Rain cascaded down the window, little rivers constantly running into and through each other. The wind blew a gale, sending the trees raging and the rain horizontal and while all this was happening, Casey Jenkins sat quietly in the corner, oblivious to the world and the lesson taking place in front of her, locked inside her own head.
Her mind whirled like the storm outside, thinking of a million things at once, never settling on one for more than a moment. She could barely figure out what her next thought would be, let alone what was going on in the classroom around her.
What was the point of all this? Life, existence, and every single day – it all seemed so useless. Every day was the same, the same routine, the same thing. Every single fucking day. She wanted something more, something to live for; something to give her a break from the repetitiveness of existence; something to give her a reason to get up every morning.
"Ms Jenkins, are you with us?" The harsh voice of Casey's teacher broke through her angst. Casey looked up at the old lady, an uncontrollable look of dislike breaking across her face. The teacher was old, her voice croaky and high pitched – like a fairytale princess who smoked too much as a child. Her hair blonde, triangle shaped and wiry, with her roots showing the age she was trying to hide.
"Why no 'mam, I'm not…" Casey replied, staring absently out the window.
"Well then Ms Jenkins, shall we continue this lesson at a more convenient time for you?"
Casey could barely stop herself from laughing. What did the teacher expect her to say: Why yes 'mam that would be fantastic, hows Tuesday?
"No Miss I'll just pay more attention now…" Casey's voice trailed off as she spoke. The teacher looked down at her and shook her head sadly. Casey was brighter than she gave herself credit for, she thought, and now she was letting it all go to waste.
Casey returned her gaze to the window. As far as the eye could see, stretched high-rise apartments, Seven/Elevens and clogged streets. The smog was barely visible today, but you knew it was there, hiding just out of sight, ready to spring back up when you thought it was safe. The one break from the grey on grey whitewash of the city was a small park next to the school, only visible from this classroom. Casey watched the swings flying back and forward, possessed by a crazy teenager. There was no movement in the park, apart from that caused by the wind, and for some reason, that made her want to cry.
Then she focussed more on the lone tree that stood solidly in the middle of the green.
A boy appeared, hanging from the tree, before the raging leaves blocked him from view. On a second glance, however, he was back, swinging upside down from the branches, oblivious to the storm.
Casey smiled. For the first time in as long as she could remember, a grin broke out onto her face and she couldn't stop it. It was like watching a Japanese game show – you don't understand it but it's in that uncertainty that you can appreciate it. She couldn't understand why someone would be hanging upside down from a tree in the middle of the storm, but that's why she liked it.
"Miss Jenkins, are you feeling alright?" The teacher's harsh voice once again broke through her reverie.
Casey snapped her gaze to the front, the smile instantly falling away. "Yes 'mam, I'm perfectly fine"
The teacher held her gaze for a moment longer, peering at Casey suspiciously from over her glasses, before turning back to the board.
Casey peered out the window again, watching the boy as he flipped from his position in the tree to the ground, then went and sat in the middle of the bench. And there he sat, seemingly unaware of the pouring rain around him, as it soaked his clothes, his hair, his very being. She watched as he was everything he was to the eye, just fall away. That was when Casey knew she had to go and talk to him.
She stood up quickly, without thinking, to the general amusement of everyone in her class. The teacher gave her a teachery 'what in the world do you think you're doing?' look. Casey quickly murmured her apologies and sat down again, staring straight back out the window.
The boy was gone, the storm kept blowing, and once again Casey Jenkins was back inside her own head, oblivious to it all.