The Fishnet Glove

There is a girl in my school. She talks to no one. She looks at no one. She sits in the back of the classroom; her head is always down. She sits in the hallway during breaks; she is always alone. She doesn't read; she doesn't do her schoolwork during breaks. She just sits in the hallway. She always sits in the same spot, resting against the lockers that are right across from the bathrooms.

I always pass by this girl; but not once did I notice her. Not once did she register on my radar. I knew about the strange girl that would sit there. She was a topic of discussion among my friends. Not a discussion, really, but a symbol for mockery. But, despite this girl being part of my daily routine, a walk by in the mornings, a comment around the lunch table, I could not tell you anything about her.

I could not say if she had brown hair, or blonde, or black, or red. I could not tell you if she wore glasses. I could not recall if she ever had a book bag beside her. I could not tell you any of these things about her; these bits of information that were there for any passerby to gather. I realized this, one day, in English class when the teacher challenged us to observe all day.

I observed the girl. The strange locker girl.

She has brown hair. She does not wear glasses. I have never seen a book bag with her in the hallway. I know that she is in my French class, but she does not speak there either. I know that she only wears black Converse on her feet. I know that her hair is always in two long braids. I know that she does not wear makeup. I know that I do not pick on her anymore, though she could never hear me say the words in the first place.

I also know that she looks familiar.

It's not the type of any-old-face-in-the-hallway familiar. It is a different familiar. I study this girl in French class; I take long glances in the hallway. Her familiarity touches me. I cannot grasp where it touches, or why, but it does touch. I have also noticed something strange about the strange locker girl. She has her routines, the things that stay the same; the hallway, the shoes, the braids, but she also wears one fishnet glove. It is black and fingerless. It is short, hugging tight to her wrist. It is an old glove, bigger holes created. This, the fishnet glove clinging to her left hand, is what I find strangest about the strange locker girl.

I know much about this girl; simply by looking, but at the same time, I know nothing. I do not know her birthday, or her favourite colour. I cannot even tell you her name. I don't even think my friends know her name. She is the Strange Locker Girl and the Strange Locker Girl only.

One day, I sat down next to her by the lockers. There is a space between us, but not much of one. Not a space that cannot be bridged. It is early in the morning, but she is just sitting there, hands around her knees, the fishnet glove standing out against her pale skin. The strange fishnet glove. The strange fishnet glove on the strange locker girl; both seemed so familiar.

"Hello," I say, quietly.

She does not look at me. Through all of this, all the days I passed by in the hallway, and now me sitting here, she has not once looked at me. I have never seen her eyes. I want to see them now. I want her to look at me with an intensity that I don't understand. An intensity that makes me curious and fearful all at once. I am curious and fearful of the strange locker girl with her strange fishnet glove.

"My name is Andrew." I hesitantly introduce myself.

She doesn't look at me, but she does react. She tightens her grip on her knees, like she is trying to keep herself together. Or keep herself from me.

"This conversation thing is supposed to go two ways," I say, trying to lighten the mood, but I am not feeling the joke. She presses herself closer to the locker. She's not feeling my poor joke either.

I get up and leave. I look back. I look back not once, but twice. She doesn't move. She doesn't look after me. She just stares at her knees, cuddles against the hard metal locker and clings to herself like she is going to fall apart if she doesn't. I feel a flash of pity for her, wondering why she is like this, what made her this way. I wonder about her and her fishnet glove.

I walk away, but I'm wondering. Lately, it seems, I have always been wondering.

The weekend passes. Monday morning, I am wondering still. I know that I'm going to try and talk to her again. She's very intriguing, and she has never even said a word in front of me. There is something about the mystery of the strange locker girl and her fishnet glove that has me hooked. Whether it is the girl, the tones of familiarity, there is something about her.

I look for her. She is not by the lockers. She is not in her place. In all of my memories, she had never not been there. She was there every day. She was there with her brown braids and her black converse. She was there hugging her knees, not saying a word, the black fishnet glove on her left hand. I feel oddly lost. My day is thrown out of balance by the absence of the locker girl.

She is missing the next day too. The next day, I am also out of balance. People notice. My friends comment, my teachers say that I am not doing as well. I don't know what to say. I cannot tell them that it's because of the strange locker girl and her fishnet glove. They would not understand. I do not understand.

I come home in bad mood. Mother is there, fluttering in the kitchen.

"Andy," she says, a look of distress on her face, "isn't it horrible?"

"Isn't what horrible?" But I think I know. The image of a black fishnet glove flashes in my mind.

"A girl down the road, one who goes to your school, she killed herself Sunday night."

She offers me the paper, flipped to the obituary page. I know what is there; the strange locker girl's picture, she will look different than I have ever seen her, and her name. I don't look. I turn the paper over without seeing. The mystery and secrecy of the strange locker girl is hidden away in my heart. No one had ever known about my strange fascination with that silent figure in the hallway. Not even I had known why. It didn't matter anymore. The mystery of the strange locker girl would always rest in my heart. I would always remember her. I would never be able to pass that spot in the hallway without seeing her, because that spot was, unquestionably, hers. My friends would continue to pick on her, though she was gone. They would leer about her absence, would never wonder why, would never question.

None of it matters anymore, because the strange locker girl and her fishnet glove were no more.