Follow Bailey as she tries to save the broken, sad-eyed boy from himself. A story that explores the depths of class, abuse and dark love.
The Boy with Sad Eyes
Before I even knew his name, I was transfixed. I actually remember the first time I saw him, hunched over his desk, sketching something, his pale hands working furiously and his face lit by the Californian sun. For some bizarre reason, I blushed head to toe as soon as I laid eyes on him. I'd never blushed before in my whole thirteen years and my friend, who chose to slide down in the seat next to me at that moment, said sympathetically, "Aruba's a killer, huh?"
I didn't bother to answer her. I just sat and watched the boy with palish skin and eyes black and hypnotizing. There was something in them, something so sad and tangible...
He averted his eyes quickly and stared out the window, but I was mesmorized.
I found out his name was Nate Rennison from his lab partner, and he became my easing-into-adolescence darling. I was obsessed with him - very quietly so, but still absoultely obsessed. I'd stare at the back of his head during Maths, stare at him in the halls, live for the moments his eyes would by chance glance into mine. I wrote his name all over my diary, sometimes writing in it that I had had the courage to say, "Hey" to him today, or sometimes even, "Sup?" (To which he would reply, bewildered, "Nothing?").
I reserved my first kiss for him and politely declined Tommy Johnson's efforts, believing that one day, the boy with Sad Eyes would ask me out.
If he himself was grappiling with feelings for me, he was hiding it extremely well, and if he was trying to work up the courage to ask me to be his girlfriend, his parents pulled him out of our school before he could. I overheard my parents discussing, "Those Rennisons" days later, how the father was an alcoholic and the mother was obsessed with herself and it made me wonder, quietly, then, why was Nate such a good person?
They moved him to the state school on the other side of town and I cried for weeks, pining for him until I was referred to the School Counsellor, who I unloaded all my problems onto (I was a rich kid, who didn't have any to speak of, but to me it seemed quite significant that dad had downsized my allowance to twenty five dollars a week). The Counseller seemed bemused at best, annoyed at the worst.
I started smoking with my friends in the girl's toilets shortly thereafter, because in my teenaged, melodramatic state, I thought I simply could not go on without Nate Rennison, my one and only. My reason to be. My love. I stopped eating properly, got mouthy towards my mum (although, to be fair, that was a long time coming) and for a while wrote rather depressing (and bad) poetry. Nate's gentle sweetness suddenly being ripped out of me - well, it threw me into a melodramatic, teenaged rut of "depression".
Of course, after a month I seemed to just move on. Well, that's not entirely true. My thoughts still lingered with him, everytime, say, I'd decide to write in my diary or wear the converses I'd been wearing the day he had first said (unprovoked), "Hey", to me. Or when someone new - a girl called Lois, sat down in the chair that used to be occupied by him.
I think we all have a first, unrequited love who we still think about occasionally. Who, when we're old grannies with gnarled hands and wispy hair, we still remember fondly with wistful tones and teary eyes. And Nate was mine.
I kept right on smoking and fell in with the "popular" crowd at our school. Or, rather, the cabal of narcissists everyone feared. The dictators of Hillridge Prep who commited social Genocide on anyone who wore glasses. Kind of like a mild version of Pol Pot. Our group consisted of all rich kids, just like me, who thought they were gagging with the silverspoons thrust down their throats.
My bestfriend - well, that's a bit of a strange term for her, because we weren't friends, any of us, we were just there by matter of principle - in our minds, our lives were shite and we were rich and successful (read: had successful parents) and therefore deserved to be in this group (the group, as it was known through just-jealous cliques). Anyways, the girl who I hung out with the most was Lois Baker. Here's a little sample of our conversations by way of introduction -
"Ohmigosh, Bailey! Bailey!"
"There's a place called nigga."
"Lois, that says Nigeria."
Lois and I seemed to cling to eachother somewhere in between my smoking in the girl's bathroom and my fourteenth birthday. There is no denying how gorgeous Lois is - breathtaking. Her "Pa" is a Texas oil jockey worth a cool two hundred million, and her "Mama" is a trophy wife of the highest order. Everything about Lois shreiks Southern Belle, from her lilting accent to her sweeping eyelashes. She's charming and seductive when she wants to be, but usually she can't be bothered, and will revert to her true self - a rather bumbiling, likeable ditz with a reasonably good heart.
Now, that's not to say I liked her at the least. I chose her to be my comrade because she lives in my neighbourhood, and therefore whenever my stepbrother - who's a bit of a sexual extrovert and doesn't mind bringing home the odd girl (or two... or once, three), gets a bit too randy with his latest missus(es), I can swing on down to her place and not have to listen to moaning or shrieking or swearing.
The world, or rather city, was my oyster, and I never had enough time in between driving in fast cars, taking coke, partying, raving, making out (but never going all the way - I drew the line at second base), getting monged on skunk, and getting absoultely bladdered, to realize just how much I was forgetting my other self (the intelligent one who made quips and won hearts in the Drama and Creative Writing Clubs... both of which I was in).
I was becoming like Them. The Others. Before I had been able to say in my mind, "Well, I'm not like that, I'm not like them, I'm the one exception." But day by day I was becoming less and less sure. I was stopping the middle of sentences in Creative Writing Club, my sentences becoming more and more like, "I think what's she trying to say is... like," - awkward hand guesture -, "You know?"
I once deadpanned to the Counsellor, two years later, that I was under the impression my brain was seeping out through my earholes and I was trying to fill the void it was creating with coke, which he took as a cry for help and marked down (on my permanent record!) "Bailey shows warning signs of Schizophrenia."
But, to a degree, I was happy until my nose started to bleed. I knew it was from the coke because both nostrils were bleeding at once, and that doesn't usually happen unless you've been banged in the head or have taken more than your share in coke. I hate the sight of blood, and anything to do with blood (including scars and scabs) makes me sick (Periods are the worst). So I decided right then and there, Right, Okay, I'm going to give it up, then.
There was no rock bottom, no shrieking ephiphany where I realized I was slowly disintergrating. I was just a fourteen year old in the school bathroom, mopping up the blood trickiling from both nostrils under fluroscent lighting in between French and Biology. Giving it up wasn't even really that hard for me, because food was my main vice - the thing I usually restricted - and I focused on eating, whilst shedding myself of a different addiction. When I no longer craved, I started restricting again, and everything continued.
Life was sweet until I was fifteen. I no longer got high, my stepbrother had moved away to college (although I pitied his poor room mate), and I kept my reputation of the most reserved of the rich-wild-childs. I was the strange one who made jokes like, "It's all Greek to Troy," and, "Crapre Diem." Stupid jokes that people at my father's cocktail parties found hilarious but were not really age-appropriate for a bunch of pissed up, high and horny teenagers whose knowledge only stretched to: How to score (drugs and sex), how to charm parents and how to use daddy as a cash machine.
Life was sweet... Until he came back, with his almost black, sad eyes in the body of a man.
Whatya think? Shit, right? I'm sorry, I'm just not up to par with my writing at the moment. I've become mush... UGH!! Please drop a review, I'm insecure and need to be told if I'm publishing indulted crap willy nilly.
Love you to bits and bobs and candy and knobs,
I Shed Myself.