The attack comes so suddenly, I honestly didn't see it coming. I should have. But I didn't. Never do. Never have. I don't have a radar for this. And it's funny, because no matter how often I find myself in this same situation, I never really fully get the gist of it. It always comes as a surprise how cruel people can be.
I'm never ready for it.
A great bang accompanies my head smacking against the locker I'm so rudely slammed against, pinned by a clawed hand while all the other kids watch, some amused, some confused, some pitying me. Despite all that, it's all the same. I'm their entertainment now, again.
The victim. That's humour, you see; a fool without luck, punished for the crowds, a product of his nastiness, idiocy, trust, or clumsiness. Retribution rightfully deserved for whatever wrongs the actor has done. The suspense, spent waiting for it to come, to hit him suddenly and mercilessly, is rewarded with failure and discomfort at his expense that earns a round of laughter from everyone else, even those he loves, even if it's kept inside, politely held silent to preserve some tattered pride; but their pleasure is always betrayed by cruel smiles and twinkling eyes.
Life is my very own comedy, and through years of trial and error, of reading the Bible and praying late at night when I wake up from a bad dream, I've come to realise that there's no humour in heaven. This is not heaven. You don't laugh at people's suffering in heaven.
Angels have straight faces.
"Hi, nerd." Her voice is like velvet – soft, warm, treacherous, mocking. Twisted sheets and hot, rubbing bodies, flesh against flesh. The narrator of many of my fantasies. "Or should I say… dyke."
I grit my teeth. "This again?" comes my harsh whisper. "It's getting old. Better watch yourself, or people will start to think we're going ou-"
Her free hand strikes my cheek, manicured nails sinking in, slashing senselessly into my cheek. It betrays the truth. Her affection. The way she really sees me. "Shut your mouth, bitch."
I swallow back my retort. Being a smartass has never gotten me far. So I simply glare at her instead through watering eyes, hurt once again by her narrow-mindedness. She could kiss me instead, but pretty, popular girls never misbehave so. Certainly not with the smart, gay girl.
"That's better." She smirks, her perfect features seeping with venom. And yet I still see it in her icy eyes, that undercurrent of curiosity, of want. She thinks of me too, sometimes. Maybe a lot. But it's just socially unacceptable of her to experiment. "I've got homework for you today. Help me out, won't you, sweetie?"
There it is again. Crackling electricity, energy contained in one word too tight to hold it all, that spark. But I don't let such powers go beyond the privacy of my bedroom, where I hide under the bed amongst magazines with white smiles and skirts far too short. Maybe I do deserve this.
But I've been quiet too long.
"Well?" She tightens her grip on my neck. Her face is close, so close I can almost taste the chemistry. Her makeup hides only some of her identity. There's always a little bit that gets through, meeting the surface, slight to most but clear as blemishes marking her sculptured cheeks to me. Her hot breath fogs my glasses.
Finally I speak. Pathetically, I give in to the slutty cheerleader's demands. I do it because I don't want her friends to scoop me up and dump me in the garbage again, chanting hurtful words over and over until it becomes musical, and I definitely don't want her gorilla of a boyfriend (whom she doesn't love, merely fucks and parades like a name brand handbag) to come and make me bleed. And it's not my imagination trying to scare me, because I know they will. They have.
They serve her, their queen, and I am less than a pawn. I am a peasant. Hers to use/abuse. Dirt packed together into the shape of a girl half infatuated, half disgusted, and completely frustrated and tired.
"Fine." That's it. All I can manage. Fine.
"Great." She grins, lets me go and immediately shoves an all too familiar book in my arms. "I trust you won't screw it up. Numbers. Your thing, right? It's like porn to you socially inept types."
Oh, I so want to punch her pretty, puckered mouth. My fists literally tremble against the hardback.
"I'll see you first thing tomorrow morning. Don't be late, m'kay?"And with that she winks, nods to her posse and leaves, purposely strutting, yanking on my heart and my groin while my cheeks glow with rage and shame, her Barbie covered writing book heavy in my hands. "Bye, sweetie!"
I sigh when she's gone and most of the crowd has dispersed. A few of the nicer kids, realising this really must've been unpleasant for me (even though it happens all the time) come over to offer words of conciliation, offering to go speak with someone. The principal, even. Except there's one problem with that; it won't help me.
But still. Macho boyfriend, fast car, adoring fans, big breasts, wealthy parents, fancy clothes, high heels, diamond encrusted knuckles. It all means nothing when there's a closet around you, just begging to be unlocked, its secrets spilled. I can savour being the one to cause her so much confliction.
And with that thought I straighten myself, shrug off the offers to walk me to class and slide her book into my backpack, my eyes wisely downcast. "I've got a class to go to. Thanks, but I'll be fine."
And I end up late for class because I made a quick trip to the bathroom. It's so undignified to sob over a school toilet, but we all have our little outlets. Mine's just likely more pathetic than yours. And to think, I've got someone else's homework to occupy myself with tonight. Oh, the joy of living.
But please, don't feel sorry for me.