This One Time

By Leighton Tanaka, TIWP Student

The cold metal chair presses up against my body. The legs creak under my weight. Amber shines in through the windows, I sit just past the shadow. I had been talking with my friend about nothing. But now we sat in silence, she stared down awkwardly at her hands. She was probably wondering what to say. I waited for her to start a conversation, but she never did. Her hair flowed under the sun, I just stared at her. I’ve never been dependent on conversation, nor have I ever felt the desire to start one. Thus I was content to sit there in silence most of the time. But for some reason. This one time. I felt the need to talk. I felt the desperate urge for a word to fill the void, a void which I have only felt just then. Never before and never again. My lips twitched with the words to speak, but I had nothing to say. After a lifetime of not speaking much, it was not easy to think of interesting conversation topics, and I was not one for small talk. Finally, she stood up and leaned over to softly speak in my ear, telling me she was going to go ask her other friend about the homework. And so she walked away. Alone again. The classroom chatters around me. I listened to the arbitrary conversations that bloomed. I felt somewhat out of place there. I just sat there, looking at people living lives. It made me wonder if I was actually living a life. Some may say I am not. I am unable to fathom the feelings one must have when living the life of a human being. However I am able to imagine the activities, but I am unable to perform them. And the space between us becomes larger and larger. Like a rip current, I am pulled farther and farther away from the shore. I know the way to get out. Swim sideways. But I do not have the desire to get out. Instead, I am pulled out to sea. I let myself drown. But not yet. Under amber, behind sunlight, I hide in the shade. I want to watch them. I want them to live. Empty sounds echo in my ears. The space is full, but not to me. Here I am alone. They frolic under the sun. I hide behind it. Their breaths warm the air. The room gets darker, the sun has traveled behind the clouds. A fire burns in my heart, it melts me away. Grey sky. White walls. Cold floor. She looks back and smiles at me. Her lips move but they do not make a sound. But she is still smiling at me. My whole body freezes. My blood stops circulating. I stop breathing. She raises an eyebrow, waiting expectantly for a reply. Her lips move again. Forming words that do not surface and are never heard. Words that simply do not exist. I looked around, perhaps she was talking to someone else. Perhaps she was telling me to do something. When had she told me such information? Was I ignoring her? Everyone else was staring at me now too. Do they await this reply so much that they must hold their breaths? Why must I reply? Why does my mouth open? Why do words come out? Why do I cry? But everything is silent. Not a single word entered my ears. No breath was breathed, she stared at me unblinkingly. Something gripped my heart. A feeling I had never felt before. I just stared at her with wide eyes. I watch them slowly fade away. No! I jumped out of my seat, it collapsed behind me with a loud bang. I rushed forward, squeezing between the desks, I reached out to touch her. My fingers were met with the cold air of a rainy day. The sky is gray. So am I. The rain pummelled the building. I wanted to touch the light. But it was not meant for me. They were brilliant. They were bright. They were warm. I shivered. The sky is darker than I remembered. I am alone here. I always have been.

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