Shut Up

“Richard, you can’t write that!”

“And why not? It’s my own blog. I should be able to write whatever I want.”

“Yeah, about yourself. People are going to read this. That’s embarrassing.”

“Our names aren’t anywhere on here, Ed. They’ll never know. Not really.”

“…”

“Ed, seriously. It’s fine.”

“It’s the principal of the thing, you know? It’s an embarrassing story. I don’t want it told. Whether my actual name is attached to it or not.”

“But it’s comedy gold. Imagine the page views.”

“You still have to get people to your blog, Richard. One funny story isn’t going to cause your stats to explode unless you have a stroke of luck rarer than lightning.”

“Maybe I will though.”

“Not with that story.”

“Ed.”

“I’m serious. You’re not talking about it.”

“But your name-”

“Shut up. That’s not the point.”

“Then what am I supposed to write about.”

“Embarrass yourself. Not me. I don’t care.”

“None of my stories are as good as yours.”

“What about-”

“Shut it. I don’t want to hear it.”

“See. It’s not so easy when it’s you, is it?”

“That’s different. They may not know my real name, but they’d still associate the story with the guy who runs the blog. That’s embarrassing enough. I wouldn’t be able to post ever again. You wouldn’t have that worry. I’d make up a fake name for you to tell the story.”

“No.”

“Ed.”

“You can keep saying my name. The more aggravated you make me, the more I want to turn you down.”

“…”

“…”

“Give me another decent topic to write about, and I swear I’ll leave you alone.”

“I did already.”

“Not embarrassing stories.”

“You wanted something funny.”

“But not embarrassing!”

“Do you even know how to find something funny that’s not embarrassing.”

“…”

“…”

“Fine. Embarrassing to someone else, just not either of us.”

“…”

“Ed.”

“No.”

“Ed.”

“…”

“Ed.”

“…”

“Ed-”

“Shut up.”

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Escapism

I fill the familiar pricks of tears around my eyes. Blinking a few times, I foolishly believe that it will relieve the situation.

It doesn’t.

My eyes are watering more, and the only solution is closing the book, taking my eyes off the offending words that are responsible.

Books don’t often make me cry. I get teary-eyed, sure, but I don’t cry. Because as soon as the tears come, I avoid. I sit the book down, and I wait for the sensation to subside.

If I have to do it ten or twenty times just to make it through a page, it doesn’t stop me. This time I recover quickly. I pick the book back up eager to see what happens next. Not stopping to think about how I have to avoid even in my escape.

The Crash

The stack towers over your desk like the Tower of Pisa, threatening to come crashing down any second. But the Tower of Pisa is stable, unmoving for once in its history. It’s a lesson on the good that removing weight can do, but instead of taking books off the top, maybe making two stacks instead of one, you keep adding more.

And more.

And more.

For some reason, you can’t stop. You buy more books. They have to go somewhere. They go to the top of the stack. You don’t break free from the system. It’s worked until now, even if there’s a thought in the back of your head that it’s only a matter of time until it crashes down.

And crash down it does.

It happens in the middle of the night, startling you awake. Not only the books are scattered but everything that sat on your desk is as well.

You’ve startled into a sitting position, but you flop back down with a groan once you’ve seen it. There’s so much to clean up. The noise surely woke someone else up. But it’s the middle of the night, and you’re tired. You don’t want to move. You don’t want to deal with it.

Now that you’re back on your back, eyes fluttering closed, it’s even harder to move. You lay there, and try to convince yourself that taking care of it now is the better option. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.

You’re asleep again before you’re successful.

Soundtrack

My eye roll is a reflex. I hear people say something stupid, and it happens. I’ve told my mother that a hundred times, but I still get reprimanded when it happens around her. I’ll have to take the scoldings because the eye rolls aren’t stopping.

So when I heard, “I wish my life had a soundtrack,” in class, the eye roll was guaranteed.

The comment that came next was also a reflex. I swear.

“You do. You listen to music, I’m sure. Music is playing in your life. It’s a soundtrack.”

The girl didn’t look pleased with me. All I could do was shrug. I’d said the truth. It wasn’t like I would apologize for that. We all had a soundtrack. People who said otherwise weren’t being careful about theirs. It was a shame when it was so easy to customize it. I had my sad songs that I played at my sad moments, my happy songs that I played at my happy moments, and every other shade between. Only a fool would say I didn’t have a soundtrack.

I don’t know what they expected. Magical speakers blasting out their individual soundtrack for the whole world to hear. Obviously that would get in the way of all the other soundtracks being made. Except for those rare occasions where they came together, like prom or weddings. On those rare occasions, we allowed our personal soundtracks to become group ones, reflecting music we might not choose for ourselves. Those were special in their own way.

When I died, no one else would be left with my exact soundtrack. No, this one would always be mine.

A Failure

I stare at the screen. Just this morning, I had sat in science with ideas pouring through my head. I’d been sure I’d have plenty to write about once I managed to get a computer in my hands.

Now the blank document is open, and the cursor is flashing in the left-hand corner. My brain is as blank as it can be. This shouldn’t be possible. How have all the ideas disappeared together? A few were following me around all day, yet they’ve chosen now  to disappear.

I cross my arms on the desk and drop my head down to rest on top, groaning as I stare at the back of my eyelids.

This always happens. Always. For a week I’ve come home full of ideas only to sit in front of the computer like this yet again. I’m a failure. A complete and utter failure. Why did I think today would be any different?

I close out of the document and push away from the computer, thinking I’ll have to give up. I’m not cut out for this.

Even as I think it, I know I’ll be in front of the computer at the same time and place come tomorrow.

Convention

I glance around at all the people, and I feel invigorated. This is unlike anything I’ve ever experience except in my dreams. And dreams are never quite like reality.

People bustle around everywhere, but they’re not just people. They’re fans. Massive fans. Die-hard fans. People like me. People who will wear Hogwarts robes in the Florida heat and love every second of it.

I’m finally in their presence, and I feel like rolling around on the floor in happiness. A part of me feels like I wouldn’t be judged for it. Probably because I know I won’t be judged for almost all the things I usually am back at school.

These people get me in a way my classmates don’t, and they’re everywhere. It’s surreal. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to experiencing real magic.

It’s about what I imagine stepping into Hogwarts would feel like.

Someone rams into me from behind, and I remember that this is, in fact, reality. Not a mirage. I’m solid, and I’m standing in the middle of a busy hallway, blocking people’s path. With a quick apology, I begin to move again, stepping into the crowd and merging with them.

I know that I’ll never want to leave.

First Kiss

Everything looked magical in the movies. Martha wasn’t naive enough to think stuff like that was real.

That didn’t mean it wouldn’t have been nice to see just how not real it was for herself.

Her friends had all had their first kisses by now. Most of them have even had their second, third, fourth, and so on. It left Martha the lone one out, and none of their stories about how awkward the moment was left Martha feeling any better.

She wanted to experience it whether it was terrible or not, and she was determined to get there. The “right time” be damned.

There was just the problem of not having anyone to kiss. She’d gone through everyone in her mind that she knew, and all of them were ruled out for some reason or another. Too nervous to ask, too old to ask, in a relationship, the excuses were endless.

How did people find people to kiss?

At this point, Martha would have taken just about anyone who wasn’t too creepy and around her age. She wasn’t asking for much. A peck on the lips would do for now, and the other person could just go on with their lives.

It felt like such a simple request until she contemplated making it to somebody.

Martha frowned at her reflection in the mirror. It was too bad she couldn’t kiss herself. That seemed like the only plausible option.

Then, she froze, eyes widening. She leaned in slowly until her lips touched the glass, and she jerked back instantly.

Yeah, no. That hadn’t counted.

Her cheeks flamed despite the fact that no one was around to see her shame.

She really was desperate. God. It was pathetic. She needed to find someone.