Isabelle, now using the name of Naren Lockheart, arrives in New Jersey, and something a little touching happens in Starbucks.
I woke up to someone gently shaking my shoulder.
It was the woman from the kiosk.
"Honey, you're train leaves in fifteen minutes, just thought I'd wake you up so you didn't miss it. Here's your stuff. And I'm sorry, I never properly introduced myself. I'm Sadie. And your name is?" she asked, smiling.
Shit. I didn't want to tell anyone my real name, they would track me down easier.
"Naren," I blurted out, without thinking. That was the name of one of my comic book charcters.
"Naren? That's an unusual name, very pretty!"
"It means sunflower, in Japanese. My mum has weird taste," Technically this isn't a lie. She chose drugs over me! That's kinda messed up. And Naren really does mean sunflower, I read it in a book!
"Well, anyway I had better go. Thank you for your help!" I say, lifting up my guitar and my bag. Making sure I have my wallet, ticket and iPod, I climb the steps to the platform.
I'm fifteen and this is my first time on a train. Wow. I'm kinda scared. I board the train and take a seat. I consider taking my guitar out, practising some songs, maybe writing a few new ones, but there's people around me so I decide not to. I draw instead.
I drew the entire journey, and listened to music. I listened to Bullets, and drew some pretty messed up drawings. They were disturbing, but beautiful. Vampires having their fangs pulled out, children drinking blood. And a scene inspired by 'The Warlock's Hairy Heart" from The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling. A warlock crouched on the floor, holding a beautiful woman with long, glossy black hair, with her chest ripped open, and her heart in his hand. She wore a magnificent dress, suitable for that period in time. Although I didn't have any colouring pencils with me, I imagined it to be midnight blue and silver.
I was just finishing one gory detail when a voice announced that we would be reaching our destination in five minutes. By this point, I was terrified. New Jersey is a dangerous place, and I've never left New York in my life. Why did I decide to go to New Jersey, of all places?
As if My Chemical Romance would be there.
For the first time I looked at my surroundings. There were a few teenagers in track suits, and old men in old coats. There was a little girl, maybe about five, dancing about, a dying daisy chain around her neck. She came to my seat.
"Hello! I'm daisy, what's your name?" she asked brightly. She smiled at me, showing two missing front teeth.
"I'm Naren, nice to meet you," I smiled.
"Do you like cats?" she asked, her face turning deadly serious.
"Uhm, I guess so. I'm more of a snake person really," I said, trying not to scare her.
She wrinkled her nose. "Snakes are scary," and with that, she walked away, probably deciding she didn't like me.
I also noticed an old lady, with a large plum handbag that seemed to be alive. Or else there was something squirming inside it. Maybe I was imaginging it. Maybe it was a cat, or a dog. Or a baby. Who knew? She noticed that I had been staring at her bag, and she gave me a death glare. I stuck my tongue out at her. Like I said, I'm polite to people who I think deserve it.
When the train arrived, I grabbed my stuff and stepped shakily onto the platform. It didn't smell very different from New York. I could smell car fumes, and everything that you smelt in the cities.
I walked, having no idea where I was going. I just walked, and walked.
Eventually I came to a secluded Starbucks, and wrinkled my nose. Coffee was okay, but I was more of a tea person. I needed a rest, so I went in to get a hot chocolate. The bell tinkled when I pushed it, and the smell of coffee filled my nostrils.
"Morning, I'm Jason!" one of the employees said. He looked tired, and he had short brown hair and a septum piercing.
"Hey. I'm Naren," I lie, "Could I have a small hot chocolate please?"
"Sure. I like you bag. The Misfits are legends, I love them. And your hoodie, I have one of those too!" He rambled, my cup of hot chocolate was now overflowing, and some of the hot liquid spilled onto his hands.
"Aw, crap," he said, running his hand under cold water. He handed me the hot chocolate, and I put my money on the counter, and went to sit by the window.
I sipped my hot chocolate, thinking about Mikey Way. Today is his birthday, and it is also Suicide Awareness Day, and Tomorrow is September 11th. I'm not sure wether to be sad or happy. I remember Kurt Cobain, how he tragically took his life before I was even born, and I still care a lot. I looked down at my clothes, and I wasn't wearing anything yellow. I didn't even own anything yellow. I would write love on my wrist and take my jacket off so every body could see. The only problem with that was that everybody would see my scars.
'Fuck it, supporting Suicide Awareness Day is more important than hiding a few scars,' I think, finishing my hot chocolate.
I didn't think to pack any pens, so I ask the Starbucks guy if he has one. He hands me a black pen and I write 'Love' in neat, curling letters. He sees what I'm doing, which makes him smile sadly. He shows me his wrist. I see 'Love' scrawled on in black spiralling letters, above a tattoo that read
'In memory of Jack, my brother and my best friend. Always.'
I tear up at this even though I don't know the guy. I can see that his arm isn't perfect either, with cuts and scratches and bruises and burns and scars. His eyes start to water, and I can tell that he's missing someone special to him. I squeeze his hand.
"Hey, it's okay. Stray strong and carry on. That's what My Chemical Romance taught me. And it's what Jack would have wanted too. I recently lost my Grandmother, and I have a bottle of her favourite perfume in my bag. I will never let go of it. It's okay to keep a part of them. Just remember, there's five guys on the other side of the world who are just as messed up as us. Remember Jack, and how he wouldn't have wanted you to mess up your life because of his passing," I say, handing back the pen and walking out, the door gently swinging shut behind me.
It's strange, I had been in that guys company for no more than twenty minutes, and I felt sorry for him, and wanted to help him. I felt like I knew him, like we were classmates or something.
Sometimes strangers know you best.