How she wondered what it would be like to have friends...
I walked into the art classroom, and was intrigued by the art that covered the walls. The easels and the number of art tools in cans made my heart melt. It was truly an artist’s heaven. At the front of the classroom was a desk wear a man in his late twenties, brown hair and glasses, sat looking over some papers.
The class was mostly made up of seniors, with only a few privileged juniors and sophomores sitting at tables. Some turned to look at me and the feeling of dread soon returned to me. I cautiously walked towards the desk where the teacher sat. He looked up and smiled.
“Hi, there,” He smiled. “You’re the new student right?” He looked at a sheet of paper and scanned it. “Willow? Welcome to Belleville High, then. I’m Mr. Paisley.”
I smiled and nodded. “Okay, let’s see if there’s a seat for you,” He said, standing up and looking around the room. “There’s one in the far back.”
I smiled in thanks and walked to the back. I sat down at the empty table, pulling my sketch book out and started to draw. The bell rang and some more students piled into the classroom. Mr. Paisley wrote the date and the objective on the board, and then turned to us.
“Alright, guys,” He clapped his hands from the chalk. “Today we’re going to be exploring different kinds of--”
The door burst open, and in came none other than Gerard, panting as if he just run a marathon. From his lip, a wet substance oozed out slightly, and he wiped it with his sleeve, only to smear a little.
“Sorry, Mr. P,” He said breathlessly. “I got caught in a little…traffic.”
Mr. Paisley eyed him, looking down at his slightly bloody lip. “Okay then, and I’m guessing you don’t have a pass. But I’ll let it slide this time, considering that you are my star student. Go find your seat so we can continue.”
Gerard nodded and walked to his seat, a few of the students tripped him, snickering. I took a sharp breath realizing that he was walking towards the table I was sitting at. I looked down on my sketchbook quickly, trying to occupy myself with a drawing I had been recently working on. I heard the stool across from me screech against the tile as he sat down.
“Alright, now as I was saying,” Mr. Paisley said, “Today we’re going to be exploring different kinds styles of art. By styles, I mean emotions. Take one particular emotion, and use that to create some art. For example--” He took a dry erase marker and started drawing on the white board. “If I take an emotion like calm, I can create something like this.” He drew a park, and I smiled at his quick handy work. “Now for the rest of class, I’d like you to do this.”
I flipped to a new page in my sketchbook, and tapped it against the page. I inhaled and exhaled, finding the one emotion I’ve been having swarm inside me for so long. I began to draw, tracing my pencil all around the page. I looked up slightly to see Gerard working on his piece, his hair falling in his eyes. I wondered if he acknowledged my presence. For some reason part of me was glad, and the other half was a little disappointed. I didn’t know why.
I was shading in parts of it, only to have my pencil break. I sighed, putting it down and looking through my backpack for another one, but failed to find one.
“Here,” I looked up to see Gerard holding a pencil out to me. I smiled, and took it from him.
I went back to shading and finishing the rest of my drawing with the new pencil. I finished,
looking over at my drawing, and beginning to feel a little more depressed. I tapped Gerard’s notebook, and he looked up at me. I held the pencil out to him, but he only shook his head and smiled.
“Keep it,” He said. His smile was contagious, causing me smile back. “I like your drawing by the way.”
I blushed, and looked down. No one has ever said that about my drawings. But did he really like what I drew? The depressing darkness? I looked at my drawing. It was of a girl, much like me, with shadows wrapping around her, and a pained expression. And he liked it. I shook my head, and turned the page and started to doodle.
“So, how was your day?” Gerard asked randomly, and I shot him a weird look. He chuckled. “Okay, so that’s not a question you ask people all the time.” I shook my head, and he continued to talk. “Can I ask you some things?”
I furrowed my eyebrows, and wrote on my sketchbook, Like what?
“Um, how about your favorite color?” He mused.
That’s silly, I wrote.
“Are you gonna answer or what?” He laughed.
I rolled my eyes and answered, gray.
“That’s a shade,” He said. “Not a color.” I shrugged. “You’re an odd one.”
How so? I asked.
He shrugged. “You’re not like most people… plus your favorite color is gray.”
I held back a laugh. The bell rang, and I packed up my stuff and headed for the door. The minute I was in the hall, I had realized that I had just made it through the entire day. There were many more to come like this, many in the months ahead. I never felt so helpless. All those people, all these terrible things that they could say or do felt terrible.
I went outside, and it was still raining like this morning, making me pull my hood up. I watched all the other students going home, seeing how they had something good to go back home to. I saw Gerard and Ray with their group, all piling into a car. I wondered if it was nice to have friends, someone to lean on and talk to.
I heard the honk of a horn, breaking me of my thoughts. I looked up to see my father in his car waiting for me. I walked to the car quickly so I wouldn’t be drenched.
“Hello, sweetie,” My dad greeted me. “Did you have a good day?”
I bit my lip and nodded. I hated lying without even saying a word. He smiled and drove off so we could pick up the twins. When we got home, I went straight up to my room. I closed the door behind me, and threw my backpack on the floor, and dropped face first onto my bed. The tears started to pour down, and I stifled back a sob.
I didn’t want to go back to school tomorrow, or any time soon. I couldn’t stand being around all those people, all of them noticing me. I just wanted to be invisible, wanted everyone to leave me alone. I clutched my pillow to me, trying to find some form of comfort. I turned onto my back staring up at the ceiling.
I thought back to all the events of the day. Some didn’t appear to be so bad, but it made me feel uncomfortable. I thought about when Bob and Ray had stuck up for me and attacked Brandon. Poor Bob, he probably got detention because of me; he might treat me just like all the other people. And then Ray, he wanted me to meet the rest of his friends. Why? I wasn’t worthy or anything.
Then there was Gerard. He was nice, the first person to talk to me. But it just didn’t seem real when they were nice to me. It made my stomach twist into knots at the thought of him and his friends.
“Willow, dinner!” My father called from downstairs.
I wiped my tears away, and left my room to go downstairs. I sat down beside Cassie, and started to give her a serving of lima beans and mashed potatoes while my father did the same for Jack. He started a conversation with us, and my brother and sister would answer back eagerly. After dinner, I helped clean up with my dad, and he kissed my forehead goodnight.
I went back upstairs to my room. I grabbed a towel and took a shower in the bathroom that was built into my room. When I was done, I wrapped myself and brushed my teeth. I dressed into my pajamas and let my hair down wet, and pulled the blankets over me.
I laid in bed, staring up at the ceiling, dreading the thought of tomorrow. I closed my eyes, and opened my mouth for the first time in weeks to sing a few words.
“But does anyone notice? But does anyone care? There’s no room in this hell, there’s no room in the next. But does anyone notice,” I sang to myself. “There’s a corpse in this bed…”