Sunshine streamed through the trees, while the breeze whispered sweet nothings through their leaves. She's a mess- one of the few constants in this ever-changing world. Her dark brown skin is spotted and speckled with scars and dark marks. Glazed eyes stared dreamily out of a too-round face, while an obscene number of strands rebelled against the hair tie choking her coils a low bun. I sighed at her whale of a hoodie and nondescript jeans, quickly ensuring I myself don't look as atrocious. She'd never taken a crack at presentability a day in her life, it seemed.
She meanders around the campus with her head always in something, frequently bumping- and I mean bumping in the most literal sense of the word- into other students and staff. Live in your reality, why don't you? She'd be a total outcast if it weren't for her freakish smarts. Ironic, then, that we always snicker behind our hands at her as she nudged by a too-friendly student for zoning out again. She always gives this bashful smile, but you can tell she really doesn't give a crap. Dunno...something about the way she does the same thing in the next class. And the next. And the next. Really, it's all a weird farce though- she burns through those textbooks after like they're about to disappear. Stop trying so hard to look like you're not trying- it's quite literally pointless.
A lot of the other students flock to her during the study periods to drink at the fountain of knowledge in her domain of the campus library. As if she needed to give me more reason to think she's possessed by the spirit of a long-dead grandmother barely functioning in the 21st Century. Their marks definitely improved, but I don't need her, or anyone else's help to succeed. We only crave connection due to the primordial understanding that group travel resulted in less death among a frail species compared to other animals anyway.
Her grand total of four friends sling their arms around her shoulders and yanked out her headphones. One pokes her cheek as though she was scolding her, and they laughed together, heading towards the cafeteria- chief site of class divisions and pathetic grasps for power that would only last until a bell tolled to indicate the end of our momentary reprieve from a failing system of education. Heard all they do in there is cook and study. Well, I suppose it's better to not have a life in groups- they won't survive the world any other way. They emerge with steaming cups of tea, and migrate to their spot under a tree as per their evening custom.
Sometimes, the group peels off to haunt the different areas of the campus to which their souls were most inextricably bound. When that happens, she just smiles into the middle distance like she was seeing visions or something. I'd give the counsellor the scoop, but she seemed like she was enjoying insanity instead of suffering from it. I wouldn't want half the looks everyone gives her- she never even tries to look less of a pariah.
After she separates from the circus, what must be a true masochist comes up to her, because he had the displeasure of being her boyfriend- who'd be getting zero chocolate from that sexually repressed prude. I won't lie though, seeing those two in love was mostly cute. I say mostly, because two geniuses finding each other can either mean world peace or the Apocalypse- chaos and red-painted pavements, bodies boasting bulging eyes staring at smoky skies supervised by soulless, scarred skyscrapers. It was also rather annoying, as it seems those two had never heard of a room.
They sit next to each other, and because violently making out with each other is too natural for human behaviour, she holds his hand and kisses it, giving him the stare that says her eyes could sparkle only for him. I could see his blush a mile away, and he leans in to kiss her on the forehead. They snuggle up and both pull out their laptops to work. The sun was setting behind them, surrounding them with this golden and rosy halo that seemed so very romantic and peaceful. Their breakup will be interesting to watch. How long will she cry for? How many others will he use to try to fill the internal void with after?
It gave me a moment of dark glee- and then I felt a bit…uncomfortable. My shoulders were weightier and a hole opened somewhere in my chest. What was it like, just living in your own head, barely coming out to live in the moment with those closest to you? Did you still feel the eyes burning into your back as you give yourself a search to make sure you aren't embarrassing yourself in a way that warrants you making yourself scarce for the next few days? How often did you inspect yourself in the mirror to ensure you were in compliance with trends lasting a week at best?
It was tiring. I was tired.
The lovebirds talk and trade these sporadic, really gentle-looking kisses on each other's faces (which- and I thanked the heavens on his behalf- included the lips), necks and hands. Shadows stretch out from the corners sunlight once banished them to. They stand up, put away their work, and hand in hand they stroll in the direction of the dorms. She has that idiotic smile on her face. Her friends would be waiting to hear all about it, laugh and smile and cook and study and be genuine freaks of society together. They'd live their lives, neither knowing, nor caring what commentary the rest of us make about them. I couldn't help but think to myself…
That…must be pretty nice…