Sunday, 30 September 2007
06:17:18 AM (GMT)
I stared out the tinted glass of my school bus’ windows, trying to tune out
the loud chatter of my fellow students. The loud exclamations from multiple reasons,
the quick, fluid speech of girl’s gossip and the loud, boisterous laugh of the
older boys rang out in the bus, not seeming to bother the driver, which amazed me.
Finally resorting to my last measure—if trying to tune them out didn’t work, I
was left at this—I sighed, twisting my body downwards, reaching for my light brown
purse that laid next to my foot. I unzipped it, pulling out my mp3. Slipping the
light pink earbuds into my ears and turning it on to my loudest song—a German heavy
metal—I closed my eyes, bobbing my head to the tune, successfully drowning out the
meaningless clamor outside the protective walls my music had just created. I laid my
head against the window, opening my eyes, trying to memorize the all-too-familiar
landscape as the bus passed it.
After a long moment—whether it was a minute or ten, I don’t know—we stopped
at the next bus stop. I smiled slightly, noticing my best friend, Sammi Hales,
waiting, leaning against the long metal bus stop sign. I noticed long, white wires
hanging from underneath her long locks of her hair, knowing that she was probably
listening to music also.
My eyes followed her body as she sprang up, dancing—her walk was so fluid, so
full of motion that there was no other word to describe it—into the bus, then
crying out my name as the reached the second row.
“Tabitha!” She grinned, her white teeth flashing in the sunlight. I smiled
and waved my hand in the air; she skipped down the aisle, all the way to the back
row, where we usually stayed. I noticed she was wearing a skirt again—I frowned in
disapproval. I never wore skirts, never did and never planned to. Sammi, on the other
hand, loved them. The short pleated ones that frequently made its debut in anime,
actually. Ever since our school gave in to the large portion of anime-lovers, the
kids who wanted to wear sailor outfits to school, the “no skirts” rule had been
Sammi grinned, planting herself to the seat next to me. She wore a V-neck sweater
over the school’s mandatory button-up shirt, and her bleached blond (now with
unnatural red strips) hair was pulled back into a ponytail. “How yoo doin’ t-day,
Tabs?” She asked, using her favorite text-talk-gone-English speech type. Her eyes
were bright and bubbly. I could see a long, gossipy story behind them.
“Not very well,” I said, sighing. I noticed that my heavy German death metal
song was still on, and wondered how I even managed to hear her speak. I paused it,
and spoke again. “You?”
Sammi’s eyes sparkled, the story unraveling. “Oh, Tabs, I have, like, such a
story…!” She grinned, throwing her hands in the air, palms towards me, cocking
her head at a slight angle.
I smiled, letting myself settle into the comforting buzzing of Sammi’s quick,
fluid, gossipy speech. After listening for a moment—she was talking about some
strange IM conversation gone wrong last night, I think—I allowed myself to turn
back on my mp3, switching to a low, soft Brazilian lullaby. Soon, Sammi’s buzzing
became a low tinkling in the background of the soft humming. I almost fought to stay
awake—lullabies always had a little too much effect on me.
Before I realized it, the bus came to a sudden stop, almost throwing me off of my
seat. Were we already at school? Wow, time really flew. I turned of my mp3, sliding
it inside my bag again, still pondering. Why was did the bus stop so suddenly? The
driver usually slowed to a stop, not to a screeching halt. Were we even at school?
From the looks of it yes. I’m pretty sure the kids on the bus didn’t just get up
and march in a single file line onto the streets.
“Wow, I’m gonna haff to, like, tell yoo dat sto-wee later, Tabs,” Sammi
said, jumping off of the bus. When she landed, she twirled around, a smile on her
face once again. I sighed, stepping off the bus. She was probably going to tell me
during lunch or through a note in class—the two ways that I hated most. That was
because, in those ways, she expected an answer—a nod, a shocked gasp,
anything. In the bus I could get away with listening to music, but there was no way
of that happening in school. It was like being a lab rat under the penetrating gaze
of a scientist—there was no escape.
And, this realization, in hand with the knowledge of what the rest of the day had
in store for me—misery, misery, misery—a crushing depression fell upon me. I was
doomed, I knew it. I was only in eighth grade—there was no benefit of having the
knowledge that “this will all be over soon.” I was in a worst case scenario.
First month of school, almost five years away of getting out of school, worst
teachers ever, and the most gossipy friend on this side of the Mississippi. Not to
mention I was the only girl in school who didn’t have a crush or lover.
Sammi changed her every other day—I think today is our “foxy” English
teacher—but, I was left with a stack of fiction books and my sketchbook. I sighed
again. Why couldn’t my favorite characters become real? They would save me from my
undoubtedly horrible five years of school that I had left, waiting for me.
As Sammi and I walked into school—tall and short, preppy and emo—I let my
mind wander as Sammi tried squeezing in more details of her
IM-conversation-gone-wrong story as she possibly could.
I did have a strange affection for fiction characters. Mostly the romance and
mystery ones. Young Adult romance and Adult mystery—the romance held just the right
amount of sickeningly-sweet romance, laughable, but not yet hysterical comedy, and
page-turning drama as the mystery was jam-packed full of horror, drama and just the
right amount of brain-teasing questions. My romance characters were always a bit
off—possibly the main character’s worst enemy, the guy who everyone loved to
hate, the douche who’s actually really nice secretly, or maybe the
vampire-werewolf-angel-demon came-to-earth. I was almost always teased for having
that strange vampire-werewolf-angel-demon obsession, but we both knew that they were
hypocrites, since the newest romance book that was almost always “Checked Out” in
the school library was a vampire-human romance novel. My mystery characters were
always dashing and daring—the main character, the victim, the lead male (if the
main character was a female), or the mysterious guy who always ends up dishing out
the most valuable information in riddle form. The books I read always had a creepy
cover, just like my clothes and face, so no one really questioned me about it, adding
two and two. (Creepy girl dressed in black reading creepy murder-mystery
story…don’t mess with her or else you’ll have your own Court TV show.)
And, I didn’t know why it was that I have such a strange infatuation with
fictional characters. Maybe because those heroes always knew the right things to say,
maybe because they always had the right answers to everyone questions; maybe because
I knew that if they were real that they would never leave their lover’s side. Maybe
because in my mind, they were so astonishingly beautiful, so smart and clever, so
ready for anything. I shook my head. I was getting too far ahead of myself, plus I
was only putting my mystery characters into comparison. I guess all I wanted was a
true lover, someone who would never leave my side and would forever protect me.
Someone who loved me unconditionally, someone who wanted to stay with me even though
the odds were stacked against us. Someone who would be my modern-day Romeo, the one
character who, in all of my books, stayed with his Juliet even though the odds were
against them, even though their future held nothing but misery, even though his
family looked down on his unforgettable, unavoidable, undeniable, unbreakable bond
The loud screech of the bell startled me, snapping me out of my thoughts, sending
me back into the real world. Sammi wasn’t by side anymore, and I realized that, in
my daze, I had walked right past her locker. My mind did the math—if Sammi had
stopped by her locker and I had still been walking, then she probably knew that I
wasn’t listening, and was going to bother me abut it later today. But, if I had
passed her locker, and this was the first bell…Shit! I sprinted down the hallway,
fighting against the bodies heading the opposite direction of me. I only had five
minutes to dump my things and get to class. As soon as I reached my locker, I pulled
it open, mentally thanking myself for not fixing my broken lock just yet, and dumped
my backpack in. I pulled out my generic-everyday binder and Lolita, my book
for the week, and slammed it again.
I arrived in class with twenty seconds to spare. I plopped into my seat next to
Sammi, breathing heavily. Why did I have to be so goddamn weak? I was always
getting out of breath. Even walking up the stairs, taking two at a time, got me
tired. Damn my weak stamina.
“Tabs!” Sammi hissed under her breath, her soprano voice venomous.
“You weren’t listening, were you?”
I shrugged, turning around, facing the board. I was never good at dealing with
her evil moments—the only thing you could do without feeding the flames was let it
run its course. Soon enough, she would be bright and bubbly again, ready to giggle
I heard her sigh beside me, the bell screeching again. I felt a little bit of
relief hit me—thank god, school had started. She wasn’t going to talk for a
while, at least. But, then again, school had started. I grimaced. My teachers
hated me—I could feel it. The only teacher that I thought would like me, my
English teacher, didn’t even like me! I always had a book under my arm, I
always had my nose shoved in a book, and he frowned on it. How could he? How
could he call himself an English teacher? I took a deep breath. I was getting
too worked up over something that probably didn’t even matter in the long run. He
was just another teacher, just another thing that my mind would turn into
unrecognizable mush when the year was over…
I settled into my seat, opening Lolita. I had just gotten it the other
day—the back cover had intrigued me. It was about a forty-odd-year-old man falling
in love with a twelve-year-old girl. Old and young; the idea perked my ears up. Did
the girl love back? How did the man settle his problem? And, what was the situation
even like? This story was based in Europe in the 1950’s—maybe they allowed young
and old marriages. And why Lolita? Maybe this was where the term “Lolita
complex” was based off of. I almost shuddered at the idea of a forty-year-old man
falling in love with me. For both the age and love part.
The classes flew by—thank god. My teacher’s speech became a slurred noise in
the background as I let my mind wander on the way life probably was in the 1950’s
and as I indulged myself in the world of Humbert Humbert and Dolores “Lolita”
Haze. The situation between them was so strange. Humbert marrying Lolita’s
mother? However was their love supposed to work? Or…was it not going to
work? My mind itched for the answers as the passing periods flew by.
“I’m not taking the bus home today.”
I looked up. I had been so into my book, I hadn’t realized that Sammi had
spoken. It was lunchtime now—I had just seated myself, and had an un-bitten
sandwich and un-opened can of soda lying in front of me. The loud chatter of students
around me was so loud that I toyed with the idea of pulling out my heavy German death
song again, but pushed it away when I remembered the very strict and annoying faculty
member staring down at Sammi and I—we were always such trouble-makers.
“Huh?” I asked. My mind was still dazed from being brought out of my
Lolita based world.
Sammi looked down at me, a lollipop in her hand, an almost bored look in her eye.
Why did she have to be so thin, no matter what she ate? I swear, everything she ate
came to me, and I was going through hell to stay at my very negotiable weight of one
hundred pounds. “I’m not taking the bus home today,” She repeated, looking
away. She was probably used to repeating herself with me.
“Why?” I asked, folding the bottom of my page and closing the book. I crossed
my arms and rested them on the table, leaning forward.
Sammi looked at me again, the bored look still in her eyes—that surprised me.
Usually she would have an animated look, ready to spring a long story on me. Now she
looked like…like me. “My big bro’s picking me up,” She said, shrugging. Her
proper use of the English language (almost) surprised me. “He got a spot in the
near-by Art College around here, and he decided to use today to pick me up from
school. Bonding, he says. But, I think it’s just ‘cause he wants to shut mom up
from her little ‘you-never-do-anything’ speech that she’s always using with
him.” She shrugged again. “So, I’m not taking the bus.”
I frowned. I could always listen to my mp3, but I still had some more German
death songs to upload, and I didn’t want to listen on a loop of the one song I had.
Having Sammi to actually talk to would help, but now that she would be gone…
“Why?” I said, making my voice nasally and whiney. Sammi loved it when I
showed emotion, no matter how annoying. “Why can’t you come home on the bus?
I’ll be bored!”
Sammi smiled, her eyes perking up finally. “Well, of course I’ll be bored
also!” She said, grinning now. “That’s why I’m asking you if you wanna come
I stared at her blankly. Come along…? She wanted me to ride with her older
brother to her house? Or was she asking me over to her house? Lost, I asked her
“So, um, you want me to ride with you?”
Sammi nodded, her eyes suddenly sparkling with enthusiasm. “Yuh-huh!” She
grinned, still bobbing her head up and down. “I wan’ yoo to come along, ‘cause,
like, I don’t wanna be, like, bored on da ride! Yoo’ll make it fun!” She went
on to explain how boring the ride was probably going to be, leading on to the topic
of how her life was when her brother was still living with her.
I chuckled to myself. I don’t know how I could make a ride more fun—if
anything, I would be dragging down her peppiness with my…quietness. I wondered what
her brother was like, and why the ride would be so boring. He would have to be
super-serious to bore Sammi, since, well, she was still my friend. But, somehow, I
couldn’t quite picture her brother quiet and serious—he kept popping up in my
mind as a fun person, always wanting to do daring things and always ready to
party…Or, maybe, I was just reading too many teen romance novels. I would have to
read some more mystery; balance myself out.
The rest of the day flew by faster than I thought possible—were teachers always
supposed to rush through speeches? I wondered why it was going so fast today. Was it
because I was so engrossed in my book? Everytime I read a new book, one that I loved,
the time always seemed to fly by a little too fast. It never gave me enough time to
actually enjoy the words, to actually let me ponder over author decisions. I was
almost always rushed—that’s why I loved my room. Time seemed to slow there;
that’s why I hated being bored. Hours would seem like millenniums in there, so,
obviously, seconds—precious, valuable seconds, those which always seemed to fly by
so quickly during the school day—became hours. It gave me enough time to finish
books and maybe even start new ones.
Finally, the end of the came. I had progressed pretty far into Lolita,
reaching to where Lolita’s mother died (after finding out that Humbert, the love of
her life, was actually obsessed with Lolita and not her) by a tragic auto accident,
and now Humbert and Lolita—still unaware of her mother’s death—are traveling
cross-country, now “lovers.” I was amazed at Vladimir Nabokov’s work—how
could he make this young, unspoiled twelve-year-old girl already have “sexual
affair” with another “young, unspoiled” boy at her summer camp? And, now
she was with this forty-something-year-old man, trapped as his lover until one of
them dies. I wondered how much longer he could make this story go on—I still had so
many pages to go! And here I thought this story was about to end soon.
I stood with Sammi outside the school’s front gate, waiting for her brother.
Sammi was jabbering on about the IM-conversation-gone-wrong again, desperately trying
to catch my attention by using loud noises and asking me questions. I always answered
them correctly—she always asked questions based on the facts that she heard after
the last loud noise. She was so predictable, that it comforted me. At least here,
there was a pattern; something that could be trusted on. Real life was too
spontaneous; Lolita hurt me to ponder about too long. I needed something dull,
something monotonous. That was why I loved Sammi and music so much—you can always
rely on her predictability and the music’s constant beat.
“And I was so totally like—oh mi God, there he is!” The sudden change in
Sammi’s excitement and the sound of her already high-pitched voice shooting up two
octaves startled me.
Last edited: 30 September 2007