Act I. To Get to the Other Side
Raindrops collided angrily against the pavement. Matt’s bluetooth wireless headset was supposed to filter out everything else, but even volume level 8 of 23 by Jimmy Eat World was no match for the anger the sky has been letting loose. Under the bus stop, he held an open umbrella against his shoulder, staring at the lamp post across the street.
From the lamp post’s point of view, it could see a boy in the end of his teenage years. He looked visibly tired amidst the heavy rain. The boy’s eye bags were unhappy. His hair was messy. His unzipped blue sweater and his black straight cut pants were shivering. His plain white shirt was breathing heavily. His headset was whispering about being alone. The boy itself—well, he was more nonliving than every other object at the moment.
At least I’m not alone in being alone, Matt thought. That lamp post and I are no different.
The lamp post could hear Matt’s thoughts, and it sneered at him as a pretty girl in a white umbrella stood beside it.
Fuck off, Matt, the lamp post said. Everyone who loves you is wrong.
From what the lamp post could see, she was wearing a polo shirt that had thin red and white bands printed all over. She was wearing thick, horn-rimmed glasses. Her blue shorts were cut halfway through her thighs. Her hair was shoulder length and was dyed green and blonde on some parts (like most Fine Arts student stereotypes.) The girl made everything else look nondescript, at least for both Matt and the lamp post.
A white bus walks by and blocks Matt’s view, offers its hand and kneels before the girl. She takes the hands of the bus along with everything else worth describing, leaving Matt staring after the wet and shiny pedestrian lane. The angry droplets seem to spawn needles as it spikes up upon impact, never allowing reflections to be seen. No one really reflects anymore, anyway, said the sky, looking down on the gloom that covered the whole city.
Matt acknowledged the small rust buildup on his umbrella’s pole, something that could potentially stain his sweater. Somehow it didn’t matter anymore. Something else did, but he couldn’t admit it to himself.A few moving shoes walked across his vision as he lowered the umbrella to hide his eyes. Everyone in the bus stop had negative feelings at the moment, but he had a different reason. Everyone else didn’t like being stranded from the heavy rain. Matt didn’t like being stranded in thinking of Erin.And not knowing why.Today, Erin wore what seemed to him as a pink polo shirt and short blue shorts. Apparently she packed a white umbrella, and the glasses that somehow make him weak were adorning her face as usual.
You stand there thinking about the Erin in your fantasy so much, the lamp post thought. What was meters away will now always be kilometers away.
Matt finally tries to be human by remembering her slightly low-pitched “Oi” expression and her equally-pitched laugh that seemed easier to achieve than a passing grade in College Calculus. It was weird at first, but it became something he could smile about since 5 weeks ago, since he saw her in their Creative Writing class. He could remember how her charm of being ditzy and giggly, especially when reciting, got his attention in the first place.
The class just ended its last meeting a couple of minutes ago since Matt started staring at the lamp post, and he was in pain about how he just walked out the door, straight towards the bus stop. He didn’t even need to ride the bus. He just had to walk for 15 minutes to reach the house he was boarding. He was secretly hoping that she would interrupt his departure.
Oi, she should have said. Where do you think you’re going?
He started to cross the street, imagining what would have happened next. Her voice, her laugh, his jokes, a deafening screech of rubber, screams of surprise and a black out.
Matt knew at that moment that he wasn’t walking anymore. He couldn’t feel anything, as if he wasn’t numb enough already. A constant blur was keeping his eyes from fully opening. Incomprehensible mumbles came with from what he could see as a wall of different colors looming around him. With difficulty, he rolled his eyeballs to his right and saw his arm stretched out to what he can make of as his umbrella. He tried to stand up, but he couldn’t. He didn’t have a reason to, anyway.
Why did Matt cross the road? the lamp post thought.
Matt’s consciousness looks at the title of the chapter. The question is answered.