Part Two: The Angels (2/7)
September 14th, 2004.
New York - Queens Middle School
Walking down the school’s halls, I was on my way to my locker to grab my Lunch. On the way, I met with my friend. Her name is Juliet Lau. She’s my best friend! We were heading to the cafeteria to eat, and on the way, we were talking. “Alright, so, did you hear that Brittney has a crush on a boy in another class?!” Juliet said to me, but I shook my head.
“Do you ever talk about anything other than rumors and gossip?” I asked.
“What’s the fun in NOT talking about that stuff, huh?! Jeez, you’re no fun.” Juliet let out a groan in my direction, rolling her eyes as we entered the room and picked out a table. We began to eat and like usual, and Juliet went on with her gossiping and rumors. It was almost like it was all she knew what to talk about. I sat there, eating my sandwich as my eyes began to wander around the room, half-listening to Juliet and her ramblings about crushes, secrets, and the works.
It wasn’t until my eyes landed on a far-off table. A table in which people never really sat because it’s pretty out of the way. There was . . . a girl who was sitting all by herself. Long black hair, a gray long-sleeved shirt, in which the sleeves were black. She seemed . . . alone. Not only did she seem alone, but she seemed . . . down. Like, depressed even. She looked goth—Emo, scene, whatever the heck you want to call it.
“Hey, uh, Juliet. Sorry to interrupt whatever it is you’re talking about. But, who’s that over there?” I asked as I raised my hand and pointed a finger towards the table and the girl sitting in it.
“Uhh... who cares? Just some emo girl who’s sitting alone, why?” Juliet said to me, looking over her shoulder so she can see what I see.
“Wow, no need to be so rude,” I replied as I shook my head, looking away. Who was this girl? And why was she alone and . . . sad? After Lunch was over, we returned to class. However, I was too occupied with the thought of whoever this girl was. Usually, I wouldn’t bother with such things...but. The look on this girl’s face wasn’t typical. It’s like she’s going through something alone, and being alone in general is a terrible thing. After thinking about it for a while, the class had ended. I told Juliet to go on without me that we’d hang out another day.
I made my way to the office to ask the admin about this girl. After getting some information, I’ve found out the teacher who had her. After asking the teacher, the woman confirmed to me the name of this girl. Leighla Riley. I ran out of the classroom and started to look around for the girl.
I looked everywhere upstairs for her but, there was no luck. Then on the way down from the upper floor, I heard whimpering and muttering. Stopping in my steps, I looked around, trying to listen for the source of this sound. And soon, I figured it was behind the staircase, and there was that girl again . . . was she crying. Swallowing nervousness, I soon spoke up.
“Uh...h-hey? Is your name Leighla?” I spoke out softly towards the girl.
“H-Huh? What do you want?” The girl looked up in slight fear -- shocked that I had even noticed her.
“Hi, my name is Lucy. Lucy Ruuska. And uh. I noticed you during the lunch period, sitting by yourself. And I wanted to check up on you.” I said, stepping ever so closer to this girl, soon bending down on my knees to be more on her level.
“W-Why check on me? So what if I was alone at Lunch? What are you gonna do, make fun of m-me?” Leighla pulled back slightly; her eyes showed anxiety.
“Oh, please. Just because I hang around the most gossip obsessed girl in the school doesn’t make me a bully. Far from it.” I raised my hands, waving them slightly as to show I meant no harm towards her.
“S-So what? Why bother with me. You should just go play with your friend... don’t waste time on me.” Leighla replied, looking away from me.
“Why do you keep wanting to push me away? I already told you that I meant no harm. Is something...bothering you? Need a friend to talk to about it?” I said, assuming that Leighla had something going on with her life.
“B-Bothering me? What do you mean? I-I have no idea what you’re talking about...” Leighla replied, looking away.
“Right, and I don’t love my little brother,” I replied, soon getting on my knees in front of her, offering a warm smile. “Come on, you can tell me. I want to help you!”
“You want to...help me?” Leighla replied to me, lifting her head slightly to look in my direction. Her hair blocking her face ever so slightly.
“Yeah! How about after you tell me, we can be best friends?!” I replied with a huge stupid grin across my face, reaching my hand out to her.
“B-Best friends...with me?” she said, before looking down to the hand in front of her. It took a while before she took hers and placed it into mine. “O-Okay . . .”
I took her hand, pulled her into a hug, and patted her back. She began to cry, shake, and whimper. It’s like...this is the first time that she ever had anyone support her. It was then I learned that...kindness really can go a long way for people. And it was after that, I’ve made another lifelong friend.
It wasn’t long until I introduced Leighla to Juliet. And despite Juliet’s gossip obsessed mind, she actually got along quick with Leighla. It seems the three of us are going to be some inseparable friends for the rest of our lives, huh? I’m not complaining.
We quickly found out that Leighla was a big fan of rock and metal music. Not what I expected from her, but -- hey. We all have our tastes in music, don’t we? The days, weeks, and months went along. And it seemed that with every passing minute, she got more and more comfortable with us.
That’s one thing I’ve noticed about Leighla. She’s. . . shy. Easy to get nervous. Why was this? She’s quiet, and she’s brilliant, too! Smarter than I am, honestly. Definitely smarter than Juliet. Don’t tell her I said that about her.
She was a big fan of this video game called Guitar Hero. Some plastic toy that looks like a guitar and to tap the many-colored buttons. I don’t know; I barely play games. And this one seems a bit complicated. But either way, she invites me to watch her play. Apparently, she’s only good at medium difficulty now, but watching her enjoy the music and playing it makes me happy.
However, it took all of that time for Leighla to truly open up to Juliet and me. And what Leighla talked to us about was something we didn’t expect. However, we still offered our love and support.
So this is what was bothering Leighla...well. If anyone ever made fun of her for it anywhere near me, I’ll be the first one to stand up. No one should have to go through such a thing alone.
. . . I’ll be there for her. Juliet and I will!