Shadow of My Heart

By: Connie Ha

"No…" I muttered as I ran. It was dark. Too dark to be able to see anything. I ran into a dead end. I could hear growling and angry voices in the atmosphere. I turned around to face the people I thought I was afraid of. I knew I shouldn't be. Because I had no one. Nothing was important in my surroundings. It was only me and my shadow. The shadow of my empty heart whom everyone had left behind.

Chapter One: loneliness

It had been seven years. I am fourteen years old and nothing has changed about me. I am lonely. I am so lonely that people felt scared to look at me. I knew if my parents were here, I wouldn't be acting like this. I'd be a happy and bright Jeanette.

I lived on my own in a small apartment. I managed to find money for the rent. I ran away from my foster home, refusing to look at my new parents and siblings. I wanted my parents. I didn't see a point in living without them. But living in a lonely place seemed better than death.

I got to school and everyone backed away as I got through the hallways. I could hear people whispering as I passed by.

"What's her problem?"

"She's always like that. I feel sorry for her…."

I tried not to bother. These people didn't know what it was like to be someone like me.

I walked to my first period class – or at least I thought I did. I walked into the seniors' electronics classroom. I didn't bother to say sorry as I walked out.

"You sure have guts for a freshman," said a boy. I ignored him and continued walking. Sure. I had guts. But these were guts of a lonely person. I couldn't say that I couldn't care less. I cared. I think I have a problem. I had a serious problem with my emotions. I felt absolutely nothing.

"Hey! Watch where you're going!"

I looked up. It was a girl; probably a sophomore. I bumped into her and made her drop her books.

"Aren't you going to pick them up?" she demanded.

I stared at the books motionlessly. '… pick them up?' Her voice rang in my head. I wasn't going to. Why should I? I started to walk away but she grabbed my arm, pulling me back.

"Do you have any manners?" she asked.

I glared at her. She let me go and shook her head disapprovingly. "Bad parents." She bent down to retrieve her books.

That… hurt. I felt pain. More pain. Wasn't there anything else I could feel besides pain? I pulled her up before I knew it and glared at her in hatred and frustration. "I won't let you talk about my parents like that!" I felt tears burn up in my eyes.

"Okay, okay!" she tried to get loose.

"What do you know?" I retorted.

"Sorry…."

This was the first time I had received an apology and I was confused. I let her go and she dashed off to first period with a scared expression.

I stood there. 'Sorry….' I thought about the beautiful silver car that was crashed and tipped over on the road. I thought about my tears and how the police officer had held me close, assuring me that everything was going to be okay. I had hope. My parents' bodies weren't in the car. They were never found. But to this day… I knew that they had to be dead. 'Sorry….' Why hadn't my beloved parents apologized to me? Why did they leave me? In such a lonely world where I couldn't find anyone to trust. They were all afraid of me. But they never thought of it the other way around.

* * *

I headed to first period as the bell rung. The teacher didn't say anything nor look at me. I bet he didn't even mark me tarty. This was completely abnormal.

I took my seat. There was an empty seat next to me and through all my classes ever since the first day of school. I could feel everyone trying to edge away from me as far as possible. Honestly, how scary did I look? I wore regular Nikes, skinny jeans, and a black jacket over my black shirt. My hair was down and it was probably because I looked pale. I wasn't pretty. But I wasn't a monster, either. I'm practically very lonely. I knew this loneliness wasn't going to go away.

I'm an average A's and B's student and I got my stuff out of my backpack to do class work. I heard a door slam and got a grip of myself. I didn't look up and I didn't pay attention either. Until I heard my name…

"…Jeanette, raise your hand." I heard Mr. Biane's shaken voice. I wasn't here to cause trouble and I wanted everyone to realize it. I obeyed. I didn't notice the boy that was tanding next to Mr. Biane until now. It clicked.

I wanted to refuse. Jump up, scream, throw a tantrum! But I was frozen in my seat. Maybe I didn't want to refuse. Maybe I wanted a friend. But that was impossibly stupid. I saw him smile at me and I looked away at Mr. Biane. I stared at him with those eyes, hoping that he wouldn't place the boy to sit next to me.

"This will just be your temporary seat."

I realized that I wasn't breathing and exhaled slowly to not attract any attention.

The boy walked closer to me. I felt unrecognizable pain. It was like… a wound being stitched. He smiled at me as he sat down. I looked away. 'Temporary.' It should be over by today, I thought. I copied down the objectives, completely ignoring the boy. Completely ignoring everyone else. Except for the teacher, that is.

"Hi. I'm Max."

I ignored him and wrote down the agenda. If he didn't give up on this stupid introduction then I was leaving.

He probably got the warning – and I didn't know how – because he didn't say another word to me. He was quit. Good. I could hardly imagine him here.

The bell rung and I packed my books in my bag and started to walk out the door.

"Um. Hi. What's your next class? I'll walk you there."

I looked up. It was that boy. What was his name again? It didn't matter. I continued walking. Hopefully, he wouldn't follow. New kids… that was the worst kind. I bet he was trying to act smart. Wasn't he new here? Why did he offer to walk me to class? I was lost my first day here… but I managed. He would've probably not known where to go. But he's different. He is nothing like me He'll make friends and get out there. I walked inside the classroom. And as for me, I was trapped in this loneliness.