3

frankie's thoughts and my habits

learning to hunt by guided by voices

When the next thunderstorm looked sure to hit, I made it a point to stay inside with Frankie. We sat by the windowsill, our anklet clad feet tucked up beneath us, talking in hushed voices. I was falling more in love with Frankie, or the peresence of Frankie, as the days progressed. She spoke in prose and poetry when she could, an amazingly eloquent speaker if ever I saw one. Her wit was so sharp it left me thinking for days of the perfect response. She made me feel confident just by being near her. She was really quite remarkable.

"So, how did this whole Donnie thing come about?" Frankie asked conversationally over her binder, tapping her pen on my knee to hold my attention from the raindrops.

"It was on a day like this," I said in halfthought, staring with almost glazed over regard at the sound of rain, "It was raining and I was outside..."

"Why?" asked Frankie, half-laughing, "Did you get caught?"

I flushed, "No. I like the rain..."

"You must like pneumonia too," Frankie said, smiling, "So...?"

"I was outside in the rain," I reiterated, "And then I came inside after getting soaked and he was there..."

"And?"

"And my top was quite see-through."

Frankie broke into giggles, "Classy, Lucy! How long will it be before I find your name etched on a tree next to his, hmm?"

"A long time," I said listlessly.

"So you're acknowledging it could happen?"

I blushed pure crimson, so embarressed I wanted to melt to the floor... Or be outside in the rain.

"What about you?" I asked politely, formally, "Do you like anyone at the moment?"

"'Do I like anyone at the moment?'" Frankie mimiced in faux-exasperation, "I'm Frankie. Frankie Doherty. I wear my heart quite loosely on my sleeve. Any boy could hold its key, I just don't know. But this week, it's a scrumptious boy I found in Computers Class."

"Oh?"

"He's gorgeous. His name is Brain," she said dreamily, "Or, Brian. Probably Brian. He's gorgeous."

"Okay," I said, stretching slightly.

"How about you, though, seriously?" asked Frankie, "You seem so mysterious! I can't understand you... Do you like anyone?"

I'm not mysterious, I wanted to say, just shy.

"No," I said, "I don't know anyone..."

"Except Donnie," Frankie said, "He seems right keen on you, you know? Really more than I thought when I saw how rude he was in English. I don't understand it - he usually lays it on thick when he sees a girl like you. Not that there are many around here, they're a bit sparse, if you get what I mean."

"I don't like Donnie much," I replied.

"Why?!" Frankie cried, "He's gorgeous."

"He..." I trailed off, "I don't know."

Frankie nodded sagely, "You're just shy, I'll wager. Don't worry, love, I'll make you a phoenix yet."

"What?"

Smiling, Frankie answered, "You don't know this yet, but you will one day. I'm hoping to change you, Lucy, bring you out of that shell you're using to protect yoursef. I know there's a firecracker in there, I've seen the light on several occasions. I am going to change you, Lucy."

I blinked at her, my face blank.

Frankie laughed, "It's my intensity again, isn't it? Now you understand why I don't keep a boy long..."

I laughed uneasily, "You're quite strange for someone who looks so beautiful."

"Ah, lass," Frankie said, a bit of what remained of her Scottish accent driving through, "As you'll soon learn, the beautiful people are the most fucked up of the rest."

"Either," I said, "You just called me fucked up or ugly, Frankie."

Pointing a finger at me melodramatically, Frankie half-yelled, "There she is again! The firecracker!"

I gave her a look.

"You're my own exception to that," she said, smiling, "Lucy, you may not realize it, but you're changing my life."

"How?"

"Just by being here..." Frankie said, not alluding to anything more.

Too scared to ask again how, in case it was something unseemly, I kept quite.

-

Searching through the years, I stumble and trip upon my anxieties and strange habits of this time that I've tried to bury deep in the recesses of my mind. I do not want to make mention of them, but even I know they're essential for you to gather more of an identity of who I was back then... Whatever that means.

I had a hard time sleeping. I'd been that way since shortly after my mother developed depression - I don't know if she caused it or if it was simply coincidental, but every day since then I've woken up with bags under my eyes. I had been to a string of psychologists and eventually psychaitrists who asked me questions about everything from what I ate at night to my dreams. I was prescribed a myriad of pills, Serapax and Valium and whatever else, but I refused to take them. I didn't want to fuck with something so delicate and fragile - because when it boils down to it, kind of like solipism, your mind is all you have.

Most nights were spent lying in bed, eyes wide like an owl, staring at the stains on my cieling. I had learnt to exist on few hours sleep, my thoughts and mind adjusting to the sleep deprivation and doing that lovely human trick - adapting. I was still lucid in the day, or as lucid and alert as one would hope to be. Some nights, I felt nigglings to do certain things to help me fall asleep... go for a walk, read, get something to eat. I quickly learnt that to get outside for my walk, I would have to sneak past first my dormitory mother, and secondly the one teacher that patrolled the halls, eyes hanging out of their head, at night time. Both proved to be quite easy tasks.

And then there are the wierd habits... the little kinks in my supposedly perfect, sweet-girl-mysterious image. The first was the strange tic I had developed. No, not one of those severe, Tourettes-Syndrome style tics that are detrimental and off-putting. It was more a tremor, I suppose. It ran through my body whenever my anger reached 'boiling point'. My muscles would jerk up for a second and then release. It was bizzarre, to say in the least, but also very catharctic. Although I bottled all emotions somewhere within me, most likely filling the hollowness of my chest cavity, it did make me feel better... in the short term.

There was also the habit I had of eating bizarre foods. I wasn't anorexic, bulmic, bulimorexic or whatever else you want to call that multitude of foreign eating disorders, I was just... well, finicky. I was quite prissy and selective in the foods I would eat - only some sufficed. I wouldn't eat most fruits because a misguided dentist had once told me anything sweet would rot rot rot my little white teeth. I had taken this as if it were a bible verse and refused to eat anything other than savoury items. I didn't eat most types of cakes or junk food because for the majority of my childhood I had been raised on organic foods as my mother went through her various phases of life style crisises. As a consequence of this, whenever I ate anything with too much fat in it, my stomach siezed up and made me feel like vomiting.

This caused a considerable amount of friction between me and the food staff at Anikee. I was forever requesting foods that were 'too costly' and 'too time consuming' to prepare.

The last habit was not so much strange as it was different. Walking. Forever walking. Wherever and whenever I could, I walked. Through the plentiful grounds of Anikee, until I reached the fringes of the Anikee Woods Trails, averting my eyes with slight disgust at the mediocre carvings of 'arnold and lee 4evr' and 'mena ricky 2002' on the old trees. I tried not to imagine the couples walking this way, doing what every adult and person of authority warned them against doing, starting relationships and ending them and eternalizing them on these trees. It seemed so crass... so gross... to do it out in the woods, where everything was wet and the mosquitos bit. There was nothing sensual or romantic about leaning against a tree and... well, you know.

It was on one of these walks one day that I had one of the bizarrest conversations I'd ever encountered in my seemingly short life.

I had been ambling through the woods for quite a while, the sunlight flittering through the leaves as per usual. I breathed in the wholesome and full air. I loved fresh air. My hands were flushed with cold, as was my face, my grey school blazer pulled close against my frame. I had just had the last class of the day - Science, where I sat alone - and was mentally running over my homework for the night, biting the corner of my lip in thought.

Out of the bushes, without ceremony or warning, stumbled Donnie and a strange girl who had an even stranger name like... Pixie? Imp? I've since forgotten, but they were quite the pair. She was only wearing a bra and our tartan school skirt, her blouse clutched in her hands. I remember how very big her breasts were. It was almost alarming. Donnie, beside her, had lipstick smeared over his cheek and his hair was mussed to the point he looked like he'd been shocked by something electric. I gasped in shock and averted my eyes away from them immediately, out of courtesy.

With an audacity that burbled anger within me, Donnie said cheerfully, "Oh! Hello there, Lucy."

I crossed my arms over my chest and drew my eyes to be level with his, "Hey, Donnie."

"Oh shit," burbled Pixie/Imp, "This isn't, lahk, your girlfriend is it?"

"No," I said, my voice seeming weak, "No, thank God."

"Ouch, my heart," Donnie said, chuckling. He addressed his next comment to his companion, "I want you to meet Lucy."

"Hello," Pixie/Imp smiled, extending a hand.

I didn't want to touch it because Lord knows where it had been on Donnie's person. I did, however reluctantly, because I didn't want to seem jealous or angry or anything of the sort. The very fact that I was conscious of not wanting to appear this way shows that somewhere deep within me, probably very deep, I was. Just a bit. In the same way a child is jealous when someone else has their toy that they have no actual interest in. Everyone had said Donnie was keen on me, and yet here he was outside with some buxom blonde that superficially, I could never hold a candle to. I shook it gingerly and dropped it quickly, trying to hide the flicker of disgust in my features.

"Doll, why don't you keep on going?" Donnie said, again talking to Pixie/Imp, "I'll catch up."

"Sure," she replied without a trace of disappointment, "It was nice..." she giggled here, "talking to you, Donnie."

She winked with the subtly only a firetruck can possess. I stared.

"Yeah, you too," Donnie said, kissing her cheek.

Pixie/Imp then sauntered away, ostentatiously putting on her blouse. Donnie followed her movements until she was around the bend. I know, because I was following his.

"She's a spectacular girl," Donnie said, "Real knock-up girl."

"Or the type of girl to get knocked up," I muttered.

"I'm sorry," Donnie said, "Didn't quite catch that."

I knew he had and was trying to shy me into silence and a corner, so I repeated louder, "I said, 'Or more like the type to get knocked up.'"

"Aah," Donnie said, smirking, "Ever the witty one, I see."

I stared at him blandly.

Discomforted by the silence, Donnie cleared his throat and said, "So what brings you to the woods, Lucy? Finding your own Romeo?"

"No, I'm not into mosquito bites and petty promises," I replied.

"'Mosquito bites and petty promises'," Donnie mused, "Sounds like the title for an excellent Emo album, don't you think?"

"I'm not into Emo either," I said, "Life is too good to spend it being depressed."

"Depressed people are like blondes, aren't they? They have more fun," Donnie said.

"Wow, you're not just a pretty face," I deadpanned, raising one eyebrow in a perfect imitation of him.

"Why are you so mouthy today?" Donnie asked.

"Mouthy?"

"So willing to be aggressive," he answered, "Is it because you don't have Frankie to make you uphold that persona she's building?"

I grinned, "You obviously have no idea what you're talking about."

"No idea, is that right?"

"I'm not in the mood for mind games," I griped, "Nice seeing you, Donnie."

I made to walk past him but he stopped me, "No, you're not getting away that easily, Lucy dear."

"Excuse me?" I asked.

"You didn't tell me why you're in a bad mood."

"I'm not. I'm just annoyed."

"By who?"

"People."

"Like?"

"You."

"Why?"

"Because you're annoying. And I don't understand why you can't just leave me alone."

"Hey, I was just walking in the woods. Mere coincidence. How have I put you in a bad mood?"

"Listen to me, I am not in a bad mood. Leave me alone."

"People who say they want to be left alone often are in a bad mood."

"Or just want to be alone."

"Oh, come now."

"Fuck off," I blurted.

Donnie blinked. I blinked. We were both suprised.

"Look what you made me do!" I exclaimed, "You made me swear."

He burst out laughing. I glared.

"Oh God, I haven't heard that phrase since kindergarten."

"Sorry," I murmured, blushing, although I didn't know quite why I was apologizing.

Neither did Donnie, "What for?"

"I don't know," I said grudgingly, "Just felt like something I should say."

Donnie grinned, "I like you."

"Why?"

"Because you're not like anyone else I've ever met before," he said.

"What, submissive?"

"No," he said, "Multi-faceted."

"I'm not going to have sex with you. I've seen enough after school programs to know where you'd like this to steer."

"Boys don't think entirely with their penises."

"When it comes to girls they do," I said, "I want to keep on walking now."

"Okay," Donnie said, smiling.

And it wasn't one of his usual sarcastic smiles with a side-serve of bitterness. It was light and happy and... kind of devastating.

I averted my eyes for the second time, only this time it wasn't because I was embarrassed.

-

uh oh.
thanks for those who alert to this/are patient enough to read this. review.

xox sheets