Soundtrack: The Kids Aren't Alright – The Offspring

Skipping Math

We share the same distaste for our schools math lessons so we both skip and hang behind the gym. You smoke and I glare in a direction I can't really define. Somewhat vaguely to the right and not at all at the tangled brown mess that is your hair. It fascinates me - in that way girls moan over rock stars and famous boys – and being that obsessed, it slightly disturbs me because honestly there's nothing special to it at all. It's messy and uncared for, with a hint of curls, and a small section of dreadlocks piecing it together as it hangs in front of your face. It's not a fringe per say, it's just all over, adorable, and it makes me want to tuck it aside, fasten it with a clip the colour of your eyes (I'm not really sure they make mud-blue hairclips though, but that's a later problem) and watch your sideways smile light up your face. I've noticed that odd things make you smile. When you laugh it's not really laughter, it's more like a chuckle at the back of your throat acknowledging that something is indeed funny and it always makes me miss the point completely. I don't really laugh along but sometimes I wish I did so you'd think that I get it too.

Your back is against the brick wall and I wonder briefly if you're not cold 'cause the wind is crisp. It's definitively autumn in the air and your t-shirt doesn't't look warm at all. I guess you sort of missed that October has come around and the time for jackets are here. I tug my sleeves down and slump down somewhat beside you, not close enough to be a threat and not far away enough to not be interested. I still hope for miracles, you know, holding hands, kissing – all those things that comes along with liking someone. Yep, I like you, like really like, like have a crush on and fantasize about when I touch myself, that kind of thing. The real deal. The teenage hormones running wild – I can barely keep my hands off you and the drool in my mouth kind of thing. The kind of weird-wanting-longing sensation you can't really explain to someone until they, themselves feel it. It's one of the many wondrous curses of being young. The cigarettes smells cheap, but I like the way the smoke lingers, and I'm too tired to ask if I can get one too. I'm not really a smoker; I am more of a watcher, a reader, a non-believer. You offer me one anyway and with a quick flick of your hand like it was something you practiced at home you light it for me. During that brief second when we're really close I manage to feel sea-sick and insanely happy at the same time. Those two clashing emotions are a little like riding too fast without breaks, d-a-n-g-e-r-o-u-s but definitively thrilling.

The thrill has me shaking and your voice startles me as it asks "cold?" and you leave the question mark hanging like it itself was a sentence alone. I shake my head, no I'm not freezing, I don't really know what I am. Desperate seems like the most fitting word, but saying that would probably not be the correct thing to do. Instead I concentrate on your shoes, they're the skater-type-variant and me, I'm wearing beat up dark green Converse like the wandering clichéd nerd that I am. Around your wrists there are braided bracelets in different colors with beads stuck in at random places. Looks like a kid made them. Maybe you have a younger sister or something? I also notice faded scars, they too – homemade, probably not your sister though. A lot of questions and no answers, siblings and self-hurt, I don't know how to approach any of them. I am an only child and the only pain I 'cause myself is that of not throwing myself all over you, asking you to touch me, wishing to be the friction in your jeans and so on.

When I sit there so close to you I am a little ashamed, I live such an easy life, two parents and enough money to never be without anything I could ever need within your average limits. I have a few friends, okay grades – I could drag on the list for an hour or so, my point being, I'm pretty sure you've had a rough time, and something tells me that the road is still a little bumpy. Being that cool isn't natural; for me it practically screams secrets and pain. But we're not really friends, we skip math together irregularly and give each other nods in the hallway, sometimes we study together in the library when we have free periods but we've never really talked. I know nothing about you, just your name and the rumours that circulate in school but I really don't trust those. So asking all of this now, I don't feel I have to right to do so. Getting all personal and up close with a boy-strange isn't something I'd dare to do, not even if it was a boy I didn't fancy. I'm not shy, more the other way around, I'm rather keen on experimenting but I have a sense of responsibly and not doing things to people I wouldn't't like them doing to me. If you'd suddenly start asking me about shit that makes me feel uncomfortable, like the fact that I am a virgin, that I've never really kissed a boy (and I've known I'm gay for a few years), or if I love my parents I wouldn't't like that. Not straight off, not before knowing what kind of music you listen to, what kind of cereal is your favourite, and if you sleep naked or not. That's the way it normally goes, easy first - hard later, I think it's called gaining trust and getting comfortable with each others.

I'm so into my own thoughts that I don't notice you glancing at me at first, really subtle, just from the corner of your eyes, but still, looking – at – me. Wow, and I forget to breathe while wondering what you see, and how you look at me? Am I attractive to you, or am I just another scrawny kid in plaid shirts, jeans and hoodies with abstract band-names scribbled across them? My hair is dark-ish, cropped short and with my thick-framed glasses I'm not really the epitome of sexy. I put the cigarette out on the ground, tired of smoking and not really liking the taste it leaves on my tongue anyway. It' stale and bitter, not promising anything at all, just like the dark clouds at the horizon. It looks like rain and here's where I get complicated. I said before that I have nothing to complain about but I still get sad sometimes. Depressed the doctors call it. It's not making me want to slash razors trough my skin, it doesn't't make me pop pills and try to kill myself, it doesn't't make me do all those things you read about in teenage-fiction, it simply drains me of energy and meaning and leaves me unbearably empty and down.

Have you ever seen a shoe or a teddy bear left at the road-side, looking like it doesn't belong there, so out of place it almost feels right, like it's okay. That's giving up, that's being sad and sick, and that's being me sometimes. I can't see myself telling you that anytime soon, it's enough to turn anyone off. I want you the other way around, all over me, burning hot, so intense I'd forget everything else. The thinking and the turning, the constant circles of thoughts that occupy my brain, they're not really important and kind of anal, kind of childish even, never being good enough and then, the dreams of being held close. I shrug and feel the urge to stand, we haven't said many words and still it feels like your stepping on my soul. Can liking becoming loving out of share instinct?

You nod in the direction of the parking place asking: "wanna come hang at my place?" and the words comes out with a little lisp, like if they weighed heavy on your tongue, like if you were insecure about if they were supposed to be said at all. I'm glad they were and I can't stop the small smile that tugs at my lips. I manage a "yeah" and we rise simultaneously and begin walking. This is strange, and why now? What happened to make us take another step? Is it the oncoming storm and the smell of change in the wind?

I trail behind you, not sure which car is yours and not wanting to rush ahead and miss it. I hate feeling silly and stuff like that makes me feel dumb, having to walk backwards. You make halt in front of an old car, neither good-looking nor bad, it's just plain. Probably cheap to drive and some kind of hand-me-down. Inside you blare music loud enough so we don't have to talk. I actually recognise the music but I never figured you as the rock type kind of kid. I somewhat suspected punk and ska, maybe with some real reggae thrown in for fun, not this, not Foo Fighters so loud it makes my ears ring, but then again, I'm up for whatever and I like most things. I take pride in having an open-mind. As trees and houses passes it becomes clear that it's a mix we listen to and I can't help but to mouth along with the words of the songs I know. It's actually a quite good mix-tape and I ask if you made it yourself?

When you then reply it belongs to your eleven year old step-brother I feel myself turn red, the blush heating up my cheeks. Way to go me, but thankfully it's the ice-breaker we needed and with the volume turned down we chit-chat a little and make a few lame jokes. Mostly about music, and the labels we put on everything.

In your room the blinds are down and it's cramped, it's a one person room shared by two. Thankfully the other person whose bed is in the far corner isn't here, the same brother as mentioned before you tell me while rummaging through some cds, putting one on and then plopping down on what I assume must be your bed. Since it's so small in here there isn't much else furniture that's sit-able so I lower myself down beside you too trying not to stare.

It's definitely a little run-down and a tad bit shabby but it feels like home. There's a nice feeling to the walls, not like my place where the white is so stark it actually makes you feel like throwing up if you watch it for more than a minute at a time. At my place we concentrate on neat and civil, it's really picture perfect, framed, packed and ready to go whenever there's an un-expected visitor but you never really feel genuinely welcome.

I mean, it's not like I hate my parents or anything, and besides I'm old enough to move out anytime soon, last term in school and all, it's just, we never were family in the terms of sunshine, wellingtons and shared laughter. We're family in pictures you're required to send out to relatives on birthdays and at Christmas-time. We're family at school-meetings but never at therapy-sessions we're I am a failure and a freak. We're family when someone looks and when not, we're all alone. Whichever problems there might be in your house and going on with you, there seems to be a lot of love laced into it too. Someone has a gentle and warm hand, caring enough to actually put up curtains and teach you to make your beds. A skateboard catches my eye and I ask if you ride? With a raised eyebrow and no words you ask me if I am stupid, like if you're baggy jeans and those shoes don't give you off already. "'Course I knew that" I smile and shake my head at you, you have such an animated face, I bet you're good at making impressions of like famous people and stuff. We talk some more about skating, which is kind of hard for me since I've never ever rode a board. I don't think Tony Hawks Pro Skater game to my console counts, but it's fun to play, if that gives me points? That earns me a little laughter, some glitter in your eyes and a sudden change of subject. Suddenly the rain outside falls into our bubble and we're in a darker stranger terrain, it has me pressed and up against the wall. I never said it was okay for you to walk these paths, what's my biggest fear, and where was I last semester when I was gone for a couple of weeks (MENTAL BREAKDOWN)? My inside screams and I tense, you know more of me then I know of you and the table turns. This isn't like playing games, there's no pause, and no select and no quick-save if I fuck this up and have to start over again.

My biggest fear is never knowing what happy is, and where I was? Home – in bed, same pyjamas for days straight and no thoughts but 'what's the use, what's the fucking use?". I got out of it though and back to school. I somehow realised that even if the world spins a million miles per hours I can't be required to run that fast all the time. It's not humanly possible to keep up when it's actually you, yourself who make your own kind of world. Not in the terms of everything revolves only around me I try to explain to your confused expression, more like if the big pictures are too big for you to handle, take smaller ones and put more effort into them. If you love something do it to the fullest. My hands are dancing as I explain this, it's something I burn for, hang ups and all I still believe it's possible. My problem is that I haven't found what I really want to do yet. Sure I love music, more then I love chocolate chip cookies and banana-pancakes, but if that's the future I want, I'm not sure… and here's where you interrupt me almost sounding angry, telling me I'll never be sure if I don't try. Chances, you say, chances, you have to take them, and live, live like if there was no tomorrow and then you push some of the bracelets to the side, and show me your wrists; burn marks suddenly a lot more vibrant. Imperfect circles pressed into flesh, and I know before you tell me that they come from cigarettes. This you say, this is what you do when you get tired of trying and fighting, of kicking of screaming, of waking up bruised and battered. I don't really know what it's supposed to prove, more than that you are willing to do almost anything to cling to living. Reversed depression perhaps? Not seeing greys, not living in puddles and walking like your feet weigh tons? It takes the pain away, but it's not right, but then again there are lots of things that aren't right. Like having a dad who's a drunk and a mom who works three jobs to feed her many children; like having dyslexia and a hard time in school; like not knowing what's inside and what's out: like being addicted and disturbed, like being me you trail off, tired.

A constant borderline.

We're one the verge of growing up, but I've never felt younger. Yeah, I whisper at nothing at all, the cd long quiet, replaced by the sound of silence and breaths. We both look at each other smiling, relieved that we got that out. Secrets first, trust later - like a friend in tow. "You okay?" you ask when my eyes start to flicker. Never been better darling, never been better, I just tore my heart out and put it on display I think and nod. To go from what we had to this in a matter of hours makes me choke on minutes if you know what I mean. How fast is fast enough and how close is close enough? Would there be space if we had the room? I could lose myself in this if you'd let me… and you do, but that is weeks later and a whole different story. Now is now, and we've just begun exploring the strangest territory I've ever seen. It's called being alive and in love.