I am an empty hole inside of an empty hole.
“I just don’t know anymore, Charlie.”
I’m sure at least he’ll answer in this deep pit called reality. I know he’s looking down at my lime-colored head right now as I lie the useless thing in my arms, smelling the years-old school desk beneath me.
“I’m dying.” I correct. “She was- all I cared about, Wire.” I’m hardly crying per say- instead, I simply sound like I’m crying whenever I speak.
“You’ve realized there’s nothing for it. That you’re just unhappy and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
I snort and laugh and almost sob as some snot falls out of my nose. Maybe I am crying. “Yes, Wire! Yes…” I admit. Wire always understands.
“You are no different from me, Molly.”
I like to think we’re the only ones in the room right now. As he talks to me, nothing else matters. He’s done both our work already. The teacher’s busy with some other group. And no one wants to talk with us. One could almost be convinced that in this moment we have free will.
“You've reached the end of where your life can go right now. In a way, this is the top.” He continues. “The only thing you can do is learn to live in it.”
“But I hate living…” I tell him.
“You think I don’t?” I hear him tap his pencil on the desk. “That’s the normal state of being for all those who live life to its fullest.”
“I on’ get it…” I sniffle. Okay, yeah. I’m definitely crying now. “But… thank you.”
“Why are you thanking me? You are a mess… listen Molly. Why do you think I do all your assignments?”
“Cause- cause I’m so cute?” I whine.
“Because I have absolutely nothing fucking better to do. I haven’t intellectually exerted myself since the sixth grade. Every single day I spend here is utterly meaningless. I honestly fear that what we call “life” may in fact actually be hell.”
“You’re tellinh’ me…”
“I use the time you help me waste to fill the hole in my heart. And because of that, though it is a regretful experience, I can go on living.”
“Why… why though…? Why do… any of that…”
“Because as hard as it is for me to believe, everything I’ve ever heard tells me it would be… unintelligent to die so soon. And I’m not just talking about the people who swear it to “gets better-“ I mean all the figures from our history and everyone like us who ever existed. We’re special, Molly. Because we’re weak in a way no one else is. Our brains move at such speed that just living for us is a struggle with god. But because of that, I believe we are exactly the type of people who can amount to amazing things in life. So…” I can literally hear the click of the frames as he adjusts his glasses. “You need to find something to occupy yourself. Be it a vice, or a charity- do whatever it takes to distract yourself from the beast inside your mind.”
The walk to third block is the same. A repetition of a repetition. A photograph of a photograph. If I could forget one thing, it would be this school. Or maybe… Elopas would be better to forget. I can’t say. I still love her. I still want her. I don’t want to believe it isn’t possible to meet her. There are… too many other stupid things I regret anyway. I think I’d forget one of those before Elopas or even this hellish dungeon of a learning environment, as much of a stain as it is on my mind.
“New seating chart today, find your spots.” The teacher recites as me and some guys whose names I never bothered to learn walk into her Language Arts class. Past Math, I don’t really know anyone in any of my classes, and nothing ever happens in them. I float to my new seat, quite accustomed at this point to the terrible upside-down diagrams these teachers put up on their fucking Prometheus boards or whatever to show you where they put your new cell in case you were getting too chatty in the last one. Couldn’t be me.
I sit in my triad of desks, all alone. I look up at the board and there are names here alongside mine, but no people to match. Some guy, some girl. The other tables have filled up by now, and most of them are four-seaters. Guess I’d be with the leftovers, if they’d even bothered to come. Would’ve been a riot if I skipped today and not a single person was in this group. Except not really. What’s so funny about that…? I’m so bored, even that sounds like something interesting…
I don’t usually hear other people when they’re not talking to me, but for some reason, my broken brain picks up a girl’s voice as she enters the room.
“Woo! Made it!”
Somebody’s fucking excited… Christ, what are your mornings like, lady? You cream your pants every time the mailman shows up?
Without warning, this very same girl slides into the seat right across from me, coming face-to-face with my likely irresistible, but all-the-same mentally rotting self. I can almost see it in her eyes how grossed out she is by me. Ha.
“Are you okay?”
Fucking Christ, this again? Do I really look that messed up?
“Uh, yeah? What’s your problem?”
Holy shit, I’m not usually this rude to people. Maybe she’ll stop talking to me if I act like a dick, at least.
But for some reason, she laughs as I antagonize her.
“God, you’re at the end of your rope, aren’t you? The end of the year getting to you that bad?”
No way… she acts like a total normo.This woman couldn’t be anything like me, could she?
“Yeah… prolly.” I decide to be at least semi-honest. “I don’t really know what to do about it.”
“It’s hard, I know. Soon this’ll all be over. It’s sad… I’m gonna miss it.”
Nevermind. Fuck her.
“What- why? Are you- are you serious?” I only realize I’m speaking out loud once that sentence is already over. Whatever. I decide to push forward. “I hate this place, don’t you want out?”
“Oh, you do?” She looks genuinely sad for some reason. “No, not really… I have… a lot of memories here that I cherish. Don’t get me wrong though! I’m still making more.”
She’s total scum, but the fact I haven’t scared her off yet interests me enough to continue the interaction. “The only memories I have from this year are getting hammered in fourth period and some guy I know offing himself.”
“Then it’s no wonder you hate it here. Think I’d blame you for that?”
Wait… This doesn’t make sense. Okay, so let me get this straight- I disagree with her, our aesthetics, they- they don’t fit- her a total suck-up, me an angsty cyber-rebel or media witch or whatever I am- and she- and she’s understanding me? This is… stupid. Are all of the idiots out there like this? They can’t be. She… she’s special. She has to be special.
“Yeah, I think someone like you would.” I continue. “We’re like opposite sides of a coin.”
“We’re just people.” She gently mocks my musings. “What’s your name?”
“What is this, a roll call? I don’t need your last.”
She’s sticking her hand out to me. Like, for a handshake. Nobody ever does that.
My eyes climb up her hand and through her arm. All of a sudden, I’m finally taking in what her face looks like.
Her hair is dark and complex. Unlike mine, the color is natural, and the shape has been professionally curated. Her clothes are expensive. Fashionable. Like she cares about how people see her every single day of her life. She wears makeup, and her pink lips shine ever under the pathetic lighting of the classroom. Her eyes almost look like the abyss of space inside white fluffy clouds, and- and she’s pretty.
She’s really pretty.
Why do I suddenly feel like crying again?
“I’m Harmony. Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you…”
My hand is already shaking hers.
“So, you’re gay, yeah?”
“You’re totally gay. Just look at you.”
“I like… guys.”
“No you don’t.”
“Yeah… I don’t. I don’t know why I just said that…”
“It’s okay. I know not everyone can be cool about stuff like that.”
“Yeah, I like girls too. Girls like… you, Molly.”
“R-really… that’s pretty cool.”
“You got a girlfriend?”
“Never… never had one.”
I blink at her. It’s like she wants me to say something. I don’t know what’s happening at all right now. I’m not in school, I’m floating through air. White clouds and grey sky with no earth beneath them. Just her looking at me, waiting for me to be honest with her.
“Are you… um. Flirting with me?”
“Yes, Molly. I am.”
“Haha, what? Did you just say “based” out loud?”
“I… I guess I just did, didn’t I… haha… that’s embarrassing.”
“Let’s skip our next classes together, Molly. I want to learn more about you.”
Am I dreaming?
In the quiet hallway, the beautiful girl named Harmony rests her back against the wall like a flower starting to wilt.
“What kind of music do you like, Molly?”
Two different spikes of adrenaline rush through my heart. On one hand, I want to spew all my knowledge on niche internet artists right this instant. On the other hand, that sounds like just about the most embarrassing thing in the world. So naturally, I decide to lie.
“I like, um… Radiohead.”
A ripped Tails doll pops into my head.
“Er- no! No… I… don’t. I don’t listen to Radiohead. Sorry.”
“What do you listen to, then?”
“Oh… where to start… um… Golden Boy… er- Shoebill… Dj Technorch… oh! Er- Creepy Nuts.”
“Interesting. I’ve never heard of any of those in my life.”
“What do- um. What do you like to listen to, Harmony?”
Thank god, at least she’s a weeb. Not sure who that is though.
“Is that all?”
“No. But that’s my answer I save in case anybody asks what artists I like.”
“Really…? Haha. I figured that’s something everybody did.”
“No. I’m just stupid.”
“Woah, where’d that come from? Here I pinned you for the confident type, not a self-deprecator.”
“I am- er, confident.”
“You don’t really sound like it right now.”
I just laugh awkwardly. It’s been awhile since I’ve talked to another girl for this long without cutting off part of her body or something else to bring down the mood.
“I can be pretty confident.”
“That so? Gimme an example.”
“Uh… this one time I got drunk in class.”
“You mentioned that, yeah.”
“Well- I didn’t exactly get too drunk per say- but I did drink.”
“Well that’s something. Hey, I did it once.”
“Mm. It’s surprisingly easy to avoid getting caught. But I haven’t done it since then. I’m here to make memories, not get wasted.”
“True.” I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore. I’m a mess.
“So anyway- I think you’re ridiculously cute, Molly. Maybe you don’t see it that way, maybe you do- but either way, to me you’ve got something special. To be honest, I just wanna kiss you right now.”
I THINK THIS BROKEN BRAIN OF MINE IS ABOUT TO FUCKING BREAK A SECOND TIME
“Wow. You uh- you serious?”
“Dead serious. What do you think of me?”
“Is that an automatic response to any woman you meet?”
“Maybe… but you’re… um. You’re different.”
“Am I the only person who’s shown you this much attention?”
“We should go out.”
“You wanna be my girlfriend Molly?”
Is this how this works?
“Then it’s settled.”
She grabs my red sweaty hand.
“How old are you?”
“Cool, me too. I hate stupid kids.”
She kisses me.
ALL LIFE’S A LIE
TAKE IT INTO YOUR HAND- THE FUTURE
TASTE IT WHILE YOU STILL CAN