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He would see the music through airwaves and I would see it through one big book. We didn't need drugs to shake and a calculator wasn't needed to do the math because there wasn't any. Except the simple stuff like 1+1. And we were 2. We were so far away and yet so close. His opinions were based upon the boundaries he was confined to, his music and his tire swing while mine were infinite.
'I hear more dogs outside of my window, they're responding. We just want a response of any type but when it's good, then we've received more than we'd asked for.'
':]. I don't understand what you said, but I like it.'
' I look around my gym class and wonder, 'would these people read my book?''
"At the least, would they love the words I speak if I spoke to them?"
'Not everyone will love your book, but people will. They need magic.'
'Your words are magic, Heather.'
'But my personality's similar to a trick bunny. Depending on the darkness of the hat, I'll stay in it comfortably. But the more I see the light, the more willing I am to pop my head out to see the world.'
The passion burned through my fingers at this point, transferring onto my screen and lighting up my room with wishful blurbs. For the last 2 months, our late night talks had been my favorite. Sometimes I was even successful at making him feel the same. But I knew he was more absorbed in the conversation when he started cutting the 'haha' shit, I disliked that most. Especially since he was so proud of having converted me over from an 'lol'-er to a 'haha'-er. We hadn't even met yet and he was already altering my online persona, who knew what he'd alter if I were to spend just one day with him. One day of no nonsense talking along with some Panera Bread and my favorite person in the world. I could handle that, but could the world handle a blissful me?
It's not that I didn't want to be happy. Believe me, if you were to see the amount of money my parents' insurance company spends on securing my mental health you too would need to see two counselors every week. It's that I felt I couldn't.
But it hasn't always been like this. Ever since that summer, ever since that boy, I haven't been the same. He spoke to me in ways that no one else had before and opened my eyes to a life of protection but of adventure as well. He made me aware of this great big life I was missing out on and I longed for it. I soon dreaded school, hanging out with friends, and working each day, waiting for my chance to plug away at the computer only to confide in a person nearly 300 miles away, because I thought in this twisted world, one soul understood me.
We said our goodbyes at the usual time that night, 3 AM. I never felt tired after them. Ironically I felt the opposite, rejuvenated. I was fortunate enough to have had my computer in my room; otherwise, I'm certain none of our talking would have occurred as my mom is an insomniac and I'm not the stealthiest of people. It's always the stairs that kill me, I always manage to step on the creakiest ones the hardest.
Eventually I went to bed and resisted shutting off my nightlight until the last minute, until the last word of whatever page made me sleepy of my book was read. This particular book was The Catcher in the Rye. At first I didn't understand how such a book was a classic. Only now have I realized that Salinger used raw honesty as a literary device of sorts. This was something the world longed for but had never received. And what do they do? Went ahead and slapped it on the banned book list.
Just as the infamous checkerboard scene unfolded, I cornered the page and proceeded to close the book entirely. I rested it on my nightstand and turned off the light. Sleep was my favorite, next to talking to him. Because during the REM cycle, I could distinctly make out what he would look like outside of picture form. He was much more beautiful than the 3D figures we'd been working with in geometry.
The next morning was brutal as the 3 AM bedtime came to kick me in the rear. I was a vision in white, looking similar to the ghost of Christmas past with heavy shackles (binders) in each hand and who knows what my make up looked like on that day. One thing's for certain, it wasn't looking too flattering.
The bus wasn't too crowded because my stop is the first. Then again a dozen kids usually get on at my stop so it eventually fills up and I'm always left to fend for myself. I sat in one of the first rows. In high school, it's acceptable to sit in the front of the bus, cool almost. I sat near-ish a boy with mammoth headphones. They reminded me of Garden State. God, I love that movie. (I recalled this one time we were talking really late at night and he professed his love for Garden State. If only he'd talk about me that way, I had silently thought to myself. I remember telling him after I'd seen it that the lead girl reminded me of myself and he told me all girls told him that. The phrase 'all girls' got to me.) I wondered if mammoth headphoned kid was listening to The Shins. He must have good taste in music for such large headphone and such neatly dyed hair, I thought.
The bus departed from my street's inlet. I watched the convenience store became smaller and smaller, just as my memories from it became such too. Further and further I'd pushed my friends away. And somehow I still held onto a memory from months back when Kira, Destiny, Aubrey, and I wrote the words 'yo 'del 'aye' and 'who?' upon each other's chests and walked around said convenience store one night chanting it.
As I walked onto the school grounds I was dismayed to see a clan of my 'friends' waiting up for me. Didn't they know I wasn't in the mood for their bullshit and their incoherent pestering regarding a certain journal entry? With this I walked past the shouting and hollering of my name.
The school was really warm that time of year. Supposedly our newly installed windows kept our school insulated. This had been the one revamp I believed in as I sweated throughout my day. Insulated windows. The month of June must never have crossed the construction workers' minds. I shouldn't dwell too much on this. My father's company did the construction for my school. If he ever heard word of me ranting about his work I don't know what he'd do. It's funny how parents always tell you to speak your mind. Parents rule hypocrisy and eventually, hypocrisy rules them.
I had to see Val first period in French. On the way there I was beyond nervous, it had been only one day since the big reveal. Val always called us 'equi' meaning equal. And with her I felt that way. With her I felt outspoken, funny, and beautiful. I felt that for once in my life, my opinion and existence mattered. But when she read my journal, I was devastated. I felt that the words I'd worked so hard to compile in an honest way were violated. I felt that I was brutally violated and exploited for her own selfish entertainment as well as the likes of her boyfriend and dearest friend Steven to whom she scanned it to. And so once I found out I immediately called her, 'I'm a pretty forgiving person so if I ever try to talk to you again, please stop me.'
In French I was not surprised to see a quiet Val. I took my seat next to her and sat with my body facing the opposite direction. I once had this conversation with someone about body language and how the positioning of your legs tells which direction you want to be headed. In that instant my legs were longing to sprint to the door that they pointed to.
Pulling out my poster from my backpack, I noticed her looking my way. Had she been wondering whether I kept her picture on it or not? Did she-my inner chatter was then cut off by the sound of my French teacher's thick Italiano accent. It was hard having a teacher that taught you a foreign language through a thick fabricated accent of another language. She would often break into a rant about the previous night's episode of The Soprano's after teaching us yet another version of the past tense.
'Heather, you're up!' she exclaimed.
I nervously unrolled my poster board on my way up to the front of the class. Suddenly the temperature in the room went from 90 to 110. Holding it up all by my lonesome, I introduced my life to the class that knew me all too well in poster form. Bright pictures depicted my family, hobbies, and past friends. Val had been in the middle. 'Ma Meilleur Amie', meaning best friend read the title below her picture. I could feel her scowl as I read the picture's title aloud.
It certainly hadn't always been like this. I can recall distinct times of laughter and humility that coincided nicely with our friendship. At parties, Val was my wing woman and I was hers. I was certain that if Val were by my side, nothing would grow awkward or tiresome. She was my crutch in a sense. While she tutored me in math I'd write her papers. It was the friendship that made my freshman year both an enjoyable one and eventually a wretched one. When she was gone, everyone else was.
Friday nights were then spent online. Hours were spent contemplating. Money was spent on junk food. Each of these helped in temporarily satisfying my needs. But I knew that I needed more. I needed something to take the space of Val's comfortable shoulder.
He came into my life around this time of confusion, or I came into his. I'd been searching the web as I tended to do on dull nights and came across the myspace of an absolutely adorable boy. I immediately clicked the 'add friend' option and patiently waited a few days until he finally accepted my invitation. At the time my 'Who I'd Like To Meet' section stated, 'Someone who will sit in Panera Bread with me and write for hours on end.'
I knew he had accepted the request when he commented, 'I don't know who you are or how you found me but I'd be more than willing to sit with you in Panera Bread and write with you for hours on end.'