you don’t want this. I’m not tying you down and you’re not going to have to live with baggage. Go, Lexie, find someone who can love you the way that I can’t. Go to school, have fun, get a good job and meet the right guy. The guy you can have kids with, spend your eighties with and not care how bad you really look. I love you, Alexis, I will miss you loads, but I’m happy to be setting you free. Good luck with life, and don’t screw it up or I promise your thoughts will be hearing from me.” She sighed dramatically and I smiled at the familiarity of the sweet sound, oh, just a sigh. “Alright, Kota. Be happy, kid. You know you’ll find it if you look real hard. Just smile once in a while. You don't much and you'd be surprised where it gets you. Take care of yourself, okay?” and I would. I told her I would and hung up with Alexis for the last time in search of something new.
Zip. I zipped the back of my little dress and put on my silky black heels. I checked in the mirror to make sure that I didn't look funny with the purple and black stripes, quite exotic looking. I was faking. How long could I keep this mask? Not long at all. The only thing I could think about was that boy. His caramel hair and masked eyes that I imagined to be a glassy green. He was sort of dangerous, like he already called it from the outside before you even knew him, but in a nonchalant way, not fake, natural. He had that way about him that screamed, "I'm bad, come get me." and if I ever saw him again, I just might.
"Tessa, let's go, I don't want to be late and have to say my daughter was admiring herself in the mirror." I smirked at her and fluffed my curls. "At least I look good." she snorted and walked into the hallway like she was my parole officer and waited for me to come outside. I looks out the rainy window and prayed that I would come back with half of my own mind. I sat in the backseat. I was seventeen years old and I wasn't allowed to take my own car and I had to sit in the backseat. On top of it, the restaurant, Donatello's, wasn't even decent. I can't even start to describe how I felt. Just done. I was done. But I sat there anyway, like I was daddy's perfect little girl. I wasn't in reality; all I wanted was to show him that I wasn't ever going to be who he wanted me to be.
I sat with my legs crossed with a bunch of thirteen year old boys and twelve year old girls who flicked their hair out of their pimple spotted faces and flashed their braces at the boys who were looking at an older me and being childish by kicking me under the table. One even threw a shrimp at me and,with my luck, it flew right into my bra. I excused myself from the table, politely I may add, and walked towards the bathroom. I snuck a look into my bra in the corner and turned to go to the bathroom when I ran into a tall, solid chest.
"Oof!" what kind of noise is oof? "Hey, how'd the paint work out for ya?" paint, paint...paint? I looked up. Green, he had green eyes just like I said he would! "Fixed the problem. But it doesn't repair the fact that you hit my car." he touched my arm all flirty and said, "One so forgiving, aren't you?" the way he said aren't, so articulate and pronounced, it made me shiver and he let his hand drop to his side. "Don't you look pretty," he swallowed and moved his eyes up and down all five foot three of me. "Thanks, but I need to use the ladies room to get the shrimp out of my bra. I hate thirteen year old boys." he looked slightly amused in that bored looking way and let his eyes linger at my chest a moment.
"Mmm...I see." it made my jittery a moment with the thought of him looking at and thinking of my breasts. "Yes...what are you doing here?" he sighed. "Performing, actually." he turned me around to the stage where there was an empty chair and a mic. "Oh, you do music?" he nodded. "Well, go set up and I'll de-shrimp myself. I'm looking forward to listening to you." I turned into the bathroom and dug in my bra for the shrimp. I came out after a few minutes of checking my hair and makeup and returned to the table where I received a seriously stern look from my mother.
"Really, Tessa? Why can't you ever think of anyone but yourself? Disappearing from a business dinner?" I swallowed and turned to watch this kid tune a guitar because he was the most beautiful thing in my world at that moment and I didn't even know his name. He started playing and I recognized it was a Green Day song and I just watched his big hands grasp the neck of the guitar. His fingers moved across it with ease, just like my eyes moved to his face. Wow, he looked good in a beanie, whoever he was. My mom grabbed my arm and I turned my head jut slightly as she hissed in my ear, "We'll talk later. And we're staying out tonight and probably renting a hotel room." I jerked my head around. "I have school!" she huffed. "One day, Tessa. Stop being selfish!" that's it, I was done. I stomped out of that restaurant and there was no way in hell I was going back.
I stood in the chilling November, realizing I had forgotten my coat inside, but I was way too stubborn to go back in and get it. I paced back and forth a few times until I heard a rough voice say, "What was that in there?" I whipped around and looked at him with a kinky face. "What? Oh, nothing." he stood next to me and shoved his hands into his pockets. "You're cold." he observed quietly. I nodded and shivered. "Where are you from? Not around here, I guess." I asked looking at him. He shook his head. "Nah. Michigan, Detroit." I snorted like a smart ass. "Then what are you doing here?" he smiled small and looked slightly to the left. "I," he looked down at his shoes. "Ran away from home." I cocked a brow and stared out into the night, still shivering. "I should try that."
"No, you shouldn't."
"Why not? You did."
"I'm not you."
"You don't know me."
"Point taken. But you still shouldn't." he looked at me crossly and I could still make out his long facial features, just slightly. "So, where are you staying?" he swallowed and bit his lip, letting it slide with the light grasp of his teeth. "Honestly, I'm not sure. My car tonight, until I find and decide where I want to be." I felt this ping in my chest. I didn't know what it was, maybe the thought that I was going to do something irrevocably dim. "Stay with me." he laughed at the thought. "I'm being serious." he laughed again. "You don't even know me, I don't know you. I could be a killer." I smiled. "Then kill me already. I'm Tessa. Now you know me." he shook his head. "I'm Dakota. But, still, you're psychotic."
"Yes, I know. Now let's go." and I was bowled over by the fact that he started walking.
Damn, what was I doing? Pretty, pretty girl here is taking me home like I'm a little boy slut. Which I wasn't. I unlocked my car and she slid into the the passenger seat, sighing as she went, and I'm pretty sure I skipped my breath. I don't know why, at all, but I did. "Tessa what?" she looked at me crossed and I cocked a smile her way. "What's your last name, kid?" she snorted and glared. "I'm not kid, I'm Tessa." not on the right track already. "Tessa Coleman." she muttered forward and rested her head on the window. "Wow, you are one broken girl, Tessa Coleman." she sighed shakily and bit back tears, I could tell.
"Am not." and she was a kid then, very vulnerable and fatigued. "Sometimes talking to strangers helps you understand your feelings more than talking to someone you love." she swallowed and her hand dropped from the bridge of her nose to her lap. "You might not get the half of it." I bit back the urge to say,'The hell I won't! I've been living my life in a world of strangers and my own suicidal thoughts for a year and a half.' but I said nothing other than, "Try me." "My parents expect me to sacrifice my life for their own public success. I can't walk out of the house without looking good enough for my mother. I'm all alone with myself and I can't tell anyone how I feel because they'd just send me to therapy and my mother would be afraid of calling me her child in public, more so than she is now." alone. I felt a connection with alone. "Move out."
"I can't just move out. What kind of statement would that make?"
"One that says you're an independent girl with a life of her own. There's nothing wrong with that. I did it."
"Yes, and look where you're staying."
"Well then, Ms. Negativity." she smirked and I turned on the radio. She hummed softly to the words and I looked at her funny. "What?"
"You know this song?" she glared. "Yeah, shocker." I smirked again and we were quiet the rest of the way except for her directing me.
Well, someone had a big house. There were four huge columns in the front and it was pale yellow color that I wouldn't exactly prefer myself. There were shrubs in the front yard that looked like they ought to be in a movie, they were so perfectly cut. Big, small, medium, small, big. The trees behind the house were brightening into different colors. A pretty auburn color at its darkest, further down to a light yellow. I felt I was kidding myself at first. Where was I? Who was this girl? Why is she bringing me home?
Pretty Tessa Coleman was rich. She was absolutely, undeniably, flawlessly gorgeous. Tessa Coleman was an unhappy girl. She walked straight up to the front door and bent down to fish under the mat for a key, I thought. "S***." pretty language, I thought and smirked. "No key?"
"Well, damn." she tipped her mouth a little and I watched her hair slowly fall off her shoulder. I could barely make out her features in the dark, but I saw her hair and I prayed she couldn't see me because I was staring with the most inane look I think I've ever portrayed in my life. Then I noticed how short her dress was and how perfectly fit her legs were; even in the dark. "Wh...where's your, ugh, room? Where can we break in and they don't notice?" she pointed around to the back and I hoped to impress her by working my magic. "Here," I stuck a small piece of metal from my bag under the window and it slid open. All of a sudden a loud noise sounded through the house and I looked at her in panic.
"Yeah, thanks for letting me know beforehand, sweetie, now we've set off the alarm."
"Let's state the obvious..." she glared and crawled in the window(I could see straight up he dress, but I wouldn't wreck the view by saying anything). She ran for the alarm box and dialed the number. "I can't get my alarm off. Yes. I know, but...no, that's never been mentioned. I live here for God's sake, how? No. I can assure you it's my house, I didn't have my key. No! They changed the password! I'm seventeen, do you think I worry about the alarm system on a daily basis? I live in Scarlet Creek, Maine, for the love of God. Exactly. My what? No, I," I took the phone from her hand and she made a noise at me.
"Hello?" the woman made an irritated noise. "New person? Huh," I looked around in the dark. "Ugh, yeah. Listen, lady, my...girlfriend here forgot her key. She left it with her parents back at the restaurant. She doesn't have the password or anything, but she can give you some information and I know you can help us out."
"Couldn't she have just gone back for the key?"
"We just don't sound that smart, now, do we? The restaurant is far away. Look, what do you have to know? Don't give me the crap you gave her because I'll report you to your boss. It shouldn't be this hard and the sirens are blaring in my ears and the cops haven't shown up yet, so if this was an a real situation then we'd be dead."
"Kid, it's almost midnight. I'm tired and I want to go home. Just give me the social security number." I looked at Tessa. "Hey, baby, do you have your social security card?" I asked loudly. She shook he head. "Problem, no card. I can give you her dad's full name how's that work?" "Ugh," I looked at Tessa. "Oliver Coleman." I repeated. I heard the computer keys clicking and she asked the address. The noise stopped and we bid the lady goodnight. "So, I'd let you sleep in the guest room but I don't know when my parents will be home and they'd die. So, my room." my heart jolted, I admit.