What's In a Converse?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
We all have a person like this in our lives even if we haven't met them yet. They're out there.

Submitted: May 10, 2008

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 10, 2008



What’s In a Converse?

 “Open.”Eden commanded the door, hoping that she’d somehow developed telekinesis in the three minutes that had passed since the last time she tried to will the door open. She’d been sitting in the hallway outside her anthropology class for twenty minutes already, waiting for the class ahead of hers to leave so she could get her grade on the paper she’d turned in almost a week ago. Now she was getting so anxious in the final ten minutes separating her from her grade that she’d sunk to staring at the immovable wood door from her place in the uncomfortable bench and trying to make it open with telekinetic powers she didn’t even possess. The waiting was pure agony that followed her all over her college campus, looming over her shoulder as she brushed her teeth in her dormitory bathroom. As she slept, worry hung over her bed like an icy wind that wouldn’t stop blowing. Had she known when she turned in the paper that it wasn’t going to be coming back to her for seven days as opposed to the two that her teacher had promised, she would have rationed her stress better. Rather than freaking out non-stop for a whole week over the grade she would have given herself a few days of relaxation. Then again, Eden probably wouldn’t have bothered with rationing - it wasn’t like her unease over this grade was in short supply. She had plenty to go around.

“Open.” She ordered again, her word lazily bouncing around the empty hallway going nowhere and achieving nothing. Alas, her best effort had failed and the barrier remained completely resolute. Likewise she remained sealed outside, isolated in the vomit-green hallway and catching the faint voices of the other class ooh-ing and ah-ing over their grades. Thankfully the walls deadened their covetous voices. For a moment, Eden let herself forget that the walls, like the door, were her enemy because they obstructed her path to her grade. Then the moment passed and she went back to being as pissed at these plaster walls as Mongols were at the Great Wall of China.

Eden opened her mouth to demand the door open once more, but silenced herself when she suddenly found she wasn’t alone anymore. Another early-bird had appeared, obnoxiously bopping along to some song on her CD player. Eden’s consistent parade of anxiety over her grade was briefly interrupted when she was struck by the massiveness of the girl’s player as it came into her line of sight like a UFO. Pompous and commanding in its size, her CD player seemed to arrogantly rebuke the slimness and anorexic appearance more modern mp3 players strove for as they shamelessly tried to out-thin the competition. Eden drew her eyes away from the player and realized she knew who the girl was. Suddenly, she didn’t blame the CD player for its attitude as it had obviously just developed it from exposure to the bitch who owned the player.

This girl, Eden unfortunately knew too well because she sat next to her in their anthropology class. Her name was Delaine and from overhearing one conversation Delaine had with another of their classmates Eden had quickly discovered the kind of girl she was. She was a valley-girl trying to turn skater punk and failing. She dropped “like’s” and “omigod totally awesome’s” in-between stories of her trials with underground concerts and skating around downtown. She was consistently contributing to class discussions, but never saying something even remotely useful.

For example, a couple weeks ago when the class was getting back the grades from their first test one kid had asked if there was a curve. The teacher answered “Yes” and for no particular reason Delaine chose this moment to inform the entire class that she “honestly, like, didn’t have a clue what a curve was.” Like the teacher, Eden had assumed that such a statement was Delaine’s unique little way of asking someone to explain the concept to her. Eden had no problem with this. It didn’t bother her at all when someone admitted they didn’t know something and genuinely longed to garner an explanation. However, Delaine not only didn’t know what a curve was, but also couldn’t care less. She made this clear when she started cleaning out her fingernails and doodling aimlessly in her notebook while the professor started trying to explain it to her. Apparently, she didn’t want to cloud her brain with information outside of skateboarding and her cliché alternative/punk anarchy music. She seemed to brandish her ignorance like it was some kind of honor to not give a rat’s ass how a curve worked. It was like she was really saying to the class, “I’m too cool to know what a curve is,” just in case they hadn’t gotten the memo that she was a bad-ass.

Eden wasn’t awarded acknowledgment when Delaine took a seat on the bench too. In her defense, someone else had joined them in the hallway and he was apparently much more deserving of Delaine’s attention. Eden knew the boy too. His name was James and even though he appeared to be friends with Delaine, Eden had a much more forgiving attitude towards him. Something about the glazed look that took over his eyes and the listless responses he gave when she was talking, assured Eden that he too thought Delaine’s whole “punk” act was pretentious and hollow. Then again, Eden could be completely wrong about him. James’s glaze could be a sign of unalterable adoration, but if Eden were to admit something like that, she’d feel much guiltier about liking him.

James had long, straight blonde hair that cascaded past his shoulders making him look like Ivanka Trump from behind. In fact, before she’d learned his name Eden had playfully called him “model hair” in her head. He also had this earnest disposition of a hopeless romantic who was waiting for his leading lady to appear. Even the bag of chips and Mountain Dew in his hand looked like a modest bouquet of roses he was preparing to present to his sweetheart in the unlikely event she turned the corner into their hallway, lit by the radiating pea-green light.

Delaine pounced on him the minute he came to a stop outside the classroom and leaned innocently against the wall beside the bench the girls shared. Immediately she started rattling off all the wild and crazy antics she’d gotten into over the weekend and Eden just imagined James’s eyes glazing over as he pretended to listen to Delaine but drowned her out with a Bob Dylan song he played in his head. Eden kept her head firmly affixed in the book that was in her lap and just kept counting the minutes until she got her grade. Not even Delaine could distract Eden from the impending doom she faced. She needed this grade to be good. She needed it to be excellent and stamped over and over again with encouraging notes.

If she could just get an “A” on this paper, she’d know she wasn’t slaving away at this school for nothing. She’d know that it wasn’t a bad move to cast off her mother’s wishes for Medical school in favor of anthropology. If her teacher would just be a decent human being and give her the “A” she deserved and needed so badly, Eden would actually go back to her dorm not dreading another evening watching her three roommates celebrate their solid gold bond and keep her out of everything they did. Anxiously, Eden checked her watch; five minutes to go until the class got out. More people were filing into the hallway and clumping into their little groups while Eden just sat waiting for her grade. None of them bothered her with their meaningless chit-chat, but for some ungodly reason someone decided to disturb her with a ridiculously loud screech only equivocal to that of a banshee with a nail jammed in its paw.

“Do you have high-tops?!” the loud voice screamed in Eden’s right ear.

All of a sudden some snake or other constricting creature had popped into Eden’s bubble of personal space, shattering the fragile amount of peace Eden had sprinkled in with her unwavering angst. Eden looked down to her ankle and found that Delaine had grabbed onto the bottom of Eden’s jeans and was wrenching them half-way up Eden’s calves to get a good look at her ankles. As to why this girl would do such a thing, Eden had no idea.

The incandescent light overhead seemed to reflect off the excessive paleness of Eden’s legs that suffered from the phenomenon of Irish skin. Not only that, but the light glinted off the red hairs on her legs that she’d failed to shave over the last couple of days since the weather had been so unnaturally cold. Never before had Eden been so ashamed of any one part of her body and this was only four inches of leg between the bottom of her jeans and her converse sneakers, which weren’t high-tops.

Disappointment flooded Delaine’s face as she saw that Eden’s ankles weren’t covered by black shoe canvas, but that was hardly the reason Eden was blushing. Her face was rapidly turning the same color of her hair at the thought of James seeing her Teen Wolf legs. Violently, Eden ripped her jeans out of Delaine’s clutches and put her jeans back where they rightfully belonged. Once she’d contained her ankles she paused for a moment to give Delaine a chance at explaining herself. Maybe an apology was a stretch, but surely she’d say something, right?

Delaine furrowed her brow as she seemingly accepted that Eden’s converses weren’t as cool as she so desired and then opened her mouth to speak, “Don’t worry, they’re still cool.” She assured Eden, turning back to James, apparently finished playing with her Eden doll because she had sub-standard footwear. How very thoughtful of her to realize that Eden might need assurance that her shoes were still acceptable according to the standards of a girl she basically couldn’t stand. What a humanitarian she was.

“Two more minutes and its over.” Eden assured herself, checking her watch again and rolling her eyes as she slipped back into invisibility. She then tried to keep from imagining what she might do if they got into class and Delaine got a better grade than Eden. This girl didn’t want an “A” the way Eden did. To her, one grade on one paper in one class that wasn’t even in her major meant nothing. In fact, she might consider it a scab on her reputation and end up telling people she’d barely pulled of a “C.” Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be the first time that Delaine had gotten a good grade on something she didn’t even try to study for. And after the display over the converses, she would have to pay for it if she got a better grade today and shrugged it off like it was nothing.

When the door to the classroom opened two and a half minutes later and the class ahead of theirs started pouring out, Eden had already decided that she would be whacking Delaine over the head with her converse if she A) got an undeserved “A” or B) asked if there was a curve on the essay grades.

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