I remember a girl, back when I was really little. We got along fairly well, like second or third removed cousins. But to everyone else, she was a crazy grandma who removed everyone from her will. Perhaps it was because she was significantly larger and stronger than most of the boys. And not only they hated her.
She was an outcast to everyone in the school. Even some of the teachers. Everyone always said that she was mean towards them, but can you really trust 8 year old minds? Or 75 year old ones? I just remember her as someone taller than me, bigger than me, but nothing to scorn at. But what do or did I know? I was just a guy staring at clouds all day. I was much more weird than her, but I suppose I got lucky.
She was always nice to me, though. I was never able to understand why everyone else hated her. Maybe I never will. If I weren’t so quiet, perhaps this could have changed. I suppose I’ll never know that either.
I remember a field trip I had with my classes, and for the first few hours, it was great. I got to learn about marine animals, though I can’t remember any facts about them now. It was so weird, being out of the school at an age where I can actually remember it. Even being on the school bus there was exhilarating. I had a window seat and looking out up in the dark blue sky and wispy clouds, it felt like I truly was going somewhere magical.
Then, we had lunch there.
The way it worked was that each student was put in separate groups, and would reconvene for lunch in a lunchroom. My five other friends, in separate groups, went out before me, and took a large table. However, there were only 5 seats for the six people there. As such, I asked one of the staff members if I could move a chair, and just for today, I could. As such, I thought there was nothing else to it and moved the chair, making an, admittedly, awful noise with it.
Another staff member and one of my school’s teachers came over and started yelling at me. As soon as I said that I moved the chair, they told me I couldn’t, so I moved it back. I then suggested that I could stand next to the table, which I thought wouldn’t be an issue. After all, no one ever said I couldn’t.
The teacher then said that I was being disrespectful, and that I wasn’t allowed to go on the rest of the week long field trips. For five minutes, or however long it actually took, this went on. Eventually, I was banished towards another empty table, waiting for lunch to end, eating a soggy peanut butter jelly sandwich. At least it was next to a window, where I could stare off into the outside world, blurred with my tears, no cloud in the sky.
I remember a play…actually I don’t remember actually performing it. I remember practicing for it, emphasizing my lines. I remember being proud when my teacher brought me over to the other fifth grade class, showing off what I could say, shout, emotionally emphasize. I was ecstatic.
I was always the quiet one, the one that teachers could point to when the class was unruly and ask why they weren’t like me. It didn’t feel like a badge of honor, and I didn’t know how to stop it. If I was no longer quiet, would anyone recognize me? So, I kept quiet.
When I was brought around, I took upon this chance to reinvent myself, be a normal person. I observed around and looked at what others were doing my whole life, so why couldn’t I be there? I could crack jokes, be funny, laugh way too loudly and annoy everyone else. That’s what normal people do, right?
I was arrogant, rash, annoying. I wasn’t really a friend to all before, and I certainly wasn’t after my change. All I had to show was an endorsement from my teacher about an elementary school play that I don’t even remember doing.
A New One
I remember a time, not too long ago. I tried really hard to reinvent myself, trying to stop being what I was before. I’ve seen new people, a cast of characters intriguing and fun to be around with, feeling more at home around relative strangers.
So, when I ended up being with my friends, I thought it would be even better, after being trapped in a closet filled with black boxes and deafening silence. It was stranger than that. I felt estranged.
To be fair to myself, I tried to converse with them. I’ve been too quiet, even though I’m sure I wasn’t. I tried to say something, but no one except some of my closest friends would respond. Eventually, my friends turned into people I know, and then some people I didn’t. I thought novelty was one of my allies, but it backstabbed me, turning me into a side character in my own story.
Eventually, I stopped trying to talk to them. I figured that I just simply was hopping in at awkward moments, so I would wait. I could be patient, polite. I don’t think I talked to many of my friends for a week, or a while, even being less than six feet away. Just to my closest, and to others outside that friend group, who seemed to notice before they did.
Once the bell tolled, I would walk away quickly, maybe even early sometimes, disguising my motives as a need to get to the next class. But I just simply felt like doing something, anything. Anything to get away from these people I did not speak with. And towards the people I did.
I don’t know why I kept going back each day. Maybe out of hope.
I remember long walks across a dirt road. When I was tired after a long run around the block, I would go to the secluded path and start pacing. They weren’t lengthy in length, but in time. I would trace, back and forth, back and forth, thinking about things.
Usually, there wouldn’t be a cloud in the sky. Or it would be completely full, pitch gray. It’s probably because I ran in the early mornings, where I could hear actual roosters. Away from all the other distractions.
It’s funny. I would say that I felt the best during this period of my life, perhaps better than I’ve ever been. During these walks though, I’d often think of anything but happiness. Guilt, anger, loneliness. It was unsettling the first time, and I don’t know why I kept walking.
I’d laugh a lot during these walks, just because I could. Maybe because I had to. It was my uncomfortable comfort hobby. If I had the chance, I would go, and I would regret everything during these introspective sessions. But I don’t regret any of it now. Still don’t.
Maybe one day, I won’t go through the five stages every time I go across the dirt path. Maybe. I’ll probably miss those, though.
I’ve been harping all along about all the bad experiences of my life. It’s what‘s easiest, the things that come to mind. Mine, at the very least, tends to remember all the things that make me sorrow, cringe, anger.
I can’t really remember any significant happy memories. Anything remotely close usually approaches a bad one anyway, soured by the things that come after it.
But now, as I gaze upon my computer, writing about the things of the past, perhaps that’s why I can’t remember anything good. The past is corrupted, shattered, nothing like the original event. The present is where my mind stops breaking down the interactions between people and assuming the worst of it.
Just a few hours before writing this, I had a great interaction with one of my closest friends, where we just talked about things that came to us. However, while I still have that glimpse of joy, my brain is hard at work making that happiness irrelevant, replacing it with annoyance at, myself? I just don’t know.
So, maybe for now, I’ll write about the things that’s happening right now. The barbeque smell from the neighbors next door, who always do it late at night. The sun setting below the horizon, letting off beautiful pinks and oranges. And the clouds, high up in the sky.