If, on the morning of June 6, you had told me that my life would change that same day, I wouldn't have believed you. With a leisurely yawn, I would have waved you away impatiently as if you were a fly. Because honestly, at that point, I found no chances for my life to change. I was the fly on the wall, the perfect eavesdropper. People passed by me day after day, but at the end of the year those same people would happen to glance at my picture in the yearbook and wonder who I was.
My plan was very simple: blend. Blend not with the cliques, with the collar-popping preps, with the tongue-piercing punks, with the eye-lining emos. Blend with the surroundings, with the speckled linoleum floors, with the navy blue lockers, with the murals on the wall. Blending, I had deduced, was the only way to survive high school. No one could gossip about you if they didn't even know of your existence.
My job description held only a few things: wake up, eat breakfast, go to school, blend, come home, do homework, eat dinner, do more homework, go to sleep, repeat. Nothing could interfere. I had everything so precisely plotted out. I maintained my straight A record and my nonexistent status.
Until, of course, June 6, the last day of school.
The day did not begin any more unusually than normal. I woke up, ate, boarded the bus, and arrived at school. It actually didn't begin to change until fifth period, only about five minutes before the class was scheduled to release its sophomores to lunch. I was sitting in a history class that I wasn't remotely interested in, listening to the teacher while doodling.
A messenger boy stumbled into the room.
"Grace Wisniewski?" the boy announced with a question, horribly killing the pronunciation of my last name. Undoubtedly he had never heard my name before.
The entire class looked at one another and the teacher in confusion. Undoubtedly they had never heard my name before either.
"You must be mistaken—" my history teacher began, but I cut him off.
"That's me," I answered, cringing underneath as heads swiveled towards me. This was creating attention I had never hoped to receive.
"Oh." The messenger looked at me strangely. "You're wanted at your guidance counselor's office."
I stood up, swinging my backpack over my shoulders. Why on earth was I being called down to the guidance counselor? I hadn't signed up for a meeting, and my college search didn't really being until the following year. I didn't need to meet with my counselor. I was completely self-sufficient.
The boy held out a yellow piece of paper, which I snatched from his hand. He smiled warily, but I did not return the smile. I glanced down at the piece of paper, realizing I hadn't the faintest clue where my guidance counselor's office was. I considered asking the messenger where it was, but I prohibited myself from doing so. That would necessitate more unwanted attention.
Unfortunately, and fortunately, the messenger took it upon himself to make sure I got going.
"Are you okay?" he asked me, once my intention of not moving was clear.
"I'm fine," I snapped harshly. My unkindness, however, did not deter him.
"Do you know where Mr. Randolph's office is?"
Biting down a proud yes, I shook my head meekly.
"Okay, I'll take you there." The boy motioned for me to follow him. Neither his voice nor his face implied that he had judged me. The apathy in both seemed to prove that he did not find me stupid for not knowing where Mr. Randolph's office was after two years at the same school.
I followed the boy down the hallway, trying very hard to blend. However, blending was a lot more difficult when there was only one other person in the hallway and that person was the one who was supposed to be directing you. The boy saw me the entire way of to Mr. Randolph's office, where he paused and looked at me expectantly.
"What?" I spat, aggravated. He was staring. No one had stared at me since I'd cut my head open when I was four. Blending was supposed to prevent staring, yet here he was, staring openly.
"Are you gonna go in?" he asked, seemingly undaunted by my cruel exterior. He gestured towards the door but kept his eyes on me.
"Yes," I retorted. The faster I went in, the faster I could be away from his stare.
I seized the doorknob and, after giving the boy a hearty evil eye, twisted it and walked into Mr. Randolph's room.
I did not understand the sight that greeted me. My mother and my father sat on a couch. My mother's eyes were puffy and red-rimmed. My father had his arm around my mother's shoulders, his mouth whispering words I could not here. Mr. Randolph sat in front of a desk on a desk chair. There was a crisp, white sheet of paper lying in the middle of the table.
"Hello?" I said tentatively. The tension in the air engulfed me.
"Take a seat," Mr. Randolph offered, gesturing towards a comfortable-looking chair.
"Here." Mr. Randolph pushed the paper—a letter—so it sat in front of me. I stared at it in confusion.
"Read it," he clarified. I looked from him to the letter to him again then finally back to the letter. This was why my mother was crying. Nobody had to tell me, I just knew. This thin sheet of paper that could be easily ripped in half was causing grief.
I plucked it up at the corner with my forefinger and my thumb, as if it were dangerous.
"Go ahead," Mr. Randolph prodded. "Read it."
I shot him an annoyed look. He was hurrying me towards my doom. I could tell. The look on his face gave it all away. I looked back up at my parents, who were both watching me expectantly. Waiting for me to read the letter.
I slowly unfolded it, careful not to get any wrinkles on it. Soon later, however, I would not care about wrinkling the paper.
My eyes moved immediately to the first line of the letter. Something about the writer being sorry. Something with my name. Something about my having leukemia. Cancer. The thing where you frequently went in for radiation and your hair disappeared.
The thing where you ended up dead.
"Ha-ha, very funny," I remarked dryly, placing the letter back onto the shiny table.
My father put his hand over mine, preventing me from lifting it off of the paper. He looked me in the eye, his expression as grave as ever.
"It's not a joke," he told me in the most somber tone I'd ever heard him use. He hadn't even sounded like this when he informed the family that our beloved Grandma Frances had died.
"Stop lying!" I cried. I tossed my father's hand off of my own and crumpled the letter beneath my hands.
"It's a lie!" I shrieked. With the crumpled letter still in my hand, I threw open the door to the guidance room and dashed out of there.
I did not know where I was going. I was blindly running through the hallways, screaming that it was a lie. The letter was a lie. People were looking at me. Students from a class that got out early stopped and watched me fly by them. I wasn't blending. This did not fit my job description.
Neither did leukemia.
I probably would have continued running until I passed out had I not run into someone. I bumped the person hard. He or she did not cry out. He or she did not curse, or push me over, or seek revenge. I looked up. He or she was turning around.
He or she was the messenger boy from earlier.
This was not blending.
"It's a lie," I whispered shakily, holding up the paper wad.
"What's a lie?" His eyes darted to where I held up the paper. My hand was shaking violently.
Something warm slipped into my other hand. I grasped it tightly, never wanting it to go away. Whatever it was, it fit perfectly in my hand. I looked down to see what it was.
Another hand. Another hand which ended up attaching to the messenger boy. His gaze was soft, gentle, caressing.
"This way." He started walking someplace down the school hallway. More and more classrooms were emptying of students. I could feel their eyes burning into me. I was not blending. I was in plain view of everyone. I was exposed. People would go through their yearbooks and find my picture. They would point and look up my name. They would try to pronounce my last name, and they would fail. Someone would say:
"She's the girl who was holding hands with that guy the last day of school."
"She's the girl who was running around the hallways screaming 'It's a lie!'."
The messenger boy guided me out the back doors of the school. One more thing for people to say:
"She's the girl who was skipping school with that guy the last day of school." Then they would all share a look of relief that they weren't crazy like me before pointing to the picture of a poor soul with a bad haircut.
I found myself under the old oak tree. The messenger boy was peering at me with concern. He glanced down to the hand holding the letter. I had a death-like grip on that crumpled wad. Maybe if I squeezed it hard enough, it would disappear.
"Grace," he said soothingly. I shivered. Coming from his mouth, my name sounded so right, like every other time someone had said my name, they were just testing it out. Getting a feel for calling me by my name. Testing the word on their tongue. But when he said it, I felt as though I was being christened all over again. He was not testing my name, he was using it. Defining me.
"Grace," he repeated, staring me straight in the eye. Blue-gray met dark brown. He was staring again, but this time, I didn't care. I wasn't blending, but it didn't matter. At least not in front of him. His eyes were easy to get lost in. I found myself desiring to look into them forever. I found myself forgetting about the world. Time stopped.
"Can I see the paper, Grace?"
My iron grip around the wad loosened. But I held his gaze, afraid that if I looked away, he might vanish. He gently pried the paper from my fist. While he opened up the paper and smoothed it out, his eyes remained on mine. Then, most regrettably, he looked down to read the letter.
His eyes skimmed over the contents. I didn't know all that it said; I hadn't made it past the first line. When he finished reading, blue-gray swiveled up to meet dark brown. His hand grabbed mine and gave it a squeeze. And in that squeeze, I knew that the letter was telling the truth. I had leukemia. Deep down in my subconscious I had known all along, but the squeeze brought it up from the darkness, dusted it off and shoved it in my face.
I slowly realized that there were tears crawling down my face. The boy lightly brushed them off. His face was more compassionate than I had ever seen.
"Do you remember me, Grace?" he murmured.
I reached up to grab his hands. My eyes bored into his. I had seen blue-gray eyes before. There was a boy from my past who uncannily resembled the messenger boy. The boy was my kindergarten boyfriend. We had pretended to get married once. He had given me my first kiss, a little peck on the lips.
But then he had disappeared.
"Andrew?" I asked.
A slight smile arose on his lips. His face moved in closer to mine, only inches away.
"It's me," he whispered. He removed his hands from my own and slid his arms around my waist.
"Do you remember me?" he reiterated. I could feel his hot breath on my face. Blue-gray twinkled.
"I remember you," I breathed. "I remember you, Andrew."
His lips fell onto mine. For a second, I forgot how to breathe as my breath caught in the back of my throat. His arms tightened around me, pulling me closer. My hands slid into his hair. And then nothing mattered anymore. I was tired of blending. I was tired of being invisible. Being noticed did not matter. Even my leukemia did not matter. All that mattered was he. All that mattered was that he had returned.
All that mattered was that he was kissing me.
And I was kissing him back.
Hello everyone. I wrote this rather short one-shot a few months ago and decided that, since I unfortunately have not finished chapter 12 of Fateful Friday, to post it so you'll have at least something of mine to read. Hopefully, I'll have that chapter completed by the next weekend, though.
Incase you were at all wondering, this was actually inspired by a song I heard on the radio one morning. However, I have absolutely no idea what it's called or who sings it or anything.
So anyway. Yeah.This isn'tone of my favorite writings, but I hope you liked it anyway! :)