I can't say they were wrong.
It was a dark rainy day, or maybe it was sunny, they all looked the same to me, I was on my way to a bookstore,called Lucky's , I know it's a very off name for a bookstore. I always go there to get away, it was summer and I didn't want to stay home all the time. I'd go there and just sit in one of their big brown overstuffed chairs, and read whatever caught my eye. I didn't look up to see if anyone stared, or answer anyone's questions, they would mistake me for an employee sometimes. I never understood why they would make this mistake, I was not a happy person nor was I approachable. I had blacked spiked hair that looked off on me, I was too young for it being only 15 and all, and I wore black eyeshadow and liner with a stud in my nose. I never wore bright colors, just black. The black would always make my already white skin look ghostly pale, even though it was summer I didn't visit the beach to get a tan. I'd say I'm not the bookstore employee type. But there was one, just one, who didn't label me or bother me, he'd recommend a new book for me every now and then, he would watch me sometimes so he knew which stories caught my attention. Sometimes I would look up and see him staring at me, and he would look away hastily. Did I embarrass him? Was he afraid of me? I doubted it, he always had a black eye, or a swollen lip or cheek. He was a fighter, a natural. He was taller than me and he seemed to be fit, I could see his muscles when he would wear fitted shirts. He had green eyes and long dark hair that he always kept in a pony tail, and he was tan-ish, maybe Indian? I didn't know anything about him and I thought I would never want to know, but something about him kept calling me. When I went home that night he was on my mind, he watched me read the whole day and his eyes followed me as I left. I tried not to stared back, I succeeded sometimes, but I always looked and he always look away. I opened the door to my house expecting my mother yelling at my sister or my sister saying not-so-sweet-little-sister type of things to her little summer fling, but the house was dark and quiet. There must have been a fight, no one goes to bed this early (it was 9 pm) unless tears were shed. I was glad I wasn't here during the storm. I walked up stairs to my room for bed, I wasn't really tired I just didn't like wandering around the house when no one was up. I got on my laptop instead and searched the web, deleted some emails from people I now hated, and bitched in a chat room about how bad my life is. I fell asleep about 2 hours later and my laptop fell to the floor, closing itself and shutting down. I woke to the sound of glass breaking and my mother screaming something a bit confounding and full of curse words to my sister and my sister screaming right back. I ignored it, like they usually ignore me, and threw on my darkest jeans and a black tank, patted on my black eyeshadow and liner and headed out. My mother was leaning over the counter smoking a cigarette and wiping her eyes, she was sniffling. I sneaked past her and made it out the door, I never got involved with my mother and sister's arguments, I would just get hurt and hate them more. I hated my mother, she always smoke and drank until she blacked out, and then hit me when she wanted more but couldn't afford it. I hated my sister because she never got the same treatment, physically, she got the verbal abuse, and she was a whore. Shes had more boyfriends than me, and 2 pregnancy scares, mother never hit her once, just yelled.
I took my time going to the bookstore,watching people laugh and gossip, the birds flying in a huge groups across the sky. The sky still seemed dark even though the sun was out. I saw little kids in the park across the street playing on the jungle gym and sliding down in all the different ways they could fit and not hurt themselves. I chuckled a little at the memory of me and my sister sliding down the slide together, she would be in the from I would be in the back holding her hands up. I started to tear and abolished the thought and sped up my pace.
I walked into the bookstore, chilled a little from the air conditioner that suddenly hit me. He was there, staring at me. I walked to the back of the store like a usually do and picked up one of the paranormal romances, I hoped someone would die or get shot in the end. I heard someone clear their throat and I looked up, he was standing there, smiling at me.
"Yes?" I asked dully.
"Nobody dies in that book." he says, still smiling.
"I said nobody dies in that book. I've notice the kinds of books you read, and they all end tragically."
He laughed a little and shook is head.
"What is your name?"
"I'm Zaiden." He chuckled and smiled at me some more. "What is your name?"
"Very nice name."
I got up to leave but he blocked my way.
"Maya, I've been watching you."
This creeped me out a bit considering the fact that he said like he knew what I did last summer.
"I'm sorry if I seem a little weird."
Did he just say a little?
"It's fine but I really have to go."
I shoved him a little with my shoulder to get by and headed toward the door.
"You didn't pay for that book." he called to me. I tossed it to the side and kept walking.
"Sorry." I muttered.
I glanced back and saw him pick up the book I had just tossed and he dusted it off with his hand. I saw him smiling, chuckling and shaking his head.'Was he laughing at me?' I thought. I brushed off the thought and strutted down the street towards the park. As I sat on the hard wooden bench I noticed how everyone always seemed happy at Grant Park. I see the parents gossiping about the new men in town, kids sharing cookies and germs and toys. I think I look out of place, people kept staring and walking far outside my perimeter like I had a shield to keep them away. I sat there until sunset, I liked people watching, it was calming when the warm wind blew through my hair. I felt calm, I never feel this way at home. At home I'm always so tense and scared that my mothers acrylic nails are going to scratch at my face when she can't find her whiskey.
A cop started toward me, his face so stern and cold. I got up to leave before he could reach me, but I wasn't going home. No... never home. I walked through the streets of StillWood until I spotted another bench to plop myself on. It was next to a club called "Smex",'that's catchy,' I thought. Smex is an 18 and over club full of drunk 16 and 17 year old's looking for a good time with someone twice there age. The smell of old fries and some gel I wouldn't want to know about until I'm 30 drifted out of the club, along with a few happy, and very stoned, couples, some occasionally stopping right in front of me to make out.
'What am I doing here?' I thought,' I need to go home.'
I hated that I felt the need to go home but all the sexual tension did not suit well with me at all. I got up to walk away and saw him walking towards me, with, of course, a smile on his face. This guy has a thing for smiles.
"Hello, Maya." he greeted.
"What are you doing here? This club has a reputation you know."
"I didn't go in I was just sitting here. And I don't think it is any of your business to know what I'm doing here even if I did go inside."
"I wasn't trying to get into your business, Maya, I'm just curious."
"Fine whatever, I'm going home anyway, if that makes you feel better." I tried to shove past him but he grabbed my arm.
"Please, let me walk you home," he pleaded," it's dark and I... I want to make sure you get home safely."
I don't know why, but I feel like I need to be mean to him, I know he doesn't deserve it, he's so nice and apparently caring, despite the fresh bruise on his cheek.
"Ok, fine." I said coldly.'What is wrong with me, can I not be grateful for his kindness?' I thought.
He looped his arm around mine like a classic gentleman and I pointed us in the direction towards my home. We walked in silence, slowly, but as one, it felt nice to walk with him and a little strange at the same time. I decided to break the silence.
"how old are you, Zaiden?"
"I am the big 1 8, Miss Maya."
"Don't call me Miss."
He smiled shyly and said,"I'm sorry, it was a bit of a joke."
"A joke? "
"Yeah, you seem a little tight sometimes, like my old English teacher Miss Turner."
Did he just compare me to an old high school teacher?
"So I remind you of a bitter old teacher?"
"No! I mean.... uh never mind, it was a stupid joke."
We walked on in embarrassing silence again. He made me look so small standing next to him, he had to be at least 6'0 to my 5'4. The wind was starting to pick up and it was getting colder,' why did I not bring a jacket?' I thought.
"Are you cold?"
He started to take his large leather jacket off and offer it to me," no that's ok, I'm fine," I assured him," we're almost at my house, actually you can stop right here, I'll be fine."
I tried to give him a promising smile and apparently failed.
"I insist, I'll go all the way."
He must have noticed how wrong that sounded and said quickly,"I mean I'd be happy to take you the umm whole way."
I giggled a little. 'a giggle?' I thought, I hadn't giggled in months, not since my sister and I camped out in front of our Christmas tree on the Christmas Eve, making smores with our little fire lamp, and telling stories all the way to midnight. I pushed the memory away and stopped giggling, I went cold again. We walked up the street and my house slowly creeps up around the corner as we advance upon it. The windows are dark and ominous. Eerie.
"This is me, you can go now." I said.
"It was nice walking with you." He said smiling slightly, shoving his hands in his pockets.
Yeah, bye." I said, and started walking off and remembered, "Zaiden?" He hadn't started to walk off, he was still standing in the same place, staring at me thoughtfully.
"Thanks. For walking me home I mean."
"You're welcome, Maya."
I started toward the front door again and went inside. I peeked out the little side window by the door, he was still standing there, and it looked like he was staring right at me. I hastily ducked away from the window, and ran up the stairs, in the dark, towards my room. I closed my door and kept the light s off. I carefully peeked out my window. He was gone. I felt a little disappointed.'Why?' I thought. I've never had a boy like me before nor have I ever opened myself up to any boy that I had a crush on in school. I never understood dating, it seemed like a waste of time to me, all you do is make out, fill each other up, say "ILY" in text and break up a week later. Superfluous, time wasted on a useless relationship that we both knew wasn't going to last anyway. I took a hot shower to compensate for the cold air I had just absorbed. I picked laptop up off the floor and turned it on, and checked my email. Nothing. I turned off my laptop and my lamp, and drifted off into a deep sleep.