Chapter Three

One-Way Street

Her Point Of View

            I stare at the ceiling with my left hand pressed to my chest. I can feel my heart beating beneath my skin, my ribs hurt from the run home. There are small dents in the ceiling, visible from here, even with the lights off. They make tiny circular shadows against the pale, yet fading light coming in from the windows. My chest still hurts.

            When I first found out that I was never going to have any real friends, I was seven. Actually, a little bit more than seven. The teacher told us we were going to have one of those teddy bear picnic things and I brought a stuffed rabbit. I was the only person among thirty other whining, snot-faced midgets who didn't have a bear. I couldn't even pretend it was a hybrid bear. I sat with three other kids. A boy named Nate, a girl who really liked crayons, and your best friend.

            Your best friend kept reminding me it was a teddy bear picnic, not a teddy rabbit picnic. The crayon kid laughed every time he said something and Nate didn't say a word. I never heard Nate talk in my life. I heard him cry every other day, until he turned eleven and they took him to another special school, but I never heard him utter a word.

            We would have been the best of friends.

            Your best friend took my rabbit, and he brought it with him to the boys' bathroom. I stood in front of the bathroom until the teacher realized I was missing and came outside to look for me. I got my rabbit back when the janitor came around. It was wet, and it smelled like urine. Nobody sat next to me for the rest of the year because of the rabbit incident. They kept reminding me that it reeked of toilet cleaner and piss and that I probably did too if they got close enough.

            I went home crying everyday until my mother couldn't take it anymore. What she called poking fun at me because they were boys turned out to be a complete nuisance to her and it was pulling at her nerves.

            She threw away my rabbit that same day.

            I snicker to keep myself from hurting at the memory and turn on my side. I let my fingers fall to my hip and I press into the bone, hating myself because it's dented. I remind myself there is no point in reminiscing because the only good things that happen to me are sadistic praise. Praise for being a living, breathing boxing bag.

            An emotional boxing bag to take out all their egotistical anger on.

            And you, Darko, are no different than the rest of them. You pretend you want it different than the rest. You pretend the smell before rain is placating even though you hate the sound of thunder. You have false hope. I don't know why I'm

            You are the epitome of threat.

            I turn my body to my left, so that I am staring at the window. My room is getting colder by the moment, and my stomach is complaining in annoyance. There is a smell wafting into my room through the opening of the window and the curtains swaying silently in my direction. It smells like trouble.

            Everything makes its way down the one-way street to my home.

His Point Of View

            "We don't talk anymore," she says to me through the crackling of the phone line. I know what she means. She means that I don't talk anymore. And I don't think I should have to, because, if it were all up to me, I wouldn't have to deal with minor setbacks such as these. There's a fine line between romance and annoyance.

            "I know," I reply half-heartedly. I don't want to have to tell her to leave through a sticky-note and a bag of gummy bears, but apparently it's come to this. I have no other choice except hang up, so I decide I just might as well do the sticky-note thing. My sister told me once that a good break-up doesn't have a sticky-note involved. My brother told her that a good break-up involves some good break-up sex. My mother said shush.

            "Darko, where do you go?" Her words pierce my fantasy land and I take the plunge back to reality with excessive amounts of disdain.

            "I shouldn't have to tell you."

            "Darko, maybe it's best we-" and I have to hear no more. I put the phone to the hook and I fall back on my floor, hitting it so hard that the wind gets knocked out of me. I like it best when I'm at my worst. My hand reaches up to my bed and I pull the blanket off and let it fall heavily and unevenly over my body. The phone begins to ring again but I ignore it and I turn on my side. If my corresponding body movement is a telephone ring, I might as well just pick it up in hopes that their complementary movement is hanging up.

            I open my mouth and I breathe in hard, until I can taste the pain in my throat. It's like drinking pins and needles. I can't remember at the moment what got me this way. I just know that what's keeping me this way is the everlasting disorder. I sit up, and I push the blanket off of me, letting the cold air filtrate my room and caress the skin on my back cruelly. My shirt lays abandoned by the door.

            I open the desk drawer and expose a stack of sticky-notes, and I begin the note.

            Ana, it's over.

            My pen stops on the curve of the r and then my face twists in scorn. Where the hell do I come up with garbage like this? I scrunch the paper up and toss it aside, starting up on another one, wasting no time to end this.

            Ana, you don't have to put up with…

            Ana, I'm gay.

            You're the worst perso…

            And then it comes to my fingers before it hits my cranium.

            Ana, I don't love you… and I never really did. Just forget me, it's that simple.

Her Point Of View

            I pick my nails over breakfast while the front door keeps opening and closing, my mother bringing in excessive amounts of home decorations in boxes she left in the trunk of her car yesterday. She comes into the kitchen and ushers me out to get to school. Little does she know that I don't intend on going at all, because I have better things to do than spend time in a classroom next to you and listen to him talk to me about just how much of a waste of yearbook space I truly am.

            "Who's that?" my mother asks me.

            "Who's who?" I look up from my half-eaten bowl of Lucky Charms to what she's referring to. My heart stops for more than just a few milliseconds. She traces your two-dimensional jaw and then she looks up at me.

            I don't want any questions, or any of that stupid is-this-the-boy? talk. I pull my notebook from her and I stand up hard, knocking my chair back. Why should it matter if I draw random boys my other doesn't know? She doesn't even care, but she pretends she does. She'll forget all about you, Darko, by tomorrow. I should take up her habit, because you mean nothing to me…

            But for some fucking inexplicable reason… it's starting to look like you will.

His Point Of View

            The same buck-toothed idiot is sitting next to me today, but he isn't talking to me. I silently thank him, seeing as he is eating fig bars for lunch. I've decided it's about time to give Ana the gummy bears. I reread the sticky-note and I nod, confirming that this is in fact the message that I want to give her.

            "You didn't pay full-fare," the bus driver says harshly. There's a crowd outside, piling up now, waiting for the stubborn cheapskate to pay up ten or twenty cents.

            "I paid full fare," comes the sharp, curt reply. I look to the front, trying hard to see who this is, but instead, all I can see is the bus driver's bulky head and the backpack of a tall, dork girl turned to watch the commotion.

            "You paid a dollar and ten cents," the bus driver spits. I can see the saliva move down his chin, and it's disgusting. The dork girl turns around and says something I don't pay much attention to directed to the buck-toothed boy next to me. He laughs lightly and then the girl turns back around. There's a thump in the front and then the crowd outside sighs in relief and starts muttering.

            "Fucking jerk," She says and she flops down next to me. She doesn't even notice she is sitting next to me. She's still cursing under her breath while she pulls her bag up onto her lap. Her hair is done up messy today, the pieces in the front covering her view of me. I'm starting to get uncomfortable. She has wet nail polish on, and now it's smudged from when she pulled change out of her pocket. My stomach is churning, and I hope she doesn't notice that I'm going to be sick all over her.

            She's you.

            I get up, just so that when you decide to push the hair away from your face, you don't have to choke me, I'll do you the favour. You never answered my question from last week. I haven't seen you for almost seven days. I stopped you on Tuesday of last week while you were walking up the street toward me. I asked you that question.

            And it still burns through my mind

            We stood there for what seemed like forever until you put your hand around my wrist, getting your fingers bloodied up and then you let go and you walk past me. You didn't even look at your hand after that, while my blood dried up on your skin. From that moment, I knew you were carrying the answer to my question, but you never showed up after that to tell me.

            I move toward the back of the bus so you can't see me and get mad and flustered the way you usually do, and I sit down by myself. I take a look to the front of the bus, just to check whether or not you noticed, and I meet your eyes.

            You bring your hand up, and I take it that maybe you're going to wave, but instead I catch a glimpse of something long, slinky, and thin. Your wrist is covered with paper thin memories that might pass for reasons to be dead, or reason to be alive. You drop your hand slowly and you keep your eyes level with mine, still cold, still flat, and still just as deep as the first time I saw them, but there's something different about you today. You're being nice to me. For some unfathomable reason, you're acknowledging me and the fact that yes, I exist.

            When you get off the bus in front of the school, I follow you, getting off of the opposite end. You act as though you don't even realize I'm right behind you, even though you know that I am. There's no reason to ignore me, but you do it anyway. I catch up to you and I walk next to you for a few meters, hoping you'll do something but you don't. You just keep walking. I walk inside with you, without saying another word and then we both go separate ways.

            I stop in front of Ana's locker, where she eyes me suspiciously and I start walking toward her. She blinks at me, and then I hand her the sticky-note and the gummy bears.

            She reads the note, and then she looks up at me.

            "I already did…"