She sat at her desk and stared longingly at his back hoping he would turn around. In that moment she knew that she disagreed with her mother’s favorite words of wisdom. She never opposed her mother but she just couldn’t agree with that one thought her mother loved expressing every time they were together. “Desires are unending my child. Once you get the thing that you want the most, you will instantly get bored and want something else,” her mother would nod knowingly.
“No. That is not true. All I want is Adam. God, I promise you. If I get him, I won’t ask for anything ever again. He is my only wish; my only prayer. Help me, almighty and I will do my best to repay you. I promise I’ll serve all of mankind. For he is as valuable as the entire world put together,” she wistfully concluded her mental conversation with her constant companion, God.
“Alright, don’t say I didn’t warn you about this, class! It’s surprise quiz time!” her Biology teacher announced chirpily, as if she were the provider of great news like that concerning the arrival of Robert Pattinson in class!
Maya exhaled loudly. He turned around and looked at her. She coyly looked away but thought she caught him smiling at her.
“You look happy, Maya! Do you think you’ll do well on today’s quiz?” Mrs. Michaels asked sweetly.
“Of course. That is exactly why I am blushing from ear to ear; I’m so excited about the quiz,” Maya retorted sarcastically. In her mind, of course. She wouldn’t dare speak so rudely to Mrs. Michaels. Or to anyone for that matter. She knew she was too nice for her own good but she just couldn’t get herself to hurt anyone. Her mother always advised her to be more assertive but try as she might, Maya could never retort back when Cara and her minions made fun of her fashion sense nor could she protest when they copied her homework.
Maya hated high school and couldn’t wait for it to be over. She looked at her note on the back of her book listing the days until the end of high school; eighty eight days left. She sighed and crossed out the neatly written numbers. The day was almost over; she had one less day to worry about. Yet as much as she anticipated the end of high school, she couldn’t help the intertwined feelings of regret and loss. Adam. The saving grace of her time at Greenville High. The sole reason she willed herself to get out of bed and make her way to school everyday. The reason Cara and her crew couldn’t upset her as much as they once did. One glance at those soulful, blue eyes and she would melt. She knew she sounded like a love sick, helpless loser but she couldn’t help it.
She didn’t know exactly what it was like to be in love but she was sure that what she felt for Adam came close to it.
Adam had become her reason for existence. She simply couldn’t imagine a life that didn’t include his face. Maya didn’t have any friends at school but she had found acceptance in an online community of social misfits like herself. Her closest friend was a girl she met online called Natalie. It was to Natalie that she recounted every detail of any encounter with Adam. Not that she had that many encounters with him. After a year, all she could manage was staring at him from a distance and then looking away as soon as he caught her staring.
She clearly remembered the first time she saw Adam. She had had a particularly terrible day at school. Cara had tripped her while she walked past in the lunch room and she had fallen flat on her face. Her food was all over her clothes, her nose hurt like hell and she had begun crying. All around her she heard laughter as her pain had yet again become pleasure for the entire school. She knew she shouldn’t give them the satisfaction of seeing her tears but she couldn’t deal with her life anymore. She was miserable and she just wanted to die. She rose and walked out of the hall, intending to never come back again.
She had silently cursed God for the misery he had put her through. Was it not enough that her father had left home when she was two and that her mother could never hold down a job? They had owed everyone they knew money back when she was in Cleveland and had no choice but to leave the city in the middle of the night. She cursed the very day they set foot in New York. While these thoughts ran through her mind and were transported to every inch of her body through her blood pulsing angrily, she walked into him. Her rage had made her blind and she couldn’t see the beautiful man in front of her eyes. When he backed away, she glanced at him and she couldn’t take her eyes off him. His beautiful face, his kind eyes, his shy smile, his tall frame, his muscular arms...It was as if she ran into a Greek God!
“I’m sorry, are you hurt?” he had asked in his velvety voice.
“Not anymore,” she had said breathlessly.
“I said I’m not hurt, thank you,” she managed while blushing uncontrollably.
“I’m Adam, by the way,” he said with a friendly smile.
“I’m Maya,” she had said shyly, smiling dumbly the whole time.
“You have twenty minutes left on the quiz,” Mrs. Michaels’ voice broke Maya’s reverie. Realizing that she had spent twenty minutes day dreaming, she focused on the quiz for the rest of the class. She couldn’t make up for the time lost but she was sure she would pass the test.
“Just add your papers to the pile on my desk as you leave, everyone. Read Chapter ten before class tomorrow,” Mrs. Michaels called out to the teenagers waiting to get out of class. Maya was the last to leave and inevitably got stuck assisting Mrs. Michaels.
“Maya, sweetie, can you arrange all these papers alphabetically?”
“Sure,” she said when what she really wanted to say was “Actually, I have to get home so I can talk to my friend online and obsess about a guy who refuses to make a move on me.”
She was peeved that she had to waste ten minutes of her time arranging the papers but a part of her was excited to see his name on paper. She wouldn’t get much time but she would like to see how he wrote his name. One’s handwriting was said to reveal a lot about one’s personality, after all.
Ten minutes later, she just had one paper left and she hadn’t found Adam’s test yet. “This must be it,” she thought as she grabbed the last sheet, expectantly. However, she found the name ‘Marshall Lewis’ scrawled on it. “But how could this be?” she thought exasperatedly. Where was Adam’s paper? How could the name she was looking for so desperately escape her vision? She had been meticulous in her search for his paper and she knew she hadn’t missed seeing it.
“What’s wrong, Maya? You look confused,” inquired Mrs. Michaels.
“It’s just that I-um, Mrs. Michaels-I was looking for a paper of my-my-uh friend and I didn’t see it in this pile.”
“You must have missed it, Maya. There are forty one papers, after all. What’s your friend’s name?”
“Adam. Adam uh-well I don’t know his last name-but he sits diagonally opposite to me.”
“Adam? There’s no Adam in this class…”
“What? That’s impossible. Adam’s been in this class since the beginning of this semester. I know because I’ve been staring at him in class every day for the entire semester! He’s tall, has blue eyes…he’s gorgeous! How could you miss him?” Maya asked panicking. “Mrs. Michaels must not know everyone by name. It must be easy to forget a quiet boy who joined Greenville High in the middle of the year and only took her class for one semester”, her mind reasoned with her.
But her instincts told her something was wrong. She struggled to breathe as several alarm bells went off in her mind.
“Maya, sweetie, are you okay? Calm down, darling. I honestly don’t know who you are talking about. If this Adam boy looks anything like your description, then trust me, I would have remembered him!”
Mrs. Michaels walked towards the benches. “Where did you say he sits, Maya?”
Shakily, Maya pointed at Adam’s seat.
Mrs. Michaels remained silent for an excruciating moment before saying the words Maya was dreading.
“That seat has been empty for the entire semester, Maya”
“I-I’m just-I’m going to go now,” Maya muttered.
“Wait! Maya! We need to talk about this! I’m getting really worried.” Mrs. Michaels called out but Maya was already half way though the door.
As she rushed out, she heard two girls speak in hushed tones.
“That’s her! Yes, the pale girl in the red jersey. She’s a total freak! She’s in my Biology class. I promise, all she does is stare at the seat where Patrick used to sit before his accident. It’s like she can see him sitting there or something! And Natasha told me she’s seen Maya stare at Patrick’s bench during lunch break and then look away coyly every two minutes! Completely psycho!”
She felt breathless. She needed some air. She just wanted to get out of the building but was stuck behind groups of carefree teenagers walking leisurely to their cars. She resisted the urge to push all the happy kids away. Their biggest worry was that they might fail their tests the next day; hers was that she was a crazy person.
She finally managed to get out of Greenville High. She thought inhaling February’s winter air would make her feel better but all that did, was make her feel colder than she had ever felt in her entire life. She shivered as she realized the impact of all that had happened that day. Adam, her sole reason for existence, didn’t exist. The boy whose attention she craved was a figment of her
imagination. She was shattered. The kids at school had always thought she was strange but she never agreed with them. She had always known that she wasn’t a freak but she couldn’t be so sure, anymore.
Her past “encounters” with Adam flashed through her mind. She always wondered why Cara never hit on a guy as gorgeous as Adam and now she knew. The way he’d vanish right after class was no longer a mystery. The reason her classmates sniggered during Biology was not because they wanted to shred whatever little level of confidence she had, it was because she had an imaginary friend at sixteen.
Adam. A-d-a-m. As she repeated the name in her mind, she realized something she never had before. The word ‘mad’ was part of his name.
Tears of fear rushed down her face. She recalled watching a movie where the reason the protagonist saw people who didn’t exist was because he had schizophrenia. The movie claimed that he had a beautiful mind but she felt like she could do without her mind if it was going to play sick games with her.
“Do without her mind”. That thought sparked a sudden realization within her. In that moment, everything was lucid. The confusion she had experienced in the last half an hour was replaced by the answer. She knew why Adam had come into her life. Or why she had invented him, rather. For the second time that day, she thought back to the first time she met Adam. It had been her darkest hour and she had resolved to end her life. She had felt completely hopeless and had felt like her usually unswerving companion, her God had deserted her too.
She had no reason to live. She knew her mother would be miserable but she was too selfish to notice anything other than her sorrow, that day. All she wanted was a solution and the only solution she could find, entailed her ending her life. And that was when God manifested himself. In the form of Adam. God knew she needed a reason to live and he created one for her.
Her theory may have seemed illogical to some but to her, it was more logical than mathematics. The mind was known to have immense power. Bestselling books claimed that the mind had the ability to convert thoughts into reality and that day, she had discovered that her mind had the power to convert an unspoken, deep set desire into a physical form. Adam was born out of her unmet desire to be loved. And while she knew she wouldn’t see him again, she couldn’t wait to see what life had in store for her. Her eyes had finally opened. She had found ever lasting love. She had discovered a love for life.
© Copyright 2016 Anjali Kirpalani. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Literary Fiction
Poem / Poetry
Poem / Poetry
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