Fractures Always Heal

May 1, 2009

            I sat in my desk, cold, numbed, still heartbroken, but my senses were sharp. I could smell her shampoo, the perfume coming off her skin. It was my favorite sent in the world, like strawberries with a vanilla undertone. A fancy french dessert, or a Cream Saver. I breathed it in, deeply. It was driving me crazy; it always did. I examined the grains on my wood-based desk, trying my hardest to ignore her, but failing miserably. She turned around.
            “Hey, look…” Noelle said, slowly, from the desk in front of me, trying to grasp the attention of my averted eyes. But I wouldn’t give her that. Not after everything else I’d given her, my heart included.
            “Zane?” she said my name like a question, her voice a mask of innocence. But she was there, underneath, just as conceiving and devious as always. I knew she was. Despite the constant insistence of how she’s changed, I knew it was a lie. People never change. They can wear masks, yes, but they’re still inside of them, their careful charade dismantled by the ghosts of their past.
            As I subtly examined my desk, I realized my hands were clamped tightly on the edges, my knuckles white, fingers numb. I released my grasp, flexing my fingers and examining the points where I had cut off my circulation. No, I decided, ignoring her would do just fine.
            But then she leaned towards me, her hair tickling the lines in the wood that I was so deeply concentrating on and suddenly I could feel her breathing on my face. I ignored the tiny shiver that passed though me, the quickening of my pulse. My heart beat out of control, from nervousness and anger and a deep-seeded passion. I turned my head, pretending to pay attention to the lesson. I couldn’t even recall what class I was sitting in, but it didn’t matter.
            “I’m sorry.” She whispered, simply, convincingly. But yet at the same time, it wasn’t. It was more like a perfectly delivered line from a skilled actor. I knew she was that, at the very least.
              Still, my head snapped up, searching for her eyes. Her face was the picture of perfection, as was her blond hair, her expensive clothes… Her mood was displayed clearly on her face, sorrowful, disdainful. Except for her eyes. As I stared into her eyes, I could detect another, stronger emotion, burning under the surface of her careful mask. Laughter.
            She was laughing at my mere existence, at everything that she had done with me, to me, the pain she had inflicted. I could tell she was thriving in her power over me. To cause someone else, anyone else, that much emotion… she loved it. I tore my gaze away from her face and turned towards the door, hiding my eyes from her. A lump caught in my throat, and I struggled not to show how deeply that subconscious act of animosity had hurt me. In my peripheral vision, I saw her smile, one small smile, before it disappeared, back into her fictitious sorrow. I felt my heart breaking all over again, then and there, and stood immediately to bolt out of the door, ignoring the inquisitive stare of my classmates. I took no regard for my teacher, who, stunned into silence, simply stared at me as incredulously as everyone else.
           I ran down one hallway, and then the next—not looking back. How could I, after that? I was a fool for even going to that class after what had happened. What was I thinking? I should’ve stayed asleep in my warm bed, where I would be now, less aware but less broken…
          I came to an abrupt stop when I felt I had covered enough distance, and peered into the room I had run to; an empty classroom. As soon as I entered, I slid down against the stone wall to the floor, glad, for once, to be completely alone. I closed my eyes, covering my face in my hands, letting everything—hurt, sorrow, anger—wash over me.
           It wasn’t the fact that she had chosen my best friend over me. It wasn’t the fact that she had lead me on like that—dating both of us, at the same time, before deciding which one she wanted to keep permanently. It wasn’t the fact that four months had gone by, four months in which I thought she cared for me as much as I for her. And it wasn’t the fact that she had bewitched my best friend into, ultimately, choosing her over me as well—no, not even that. It was the way in which she carried out her plan, so coldly and ruthlessly. How she had gone through this, all of this, without even feeling regret? How had I fallen in love with such a monster?
           I gulped, my throat feeling sore, my eyes burning as I struggled not to let any tears escape. I still had a sense of masculinity, after all.
           “Are you alright?”
           I lifted my head, shocked that anyone had discovered my hiding place. I could have sworn that I had locked the door behind me, but as I looked up, plain as day, there was a girl standing in front of me. I blinked a couple of times, taking in her appearance. She was short; I could see that even from my sitting position. Her black hair was short, as well, barely reaching the nape of her neck. She had a pure look of concern in her eyes. A real, genuine emotion. Odd, I thought, I didn’t even know her. I opened my mouth to speak, but no words came out. She folded herself gracefully on the floor next to me, a few feet away, her back to the newly closed door.
          “You know,” she began, her face turning skeptical,  “Usually when people are this upset, they let it all out. It’s not healthy to keep it all so bottled up.”
          “What would you know?” I muttered under my breath, already angry that I was no longer alone. Her face looked taken aback for a second, before she stood, fast, and an amused expression took over.
          “Alright, I was just trying to help, but clearly, you can work this all out on your own.”
          But as she turned to walk away, and her hand touching the knob on the classroom door, I felt off, awkward, sorry for sending her away; she had meant no harm. Also, the fact that she was the complete emotional and physical opposite of Noelle was refreshing.
         “No—I’m sorry. You don’t have to go.”
         She turned back around, and sat herself on the floor once more. I could feel her eyes on my face, but I stared down, at my hands. She was waiting for me to continue, but I didn’t know if I was up to it.
          “You don’t have to tell me about it, if you don’t want to,” she said, still looking pointedly at me.
          I glanced up, and noted that there wasn’t any undertone of curiosity in her eyes. Just a pained smile, as if she had detected my emotions when she walked in the room and now had them painted on her own face. I opened and closed my mouth a few times, but had nothing to say to that.
          “Thanks,” I managed, finally. She just smiled in response.
          I closed my eyes, but felt her hand on my shoulder, light as a feather and somehow more comforting than I could imagine. Then, as quick as it came, it was gone, and the sorrow flooded back. I opened my eyes, and my brow furrowed, wondering how this pixie of a girl could have so much effect on me after such a short time. She was digging though her bag, for once not meeting my curious gaze. Just when I was closing my eyes again, she said,
          “Here, have some of this,” producing a bar of chocolate. “I’ve always said that chocolate can fix anything.”
          I was about to deny it, but then she grinned, and I felt my own mood elating. I took it and unwrapped it delicately, feeling somewhat self-conscious as she watched my every move.
          And then the bell rang, loud and shrill as always. She hopped up, and reached down to help me up. I doubted she could support my weight, but I gave her my hand, and let her try anyway. She pulled me up easily, as if I weighed no more than someone half her size, and smiled again.
          I crumpled the chocolate wrapper into my pocket, keeping my gaze on the candy while scrambling to piece together the gratitude I felt towards her; if she hadn’t come, I’d probably still be struggling not to cry. But when I opened my mouth to speak and looked back up, she was gone.
         “Erm…” I began, awkwardly, before I realized I had no idea what her name was.
         “Talking to yourself again, Mr. Carnagie?” asked one of my former teachers, as she walked in the room, now empty save for me.
         “Eh, no, didn’t you see…,” I trailed off, shaking my head, “Never mind.”
         And with that, I dashed out of the classroom, looking up and down the hallways, scanning the passing frenzy that was the student body for her familiar face. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, it was the first time in the past four months that I was thinking of a girl other than Noelle.

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One Response to “Fractures Always Heal”

  1. sarahlynch Says:

    Wow.
    That was, like honestly?
    That was better than some of the books I’ve read.

    I love your word choice, and how you don’t go into complete detail of what happened with Noelle, and how you describe his feelings toward Noelle, in the beginning, the part about his heart beating, and when he calls her devious.
    Word Choice-Regret, Monster, Devious, Stunned, Abrupt.


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