The last day is always the most boring, I decided, looking out the nearest window. Blue skies filled the view, with an occasional white, fluffy cloud racing across the sky like someone had set it's ass on fire. School was always boring in some way, but I suppose that it was even worse during finals. Not only had I finished my final early, but I was being forced to stay silent by the resident teacher- not that I spoke much anyway.
In fact, I was beginning to wonder why the teacher hadn't yelled at the girls sitting diagonally in front of me. Even though there were still people working on their tests, they sat there whispering away, as if no one else had to concentrate on their work but them. I sneered, rolling my eyes before pulling at the collar of my shirt.
Today, like basically every other day, had been the wrong day to wear a long sleeved shirt and pants. It wasn't as if I was into self torture on the last day of school, but there were things I didn't need others to see, things I didn't want to share. It might have seemed like a stupid reason, but I wasn't about to tell anyone what had happened to my arms.
Either way, the black material probably did not help things, what-so-ever. It didn't help that I wasn't sure how it could possibly go from being around sixty degrees outside this morning, to at least ninety. The sun was making the window sweat.
My leg began to bounce in an agitated manner as I glared out the window. The last time I had looked at the clock, there had been another ten minutes until the class was over- the last class of the day. This would be the last I had to see of the school for yet another summer. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be the last I saw of the students.
I heard a high pitched giggle and I looked over at the girls who sat in their seats. When my eyes caught theirs, they blushed and looked away, bursting into another round of annoying giggles. I sighed, my head falling into my hand. These girls never seemed to learn that there were days that I loathed the very fact they breathed.
Of course, that could be said for the boys in my class, too. Most of anyone I had called friend had graduated a few years ago, with my older brother. I had never had very many close friends my age. Anyone I tried to get close to seemed to ostracize me, or maybe I had done that to myself. I hadn't really done it on purpose, but many people seemed wary of my love for fire. I wondered if it was simply because I was a pyromaniac, or if they just coupled this fear with the fact that I didn't follow the code of brightly colored clothing that they all seemed to love.
In the end, I guess it didn't matter, and nor did I care.
Reflexively, my hand found it's way to my pocket. It couldn't be seen through the thick denim, but my lighter rested lightly on my thigh. It was warm, even through my pocket. Somehow, it seemed as if it was giving off more heat than my thigh itself. It was always warmer than my body. It was like an extension of myself. I was never far from it. My brother had given it to me the summer of my 8th grade year. I always kept it close, especially after my brother's accident.
I brushed my thumb over the raised bumps on the front of the lighter, which, when it wasn't covered by the fabric of my pants, was in the design of a rose with a snake curling around it, it's mouth poised directly over the bloom. It was intricate and beautiful. My brother had made the design himself during one of his metalworking classes in college.
I let out a steadying breath and gazed up toward the front of the classroom. My teacher sat behind his desk, scribbling on papers, presumably one of the finals that had made its way to him already. I watched a bead of sweat make its way down the bald patch of his head, slowly sliding down onto his forehead and down his nose until he finally wiped it off. God damn, I was bored.
I leaned back in my seat and stared up at the ceiling, fighting the urge to groan out loud. My leg bounced even faster, as if trying to will the seconds to pass at the same pace as my bouncing. God, please move time a little faster, I prayed silently. Or maybe not so quietly. One of the girls glanced back at me with a questioning look in her eye. I met her gaze with an irritated glance. She flushed and look back toward the front of the classroom before scribbling something on a piece of paper and handing it to her friend.
I tried not to roll my eyes, and, instead, returned my gaze to the ceiling. Ten minutes seriously felt like ten hours. Or ten days. Ten years? I now understood why some people shot up schools. It at least relieved the boredom.
Ok, perhaps I shouldn't think that. But it did make me want to do something drastic to relieve this ridiculously slow moving day.
C'mon, c'mon, c'mon! Then finally, finally: Boom! Boom! Boom! The high, gonging sound of the school bell echoed throughout the school through the loudspeakers. I actually did let out a groan of relief, reaching down to grab my small bag filled with nothing but paper and notebooks by this time.
Unable to keep the giant grin from my face, I slid out of my seat at top speed. I hit my hip on the edge closest to the window, and winced, both bruising my hip and dragging attention to myself as I almost knocked the stupid desk over. I heard one of the girls giggle quietly.
"Are you ok?" she asked, humor in her voice. I glanced back at her to see her giggling into her hand. I felt my face flame.
"Yeah, just great," I mumbled before hurrying away from the desk, a slight hobble in my step. Ow.
I was probably about the fifth person out of the room, and by the time I reached the hall, it was already packed with students who were rushing to their lockers for the last time. Others were bum rushing the doors to the exits, pushing and shoving and laughing and cursing. With a relieved grin, I joined the crowd as they jostled their way out of the building. It was so good to be free.
As soon as the sunlight hit my face with it's cancer inducing rays and blistering heat (Ok, it was about the mid-80s), I felt a disturbance in the force. It was, presumably, Miranda. I continued on for about 10 more steps to escape the bum rush at the door before pausing by a raised planter, encased in stone. I glanced back toward the door, eyebrows raised slightly before I heard the familiar sound of her voice.
"Wait up, asshole!" she shouted through the decibels of students milling around. I caught site of her curly auburn hair above the crowd on the inside of the school. I heard various students complain as she elbowed her way through them. I looked down, hiding a smile at the sound of harassed students. The funny part was, she came out looking more harassed than all of them combined.
If looks could kill, she'd be on Medusa levels. "What the hell?" she hissed, cocking her hip in an offended pose. A smile curled onto my face as I looked up at her through the corner of my eye.
"What's the matter, Duh-duh?" I asked innocently, lips twitching with amusement. I watched as her face grew red and she took a preparatory breath before smiling at me beauteously.
"Absolutely nothing, Ear," she said, only a hint of malice entering her voice. I saw people around us eyeing the scene expectantly, as if they expected a fight to break out. I wanted to snort in laughter.
I let my bottom limp pout out and I began to sniffle pathetically. "It's pronounced Air," I whined in a 100% pathetic tone.
"Well it looks like Ear," she sniffed unsympathetically.
"My parents are hippies, not cruel," I bemoaned, palming my face, "E-I-R. Air."
Miranda snickered. "Whatever, Ear."
I scoffed, rolling my eyes, before turning away and heading down the sidewalk toward the edge of the school grounds and toward my street. Miranda snickered and I heard her make steps to follow me. All of the people who had been looking at us expectantly were now milling around looking disappointed. It wasn't my fault that Miranda and I had a highly antagonistic relationship. While we weren't best friends, we weren't enemies either. We spent too much time together to hate each other.
I smiled as we fell into step together, glancing over at her to see her hair catch fire in the sunlight. We always walked home together, but it wasn't often that she wore her hair loose, especially on a hot day like this. Normally by the time she got outside, her hair was up and inside a baseball cap. I always liked the color of the hair, but I'd never actually told her. Some things were better left unsaid between us, and that was definitely one of those things.
"So are you coming to the bonfire tonight?" Miranda asked me after a few moments of silence. A few more moments passed as I listened to us step in synchronization. Another moment passed as I actually considered it.
"Do I really have to?" I countered, hoping that she would say no.
Miranda sighed. "You're the local pyromaniac. Shouldn't you be excited that you can light a giant pyre on fire?"
"I know, and you're ignoring the question."
"You're still ignoring the question," she seethed, huffing in annoyance.
I sighed, playing with my lighter in my pocket, wondering if I really wanted to go. I'd been asked to go to the traditional high school end of school bonfire since I was in sixth grade and my brother had been a sophomore and I'd learned about my abilities with a lighter and anything flammable. He'd often used me to light the fire simply because I could get anything to burn.
Miranda looked at me with her eyebrows raised and gestured for me to hurry up and decide already. "Well?"
I sighed deeply. "I'll think about it."
Miranda gave me an irritated glance. "What kind of a crap answer is that?"
I groaned. "Well, I'm not going to say yes."
"Why not?" She stopped walking and cocked her leg, tapping her foot, which, in turn, forced me to stop and turn around.
I chewed the inside of my cheek, lips puckering as if I has just eaten something sour. "Perhaps I'm done being used for these stupid bonfires."
It was Miranda's turn to groan, but she did so in irritation. "Dude, you love fire. Don't act like it's going to kill you or something."
I took a slow, steadying breath. It was true that part of me hated being used for the bonfires. Usually after I got there, it wasn't long before I left. No one ever seemed to notice that I had given the party the slip. In fact, most people never even seemed to care that what had been considered the "main attraction" had left the building.
I guess it went to show exactly how many friends I had actually accumulated during high school.
However, she was right. I would willingly give an arm or a leg just to have something that I could legally set on fire. There had been one too many close calls with the police back in the day. I tried to be a bit more careful these days.
When I answered, my voice deadpanned. "Fine, I'll go."
Miranda smirked, obviously pleased with herself. It took all of my self control not to reach out and wrap my fingers around her pretty little neck. Especially when she gave me a look that told me she knew exactly what I was thinking and that she knew I wouldn't actually do it. Maybe instead of choking her, I'd pelt her with my lighter.
No. No. It was too precious.
Instead, I just glared at her, which caused her grin to grow even wider. I have no idea what it was about her, but she always made me contemplate violence. Occasionally it was acted upon. She's gotten an apple in the back of the head on more than one occasion when we talked in our backyards. Then again, I had received more than few, too.
"So what are you going to wear?" she asked out of nowhere a few moments later.
I leveled her with an almost insulted glare. "What do you think I'm going to wear?"
She scoffed, giving me a once-over. I had no idea how she could make me feel so violated in such a short amount of time, but she did. "Whatever you wear, it better not be that."
I frowned, glancing down at my outfit. It wasn't stained, and it was clean. "What's wrong with it?"
"Oh. My. God. Are you serious?" she asked, her voice incredulous. "Dude, you wear clothes like that every single day."
My lips pinched together as I shouldered my backpack into a more comfortable position, miffed. "So? Are you going to dress like a prep, as per usual?"
"I do not!" she screeched, stamping her foot like a little girl. I had to hold back my laughter. "Take it back, Ear!"
I glanced at her archly, letting a small smile dance across my lips. "Not until you pronounce my name correctly."
She ground her teeth in contemplative silence while I walked on in silence, a self-satisfied smile plastered on my face. I could hear her breathing in annoyance from somewhere behind me, and I almost laughed. Almost. I wasn't completely suicidal.
Finally, I heard her release her breath through her teeth, as if she was about to say something that she was having a hard time finding words for. "Fine, Eir," she hissed. I glanced back to see her fold her arms across her chest and glare angrily at the row of houses to our right.
I chuckled quietly, low and quiet enough for her not to hear, my chest shaking only slightly. "You dress like a normal person who happens to have a prep-like tendency for brightly colored clothes," I said, a hint of mischievousness in my voice.
She let out an annoyed cry before reaching out and smacking me on my bicep, hard. I flinched, pain rising up into my shoulder and elbow before glaring at her. "It was a joke," I complained.
"I don't care, emo boy," she stated provocatively.
"Am not!" I said with a pout, but then realized that I was only proving her point and promptly scowled. "Fine, be that way."
"I will," she sniffed, raising her chin defiantly.
She was absolutely infuriating. Unfortunately, we'd been down this road only half a million times (both literally and figuratively) and I'd found that it's best to take whatever she says with a grain of salt. And a good sense of humor. Instead of taking what she said to heart, I simply sighed and let the words roll off of me. It wasn't long before she was back to her original train of thought.
"So what are you going to wear?" she asked again, trying to sound less pushy.
I shrugged. "I have no idea."
She looked at me like I was a lost cause. "Fine, I'll be coming over later to help you pick out an outfit. But first I have to chores and that sort of thing. You know how my mom is."
I did, and I knew that her mom wouldn't let her come if all of her chores for that day weren't done. "What all do you have to do?"
"Dishes and laundry- nothing too strenuous," she said with a dismissing shrug. I knew exactly how much her chores annoyed her at times. Today really was a light load. I figured that she had probably done far more the last couple days to keep her parents happy.
I nodded, falling quiet. She hated talking about her parents. It was always a sore spot with her, and I never wanted to bother her into finding out exactly why. If I respected her privacy, she respected mine. That was one thing I had always been grateful for in our "friendship".
With a friendly wave, she parted from me to walk toward her house.