That stupid bird was really testing my limits. Its black-feathered wings had been flapping above my head for hours (okay, maybe only for 25 minutes). Dirty black feathers rained down on me in the humid air.
The black bird was always there at the riverside. Sometimes it flies around the slope, where I was sitting, and hang around people like a crazy stalker until they leave. I suspected it to be the old drunk stalker type if it's in human form, I mean, the way it flies around, wiggly and unstable, totally a drunk.
I looked up at the sky, where I only found nothing but gray. It was a cloudy day. According to my classmate, Ruby, who has been constantly convincing me to change her title from a 'classmate' to a 'friend', I don't look like the type of people that adore sunshine, at all. My pale skin tells people that, and my overly dark depression aura (also according to Ruby), and my blank expression, which others considered as 'death stare'. In other people's point of view, I was supposed to be dark and gloomy, like a vampire living in underwater sewers.
Only their assumption was wrong.
I do not avoid sunlight; in fact, I rather enjoy it.
Having pale skin doesn't mean I avoid sunlight, it's only a status of me hard to get tanned. As for depression, that's just personal opinions. Ruby, too, was a depressed person (like a real one). But she was totally okay with people calling her depressed, or fat, or rude, or basically anything negative. When people do that, she would just tug her hideous messy black hair (literally so black that you'll feel like it's a black hole that will suck you up when you look at it) behind her ear, glare at that person with her tired eyes which have extreme dark shadows underneath, and say, "Well suck it up and get over it."
For adult, depression is a bad thing. They try to find ways to get through it, and hoping for a happier way of living. But when they're always asking for more, they never see what they already have, and this is never ending. Somehow, they expected the same thing from us. It seemed like adults assumed just because we are young, we have to be oh-so-happy-go-lucky all the time, and when we aren't, there's a problem. They will try to get involved in the situation and make everything worse, which refers to them as 'helping'.
Just as plenty of other people on this planet, my teachers find me extremely ill from depression. The counseling office was bad enough, don't even mention the teachers who think they know me more than I do, and try to teach me life lessons that I don't really care about.
This morning at Starbucks, I was having a neutral chat with Ruby like we usually do, and this question popped up.
Ruby: "You remember people always ask you what you wanna do in the future when you're a kid?"
Ruby: "I used to wish I would be happy when I grow up."
Ruby: "But now I think about it, I don't wanna become one of those adults."
Ruby: "Do you think they wanted to be happy when they're young, too? Like, yeah?"
Me: "Yeah, but I feel like they wanted it so badly they became unhappy and started to fool themselves to pretend to be happy."
Ruby: "Those dumbasses."
For Ruby, and me, depression is a normal thing. Just because we're depressed doesn't mean we don't have a life, we still eat, sleep, and do whatever. For us, being depressed was a daily activity, like breathing. Just because there are dark circles under Ruby's eyes doesn't mean she's unhealthy, just because I look scary doesn't mean I actually am. And of course, like all depressed people, we talked about suicide, a lot, but that was never an option. Not because we were afraid of death, but because we were too much of a coward to bare the pain that comes before achieving eternal peace. That's what I fear more than death, pain.
I looked up at the sky again, still gray. The air smelled like pre-raining humidity and dirt. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, still facing the sky. When I exhaled and opened my eyes, a person was staring back at me from above.
I shrieked. Yeah. Shrieked.
The boy got startled too, he quickly moved aside. I stood up and wiped the dust off the back of my jeans. The boy was about my age, he was in a dodger blue t-shirt and black denim pants. In anyway to make the situation more awkward, he was smiling at me.
I looked away then back at him, he was still staring at me, still smiling. He looked relaxed with his hand in his pocket, his body kinda tilted to the left. We stared at each other for what seemed like forever, and then I finally gestured to get passed him.
"Oh, sorry." his voice was light and smooth.
"Thank you." I said while I passed around him, heading down the slope. I was about to take out my iPod when I heard rustling behind me. I turned to bump into someone's chest.
"Sorry, I didn't see that you're stopping." he said.
I gave him a blank stare and continued walking, soon enough, I heard rustling again. I turned my head to find him still behind me, smiling. I stopped.
"Umm, do you want to get passed?" I asked flatly.
He smiled at me, cocking his head to the side, and smiled even wider.
"Excuse me?" I asked again.
"What? Oh, you're talking to me?"
I gave him a blank stare.
"Oh no, I don't want to get pass, I was just wondering where you're heading to."
"I guess you can say I was following you."
"Yeah." he said with a chuckle, "I was wondering if we can hang out sometimes."
I glared at him. He chuckled and looked at me.
"Umm...is this like a truth or dare thing?" I asked, "Well just go tell whoever dared you to talk to me that my name is Ruby, and I hate sunlight."
I turned away but he caught up.
"Dude, you just don't give up do you?" I said, irritated.
"No, you got it wrong! I actually want to hang out, like, friends?"
He nodded, and I looked straight into his eyes, like I always do to people. I may not be that good of a liar, but I'm confident in my ability to see through lies. And unfortunately, he's not lying. I sighed.
"Are you some sympathetic church dude who wants me to join church because I look terrible?"
"So you are? Okay, here's the deal, I don't believe in the encouragements and prayers, and I really don't need help, okay? I believe in science and fairytales, and that god is way too busy to look after us. So please find some other people, thank you."
The boy looked at me, astonished. I ignored him and walked away.
For god's sake.
"Didn't your parents teach you that walking off people while they're talking is rude?" he caught up next to me. I kept walking.
"No. Didn't your parents teach you not to talk to strangers?"
He took a step closer to me, and I moved away.
"So you're name's Ruby?"
"Then why did you say so?"
I ignored him.
"My name is Cole, Cole Chen."
I continued ignoring him.
"So anyway, I live nearby, so do you want to hang out sometimes? Like, today, or tomorrow, or something."
"Why do you assume that I want to hang out with you?"
"Because the book said you will."
"What?" I stopped walking.
"So tomorrow maybe?"
"What is wrong with you? Why do you keep following me? Are you a creepy stalker or something? Or you want money?" I slipped my hand into my pocket and pulled out 20 bucks, "Here, take this and leave me alone!"
I sounded more aggressive than I thought I would be. The boy clearly got startled too, because his smile disappeared into a frightened look.
"I...I'm sorry, I wasn't planning to bother you, I just..." he trailed off. I looked at him; he's still in shock. I started to feel guilty for yelling at him.
"Alright, I'm...umm...I'm sorry for freaking out on you, it's just that I..." I rubbed my left shoulder, pain shot through my entire arm. "I'm sorry."
"Hey," he took a step forward, "it's okay. Don't sweat about it."
I took two steps back, he had his playful smile again, and stepped up again, I started to feel uncomfortable.
"Uhh..." I stepped back again, suddenly regret the fact that I apologized to a total stranger, possibly even a stalker.
"So can we hang out? Tomorrow?" he sounded way too excited.
"Why do you want to hang out with me?" I snapped.
He looked at me with a disillusioned look, then he smiled mysteriously. That smile actually looked good on him. Crap.
"What?" I asked.
"Well someone's a bucket full of sunshine today." Ruby said as I gave an innocent classmate a 'real' death glare when entered the classroom. I tossed my bag onto my desk, the poor desk led out a tiny squeal. I pulled out my chair and plopped down. Ruby was sitting in the seat next to me; she set down the third book of Maze Runner she was reading and started twisting her black pen in an awkward motion.
After 45 minutes, I started to relax a bit.
"Hey, should we go get some food in break time?" I asked
Ruby held up one hand, and we did a high-five.
"Now you finally stopped being so scary. Great. I was dying of awkwardness and the nervousness of thinking how you will kill
everyone and I'll have to help you clean up the corpses."
"Yeah I noticed that."
"Good. So, how come you looked so very extra eager to come to school today?"
"I need you to lend me 2 bucks."
"Sure. So why were you so joyful?"
"Don't use anything related to that term on me."
"But that's literally you!"
"Fine! Be that way!" she swung her hands around in the air like she always does when she tries to be exaggerated. "Can we go back to the topic now?"
"What was the topic again?"
"Dude! You never listen!"
"You know I'm half deaf most of the time right?"
"I do know that you shut your f'n ears up all the time. Agh! Whatever! So what happened? Someone waked you up while you're still sleeping this morning?"
"Right on, hypoglycemia evil lord. Someone touched you?"
"Okay, someone's being stupid and slow."
We both turned our heads to see the window; it was a cloudy day again, but the clouds were more like gainsboro and light grey, far better than yesterday.
"Well, that has to pay part responsibility, but no."
"You didn't get to take a shower yesterday?"
"Nope. Dude, how can that even count?"
"Last time you left school too late and woke up too late and you didn't get to wash your hair..."
"Right. Let's just not talk about that."
"Come on dude! Just tell me what happened!"
I rested my head on my hand and leaned on the desk, I looked at Ruby, just staring at her in the eyes. She started to become more and more awkward, she looked away and then back again, and she noticed that I'm still looking.
"Okay fine!" she gave up, "Stop staring! Gosh! You know you can kill people by just staring at them, like seriously dude! What?"
"What what?" I asked innocently.
She gave me an unbelievable look.
"Fine, I'll tell you, but don't laugh too hard."
"So yesterday after meeting you..."
"Joy Chou!" Ms. Wu, my homeroom teacher was standing on the stage with a paper. "Best playwright, come get your certificate."
I stood up and slowly moved toward the podium, I felt my feet getting heavier and heavier every step I took. Scattered applause rose up the room, only about four or five people were actually clapping their hands. I took that paper, the certificate of me being the best playwright. I thanked Ms. Wu and returned to my seat.
"What what?" Ruby asked. I shoved the certificate into my bag.
"What did you say?"
"Oh, I was just asking could you not win anything? Playwright? Seriously?"
"So about what happened."
I unlocked the door and entered. The room was dark and cold, I turned on the light immediately, and I moved to every room in the house and turned on all the lights. I tossed my bag onto my bed and went to check what's left in the fridge, and apparently, there's nothing. I left the house to go get some food from the convenient store next to my house, it started raining when I was about to go home, so I walked back in the rain, because I was just too lazy to run. When I unlocked the door again, my mom was sitting on the sofa watching Korean soap opera.
I closed the door and went straight to my room. I finished my dinner in my room, while watching Naruto Shippuden on my computer. Not for a long time, I started hearing my mother's voice, yelling something to her employees through her phone. So I putted on my headphone and started to play some rock music.
I didn't count the time that passed, but my mom suddenly crashed into my room. I took off my earphone, and my mom started to go through my drawers.
"Mom, what are you doing?”
She kept turn over my shelves and drawers again and again, tossing my things on the ground.
"Mom, What are you doing?"
She opened one drawer where I kept my acrylic paints, and she dropped all the glass containers onto the ground.
"Mom! What are you doing!"
The slap came out of nowhere.
I felt hot blitzes prickling my cheek. The oxygen in my lungs got sucked up all of a sudden, and I couldn't hear anything but buzzing noise in my ears and the sound of my mother going through my shelves.
"Where's my camera?" she stopped and looked at me.
"What...?" I whispered.
"Where's my camera? Give me my camera! YOU TOOK IT!" she yelled.
"I didn't take it!" I started yelling as well, "You brought it to Hong Kong on your last trip!"
She grabbed my hair with one hand, and pulled me up.
"I didn't! You took it!"
"I didn't take it!"
A smash to the wall.
"Give my camera back!"
"I didn't take your camera!"
A head bud to the wall.
"GIVE IT BACK!" she started screaming and yelling, smashing me to the wall. I struggled to break free, but I can't feel anything but blood dripping down my face.
"Stop it! STOP!" I kicked her in the guts and screamed. She looked at me in shock for a second, but that soon turned into fire of anger in her eyes. She started hitting me aimlessly, and I pushed her away.
"Stop it!" I felt a lump in my throat; my voice was dry and broken, "Stop."
"Where’s my camera?" she asked in a small voice.
"I didn't take your camera." I swallowed up the lump.
"Where's my camera! Give me back my camera!"
"I didn't take it!"
"YOU'RE A LIAR! GIVE IT BACK TO ME!"
Another smash into the wall. My vision slowly blurred away. I squeezed my eyes shut and opened my eyes again, a small pound of blood was on the ground, blood dripped down from my chin onto the floor.
I took one hard breath after another, and finally looked up and said, "I didn't take it."
"You are lying!"
"I didn't take it." I started sobbing then.
"You need a good beating."
"I'M 15 YEARS OLD MOM! I'M GODDAMN 15! WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO STOP BEATING THE SHIT OUT OF ME?"
Tears drift down my face, mixing with blood. I got a clear view of my mother; she was looking back at me in disapproval. I pushed her aside and ran out of the house.
I didn't remember when I started crying, because of my mother's training, I learned to cry without making a noise. I ran on the street, nobody's there to keep me company except for streetlights. I ran till my lungs can't take it anymore, and I stopped under a streetlight, where I feel more safe since I'm alone in the night on the street at 2 a.m. I started to vomit, crying and vomiting and loosing blood at the same time wasn't a pleasant feeling, I continued to retch when I got nothing left in my stomach to throw out. My head felt dizzy, but I was able to pull myself together and walked to another lamp pole. I sat down next to it, I didn't have any tears left, so I just sat there, resting, until I see the first ray of the morning sun.
© Copyright 2016 KOA. All rights reserved.