03: Darwin's Champion
The last bell rings, and I fight to keep nonchalant. Today I've been pulled taught and hung out to dry. I swear I've aged a fucking decade.
Heading out the gates, I feel a shove. I know it's on purpose. As much as I've hid it, they know I'm off. That something's worn me thin. They've been waiting for a crack, a sliver to slide their fingers under; to pull at and tear me open.
Turning around I'm not surprised. Sweet Shell has grown some claws.
"E, darling, you're looking a little worse for wear"
We're judgemental, cruel and liable to cut you to the bone. How inclined we are to tear even each other to shreds, is Darwinism at its best. Here, there is no place for loyalty. And yet, we still all live our lives intertwined, carelessly drifting, drunk and disorderly, from one scene to the next, only to stumble on home and wake to do the same thing. A life on repeat.
I held her hair back Saturday, and now Monday, I'll leave her in pieces. It's almost poetic.
"S, darling, I suppose I am feeling a little faint."
"Well you haven't really been getting much sleep lately, have you?"
"And what makes you think that?"
"Oh Enna, you don't need to pretend with me, we are friends remember"
Her saccharine tone reeks of insincerity, and even if it were the opposite, I still wouldn't call us friends.
"Is that what this is?"
She persists, ignoring me. "I can't believe you didn't tell me you were sleeping with Grey. You do know Tracy Gilhem was like all over him last week. She's such a slut, I bet she's crawling with all sorts of nasty things; I'd get checked out if I were you."
Regardless of what I say, I can see Shell would rather run through this eyes wide shut. It makes perfect sense, Grey and I. It explains the niche we've found, the understanding, the banter that toes the line between camaraderie and frank distaste. Friendship is an alien concept; sex on the other hand.
I sigh, exasperated. "What do you want?"
I can almost see her eyes zero in. Target acquired; permission to fire?
"You know, I would never have picked it. I mean, I always knew there was something going on…just who would've guessed it was sex?
Well, I suppose it's not true then; all that stuff they say about opposites attracting. You and Grey are like two of a kind."
Ending her games, she speaks cuttingly now; she's out for blood.
"Isn't it hard to be with someone who doesn't seem to care about anything?" By anything she means you; he doesn't seem to care about you.
Looking at me, she's expecting an answer. She wants me to be defensive, to be insecure because of where I stand with him. She thinks I've been different because they found out I've been sleeping with him. Not that it's because a line has been crossed; that knowing about him means knowing about me and that I can't stomach the idea.
I'll admit I'm vain. I liked that they talked, that people knew who I was. But today they're getting too close. I had attempted to shutter them out, for them to only scratch the surface. But they're getting too close, and I can feel my walls begin to crumble, torn apart brick by brick.
This feeling; it's panic, it's anxiety, it's the loss of control.
And I am scared.
"Oh Shell, I'm so sorry I couldn't tell you! Lately, it's just been so hard..."
Not that they'll know. I may be falling apart, but she's out of her league and I happen to be a professional at this game.
"….Wait wait, I can do better. Ahem. 'I thought we had something, that we were special. That he loved me…' Any better?"
She laughs like I am joking, like she understands, like her way in hasn't led her to a dead end. I suppose, I would have done the same. With my reaction this morning, I would have clutched it to my chest and ran with it. Whether I would run straight into an attempted coup though, fortunately, I'm not that stupid.
Popularity is politics and her foot hold has now become fragile, it'd be a pity if someone were to kick it out from underneath her.
"Aren't you and Grey seeing each other then? I just thought, I mean this morning it sounded like you guys were…"
"Together?" I say with a laugh. "I mean Grey and I? Really Shell, like you said, we're two of kind. Neither of us are the 'together' type."
I say it with distaste, like the idea of being with him repulses me, and it does in a way, but maybe that's just my survival skills kicking in.
" Haha…yeah, you're totally right"
She says, smile pasted on; she doesn't know what else to do.
"I figure you know all about it, what with you and Mitch; you guys were so smitten."
So smitten it was almost disgusting. You see, if our school had an 'it' couple, it would've of been them. Childhood friendship develops into a blossoming romance, they were a fucking cliché. That is until Mitch decided high school sweethearts just weren't his thing anymore.
Shell cried for days.
Her expression is stricken, she didn't think I would go there and normally I wouldn't. Shell had been so in love, and Mitch had cut her loose and then burnt the bridges.
"Although, I see him smitten with a lot of girls these days."
And yet she still loved him. How tragic.
She turns and runs, and I could care less; I just want to go home. I want to not think of how easy it was to throw a person's pain in their face, how to tear away their safety net and leave them in tears. How they can be cut down like so many flowers, how protecting myself has become keeping everyone else out.
So, it has been awhiiiiiiiiile. My fault entirely, I suffered from being lazy and a MONSTER case of writers block. Ma bad.
But here it is! Chapter numero tre, Oh happy day!
As I now have a bit of time up my sleeve I hope to dedicate a chunk of it to getting this ball proper rolling. Time will tell!