So this month, I got really excited because I joined all sorts of new activities–I'm Pretrial Attorney for our school's Mock Trial, I joined History Bowl (one of the top ten teams in the nation), and I was recruited to help edit the school's literary magazine. The cherry on top (please pardon the cliche phrase), however, was finding out that this year's spring musical would be Les Miserables, the greatest, in my opinion, musical of all time. I was ecstatic. I was literally on cloud #9 for the rest of the week and was still euphoric the following two weeks.
Today, I was crushed. Today, my dreams were shattered. Today, I discovered that History Bowl Nationals conflicts with every single spring musical performance date. And now I'm really sad.
(I'm overreacting, but I WAS SO PUMPED. Of course I'm not as good as the drama department people, but I have a decent voice and decent acting chops and I thought maybe I had a slight chance of getting a good role because I love this musical sosososososososo much!!!)
wonder if this is what her teachers saw when they looked upon her form–relaxed
yet graceful, calm yet slightly curious, a myriad of appearances. Her lips press
together serenely, eyebrows dormant, hands loose and unfolded on the table in
front of her.
Eyes. Deep, blue eyes blinking slowly at the
mirrored window. Eyes on us.
“This feels sick,” I murmur
to Reid, who’s had a hardened stare fixed upon the young girl for the past
“I’ll tell you what’s
sick,” he replies flatly. “Her torturing and murdering that boy in cold blood.”
He turns toward me, running his hand over his face in a long, tired movement.
“Just go in.”
Her eyes have been fixed on
mine for the past minute. Unwavering. Her eyebrows are slightly raised, her disposition
mild and bored, as if she’s questioning what I want with her.
let out a frustrated breath and look away; slithering droplets of sweat slowly
collect at the nape of my neck. Clearly, she’s not going to make things any
easier for me here. I automatically glance toward the window behind which I
know the other officers are watching and bite my lip in consternation. She’s no
ordinary criminal. Well, the unique part might be that she is
ordinary–ordinary, and slightly off the rails.
You know that feeling when you’ve killed one
huge, red-tinted spider on the loose, but you feel like there must be
more festering about in the room? Your skin squirms on your body and itches?
That’s the kind of feeling being within this girl’s radius gives me.
straighten my back and clap my eyes back on her; she’s still looking at me, but
now her mouth is slightly turned up at the corners, mockingly. Okay, she’s
definitely more than slightly off the rails.
“Let’s start with the most simple
question, shall we?” My rhetorical inquiry is met with a widening smirk.
“What’s your name?” Easy enough. If she lies, she’s either completely stupid or
answers right away. “Jane Doe.”
almost laugh, but catch myself. “You might as well be.”
smirk does not waver. “You obviously know my real name.”
incline my head slightly. “True. But there’s no need for the difficult
sigh, and decide to cut the crap. “Why did you do it?”
smirk transforms into a genuine smile and she actually looks human for a
moment–like a lovely, fresh-faced schoolgirl. “Stamp out that worthless
dipshit, you mean?” My expression must have twisted at her crass phrasing
because she flashes her teeth in a Cheshire cat-like half moon of indulgent
glee. “Relax. I’ve learned to call things as they are. We’re all being honest here, right?” Her eyes
drift casually to the mirrored window.
don’t answer, just keep my eyes trained on the girl.
laces her fingers together languidly, slowly. “He was deserving of his fate,”
she says softly. She sounds as if she is cooing at a child, comforting, sweet.
Her tone is grossly out of context.
of death at the age of seventeen? Deserving of not being able to live the rest
of his life?” I cannot help the biting edge that creeps into my words.
“Stay cool, Michael,” comes the warning in my earpiece. Reid. He knows
it’s my first interrogation. Why they would give me this girl, I do not
know. I silently curse my superiors and shake my head slightly, taking a deep
breath, closing my eyes. When I open them, I see ‘Jane Doe’ watching me with
half-lidded eyes, her lip curled in derisive pity. She can see right through
me. She understands and revels in my misery. I hate her for it, hate and fear
“Let me tell you my side of
the story.” She leans forward on her forearms and I can’t help but flinch at
the forward movement. She scornfully ignores that moment of weakness. “There was
this boy. A friend. Started out like any other, you know. It’s not like I
didn’t have other guy friends,” she shrugged. “Seemingly nice kid–normal. We
had the same friends, so obviously we spent quite a bit of time together. I
don’t even know how I ended up falling for him; he is–oops, excuse me, was–such
a moronic idiot.” She laughs. The sound is throaty and full, full of life and
charm. “The way he treated me was… flattering. It started out pretty subtly. He
would ask me for help in silly things, like psychology homework–general school
stuff, you know. The norm.” She pauses, almost as if she’s waiting for dramatic
effect. Then a sickening feeling comes over me as I realize she is allowing
time for the recorder to finish typing her words.
“It got worse. He stopped asking for easy
things, like a summary of a short story or an analysis of a poem, and started
pleading, begging”–she spits out the word–“for my work. That’s my
brain, you know, on three quarters of his junior year curriculum. Doesn’t
matter what class. Even in his science and math classes–regular, might I add,
not AP like mine–I knew more than he did. God!” She throws back her head and
barks out a rougher, sardonic laugh. “I was a fool. Plagiarism.” She
spits the word, and saliva actually flies from her mouth. I recoil, because any
part of her could be poisonous.“He basically plundered my brain, mashed
his grubby fingers in that precious material, and scooped out whatever he
pleased–messily, greedily.” She leans closer. “You should know that my thoughts
are most dear to me. I’m smart. I know that. I wouldn’t have gotten caught, you
know, if I hadn’t allowed it.”
That smile again. I shift
I wish I could correct your judgment of my being a psychopath and wittily
inform you that I am a ‘high-functioning sociopath,’ but unfortunately, I
can’t. I really am a psychopath. I plan meticulously–scheme, you might say–and I don’t really enjoy anyone’s company.
But the flamboyance is my weakness.” She winks, perversely, and I feel exposed.
“Crazy people don’t sit around wondering if they’re nuts; they get shit done.”
That sounds familiar. “Who said that?”
“Jake Gyllenhaal. From Proof.” Again, so
weirdly normal, yet not.
“Anyway,” she settles back,
crossing her long legs grandly, “I guess it’s unfair to say that little
shithead was completely stupid–he wasn’t a total idiot. He knew he could take
advantage of my feelings for him. I don’t even want to know what he was doing
while I was slaving away doing his work for him. Thank goodness his pathetic
life ended before college applications. Who knows what he would have put me
through then,” she snorts and looks away. She pauses again, and her eyes
narrow. “I really have to give him some credit. He must have gotten a kick out
of toying with me. He certainly knew how to manipulate me–me, can you
imagine–and make me feel like he felt the same, just to keep me going. It was
He was disgusting?
“Something about him–I
don’t quite know what, maybe his smile or the way he looked at me–was so
unfailingly alluring. The way he walked, maybe. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter
now, that’s all gone.” She waves her hand nonchalantly in dismissal. I envision
that same hand casually tossing the boy’s life into a garbage can. “So, I
decided I’d had enough of his enticing touches and snake-like words–I wanted
out. I stopped talking to him, avoided him; I didn’t want to be his friend
anymore. Friendship can’t work, you know, when one person wants more than the
other.” I start slightly at this oddly ordinary aphorism.
“It was depressing. I
missed him. He could be funny, of course, and I told you already about his
unending, subtle charms. I wrote a letter as catharsis, kind of a way of
“Like a love letter?”
She shrugs. “Call it what
you will, although that terminology is rather degrading and unimaginative. But
I never intended for him to see it; it was for my purposes only.” I nod,
signaling my comprehension and indicating for her to continue. When she’s
saying stuff like this, it’s easy to pretend she’s just another juvenile.
“Someone found the
letter–one of his bitch girlfriends.”
“Wait–he had multiple girlfriends at a time?” I
can’t stop my curiosity. What a soap opera.
“Keep your focus, Michael,” I hear Reid
murmur, though he sounds uncomfortably amused. “Don’t let her run the interrogation.”
“Like I said, I didn’t want to know. Ignorance
is bliss. I did hear rumors, though, about his string of…acquaintances.” She
wrinkles her nose delicately. “Anyway, showing the letter to him wasn’t enough
for that girl. Passing it around her friends, his friends, my friends,
wasn’t enough. Oh no–she had to go even further and put it online, make sure
that everyone, people who didn’t even know me or him, knew about the
situation. The pathetic girl who was hopelessly in love with an even more
pathetic boy!” She hisses through her teeth as she leans farther forward until
the ends of her long hair drag onto the silver table between us. And I swear I
see fire alight behind her demonic pupils.
“That’s cyber-bullying,” I inform her dumbly,
trying futilely to relax my hands’ grip on the sides of my cold chair.
Her eyes dim and she straightens, one corner of
her mouth lifting in amusement. She shrugs off-handedly. “Yeah, I know. But
it’s quite a sad term for such a horrendous offense, don’t you think? It’s not
just bullying. It’s tearing someone open and exposing her to the world. It’s
the demolition of pride and dignity.”
“You speak of it as if it’s an offense as
terrible as rape.”
She narrows her eyes at me. “Who’s to say that
one offense is more offensive than another? Do the people who make these laws
know how it feels to be plundered and left for dead? How do those ‘authorities’
know what it feels like to be put on public display and shamed? Do they? Do
they know?” She stops and catches her breath, seeming to remember
herself, and smiles a slow, hauntingly lovely smile. “Oh, I apologize. You’re
one of them.” She indicates the mirrored barrier. “I almost forgot. And
here we were having quite a pleasant conversation, weren’t we?”
Is this what you
would call pleasant?
As if she can read my mind, she bursts out
laughing, like she just told a brilliant joke and I’m the punch line. “Sorry.
Maybe not pleasant for you,” she says between chuckles.
I clear my throat awkwardly and wait for her to
collect herself before continuing. “So, that’s all there is to it? They
humiliated you and you decided to show them who was boss?”
She snorted. “You make it sound so childish. Please.
You have to admit the way I executed my plan was not childish at all.”
With the image of the young boy’s mutilated body branded on the inside of my
eyelids, I silently concede that she is certainly right about that, not that I
would ever openly admit it to her–not that I need to. She’s self-satisfied
“He brought it on himself. I mean, look, he
didn’t stop anything. He let the laughter, the jeers, come at me unhindered.
Actually carrying out a deed is one thing, but standing by and letting it
happen–that’s a crime too serious to be named.”
I raise my eyebrows, intrigued. “Oh yeah? How do
you figure that?”
“When you make the conscious decision to do
something, you tacitly take responsibility for it and its outcome. And you take
the initiative to do it. When you stand by and watch, you’re lying to yourself,
which is the worst thing you can do. You’re telling yourself that you’re
innocent because you’re not a part of it, even though you are. If you’re a
witness, you’re liable. There is always a choice.”
maybe she’s right about some things.
“You asked me why I did it. I’ll tell you why; it
wasn’t because of what they did. It wasn’t even really about revenge.
Sure, they might as well have gone back to the Middle Ages and done something
akin to drawing and quartering me like the English did to William Wallace. But
I can deal with humiliation, you know. I’m not a wuss. No, the last straw was
that they misconstrued my silence for concession–like I was giving up or
something. Like I was telling them they had won. They thought they’d beaten
me!” She lets out an incredulous laugh. “As if! Well, now they know, don’t
they? They can’t mess with someone like me. That’s why I left the rest of those
worthless, soulless worms alive, and took only the dipshit’s life for
indulgence. It’s just to show–never underestimate someone.”
I stare at her, trying to string together these
jigsaw pieces of words that are spilling out of her mouth. None of it seems to
go together, and yet, it makes perfect, twisted sense.
“You guys think you know people. You think
you’ve got them all figured out, like you can categorize them and file them
away into your adorable, individualized little boxes. You think you know what’s
possible in this world and what’s not, what’s right and what’s wrong. But you
see, you’re wrong. You don’tknow shit.” She leans back
against her chair and crosses her arms, smiling slightly. “Maybe I was teaching
you a lesson, too.”
I look back at her, into those wide, deep eyes.
Painfully confused. Entranced. Trapped. Like a mouse charmed by a snake. And I
wonder who truly has the upper hand between the two of us. For, in that moment,
it feels as if the tables have turned.
“Get the hell out of there, Michael.”
was fun talking to you,” a voice behind my fleeing figure calls, laughingly.
Worry–but not about him/her! Think about school, college, your fish, whatever.
Dive into your activities. Stay busy.
Be aloof. Be distant and glacial. This will allow you to empower yourself (sometimes this makes the person want you [more], but it's not a guarantee, and shouldn't be the motivating factor anyway).
Talk to your friends. Love them up! Remember how much they mean to you.
Look at some hot people. That might mitigate your overwhelming infatuation with this person.
Play loud music. That usually fixes a lot of brainfarts.
Be snarky and sassy (NOT pessimistic and depressed!).
Remember who is in control (you).
Don't target the person. Don't try to force things to happen. Let the chips fall where they may; go with the flow. Falling for someone can be really tumultuous and stressful, and the best way to remain peaceful is to let go of your expectations and just let be (think of Hamlet–"If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all. Since no man of aught he leaves knows, what is ’t to leave betimes? Let be.").
P.S. I dug this thing up from almost two years ago and edited a bit because I needed something to post. :P It's not really applicable to me right now hahaha. Just... FYI...
*UPDATE: Please don't be mean to the object of your affections, by the way. It's really not his/her fault if the feelings are not returned; no one can force himself/herself to summon certain emotions. And, in your efforts to bring some peace to your poor heart, don't be cold in your 'distancing'. That's not exactly what I meant. Stay friendly (because friends are good, and one could always use more friends)!
**UPDATE: I just realized that my favorite book series ever, Harry Potter, perfectly demonstrates what I'm saying here!! In The Order of the Phoenix, Ginny gets past the girly googly eyes so that they can finally be friends. One year later, they're together as one of the best canon couples ever! YAY!
He groans, guttural noises of complaint scraping from his throat. "This involves me too! I'm your fucking boyfriend!"
She throws him a withering look. "Uh huh, yeah, and as my "fucking boyfriend", I would expect you to support my decision, not whine about it like a baby!"
His eyebrows pull together in a crooked, upside-down V. "A baby? How am I being a baby?!"
She stares at him in glaring disbelief. "Um, maybe because you don't seem to understand that I'm just not ready to do this with you yet!"
"But–but–" he splutters, "that's just ridiculous! We've been together for–what–two years?! How could you not be ready?"
"I just value it way more than you, it seems," she grumbles. "This is a big deal to me, okay? I need you to understand that."
His chest fills with air and he lets it out in a long, resigned puff. He casts his eyes to the ground and his lower lip sticks out a bit. "I just don't see why you don't trust me," he mumbles, a little petulantly.
She tilts her head as her eyes soften and she lays a hand on his arm. "Look, I trust you, okay? Do you believe me?"
His eyes sneak a peek at her gentling face. "I guess..." he says hesitantly. "It's just that we've waited so long–"
"I know," she cuts in. She stops and visibly restrains herself. "I know," she repeats, more softly. "I just–this is a huge deal to me."
His lower lip sticks out a bit more and he shrugs childishly.
She sighs. "It's a part of me, you know? You just don't let go of those things that easily."
He eyes her with growing amusement. "Yeah, I can see that," he teases slightly.
She laughs and the tension between them finally snaps into light, dry pieces. "Shut up! You know how much I love Les Mis!"
"You look like your fingers are about to break," he chuckles, bringing his hands to hers and attempting futilely to loosen her death grip on the director's cut copy of the film.
"Hey!" She shoots him a warning look. "Keep that up and your fingers will be broken."
He holds his hands up in surrender. "Yeah, yeah, I get it. This is a big deal to you and I don't get to ruin it. Okay."
She huffs in annoyance. "I didn't say you would ruin it!! It's just that sometimes you're so... unappreciative… and… I don't know…it's my first time seeing the full version and… "
He laughs. "Yeah, I'd ruin it. It's okay," he smiles at her. "You should watch it with your fellow nerds. They'll make the experience better for you."
The knuckles return to their natural shade as her grip on the DVD loosens considerably. "Really?"
He nods, humor at the whole situation coloring his face.
"Thank you," she smiles radiantly at him and kisses him briefly with a quick smack. "I love you."
"I love you."
"One day, you'll be ready."
"One day, you'll be ready."
She laughs. "One day, we'll both be ready for this."