His name was Caleb Dickens and he began school here on the 15th of November. 'Course, that was the day I first met him. All I had to say about him was that he was peculiar; not like the other pretty boys that strutted around the place like they were Mother Earth and Father Time. Ha. Imagine that.
No, he was different. He had that look about him that said, 'I don't belong here'. Or, 'Careful. I've laid my dreams on the ground and you're just about walking all over them.' Yeah. Something intimidating like that. And he didn't talk much either. And that was weird. And people tended to stay away from things that were weird. Maybe that's why he was always alone. Like at recess and lunch time he'd just be walking on the pathway around the perimeter of the school. Just walking. Round and round and round. We weren't allowed to leave the school grounds, but the teachers couldn't get him in trouble.
"He's always walking right on the boundary," they said. "He's tricky like that."
So one day- I don't know why, maybe I was bored- I sat at the steps on the side of the school, beside the roaring traffic that clogged my ears and I just waited for him. He came round, walking with his hands in his pocket and his mind in his eyes, and I watched him for a little bit. It was weird because he wasn't walking on the pathway like every other normal person that walks on the pathway. He was walking right on the edge, the soles of his scuffed school shoes just scratching the road surface. Who does that? Honestly.
He didn't notice me sitting there and just kept up that walking as if it was the only damn thing he ever wanted to do. Like a life ambition or some cheese ball like that. He came back around after a few minutes and I couldn't help think: That's kinda sad. The way his eyes are set and his feet are moving as if he's really getting somewhere- but then he comes right back to the same spot over and over again. It's just sad, that's all.
I stood up and fixed my skirt- it always got crinkled at the back when I sat down- and called out to him: "What are you doing?"
Caleb Dickens didn't even look at me. He paused for a bit. Then kept on walking those step step steps. "What does it look like I'm doing?"
Now, if that came out of any other bimbo boy's mouth, I'd've wanted to kick him upside the head. But not Caleb Dickens. He said it in a way that made you want to grab his hands and cry or something pathetic like that. Even with that rude-arse question.
I shrugged as I walked beside him. "I dunno. But it seems pretty boring, don't you think?"
He blinked, but he still didn't look at me. It reminded me of how my mum would act when I asked her about dad like it was something she really had to think about. He had an affair and got divorced. What else was there?
"How so?" he asked, finally.
I shrugged again. "Well, you're sort of walking around in circles. It does get pretty repetitive if you think about it."
"But I'm still walking. Doesn't that count for something?"
I just stared at him. "Not really," I told him. "Not if you're not getting anywhere."
I probably offended him in some way because his eyes dropped to his feet and his eyebrows sank. After a long moment in which I contemplated if my departure was the right, or at least the safest, thing to do, Caleb Dickens spoke: "Mmm. You're right. I should stop walking one day." He finally looked at me, a glint in his green-hued eyes. "Maybe I should start running."
I raised my eyebrows. "And people say you're weird. What were they thinking?"
We shared a little laugh.
"Caleb Dickens." He held out a hand.
"Regan Keller." I shook it.
And we both ran to our next classes.
After that I began walking around the school with Caleb Dickens. Don't ask me why, because I don't know. He interested me or something. And it's not as if he minded. The only indication of him knowing that I was next to him was that he responded to my questions and sometimes asked me some himself. Like this one time when he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.
"What?" I answered, crunching a leaf under my foot.
"What do you want to be when you grow up, Regan?" I started walking with him, so he thought we knew each other well enough to only use my first name. I guess he was weird like that.
"Yeah, like repeating the question clears everything up."
"Just answer the question," he said.
I didn't answer the question. I couldn't answer the question. Truth was, I didn't really know the answer. I guess I hadn't really thought that far. That's what I told him and he answered:
"You don't have any dreams?"
Then he stuffed his hands into his pockets and went on staring ahead. He was always doing that. He's always staring at something, but whenever I tried to follow his gaze all I'd see is the end of the road. So I gave up after a while.
"I want to fly to the moon," I said, sarcastically.
"Then why won't you?" Caleb Dickens stopped walking- for like, the first time in his goddamn life- and looked right at me, a corner of his lips tilting as if he was thinking up a plan to get my arse in a rocket. It was a little scary, if you ask me.
I didn't answer a lot of his questions. Like that one. He always asked tricky questions, that bastard. Like another time when he asked if I had any friends. I said no, because I didn't. Then I told him about how I hated close relationships. I thought he'd laugh or edge away, like all the others, but instead, he told me I had attachment issues and that it was possibly because of my dad. He made me sound like a psychiatrist's client, but I guess that was better than sounding like a fucking alien. I then asked him: if I had attachment issues, why would I be walking with him every day as if we were best buds or some cheese ball like that? And he said that it was because we both wanted the same thing.
And I couldn't help but think: what the damn hell was that?
For about two weeks I walked with Caleb Dickens, and in those two weeks, the tricky bastard got me thinking more than I ever have, damn him. He made me miss the bus one morning because I was thinking about how the goddamn ants near my sneakers managed to stay in single file when, in ant perspective, they were about 10 metres apart. I couldn't think of an answer. Like I couldn't think of an answer as to why Caleb Dickens would always be walking right on the edge of the walkway as if he'd drawn himself a tightrope line on the ground.
And then one day something happened that I don't think I'd ever forget.
Caleb Dickens slipped off the edge of the sidewalk and onto the road, into the sea of traffic. He got to his feet and jumped out of the way like any normal person. But then he just stood there. On the side of the road; the cars sprinting past, centimeters from his face. He just stood there and stared, at what, I didn't even want to know. I think he stayed that way for about a million hours and I couldn't do anything. All I could think of were the cars just screaming in my ears, zoom zoom zoom. I thought that maybe if I moved, the ground would shake and maybe he'd fall forward into it. Especially with the way he stood; the way his body started to lean forward onto the tips of his toes. It made my stomach tumble and my heart plummet. I couldn't help but think: He wasn't going to step forward, was he? He's a bastard, but not a stupid one.
That was when he did something that blew my mind right out of my fucking ears. He took one step forward.
Then I damn near lost it.
I just shrieked and launched right at him. I pulled his great arse off the road by his school shirt, and we hit the ground, stunned. We were both on our backs, our chests heaving and our hearts pounding, and the cars just continued roaring by our feet.
"Caleb. Dickens. What. In God's name. Were you doing?" I ground out, shaking so damn much you could stick me in a bath tub with your dirty laundry. I didn't know why I was so angry with him. I just wanted to turn around and slap him a couple of hundred times. I rolled around to maybe try that, but I took one look at him and almost died.
His green eyes were staring up at the sky. I lay there beside him on the walkway and watched the trickle of water crawl from his eyes, across his temples and hit the concrete. They were tears and I felt a strange urge to touch them.
"Don't you get sick of it," he began slowly, his soft voice like red ribbons falling from the sky, "when people tell you to follow your dreams?"
I didn't say anything. What do you say to that?
"You can't just follow your dreams." He let his head drop to the side so that we faced each other, our noses almost touching. "What if they walk too fast and you can't catch up? Or what if you lose sight of them? What do you do then?" His voice was only a whisper, and I leant closer to hear him; so close that his breath splashed my lips.
I don't know why, but my throat collapsed when he turned away and sat up. His gaze met the road and the cars. "What if they're on the other side of this road?"
Suddenly, Caleb Dickens stood up and held out a hand. "Stand up, Regan."
He took both my hands and pulled me to him, our bodies colliding so that not even the noise of the cars could get past us. He bent his head down and his mouth brushed my ear. "Run with me, Regan."
I froze. "What?" I whispered.
He stepped behind me so that we both faced the road. "What do you see over there, Regan? On the other side of the road."
"I- Another walkway, a park, a bus sign—" I stopped when Caleb shook his head.
"No. You see your dreams. And we're going to run after them." He took both my hands and stretched them out.
My mouth dropped. "You're insane." I didn't give a damn if I was screaming. The boy was fucking insane.
"We're not going to get anything from doing that, except maybe, I don't know, run the fuck over."
"You said so yourself, Regan. We've been walking around in circles for our whole life and we're going nowhere and we're still going to be if we don't do this. We have to live, Regan, this is what we both want." He said into my ear.
"Oh, then it makes complete sense to walk right into oncoming traffic."
Caleb spun me around and kissed me hard on the lips. "Run, Regan," he said into my mouth. Then he moved beside me and took my hand in his.
He's insane, he's insane, he's insane.
"Run, run, run, run, run," he screamed, and pulled us forward.
And we leapt off the walkway and into the sea.
I can't tell you if we made it or not. Because you can never know if you'll ever catch your dreams. All I can say is that I screamed and ran till my lungs felt like sand and my legs felt like fire. Caleb Dickens, that bastard, had me running for my life and no the fuck way was I going to stop.
I finally got another story up (huzzah!). As you can tell, this is a weird story. My feelings about it are still iffy. There is no real storyline, it's more of an idea, which I really hope you guys picked up.
I kind of feel like this one needs further editing. If it's way too confusing/short/awkward/lame, it's up to you guys to tell me, so review please. Please. I don't want to beg. But, please.
It's school holidays now so I'll have more time to write! :D
Oh, and I forgot to say: I hope you enjoyed it! :)
Disclaimer: There is a line in there that might be familiar to you (kuddos if it is), and that line is derived from this quote:
"But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet; treat softly, because you tread on my dreams." - William Butler Yeats.
I came across that quote while doing a school project and it just got me thinking about dreams and such. And naturally, I had to write about it.
EDITED on January 24th by my amazing friend, Elizabeth