Well I have good news and bad news. The good news is that, if you can hear this, I won. The bad news is that in order for you to know what I won, you have to sit through Trey and I's long narrative. Sorry about that.
I like the color red. I like breathing. I like the shade of creamy white that used to color my skin. I love feeling of being hungry and cold. I like these things because I’m dead. A ghost, I kicked the bucket, like a door nail. As many similes as you can think of for being dead, I am that. I liked red because it was the color of blood, which it no longer means a thing to me, and I don’t have a need to breath (I do anyway), my skin is no longer the peachy colors, but instead a stark white. I don’t eat unless it’s for fun and I am unable to feel cold. I literally am as dead as anyone could ever be, which is pretty dead.
The thing about being dead, is that it’s not really as bad as people make it sound. I can still feel things with like, my ghost nerves, but I don’t have to deal with being too hot or too cold. (I complain about it anyway so people don’t think I’m weird) I can still feel the pain of being punched, and I still have dumb anxiety. There was never much I could do about that though.
No one knows. They’d either think I was crazy or just lock me in some kind of underground basement. I tried telling my mom once.
“That’s nice sweetheart. Could you do the dishes tonight?” she asked. She didn’t look away from her computer, and from what I could tell, she was working very hard on selling some tupperware containers.
“Sure.” I smiled. I had expected her to say that.
While washing the last pieces of brownie off the tin, I turned the water as hot as it could get. I felt the water run down my skin, and into the sink. It was steaming, leaving red behind on my hands. I couldn’t feel that part.
“What are you doing?” my little brother asked me. He often walked in on my painless escapades. He thought I was crazy. He was in the 8th grade, and nowhere near clueless. I saw the look in his eye, and his disappointment watching the steam rise.
I hid my hands in the bubbles waiting for the red to fade away.
“In nearly boiling water?” he raised an eyebrow.
“I want them to be clean. Sorry you’re such a wimp.” I said. He chuckled sadly and walked past me into the back garden.
I sighed, realizing my mistake. So many people around, what was I thinking.
I finished cleaning quickly, and walked after him.
“I’m worried about you,” he said, glaring at me, “I want you to be okay and I want you to tell me what’s going on.”
“It’s more complicated than that,” I whispered.
“Travis, Violet, come inside it it’s too cold to just be standing out there,” my mother yelled from the doorway. I was surprised she left her containers.
I groaned and stalked off hoping to make it into my bedroom before Travis asked more questions. Out of all the people who I would tell, he wasn’t one of them. It was dangerous, giving someone that knowledge (if they even believed you). They could go looking for other ghosts and they might not be so sweet. For all I knew, there were billions, or none at all.
Over the past few weeks I had continued going to school. I let myself get sucked back into the stream of teenage drama, and over achieving peers. I ignored most of them, preferring to sit near the three people who I could still stand. They were sensible, and there was never any drama. My mother continued to work as she had before, if not more. She was constantly on the phone, or the computer. She was a lowly employee of a large telemarketing company. The sold everything from baking pans, to cell phones.
“Violet! Tell me whats happening with you. You’re always so pale now, and you’re always in your room and you never talk to me anymore,” he huffed. He walked quickly behind me grabbing my wrist and look at it. There was nothing there but milky white skin. There wasn’t even foundation light enough for me anymore.
I didn't answer him and continued walking down the long hallway. He groaned and walked after me.
“Answer me.” he whispered.
“You didn’t ask a question.” I answered. I quickly took the last few steps toward my room, and closed the door in his face. He groaned. I sighed.
I walked toward the window and popped it open. The cold washed over me, or so I assumed. I stared into the night sky and let my body shake with pent up grief.
I hated it.
From across the house I heard my dad come home. Snippets of conversation floated towards me.
“How was your shift? You’re home pretty early for a Thursday night.” my mom said.
“Actually I’m not, it’s one in the morning. Have you been working this whole time?” he asked. I could hear the smile on his face. We had a running bet for how long she would work uninterrupted. I was a tiny bit less sad, thinking of them.
I eventually fell asleep leaning against the open window. I didn’t dream.
Waking up I realized I forgot to set my alarm. It was early enough for me to get ready, but to late for me to spend as much time as I need picking my clothes.
“I’m so done. I cannot be late today!” I groaned. I was over exaggerating as dad would say. Why my mom didn’t wake me up was a mystery, because every time I overslept before she would wake me up. There was strange pang in my chest, one that was never there when regarding my mother.
I cried a little, overly hurt by something simple. My breathing was disgusting and I continually wiped my eyes while putting on my jeans. I folded my arms over face and heaved.
When I knew I was ready, and also going to miss my first class, I walked into the living room to find it empty. Mom and dad would usually have been eating breakfast at the table, and chatting about what they were doing that night.
Travis was sitting on the couch tapping away at his phone.
“Where are mom and dad?” I questioned him. He didn’t look up when he answered.
“Dad is back in bed, and mom left for work.” he muttered.
“Isn’t she supposed to give us a ride?” I asked. My stomach flipped thinking about how I was supposed to get to school. My heart beat sped up for no good reason.
“I don’t have school today,” he said. I noticed he was still wearing gym shorts, and a rumpled shirt from the 7th grade. I couldn’t believe I didn’t notice it. “I don’t know what you’re supposed to do,” he joked.
“S-she forgot me?” I whispered. My chest was doing an acrobatic routine.
“I know that look on your face. She didn’t do it on purpose Violet, I promise.” he said.
But it never happened before. She never forgot.
I considered calling her, but didn’t. I just walked back down the hall and laid on my bed.
I didn’t want to go to school anyway. Or at least I thought I didn’t. I didn’t have a test today but I couldn’t miss another day or… or nothing. There were no consequences but my brains logic I couldn’t miss another day. I called my friend Lilly and started begging for a ride.
“I’m so sorry I’m calling like this please don’t be mad but I need a ride and my mom left me here and it’s to far to walk and I’m so so sorry but can you come and get me?” I ranted and raved. By the end I heard my voice crack, something that wasn’t uncommon.
“Calm down Cry Baby, I’ll come and get you. Be there in 10.” and she hung up. I breathed deeply, a force of habit. I slowly put on my shoes, and went back to the kitchen to make breakfast until I realized I didn’t need to. I did anyway.
When Lilly showed up in my front yard, I was halfway through a breakfast sandwich. I said goodbye to Travis, and he didn’t look up, so I walked quietly out the door not wanting to wake up my dad.
“How long have we been friends Cry Baby?” she asked. I tried to answer but my voice was caught in my throat, along with a small piece of microwave english muffin.
I swallowed, “Somewhere around three years?” I said. I was wrong I knew. It was only two years.
“Wrong answer. Two years.” I was right, or wrong I guess.
I stared at the floor and waited for her to finish. The bottom of the car was covered in a thin layer of garbage. Soda cans and empty chip bags crunched every time I bounced my leg, so eventually I stopped. All the time I had known her I had only ridden in her car three times. She was the only one who even had a car, but she didn’t like people seeing the intense mess.
“So what was the point of that question?” I asked. She only nodded, and instead flicked on the radio.
I bit my lip and looked out the window. Who knew being dead wouldn’t be my biggest problem this week.
We hastily pulled into the student parking lot, and parked. As she was shutting off the car she threw me one of the cans of soda she had laying on the floor. My stomach was tied in a thousand knots, for no good reason.
“A fee for the ride. Every passenger must throw away one piece of trash.” she laughed holding a finger triumphantly in the air.
“I could just throw myself away,” I joked. I relaxed a little, but not much. She was good for me, even if after two years she didn’t know me very well.
She laughed and walked with me to the front doors. We parted ways halfway down a very long hallway. She said something about going to meet Jess at our homeroom. I didn’t know Jess.
I silently wadded through the sea of people, making my way toward my locker. Pushing people bitterly out of the way.
The initial anxiety was gone, so I opened my locker with unshaking hands. It was like I was different person. I used to be like this all the time, I thought.
I grabbed my books and slammed the door, making my way down the hallway once more. Homeroom started in five.
“Oh, I haven’t seen that look on your face for a while,” Brenna smiled, jogging up next to me. I laughed a little, and hated myself for it.
“I feel weird today. Nothing a few hours in the torture chamber we call homeroom can’t fix."
"Funny, Cry Baby. Try to stay in class the whole time huh?" she said.
Maybe I should explain. They called me Cry Baby as a running joke, or a bet. Who ever said it and got me to cry, won. Awful I know.
Lilly was the one who started it in the first place.
Brenna jogged off once more, and I sighed. I did that a lot now. I saw her glance back at me and smile, before giving a questioning look. I turned around to see a broad shouldered man standing directly behind me.
"May I help you?" I asked. My stomach dropped, and I was thinking through all the things I could get in trouble for.
"Violet Grimmer?" he spoke. His voice was gruff and slow, like he reading from a textbook.