1 | A Little Noise Won't Kill You
I woke up that morning just as frustrated with myself as always. I’d spent yet another night just tapping away on my computer instead of thinking about my pitiful social life.
It consisted of literally one person. One.
Darling Connors, my best friend and polar opposite.
I sighed, pushing myself up from my bed. My wrists twinged slightly because again, I had forgotten to place my mat in front of my computer last night. Normally I could sit there for hours, but without the gel mat, my wrists hated me like I was old with arthritis.
I sat up and arched backwards until I couldn’t go any further. I pulled myself back up and rolled my wrists before setting my feet on the floor. I glanced towards my nightstand, where my phone was plugged in, but didn’t feel like touching another electronic yet.
The pain in my wrists might’ve been influencing my thoughts a little bit.
I stood up and approached my wardrobe before just rolling my eyes at my stupidity. It wasn’t like I was going to suddenly change my signature style. After all, it was before six in the morning. No one has time for such crazy obsessions such as outfits.
I grabbed my grey hoodie and the nearest pair of jeans, not even wondering how many times I’d already worn them, and pulled them on. Belatedly, I considered changing my shirt.
I glanced out the window, noting the bright leaves and the smattering of brown on the ground where the grass was already beginning to die. Again, I shrugged at my morning stupidity.
It wasn’t going to get hot today. Not without throwing the weather broadcasters off by around twenty degrees.
Or our principle or somebody suddenly deciding that the school can get heated to more than 65 degrees after September. It was cold enough that you could tell who ran hot and who ran cold when it came to blood temperatures. I still wasn’t sure whether I ran hot or cold, but whatever it was, I knew how I felt when I walked around all day.
I felt like a freakin’ popsicle.
I pulled on a pair of socks and walked back over to my desk, where my laptop sat, off but open, without the gel strip in question.
I purposefully ignored it.
I pulled out the chair to check inside my backpack one last time before I left my room for the day.
Notebook and pencil? Unfortunately, yes.
I slowly picked up the bag and pulled one strap over my shoulder, noting how at this point, the cushioned nylon felt normal and the pressure just felt… right. I wasn’t sure whether it made me happy to feel secure in something or alarmed that I found comfort in the weight of a bag full of work.
Eventually, I’d have to choose.
I opened the cold metal doorknob on my creamy white door and pulled. After the click of the metal bit being pulled out of the small notch in the doorway, there was total silence.
For a moment, it was so quiet I had to make sure I was still breathing.
I also picked myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. By the way, I wasn’t.
I stepped out of my room into the hall, my socks landing on blue carpet instead of the wooden floor it covered. I glanced down momentarily before turning to pull my door shut again.
After one more click, there was more silence.
My hand slid off the doorknob and I made my way downstairs, barely noticing how oddly relaxed I was as I was making my way into the kitchen. Finally, I was embracing the relaxed mood I had been wanting to have all throughout high school.
It’s a shame it had to come during my senior year.
To be entirely fair, though, the year had only started. I could enjoy it while it lasted.
I highly doubted I’d be able to hold it as I moved up into college if applications were any example. Those things were killer.
I grabbed a granola bar because I couldn’t be bothered to make myself something like cereal. Plus, it was too cold and oatmeal wasn’t my favorite for some reason.
As I unwrapped it, the wrapper crinkled, breaking the silence that hovered over the rest of the sleeping household. My parents were still sleeping, but my dad would wake up roughly around the same time I stepped out the door. My mom, on the other hand, didn’t have a set wake up time. If I woke her up, though, she’d be mad.
I bit into the granola bar before nearly gagging. I looked down at what was in my hand and checked the wrapper, already having a hunch about what had happened.
My mom had gotten granola bars with oats. Again.
I sighed and debated eating the rest of it for one moment, then stopped.
No one was awake, which meant no one was going to yell at me for not eating it, and no one was here to catch me throwing it away.
I smiled, somewhat amused albeit pleased that my sudden relaxed mood had also made me less of a rule-follower.
In a test, I pulled the wrapped back over the granola bar and held it over the trash, waiting for my conscience to yell at me.
I let go, finger by finger, my grin growing as each let go. Finally, the granola bar fell.
It hit the bottom of the can with a resounding thud.
My eyes growing wide as there was movement upstairs, I snatched an apple and raced towards the front door.
I heard footsteps coming from my parents' room and hoped that I hadn’t done something that was going to get me in a ton of trouble.
Grabbing my shoes and sliding them on, I pushed open the door and slid pit into the chilly November weather. All things considered, I was surprised it wasn’t worse. New England isn’t exactly known for their warm autumns.
I needed to start getting used to grabbing my coat because the forty-degree weather was going to start biting my skin eventually. For now, I was just being stubborn and not wearing it while I could. The extra layer was a pain in the butt to carry around and I didn’t like showing it into my locker. Namely because the inside was still sticky from something and it had been mine for three years already. I decided that anything still sticky after three years is something you don’t want to touch.
To prove my point, the wind gusted suddenly and I wished my hoodie was a little thicker than it was.
Since I couldn’t make extra layers suddenly appear in your jackets, I settled for pulling the second strap of my backpack over my shoulder before letting my hands slide into the sleeves.
Just like that, I was hand-less.
I began walking along that long sidewalk knowing that the breeze was just going to keep blowing and the cracks beneath my feet were as harmless as they’d always been, despite my making them sound terrifying enough to avoid when I was younger and bored out of my mind.
Nowadays, I barely even noticed the cracks that marked one segment stopping and another beginning.
As I walked, I studied the different shades of leaves in the trees and noticed who was already setting up for Christmas and who hasn’t gotten around to picking up their Halloween decorations yet. It was a game to remember who had a habit of doing what.
The Morrisons were always ready for Christmas when the leaves began to turn, but the Kingsleys only decorated a week or two before whether there was a snow storm scheduled or not. They cyclically went from 4th of July, to nothing, to Halloween, to Thanksgiving, to Christmas.
Despite refusing to decorate for a holiday until a week before, they had no problem with leaving their decorations out long after the holiday. I never had figured out why and I’d long since decided to stop asking.
Countless trees turned into meticulously kept lawns as I got closer and closer to the bus stop. The grass stopped trying to take over the sidewalk and the lines on the road got brighter and more yellow.
For whatever reason, a fifteen-minute walk or a two-minute drive made all the difference when it came to the scenery. You’d think that living on the edge of a city meant that the area by my house would be well up-kept, but the “city folk” couldn’t care less what our street looked like since we technically weren’t in the town.
Also, I’m sure that legally the area was ours to take care of.
Because when it came down to serious matters, people cared about what grass belonged to who.
Either way, my fifteen-minute walk turned into a seventeen-minute walk because of three idiots who couldn’t pause for a pedestrian.
The bus stop was already full of students by the time I got there, which wasn’t surprising considering I was two minutes later than normal. (I could thank the aforementioned idiots for forcing me to stand rather than sit because the rock wall that I normally settled on was already mobbed with kids.)
I stood a short distance away from the crowd, happily secluded and staring off into the distance. I was staring off into space in just the right (or wrong) direction to not notice that the bus had pulled up. The only reason why I’d looked to see if it was here was the momentary quieting of the noises behind me.
I tugged on the straps of my backpack as I moved to get on. I waited for the student ahead of me to get on before stepping up and sliding into my seat. For some reason, nobody ever stole it from me. Something about not liking sitting directly behind the bus driver.
I’ll have you know that Mrs. Kutler is very nice and is not your average bus driver.
She has also driven me to school my whole life, so maybe she is and I just don’t know it.
Mrs. Kutler gave me a nod and I returned it. I didn’t talk to her, I didn’t pull out my phone, I just sat there and tried to tune out all the chatter.
As the bus began to move, I tucked my hood around my shoulder and leaned against the wall. I only barely missed the window because, for some reason, the windows on the bus took up most of the wall space.
No, they do not go swish swish swish.
I could never tell whether or not the drive there or back was my favorite part of my day. Some would argue the latter because it represented freedom of sorts, but sometimes, I felt just as trapped at home as I did at school.
At least on the way to school, you have a little bit of sunrise before the sun begins to glow and the leaves start cheering as the dance in the wind. At least, on a day with good weather, you know that the whole world isn’t grey and gloomy like it seems to be on rainy days.
I think seeing the city is my least favorite part. I couldn’t tell you why I don’t like it, but if all the mismatched buildings were to turn into trees, I couldn’t have cared less.
Actually, I take that back. I would’ve enjoyed it more than trying to act like I don’t think of a messed-up utopia every time I look at it.
After all, isn’t that what the world is coming to? They say that politics is a way to express yourself, but it certainly seems to be bringing on more fights than anything.
All I wanted was to get through school relatively unscathed, and if I managed to get a friend in the process, I’d be more than pleased.
No offence to Darling, but I was seriously getting tired of only having one person to ask for help. When that fell through, and it often did, I ended up fending for myself.
Hence, I don’t know Calculus by the correct rules and the number of mnemonics I’d taught myself just to keep my science straight was incredible.
However, History wasn’t all that bad. Stories of people’s lives and whatnot felt much more meaningful to learn about than scientific laws and math stuff I’ll never need to use once I leave college.
Actually, the odds of me needing it in college are slim too, haha.
After a while of watching the scenery, I let my eyes close. I didn’t fall asleep, mind you, but I did rest my eyes. After all, what’s the use of looking at something that only makes you depressed?
There isn’t one. It’s as easy as that.
I only opened my eyes when we got to school, but only for a moment. I ended up closing them for one more moment before pushing myself up reluctantly.
“Thank you, Mrs. Kutler,” I said tiredly.
She smiled back at me in kind, “You’re welcome, Bridget. Come back in one piece, okay?”
Because I’d come back to her once as only my bottom half.
I rolled my eyes, smiling despite myself. “Can’t make any promises. You know how they get.”
Mrs. Kutler’s eyes darkened for a moment. “Yes, I think I do,” she said.
Before I could question her, she made a shooing motion.
“Don’t be late,” she said, smiling at me again.
I smiled back at her, slightly confused and the tiniest bit concerned I had said something wrong.
“I won’t,” I assured her.
Then I hopped off the bus and made my way towards the doors.