NaNoWriMo 2009; it's 50,000 words of an unedited mess collecting dust inside my hardrive. And so I introduce it to you, my reluctant readers, and I await your opinion. I really haven't edited this, so you'll catch thirty million mistakes as you read, like at one point the protagonist has a watch, then he doesn't, or the characters don't act like themselves, or I switch from present to past tense and back... What I want to see if anybody likes the story, and if it's worth fixing and editing and whatnot. I'll get to it eventually. Eventually. For now of course, enjoy the story!
A firefly wanders by, gently buzzing in my ear as it passes me. My eyes follow it, watching the small glow effortlessly hover against the night sky. I walk to this meadow often after dark, just to sit in the dewy grass and lean up against a tree and muse about my day. Pale, my hands shone under the moonlight, and I retract them onto my lap. Plucking a blade of grass, I toy with it until I heard footsteps from behind the tree.
I stop breathing reflexively, and I don't stir or dare make any sound until the footsteps cease. The moon is only half-full, and I'm carefully hidden beneath the shade of hundreds of rustling leaves. I see him walk past me unknowingly, and I watch him as he stops and drops to his knees. He lays his head gently against the grass, and outstretches his arms to yawn. I squint my eyes, but I can only make out a vague outline of his face.
I restart my breathing, but he twitches suddenly. I stop, but he doesn't move anymore, but continues to stare mindlessly at the stars. I wonder if he comes for the same reason I do, to contemplate decisions and wonder about the past. If he comes to discover himself, and to have thoughts he didn't know he could have. If he comes to dream, to wish upon stars.
His bangs, long and dark, fall over his eyes, and I want to go over to him and push the hair out of his eyes. I stare at him for a while, and watch him keep staring at the moon, and I watch him stare at the stars and at the sky. He doesn't move, he doesn't stir, his nostrils just open slightly and then close as he breathes. His stomach moves up and down slowly, and I sort of want to hear his breath. I sort of want to lay next to him and ask who he is. Where's he's from. What he's thinking about.
He turns over to the side and faces me, and I stare at him almost in shock. He was obviously going to turn over sooner or later, but I can't tell if he sees me. Does he see me? I can't tell. I look at him and I stare and stare and stare and soon he winks. He winked. He just winked at me. At me, so he sees me. Oh God, okay, he sees me. Why is this so nerve wracking? I don't even know his name. Not even his name.
The hand lying entangled in the grass gently, almost unnoticeably, beckons me. I can't tell if he actually wants me to come over to him, but I really, really want to. Should I? I stare at him for a little while longer, and soon he head lifts up, ever so slightly, and he smiles directly at me. We make eye contact, and he puts his head back down. I take my hands off my lap and put them on the grass, and his smile gets wider.
I walk over to him as he watches me, and I lye down next to him. He doesn't even look at me as I climb down onto the grass, feeling the dew beneath my back, the wetness breaking through my thin shirt. I carefully keep our distance, and he simply just keeps staring out into the night. The back of my neck starts to sweat, and I quickly become very nervous. His breaths are even and his heartbeat radiates from his chest like little bullets. I smile.
I dare not say anything because I don't know who he is or what he wants or why he even called me over. All I know is that he's beautiful and I can't stop breathing heavily and my heart won't stop beating fast and my palms won't stop being sweaty and I honestly, honestly don't know what to do.
It's difficult not knowing what to do because usually I can formulate in my mind the path I'll take and the words I'll use. This boy has done nothing to me, but I'm worried I'll do something to him. He's the kind of person, I can tell already, I don't want to hurt. This only makes me wonder about him more. I desperately want to know what his life is like, and who he spends time with. What his family is like, and if he is in love.
I miss being in love. I try to inconspicuously look over at him and stare at him, just like he is staring at the sky. But I'm afraid he will see me and get the wrong idea. My hand is only inches away from his, but I have to stop myself. I don't even know his name.
We're both very quiet. The night air is very musty and my shirt is becoming wetter and wetter with each passing second. My neck continues to sweat, and so do my palms. I keep blinking because the air is musty like I said and dust keeps getting in my eyes. I want him to say something. But he won't. But soon I realize that I too, like the silence.
The silence encases us and keeps me calm, and it keeps me from thinking about things that I do not like thinking about. I gather the courage to glance over at him and I see that his eyes are closed. I follow suit and I close my own eyes and listen to the dead night.
I think I fell asleep for a little while, because I was woken up from a dream about some thing I cannot remember by a cricket. The cricket sat next to me, chirping and chirping, it's wings spazzing and moving and it's buggy little eyes staring up at me. I grin at it and drop my head.
The boy seems to have woken up too, and he too has lifted his head and is staring at the cricket. My head turned to the side, the cricket stares directly at me and I believe I've made a new friend. The boy is leaning over me and outstretching his hand toward the cricket. He utters the first words I've heard him say all night, "Here, little buddy."
The cricket doesn't seem to get the message, and completely ignores the boy. I can't help but snort a chuckle, and the boy ignores me, just like the cricket ignores him. Soon it starts to bounce away, but the boy, oddly determined, falls onto me, him laying on my stomach, tries to grab at the cricket. I can't help thinking that his determination is a bit strange. The cricket from my perspective is nothing special. It starts to spread its wings and the boy gets up completely and cups the bug in his hands. I whisper congratulations to him inaudibly.
He slowly drops down to where he was lying, the cricket chirping in his hands. He doesn't let it go, but instead settles both his hands on his stomach and grins at his hands. He just sits there and grins, and I just sit there and stare.
Soon enough he lets the cricket go, and it chirps its way several yards away from where we are. The boy lets out a tiny sigh, and he yawns once again, his hand softly grazing my cheek. My heart still pounds from when his stomach fell onto mine and began squirming as he tried to capture the cricket. He was strange.
I wonder if he had come here all the other times if I had come here, too. I had known about this meadow for almost a year now, and I had discovered it when I was in the car with my friend and he had driven past it. I had liked the way it looks, the tall trees and the healthy grass. It looked like it was being taken care of nicely, but I could plainly see that the only caretakers were the sun and the moon and the meadow itself. This boy and I were only here to observe its beauty.
The boy I could tell really liked the stars. Besides when he was occupied with the cricket, he could only gaze at them. My eyes suddenly fluttered closed, and again I didn't know what to say. Should I stay with him, or should I leave? It was Friday, which is the day I usually came. I liked to spend the night here, and wake up at dawn so I could walk back to my house without anybody seeing me here. But I didn't mind this boy being with me. I don't know if he came here to escape, too. Maybe he had discovered it once upon a time, and had just needed to go somewhere. My meadow was his meadow.
The boy suddenly started speaking. The transition was so abrupt that I had to consciously listen to know what he was saying. I could make out the last couple of words, which were "… how many lives those stars have created." I frowned, only half understanding what he was tying to say. He quickly glanced at me, and then looked back. I didn't know what to do, so I continued to lay there. He didn't say anything for the next couple of minutes. He was a mystery, this boy. I ached to ask him questions about his life, his family, his concerns and goals. What makes him nervous and what makes him happy.
I pondered a moment and thought about what made me happy. No more did I have a family or friends, but ironically all that I truly wanted was somebody to love me, or at least accept me for who I truly was. It was maybe why I felt to attached to this boy so fast. I could not help want to be his friend, to get closer and to know all there is about him. I smiled again. It would be nice to be close with somebody again. I missed human contact, and I wished conversation. Although I was always missing my chances for opportunities like this, I was still stubborn to create more and more, maybe until I had restored my old life.
But unfortunately I know that it would never happen.
The boy turned over to me once again while I was musing, and I didn't even realize he was playing with my hair. I was always telling myself to cut it, but the few compliments I would get mostly pertained to how nice it was. I suppose it was what one could call stylish, with the bangs always sliding into my eyes and hairs matting themselves to the back of my neck when it was hot. I found it incredibly annoying, but others liked it, I suppose.
The tree I had been leaning against was several yards away, and I turned my head to look over at it, the boy's hand still fumbling about my head. The tree was difficult to see in the dark, but I could remember the sticky residue that would come off on my hand, as I would lean against it, or the tough bark that lined the trunk. The bark would easily peel off when I played with it, and I found it amusing to just stay by the tree and poke at it, to have power over something powerless. I felt fulfilled and I felt good. I felt good for once. I could destroy this tree if I wanted, I would think. I could kill you. I could murder you. I could take you from your home and you would never see it again. I could. But I wouldn't.
It makes me wonder why anybody would want to cause pain like that to another person. But then I would pause when that thought crossed my mind. Sometimes I would want to do that to somebody, but only when they deserved it. I know what is my opinion may not be just, and the person themselves may think that they have done nothing wrong. But even if they do something wrong to me, to anybody else, I do not act upon it. I keep to myself. I have yet to even touch anybody. Which is why I yearn so badly to touch somebody else. Like this simple boy who won't stop touching my hair.
I turn to look at him, and he just bares his teeth, something else white that shines incredibly bright against the moonlight. I smile back, but he can tell that my smile is uneasy, that my smile clearly is asking him if I can trust him. He continues to run his fingers through my hair. I have said nothing to him this entire time we have laid here. But I wanted to. I couldn't figure out what I could say that wouldn't make him turn away with repulsion, or turn away with laughter. People seemed to think whatever I said was stupid; whatever I said did not make sense and will not make sense in the future. Because people always would reject my personality, would always reject my words, the rare few I could muster and say aloud. Which is why I did not speak. And that is why I have not said anything.
I could tell the boy wanted me to speak, and I could only think about how I did, too. But the stars were distracting, and I couldn't keep my eyes on his. They just melted into mine and I couldn't see anything but the deep brown that kept messing with my brain. His eyes would sparkle like the sky, and I was afraid he was going to say something else probably deep, something that I should have paid attention to. I was afraid he may tell me to go away, and I was afraid he might tell me to stay. I didn't know what I wanted him to say. But I did know that I enjoyed, just a little, his company.
I was led to believe that he was only playing with my hair as a way to try to get me to say something. But the fact of the matter was that I liked the feeling of his fingers stroking me, and the feel of his skin against mine when he had to move closer so he could keep touching my head. It felt weird, but I wanted more of it. His arm was loosely cast to the side of him, against my own arm. And I didn't want him to move, and I don't think I wanted him to speak. We both knew it was my turn to say something.
I opened my mouth, and then closed it. My lips rubbed against each other in frustration as I wracked my brain for the appropriate words. The boy was actually looking at me expectantly. He was so beautiful. I couldn't say anything that could hope to be worthy of being muttered in his presence. The moon would mercilessly shine against his skin and his hair and his eyes and I sort of wanted to grab him and hug him. Just hug him. But I shouldn't tell him I want to hug him. He'd think me creepy and weird. And that's the last thing I needed.
His eyes still bore into mine, and I suddenly began to sweat. My hands sweat and my forehead sweat and the back of my neck sweat, which meant that the hair he was touching would get wet and he would feel it get wet and he would know I was nervous. But these words would be the first words he would hear me say. What if they would be the last? Would I say the right thing? Would I say the wrong thing? At this rate I doubted I would say anything at all. But he looked so innocent and curious, and I wanted to tell him that I thought he was beautiful and I wanted to hug him and that I wanted to know why he was here and when he came and what he was thinking and if anything was wrong. But I could only come up with a stupid smile and the words "I like your eyes."
He blinked at me in surprise, and I swallowed the huge puddle of saliva that formed in my mouth because I had not breathed through my mouth. Instead my nostrils flared, something they do when I'm terribly nervous, and the boy broke out into a smile. Again. My smile faded and the back of my neck was officially soaked with sweat. He retracted his hand. Oh God. He thinks I'm disgusting. He thinks I'm a disgusting freak. He doesn't want to touch me now. He thinks I'm gross. My sweat is gross. And I agree with him, I'm disgusting. I wouldn't want to be seen with me. I wouldn't want to touch myself at all. I felt like leaving. I wanted to leave. Maybe the next thing he would say was something along the lines of giving me permission to leave.
"I like your hair," was all he said. I stared at him in shock. Did he really like my hair? But my hair was so disgusting. It was sweaty and wet and the grass kept messing it up because the grass was dewy and lifeless and dull and it got in my hair and left marks on my arms. But the boy was staring back into my eyes like he was telling me that he meant the compliment. I suppose it was sort of typical for a compliment for me, as rare as they were, was about my hair. But I managed to choke out a thank you.
He turned back to the moon. I couldn't believe he liked my hair. So very few people like my hair. And to be honest, now that I know he likes my hair, I sort of like it, too.