She bent down to take a sip from the silver water fountain between stepping into the gym. The rest of her class seemed to have free reign as far as activities were concerned. She hated this class and was in the process of skipping the entire period, but was caught by security smoking a cigarette in her usual hideout. It was located in the back of the school, and she was certain that she would have gotten away with if it weren’t for the spring time snow shower that made her footprints stand out like a sore thumb. This was why she loathed spring, winter didn’t want to let go and spring was as hesitant as a stray cat.
As she was escorted back to the building, her thoughts were all over the place. She thought about the gloomy sky that cried for all of her troubles and was nearly coaxed into reciprocating. Before that came to fruition, she forced her mind to another place. She imagined that she was a princess, being escorted to her next royal obligation.
If she was a princess, she would not be accompanied by heathens like these. The two security guards, or royal security rather, one hefty black male with a buzz cut, and the other a six foot, grey haired woman, took her to the gym class that was supposed to be attending. They had agreed not to bring her to the principal’s office as long as she in turn agreed to stay in class. She hadn’t yet made her mind up about whether or not to honor that agreement.
As they trailed off after dropping her at the water fountain in the hallway directly across from the open gym doors, she took a sip. She slumped through the doorway, her body language telling a story as rich as a Poe offering. Each step was like a beautifully written piece of prose, the way her feet click-clacked off of the panel floor reminded her of stallions accompanying her to a watchtower. Her eyes were as gorgeous and complicated as she was, and about as inviting as a dragon protecting her young. Her hazel eyes were a great front for the fire that roared behind them.
She decided to take a seat in the bleachers by herself to look on at her classmates throwing footballs and shooting baskets, and began to twirl her blonde locks in disgust. She never understood the appeal of either of these sports. It seemed like just another way to organize a mass distraction under the guise of fun. None of this really mattered, but most people, especially at this school, seemed to give themselves over to it.
The accomplishments of her high school were brandished all over the rafters of the gym. State Champions 2005 was the latest addition. Most of the school’s glory had come in the 80’s, but she had never heard of a star player ever playing here. Maybe it was just team chemistry, she thought to herself. She felt dirty for even entertaining these thoughts. Where was the gloomy sky when she needed it?
She looked up anyways, but saw no sky looking back. Digging through her purple and black book-bag, she retrieved a cigarette from her pack and a lighter that was inside of it. As she got up from her seat in the bleachers, she was approached by a young, somewhat athletic looking boy with his black hair dampened with sweat.
He was confused by her assertion . His eyebrows spruced up and he squinted his eyes before replying, , “Again? But I’ve never met you before.”
“Oh, right. Yeah. New kid. Why aren’t you playing basketball or something?”
He bent down and wrapped his hand around his left ankle, “s prained my ankle. Gotta sit out for the rest of the day. Coach never gets onto you for not participating in class?”
“No,” she said, turning her back to him and stepping into the women’s restroom. The cream white paneling was more beige than white, probably from years of neglect and nicotine. She hadn’t contributed to the decay as much as others, this was only the third time she’d ever smoked in here. She lit the cigarette and watched herself in the mirror, studying the way she smoked. She wanted to smoke like one of the starlets that her and the other girls had wanted to emulate so much.
The more she thought about it, the more she realized that she had no idea what it was that she wanted out of life. Whether a princess or a starlet, she knew deep down that she was better than the life she had been given. Just thinking that thought made her stomach turn.
“Who the hell wants their life handed to them from birth?”
Talking to herself was nothing new, and it helped to clarify her thoughts. Taking a pull from the cigarette, she heard a voice, “I wouldn’t complain.”
She turned around to see the new kid leaning against the tar stained bathroom wall, just out of her line of sight in the mirror. She put the filter to her lips and took a drag before addressing his presence.
“You’re not supposed to be in here.”
“Neither are you.”
“Um, yes I am , it’s the ladies bathroom,” she said, pointing at the black sign with the woman outlined in white. “If you can’t read, it’s written in brail too.”
“Are you always this rude?”
“Only when people invade my privacy, which is kinda exactly what you’re doing.”
“I didn’t mean to offend you, I just wanted to see if you wanted some company.”
She could feel her stone walls coming down with each passing word. Maybe this one did have her best interest in mind.
“You left your bag back there, I figured you might need it so I brought it with me. It’s right here,” he said, gently kicking her bag to show her that he had placed it right below him.
“Do you smoke?”
“Me? Occasionally. Why? You offering?”
“Sure, hand me my bag.”
He bent down and handed it to her, and caught a glimpse of his watch in the process.
“There’s only twenty minutes under next period. What do you want to talk about?”
She dug through her back once again after resting it on the porcelain sink behind her. She retrieved a cigarette and her black Bic lighter, handing both to him simultaneously.
“Not gonna offer to light it for me? Not very nice,” he said with a smile.
“I fucking hate when people do that to me, so why would I do it to you?”
“Someone being nice to you pisses you off?”
“No. It’s not that. It’s someone making a decision for me. I’m very capable of doing so myself.”
It was obvious to both of them that they were both beyond their years . She could tell based off of the way he held himself, both in conversation and as a person. He picked up on the way that she was so reserved in everything that she did. From the way she grasped her cigarette between her index and middle fingers, and how the smoked seemed to want to remain inside of her. Emanating ever so slightly, hanging on for dear life as it passed through her lips.
Well, she had always known that she was, but it was odd to find somebody else that she could say the same about. He lit his cigarette and tossed the lighter back to her, which bounced off of her open hand and onto the floor.
“Must you do that? You couldn’t just hand it to me like a normal person?”
“What is a normal person, though?”
This question bounced around between her temples and intrigued her like nothing before it. It was definitely said in passing, nothing more than a joke comment, but it made her mind torpedo into existentialism. She knew that she wasn’t like the other girls in her school. She could count on one hand just how many people who walked these halls understood the concept. Something told her that the new kid was one of them.
She couldn’t let him know that her stone walls were actually as soft as silk. The walls that she put up may have been guarded by a cascade of soldiers, but they were made of paper mache. Her inner strength wasn’t a façade by any means, but she refused to let somebody undeserving to step into her draw bridge. At least these thoughts weren’t about a gloomy sky. She liked that.
She turned around and grabbed her bag, turning on the faucet to dead her cigarette.
“Nice talking to you,” she said as she ascended up the stairwell as the bell rang, signaling the end of the period.