Escaping Pain through Dreams
By Calibur Kiss
(Originally written: Winter 2005, edited February 1, 2006)
Bang! Slam! Thud! Girls pealed with laughter, cackling at the latest gossip, flipping through magazines they were much too young to be reading. Boys, rowdier than the girls, chased each other around the room, chuckling stupidly, knocking into people and desks carelessly. Papers flew above my head; Office Max had opened its own airport in room three hundred one. My teacher, a balding skinny man, sat at his computer reading e-mails, occasionally asking the class to settle down, but with no real effort. Chaos had ensued in room three hundred one and absolutely no one cared.
Except me, that is. I hated noise; I've always hated noise (unless, of course, I'm the one making it). I hate noise most when I am trying to work. So, naturally, I was at wits end with Spring Break playing itself out in my class. Boys asking girls to show them their breasts behind the teacher's back, girls giggling gleefully, telling the boys to stop (but you could tell they didn't mean it), and me, sitting in disgust, thinking, "When will the madness end?"
A geek such as myself cannot sit in situations as wild as these untouched for too long, though. I was a prime lure for the jock sharks of middle school A common breed of the aquatic junior high family, the jock shark preys solely on nerd fish, geek bait, and, occasionally, the all-around-dork guppy. I fell into this nerd/dork category and fought hard for survival in the crazy "fish-eat-fish" world."
I felt two of the boys running around suddenly slam into my desk. My papers scattered, falling all over the floor. My heavy textbooks and some novels thudded against the ground. Pencils went soaring. I clutched my desk in immense aggravation while the boys pulled each other up laughing. As the class began to realize the situation at hand, I felt my face flush and heard the class laugh. Everyone was staring at me, and I could hear the whispers starting to brew. I looked to wards the teacher at his desk, but Mrs. Smith's e-mail had completely absorbed his attention. I was completely alone.
As a sick feeling started to churn in my stomach, I attempted to escape the craziness that was my class. I knew people were talking about me, and it wasn't anything good. Collecting my things, I tried to ignore some of the snide comments slithering past my classmates' lips. I knew if I listened, I would begin to wince in pain; the words they said were like little knives, each one cutting a deeper wound than the last. I knew if I listened, I would be hurt; it happened before… so many times before…
So, naturally, a defense mechanism eventually built itself up in my brain. As the flush in my face deepened into a pretty crimson, my bunker mentality triggered and my classroom swirled and faded into a deep evergreen forest, tall masses of coniferous trees towering above me, the muddy, cold floor covered in a deep mist. The boys in my class suddenly began to morph! They became the ugliest of goblins with fat, pouting lips, tiny beetle-black eyes, and the most wrinkled, pot-marked skin. "Then Gandalf who seemingly popped out of nowhere lit up his wand…" (Tolkien 87). I found myself transported in the land of hobbits, dragons, elves and dwarves! A thrust of the staff and Gandalf knocked out those stupid trolls. I smiled with glee; it served the boys right for tossing me around like a rag doll! But my journey did not end at Middle Earth; it had just begun!
Within a few minutes, my heart was pounding. I felt a whiff of anxiety and hope sweep over me. A somewhat unpleasant appearing English gentleman was standing before my eyes, a young woman with him. I strained my ears to hear his voice, desperately clinging to every word he said. "You are too generous to trifle with me Elizabeth. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on the subject forever" (Austen 173). It was Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in the final and most intense scenes of Pride and Prejudice!
To my great dismay, though, the classroom had warped back again to its original state. Someone was talking to me. Were they insane? Did they not realize that Elizabeth just had a second chance at marrying Mr. Darcy!
"Why do you spend so much time working?" A cheerleader was gazing at me through empty, clueless eyes, her hands running through her bleached blond hair.
"It brings me indescribable joy," I remarked with obvious sarcasm.
"You like working?" she chirped. "Are you serious? Oh m'God! Guys listen to this…"
The mechanism triggered in my brain again. The empty-headed cheerleader at my desk transformed, similar to the jaunty boys earlier. She was not ugly, though; in fact, she had transformed into someone quite pretty. I looked on with disgust.
"How can you ask me anything so foolish?" pouted Dora. "Love a beggar!"
"Dora, my own dearest," said I David. "I am a beggar!"
I groaned loudly. Stupid David Copperfield! Didn't he realize that Agnes was his true love! Ugh… I wanted to show David how silly his infatuation with Dora was, but the room was already changing again; thankfully, it was not turning back into the classroom again. Instead, I looked on into an incredibly magical world:
"I'm a what?" gasped Harry.
"A wizard, o' course," said Hagrid… "an' a thumpin' good'un, I'd say, once yeh've been trained up a bit"
I laughed out loud. I loved Harry Potter! He had been one of my favorite children's book characters for years, not to mention I was simply itching to get my hands on the next book. If only I could see him a bit more clearly, get a closer look at his face, distinguish that scar under that messy, jet black hair… but my hopes were diminished as the room swirled away again.
"Hey, smart girl!"
I had earned a nickname in middle school for my academic achievement; it was right up there with "poindexter" and "nerd," only my classmates were much too conniving to be direct.
"Yes," I sighed.
"Hey, do you know how to do this worksheet?"
The class laughed at my question. My inquirer replied, "All of it!"
Silly me, I thought. "Have you even read it?"
"Why would I do that?" The classroom laughed again.
I could feel the people whispering again and could hear the fits of giggles muffled among the groups of gossiping girls. My brain made one last attempt at defending me against the world.
"But Jane, I summon you as my wife—it is only you I intend to marry."
I was silent; I thought he mocked me.
"Come Jane—come hither."
"Your bride stands between us"
That did it. If Tolkien, Austen, Dickens, and Rowling all failed to capture my heart, mind, and soul, and if they all failed to help me escape from the madness of middle school, I knew my dearest Charlotte Brontë could. Jane Eyre—plain Jane, independent Jane, romantic Jane, all around down-to-earth Jane! —Who knew how easily a girl from a crazy, modern day middle school could connect to a character from nineteenth century literature. Suddenly, the dream disappeared. The shrill school bell had rung and it was time to go home. People were still giggling at me as they left class, but I was at ease. My dreams had shielded me from the dangers of junior high, once again.
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Random House, 1982.
Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Ann Arbor: Ann Arbor Media Group, 2003.
Dickens, Charles. David Copperfield. New York: Bantam Books, 1981.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. New York: Scholastic Press, 1997.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit. London; Harper Collins, 2001.
In case my readers were interested, I wrote this narrative after I graduated from middle school. I think a lot of girls who enjoy reading have felt what I felt in this story from time to time. I apologize if the format of this story was awkward; it was originally typed in Word in an MLA style, so it didn't transfer perfectly into the fictionpress manager. I hope my readers enjoyed the story, nonetheless, and I would encourage all my readers to please review! Thanks, Calibur Kiss.