He hated people. Glancing towards the clock, he grimaced. He hated people. He hated time. He hated Advanced Mathematics, his bright purple algebra book with a garish photograph of chili peppers on the front, as if chili peppers were suddenly extremely relevant to finding what x equals. He hated the tie-dye shirts his math teacher would wear, and how ever single goddamn day he'd point it out, "Hey, look at my t-shirt! Isn't it groovy?" He hated the people in his class, and he hated how they laughed at him whenever he did anything wrong. He hated the desks. He hated the chairs. He hated the carpeted ground. He hated the snow outside that had turned into New York slush within days. He hated the bitter cold, and he hated the coat he had to wear. He hated how his backpack was too heavy and he hated how slowly he typed. He especially hated living.

In many aspects one could say that he hated everything. In fact, that's what most said. He's a misanthrope. He's a nihilist. He's suicidal. The cuts all up and down his arm weren't so he could obtain the attention he didn't care for. They were for fun. On nights when he was bored he'd pick up a razor and make teeny-tiny cuts, like cat's scratches all up and down his forearm. He thought they were pretty. He told his therapist this, and she simply nodded, wrote something down on a yellow lined notepad, and told his psychiatrist to give him more Prozac. And for the most part he was okay with it. He took the small blue pill every morning hoping for a change. Hoping that one day he'd genuinely smile. Hoping that maybe he could stop hating. But he didn't.

"Nathan, can you tell us what this is?" his math teacher grinned oafishly and tapped the board with an electric blue dry-erase marker. Nathan looked up from his arm and pulled his sleeve back down. There was some sort of an equation on the board and evidently Mr. Jones wanted Nathan to tell him how to solve it. After a moment's pause, and a quiet 'uh', Nathan crossed his arms and leaned back on the chair.

"I don't know."

Mr. Jones gave Nathan a disappointed look, "Nathan, pay attention…" he trailed off and gazed at him for another moment before turning back to the board, "Anyone else?"

And so it goes. Nathan looked around to see if anyone was looking, but nobody seemed to care. He cautiously pulled his sleeve up, slowly at first, then all the way up to his elbow. He gazed at his arm in satisfaction. It was beautiful.

He liked it, having that kind of control over his own body. When everyone else was hell-bent on getting him to do it their way, he had complete power over himself. He remembered a question they had asked him in philosophy class: 'Is it possible to truly enjoy power?' At the time he answered 'no', but that was just to seem pretentious and clever. So had everyone else. However, one girl, to answer the question, had revealed to the entire class her social stigma.

"I stopped eating and everyone had to do what I said." Her lips had hinted at a smile. Nathan remembered it so clearly.

"And did you enjoy it?" The teacher queried, walking to her desk that was placed in the back of the room.

"It was the happiest time of my life…" The girl said it as if it was some sort of strange revelation, like she hadn't even begun to think of the idea that she did enjoy power. Perhaps not over her own self but perhaps over other people. Or both.

Nathan imagined himself in her position.

"I tried to kill myself and everyone did what I said." Mind Nathan smirked.

"Did you enjoy it?"

Mind Nathan paused. Mind Nathan was different from Real Nathan. Mind Nathan was perfect. Mind Nathan was clever, attractive, charming, the works. Why would he try to kill himself? Why would he enjoy power? Real Nathan scrapped the daydream and fell back onto earth. The class was over.

"Nathan, I want to talk to you." The words didn't mean much at first. It was like listening to a foreign language. The sentence echoed and bounced around in his head until the words transformed into a faint blah-blah-blah. "Nathan, can you hear me?"

"What? Uh, yeah." Nathan found himself sitting at his desk in an empty classroom with Mr. Jones staring down at him from across the desk.

"What's going on with you? You're way behind on work, and you seem like a zombie in class. It's like you voluntarily don't want to pay attention. Is something wrong at home, or…?" He trailed off and waited for Nathan to answer.

"I'm fine." Nathan shook his head, becoming painfully aware of the fact that his black curly hair that sat upon his head like bedsprings smelled awful. Mind Nathan smelled like Axe. Mind Nathan grinned. He was awake enough every morning to groom himself. Mind Nathan was perfect.

"You don't seem fine. I called your mom, and she was shocked. She said you used to be an excellent student. I mean, you had good grades last year. That's how you got into this school, yeah?" Real Nathan stared at his shoes. Left was untied. He pulled the frayed lace away with his right foot by stepping on it.

"Nathan!" Mr. Jones glared at Nathan. He must have been talking to him for at least a minute. Nathan felt like it was three seconds.

"I don't know. I guess stuff changed. I don't know." He mustered. His hands shook. Fucking nicotine.

"What do you want to do with your life?" Mr. Jones asked worriedly. It was as if he was asking what the meaning of life was. Nathan looked down. He knew what Mind Nathan wanted to do. Mind Nathan was going to be a glamorous film director and he'd be rich and successful. Mind Nathan was perfect.

"Fuck, I don't know."

"Don't swear."


"Well?" Mr. Jones looked at him. Nathan could only mumble incoherently. Why did Mr. Jones have to ask such fucking stupid questions?

"I'm a fucking junior. Leave me alone." And with that, Nathan stood up and hiked his backpack up on his shoulder. Full of remorse at what he'd just said, Nathan turned away, "See you tomorrow."

His feet pounded on the linoleum floor, unattractively noisy as he ran through the halls. He could feel his backpack weighing on him and he felt his heart beating rapidly, almost audibly, in his chest. His fingers were shaking and his eyes burned and his head felt like it was going to implode upon itself. He hated people.