I was just walking down the hall on that fateful day. It was no big deal. All around me, fellow students milled about. "Hey, Rupert," said somebody to my right. I just nodded, not looking up from my video game.
suddenly I heard the sound of something being pushed, I looked up and saw Elira, a weird girl from my art class, being shoved into a locker. Some jocks were making fun of her haircut, which let her slightly curly brown hair down her waist. Elira was trying to hide her face behind her binder. It was pathetic. I sighed and passed by them without even turning her way.
Little did I know that action would change the rest of my life.
"Over here, Rupert," somebody called me. I turned and saw Laura, school hottie, gesturing for me to come sit with her at the popular kid's table. I wandered over and smiled at them.
"Hey guys," I said.
"Hi Rupert," said Jared, a headbanger goalie and one of my many friends. "Like, we were waiting for you to like, come in, but you were like, late, man." I nearly rolled my eyes, but decided doing so would get me personally mauled by Jared, who was definitely stronger than he looked.
"Yeah," I said. "Some bullies were picking on that weird girl, Elira."
"Elira? She is such a pathetic loser," said Laura. "I mean it. She's like, bipolar or something. I mean, some days she's really angry at everybody, and she'll beat them all up, The other days, she's so puny and weak. She just screams, 'Hurt me. I really cry.' Man, she is such a freak. She doesn't belong with normal people."
"Tell me about it!" laughs Roger, the school baseball warrior. "She's in my homeroom and history. Basically, Elira just sits there in homeroom and reads or writes. In history she switches between taking notes and not paying attention."
"Let's get off the subject," says Jared. "Just talking about her makes me, like, sick to my stomach."
So we started talking about the school's football team. But I felt like someone was watching me, so I turned around. There was Elira, a funny expression on her face. I hoped she hadn't heard what we said, but somehow I knew she had.
I was at school longer than most people. My Mom had to pick me up on the way home from work. I was just sitting on a bench, pretending to do my homework. Basketball practice was the next day, so I had nothing to do. But suddenly, I heard footsteps.
I looked up and saw Elira. She was smacking a basketball against the sidewalk. When she looked over at me, I saw pure fury in her eyes. "What're you watching? Some kinda freak?" she snapped. "If you want to do that, then look in the mirror. Or, better yet, look at your friends. Ask What's-her-face where she got the bleach for her hair for me, would ya? And ask Mr. Headbanger if he killed his brain cells with drugs, or if they were nonexistent to start out with. Oh, and while you're at it, ask Mr. Baseball why, if he's so good, his team hasn't won a game in a year. THOSE are the losers. Not me. You got that, you weasel? You got it?"
Elira stopped dribbling and took a few menacing steps towards me. "Just stay away from me, Okay?" She snapped. "Leave me alone. Just because I actually passed a class doesn't make me a freak. You're the freak. You know that, don't you? I know what kind of music you listen to. Because it's in, right? You're a slave to fashion. But I'm not like you. I'm not a hopeless slave to bleach-brainwashed Cheerleader's music dictation."
She looked at me with a look that could only be described as hate. The she turned at threw her basketball so hard at the brick wall of the building nearby that I thought it would burst. She chased after it with a renewed passion, leaving me behind.
Oh yeah, she heard every word.
Dinner that night was quiet. My little brother made the most conversation. He talked about a nice girl in his class who had helped him with his science project or something equally geeky. I wasn't really paying attention. Mom was just picking at her food, and Dad was watching the TV on the kitchen island. You could see it from the table, so I was basically watching a bunch of starving countries slide across the screen.
Suddenly, Mom slammed her fork down. "Turn that Damn thing off, Dave!" she yelled. "I'm sick of hearing of people who had their arms blown off by firecrackers and children being molested by their relatives during dinner! Just turn it off already!" Me and Stew (My little brother) exchanged a startled look. My older sister wasn't hardly ever home anymore. Right then she was probably shopping or working out.
"I'm not the one with the problem!" Dad retaliated. "Your the one who basically shooed your own daughter Kim out the door!"
"I do not shove her out!" Snapped Mom. "You're the one who gives her enough allowance to do as she pleases."
"Because I was hoping she would go to dinner with her friends or something!!" shouted Dad. "She hardly eats anymore! Or am I the only parent who noticed that?!"
Me and Stew got up. Stew made an excuse to leave. I just took my plates to the sink and left them there for Mom to wash. Mom and Dad were still arguing, and they didn't look like they were gonna stop any time soon.
But for some reason, I couldn't help but think of Elira. The look on her face when she yelled at me was like the looks on Mom and Dad's faces. The look of hurt and rage and raw energy. Adrenaline rush, really.
I just shook my head to clear my thoughts. I had been surprised by Elira's outburst earlier, but I suppose it was to be expected. She was probably bipolar, and occasionally she'd just snap like that.
And I didn't care.
The next day was Basketball practice. I got up and got dressed, pulling on some good clothes. Then I headed downstairs. My parents weren't there, but Mom had left me a toasted bagel with butter and blackberry jam on it. I grabbed it and headed out the door.
I only had to wait five minutes for the bus. As soon as I boarded, I heard yelling. "Psycho chick!" somebody screamed. A moment later, Elira was pushed into the aisle. She pulled herself back up, grabbing her papers in two quick hand motions. Then, she sat back down, cheeks burning.
For some reason, I couldn't help but think of the time when I was a kid and that exact same thing had happened to me. Well, the kid had called me another name, but still.
I forgot about it as Jared called me over to sit by him and his girlfriend Anna.
Somebody shouted their greetings to me, and I turned around to return the greeting. I was surprised by what I saw. Elira's brown hair was framing her face from where she had been pushed again. Her sad green eyes looked over at me. And for a second, she looked... Well, Beautiful. But then I mentally laughed at myself. Elira was a freak! What was I thinking? I turned around and plunked onto Jared's seat.
But I couldn't forget that moment.
I was taking a break at basketball practice, when I turned to the sidelines. I was shocked by what I saw,
It was Elira. She watched us dribble the ball. I noticed a cut on the back of her hand. Elira's face looked vacant and blank. In her hands was a sheet of paper. She looked out of place, in her delicate blue glitter shirt and worn blue jeans, standing by the bleachers like a ghost. When she saw me, she did something else surprising. Elira looked me in the face. She just stared for a second. Then, she turned. Her brown hair swirled around her, and she darted off like a startled animal.
"Hey, Rupert," called the coach. "Get your drink and then get your butt back here!" I just nodded and did as he said.
All through the day, I couldn't help but wonder if I had been seeing things. Somehow, I didn't think so.
So there you have it. That's the first chapter of 'Shattering moon.'
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