I walk soberly on the high school corridor and look at the ground. Hmmm.
I never had a friend. My parents kept shifting and for me that was a problem. I did not have any real friends, no acquaintances, no girlfriends, no anything. I was alone, chewing gum and taking notes in my journal. People would pass an occasional ‘hi’ or ‘hello’, but that would be it. Small talk was the most I could make, and that was when I felt a bit of friendliness. When I focus on people - or look at them attentively, it sends shivers down my spine. I could not sum up what would be my next sentence. I could not speak until I was 5, and then still, I speak only a few words. I have a case of extreme introversion and selective mutism, all in one James Kyle Burwood.
I did not have any clear interest or skill as a child; except the intense silence and unfriendliness inside me. I was 8 when I got a computer. When I got internet access, I decided to search about selective mutism. I was convinced until the day I made my first Google search that I was one snowflake - sensitive, unique, and alone with nobody to share the pain with. I searched up, and this glass barrier of loneliness was broken. There were hundreds of thousands of kids like me all around the world - and they all were people of few words. It was a moment of both relief and sadness for me. On one hand, I knew I had a statistical chance of finding one of my kind in my lifetime, but on the other hand, I wasn’t alone. There were so many kids like me who weren’t sheltered. Broke the glass barrier and went out to play with other kids. All that was nothing on me. I never saw the internet, spoke to anyone outside my family on the phone (and even then it’d be a quick ‘hello’, ‘how are you/I’m good’), or saw the TV. Until I was eight, I only remember knowing ten people - Mom, Dad, Grandma from dad’s side, Grandpa from mom’s side, Grandpa from Dad’s side, Grandma from mom’s side, Uncle Jake, Aunt Katie, Dr. Orange, and the counselor-therapist I called “Rice Ball” (she died in a car accident when I was 7; I came to know this when I was 12).
People usually think I’m an ambivert via the internet - that I am a free flow of expression on the interwebs, sending my thoughts through vlogs and Discord chats - I am not. I use the internet for obsessively gaining information - not to share internet memes or show off my condition as a method to get likes and followers. I am an introvert - on and off the internet.
I perhaps have only one way of letting go of my anxieties and thoughts - to write. I have filled journals and notebooks over these years with little things I see, stories I tell, and people I smell. It is there in my writing, that I freely “speak”, not bound by the harsh talkative jungle that surrounds me in real life and on the internet. When the pen hits the paper, you are in solitude. The paper is not Kirkus884 cursing the hell out of you on your favorite book’s message board - or Jessica Bradley talking about her, what, fifty boyfriends? I mean she’s statistically had a different boyfriend every month since her first when she was 12!
I perhaps would be the greatest writer I ever dreamed to be, my works read around the globe, and my shyness withered away. I could speak - speak many words even - and give fabulous TED Talks and the like. But, unfortunately for me, destiny stopped me right in its tracks. I’ve had terrible writer’s blocks in all these years, and have written only one book - a short YA thriller by the name of ‘Slushie’. Now I think of it, that is a pretty, pretty embarrassing name. It was a pun on slasher and ice because, in this story, the serial killer slashed off people using harder-than-humanly-possible ice cubes in the dead of summer (like 110 degrees Fahrenheit).
I was never very academically inclined - I was quite bad at mathematics and sciences - especially algebra, geometry, physics, and chemistry. I was decent at arithmetic and biology - especially neurology - but I was ’decent, not ‘good’ as in ‘with good grades’. I did fare averagely in social sciences, especially in geography and history. I was good at some part of politics, but it involved a lot of speaking - and so my grades never reflected that. I am decent at writing and reading English and Spanish - and listening, but speaking - no. I got low grades at that too, even though those are like my passions.
I can speak though, in long verse - in one thing. Songs. I am a vocalist. I sing in my free time, I sing all the time. When I sing, all my fears go away. It is like a miracle happens when the notes of music come to my tongue and bounce off. I feel the music, hear music and sing music. And after my interest in writing began to fly away, music took its place. I joined the musical club at my school - Lake Goremont Public School. I manned the synthesizer first for the Lake Goremont Purple Squirrels Band - and then I became the vocalist.
But, still, I began to feel lonely, something I didn’t even with my isolation and stuff. I found the need for a friend I didn’t have. And then I met Tristan - the day was a Friday night and I was performing for a show - for the Purple Squirrels - on the stage. The show was on, and I was ready to sing, we start now! Go!