Prologue- Part I
My name is Aliyah Gray.
When I was a little girl I was quiet, dependent, weak, ordinary, shy, unreliable and breakable, and because of this, people used to use me. They thought I didn’t have feelings cause I didn’t express myself. They thought I was just there for them to laugh at for them to make me cry...
That’s why I changed...
Now only I know the real me, when other people get to know me they think I’m loud, independent, strong, unique, bold, reliable and unbreakable, but I will never truly be that girl.
The face I put on for the outside world is only so that they can’t hurt me like they once used to. So that the only person that can hurt me is myself...
“No one can be perfect” is what people might say... But I don’t think I will ever be able to learn that as a fact. I try every single way, method, technique, to do anything everything “The Perfect Way”.
But what is “The Perfect Way”? Who sets the level of “Perfect”? Why do they set it there? How do they know if their way is “The Perfect Way” or not? The fact- None of these questions can be answered.
Even then, I do everything I can in “The Perfect Way”. How some people may ask?
Well... It is My Perfect Way.
This... is my way of being strong from outside, and if anyone ever asks me why I do something the way I do it the first thing the comes to my mind are thoughts that go- “Oh god! She noticed I do this!” “Who is she gonna tell first?” “Will she tell everybody?” But... The first thing that comes out of my mouth is- “Cause I want to. Do you have a problem?”
Those, are the two sides of me. Which one you wanna believe in is your choice...
---Grade 6- September 2018---
“Hey, Aliyah! Umm... Can I talk to you for a sec...?” I said to her in front of the whole girls’ group and all of them gave her the ‘I know what’s happening but I can’t tell you’ look.
“Yeah sure... Wassup?” She said as we walked a little further away from the lunch table. The cafeteria that day was crowded, so crowded that the boys’ table was right next to the girls’ today.
“I’m sorry but, I can’t do this anymore... We’re in different sections and have different people as our classmates...” I say with a scared look on my face, and at that moment her face dawns with realization.
“What...? What are you trying to say...?” She says looking as scared as me.
“I’m saying that I’m sorry but we can’t be friends anymore...” I say as I bite my lip from trying to make myself not cry. Her eyes go wide and her lip starts to tremble, as much as I badly want to pull her into a hug and say it’s ok, everything is going to be alright and hold her till we both stop crying, I don’t...
“WHAT?! Who put this idea into your head? We are Best Friends Forever and there is a reason there is a ‘Forever’ in that phrase... Y-y-you can’t do this Lina! I thought- I thought you were always gonna be there for me...?” She said with tears almost ready to spill out of her eyes.
And that’s it that’s where I knew I had to stop. We had been through too much together to let go now.
“You know what, just forget what I said, it’s ok. Come here” I said wiping the fresh tears from her eyes and hugging her. Though she looked super confused, she hugged me back.
*Night Time- Aliyah is about to fall asleep*
All kinds of thought were running through my head-
Ughhh. I feel so sad, what did I do to her? What made her feel like that? Am I not a good friend at all? God! I’m such a failure!
I couldn’t help but finally let the tears fall, as I fell asleep... Only to see the one face I didn’t want to see...
I’m walking down the corridors of school alone, when I look up and suddenly see his group of friends, with him in the middle, walking towards me, they all seem to be laughing at me or something behind me...? I don’t know. I turn around but only see... A black night...? Well, that’s weird the Design Lab is supposed to be there... When I turn back around I see all of his friends winking at him and saying
“Good luck bro, bye!”
“See ya ’round Ayaan, have fun!”
“Don’t get too into it, yeah? It’s still school grounds!”
The last one earned that guy a punch on the arm. All of a sudden I realize that we both are all alone. I feel my face growing hotter by the minute... Then without warning, he steps closer and closer and closer. He’s so close now, I could feel the heat radiating off... Him?
Why is HE blushing?
Is he nervous?
What the hell is going on?
I shiver as I feel his hand curve around mine. It feels so perfect, just right- My hand fitting perfectly in the comfort of his... The realization hits me in the face as I see how little space there is between us, before our lips touch...
I wake up with a start as I hear mom opening the door to my room to wake me up.“Oh! You’re already awake? Haha, ok get ready quickly...” Mom says to me while walking out of the room as quickly as she came in.
“Yea...” I mumble, loud enough for her to just hear. My thoughts feel like they’ve been on a roller coaster ride, as I try to hold onto fragments of my dream before they float out of my reach and mind... I give up and roll off the bed to get ready.
“Ayah we have to leave right now!” Dad says to me in an accusing voice, as I run back into my room to grab my hoodie. God! Why is everything that goes wrong in this house always my fault?! All I did was help my annoying brother to finish his cereal faster so that we don’t get late for school again, and now because of that, I get in trouble. Wow! Amazing judgment Mom and Dad! The starting of the car engine breaks my hate-full train of thought, and I try to calm myself down by turning on the radio and singing along quietly to myself.
“Yay! It’s FINALLY lunch!” Julia says in a sing-song voice.
“Wow! The day sure went fast.” Kiara speaks my very thoughts at that moment. I smile and nod, and then we run down to the cafeteria, to fill our hungry stomachs.
As I sit down I remember what happened at lunch yesterday... All of a sudden my hunger and appetite for my sandwich are lost. I abruptly get up from the table, hand my lunch to Julia, give her the ‘I’m not hungry, you can have it’ look and slowly walking away. When I’m sure the entire lunch table can’t see me anymore. Then, I run. I run as fast as I can. I run straight into Ayaan! I stumble and I’m about to fall, when he catches me, as a reflex!
My arms and legs feel numb... Oh god, help me!
“That was one weird science period... I’m pretty sure the teacher needs a therapist” Veer tells me.
“Well, if not that extreme, she sure does need someone to vent out all her troubles to, ’cause for the past two classes that’s all we’ve heard!” I say agreeing with him.
“I’ll see you in the cafeteria?” He asks me. I nod and head towards my locker to grab my lunch bag.
As I’m half-way down there till the cafeteria, I see a girl running like her life depends on it straight towards me. Before I have the chance to tell her to slow down or move out of the way, she runs straight into me!
Although her head is hanging down, I recognized her immediately as Aliyah Gray. She has tears streaming down her face and she looks so sad and hurt and maybe even angry...
I snap out of analyzing her face as she stumbles, I quickly stretch out of my right arm and she falls right into it. I feel her body tense the moment we touch. To avoid the awkwardness I lift her back up and onto her feet.
“Are you okay...?” I ask her. In response, her face flushes bright red and she opens her mouth to say something but closes it again like a goldfish.
I look at her with a look of confusion on my face. Her eyes just widen and then they slowly move to her waist, where my arm is still holding onto her.
“Oh! I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize, I uh...” I trail off, as I put my arm right where it belongs: beside me. Way to go Ayaan, that was so not awkward! Ugh! I mentally kick myself.
“It’s okay...” She says in a small voice, which was so soft it was hardly audible unless you were listening. I realize that she’s still shuddering and furiously trying to wipe away her free-flowing tears.
“Gray... Are you ok? Why are you crying? What happened?” I ask her for the second time. Her face suddenly darkens, her beautiful eyes are suddenly angry. She pushes me, narrows her eyes at me and says “As if you care!” She starts running again to wherever she was going before.
The bus bumps up and down as we ride over the unkempt road. Her words replay in my head “As if you care!” What was that...? Since when have I not cared? All I do is think about that girl and she thinks I don’t care...
By the time I reached the bathroom my face and eyes were red and the front of my uniform was damp.
I’m a mess.
I can’t handle anything more than an argument.
Not good enough.
“NO. Stop it Ayah, enough! Pull yourself together! What the hell is wrong with you?” My sub-conscience scolds me.
I looked at myself in the mirror. “Walking zombie...” I said to myself, rolling my eyes at the girl who stared back at me in the mirror.
Red eyes, dark circles that made her look like a panda, tear-streaked cheeks and pink puffy lips with a small dark red spot which came into existence because this girl bites her lip on the same spot too much.
God... I need to make myself look normal...
I quickly wash my eyes and face and dab some water on my ears.
Just as I’m about to walk out of the washroom Alina walks in. Oh no! No, no, no, no, no, please no!
“What the-Are you ok?” She asks me.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“You don’t look ‘fine’... Do you wanna talk?”
I shake my head so fast, she gets scared “Ok, Okay!”
“Mh hmm,” I say, looking away.
“If you do wanna talk, I’m right here, you know that right?”
“I gotta go, classes are gonna start, bye!” I say hurriedly as I hear the faint ring of the bell.
“Bye, see-ya!” She says and turns into a bathroom stall.
I run as fast as I can to my classroom.
*Night Time- At home*
All kinds of thoughts were running through my head. I was confused. Sad. Angry. Lost. Guilty...?
I had said such horrible things to Ayaan. Why did I have to have an impulsive attitude whenever he was around? Even though he told me two weeks ago that he “hates me,” but today he looked so... Sad? Hurt? Stunned? Shocked? When I said that.
The entire scene replayed in my head, and each time my waist would feel tingly and sparks would go off in my head and my heart would skip a beat when I came to the part where he caught me like a reflex. It was like he was used to doing it- catching me every time I fell. His hands felt so strong, so perfect, just there. Around me. I drifted asleep thinking and wishing for My Perfect Life.