I was floating. My body felt like it’s levitating. I could feel myself get lighter with each passing second- even though I’m completely still. My hands which were trembling seconds prior had stopped. They lay numbly at my sides as I made eye contact with a poster hanging from my ceiling. My chapped lips formed into a smile as I giggled up at it.
It’s a large poster I ordered online of Danny DeVito. I used my best sharpie to make him look like a beautiful woman who’s missing a tooth. I call her Daniella Demteeththo.
Yes, I’m proud of myself.
I closed my eyes and sighed softly to myself. I lifted the half burnt joint to my lips, taking a long drag, before putting it out on the window sill next to my bed. I slowly exhaled the smoke through my nose before opening my eyes again. This time, my attention was at my door. What day was it? Saturday? I should be good... or so I thought. At that moment, someone knocked on my door. I jumped slightly at the sound. It was six in the morning. I’m always awake or always tired, never both. For some reason I decided to stay awake all day.
“Nikki, time to go!” My little sister yelled. Time to leave? Isn’t it six in the morning?
“Go away!” I shouted back.
“Now.” She insisted. Rolling my eyes, I took my phone off the nightstand. My background was a photo of my best friend - Alex - and I at a concert. It was a Mother Mother concert. I know, I know. They’re popular mainly due to TikTok. But once you get past the weird trends, their music is pretty good. We both had our tongues out, flipping the camera off, as the band played directly in front of us. Alex has a way of getting front row at shows. I don’t know nor care to know. I get to feel the energy from the bands so that’s all I care about. I grabbed my phone, it lighting up on my confused face, to realize it’s almost seven.
“Shit!” I told myself and quickly raised up. Due to my low iron, I felt super faint when I stood up. I stumbled to my dresser and grabbed a hoodie, throwing over the t-shirt I wore to bed for the sixth night in a row. I doubt anyone will notice the wrinkles and me wearing it a few days prior. Grabbing some jeans off my floor, I slid them on with some socks and my shoes. I rushed past my desk to step back and stare at myself. My curly brown hair was a mess as my matching brown eyes were reddened. Gotta love some weed, am I right? I grabbed the brush - which hadn’t been cleaned in a while - before running the bristles through the bird’s nest that’s connected to my head. I swung open my door to see my sister, Shelly, waiting for me. Her own brown curly hair was pulled into a tight ponytail as wavy bangs framed her face. She wore a red and white striped fitted shirt, blue jeans, and sneakers she got the week prior. Shelly also wore some very light makeup which she was checking in the black reflection of her phone.
“Good morning!” Shelly beamed with a forced smile.
“You know,” Shelly started as she followed behind me, “for being your personal alarm clock, you’re not very thankful.”
I turned once I got to the bottom of the chairs. I reached up, squishing her cheeks together, forcing her nude colored lips to push forward as if she was going to kiss someone. My own lips formed into a large smile but it didn’t reach my eyes. Shelly’s brows furrowed together as she tried to pull my hands away. She hated when I did that. I’ve done this gesture to her since she was a toddler - same with our grandma.
“Oh my personal alarm clock, what would I ever do without you?” My voice went into a British accent, as if I was some proper Victorian woman, thanking some peasant on the street. Shelly rolled her eyes, pushing my hands off her face. Like I said, she hated me being sarcastic and squishing her face. I’m thankful she knows how to drive because I sure as hell can’t. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I’m scared to. Our parents got into a terrible accident when I was younger. Head on collision with another driver in the winter. They died before making it the hospital, having our grandma become our guardian. Shelly doesn’t remember the accident - thankfully - since she was only two. I was about to go to kindergarten. Getting into her little red car - that my grandmother paid half of - I was welcomed by the radio. Shelly and I have very different music styles. She loves very upbeat and happy pop music, I prefer rock and metal. Shelly turned the radio up, a female singer hitting a high note to the latest pop song. Honestly, it sounded like a dog dying while getting its balls kicked. I wrinkled my nose and changed it to a local classic rock station. The intense guitar solo filled the speakers of the car along with some drums, making the morning start off better. Suddenly, I heard the same high pitched voice from a few seconds prior. Looking over at my sister, Shelly was smirking while waving her index finger, taunting me.
“My car. My radio. My rules.”
“Do you tell Grandma that too?” I said harsher than I intended. Shelly rolled her eyes before pulling out of the driveway. Ever since she got that job at the mall selling bras, she thinks she’s more mature than me. Sure, she has a car and a job, but I give it six months before she has a flat tire and loses her job. We lived right on the outside of town so we passed by the brown and green sign everyday. The wooden sign was completely worn out as nobody has maintained or replaced it for decades. The once bright olive green words were now faded to a sage color like the rest of the town - which is left to collect dust.
Welcome To Greenfield Bay!
It’s a blessing and a curse to live in. The whole damn town smells like fish and beer. You’d think I would’ve gotten used to it by now but I haven’t. Don’t get me wrong, some places in small towns are beautiful. Such as the beach when the sun is setting. Or sitting at Moe’s Ice Cream shop while watching a deer eating berries nearby - which Moe gets pissed off because those are his own berries. But most of the time, it’s so boring that sometimes I swear I’m watching paint dry. I’d love nothing more than to move somewhere fresh. Maybe California or New York. Hell, even the Midwest if I must.
But here’s the thing; I’m not going to make it to graduation.
Ever since my parents died, I haven’t desired life that much. I know, I was four and wanted to die. I never told anybody until I was ten and accidentally said it to my grandma. After that, she signed me up for therapy and countless medications. But it’s not enough. I blamed myself - for some odd reason - for my parents death. I was with them but apparently I was asleep and don’t remember the crash. It’s true, I don’t. I just remember attending my parents funeral and wishing I could be wherever they were. I would try to tell my grandma I wanted to see my parents and she said I couldn’t. I would get upset and act out, trying to hurt her, myself, or whatever else was around me. There’s been times where I came close to attempting but something just held me back. Maybe my self-consciousness doesn’t want me to end up like parents or leave Shelly behind. Not to mention my grandma had to bury almost her entire family - including her own daughter.
Shelly pulled into a parking spot before turning her car off. I sighed and got out of the car, fishing something out of the bra I was wearing the night prior. It was an after school detention slip. Apparently, getting caught skipping class in the bathroom isn’t accepted. So... they’re having me skip class by being in another class.
“How the fuck did you manage to get so many detentions last year that you still have to make up some?” Shelly asked. She’s now a sophomore as I’m finally going into my senior year. God, time does fly past. Last year I skipped so much school and detentions that it just keeps piling up. I figured I’d actually go today just to see any other unlucky souls who had to go with me.
“It’s a gift.” I whispered and smiled widely, Shelly smiled back before reaching into her bag. She knew I never carried anything but a pen with me. She handed me a brand new pen along with my schedule which was neatly folded up.
“We don’t have any classes together.”
“Because you’re lame.” I snorted and opened the piece of paper. Gotta love the first day of school. I had to retake some of the same classes I did last year and the year prior. That included English and science. Science is a topic I’m horrible at but also fascinates me. How can chemicals make something we need to survive?! But one wrong move - or chemical - and it can kill you. English was actually okay. I mainly failed it because I liked the teacher and she didn’t have many other classes to offer. I knew the room all too well. The poster of a cat reading a book was still on the door from the previous year. Her desk was in the same area with a brand new seat. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m in this class on the day of graduation. The old tile floor, half burnt out ceiling light, and carved in wooden desks welcomed me back as I walked in. This room is basically my second home.
“Nikki, nice to see you again.” The teacher said, it was an older plus sized woman. I basically know her by her first name. Actually - I do, it’s Kathy Miller.
“Always a pleasure, Ms. Miller.” I said back before heading to the same desk I always sat in. It was at the very back in the corner that’s barely lit. The gremlin corner, as Ms. Miller once referenced. The wooden desk had carvings all over it from prior students and newer ones - which includes yours truly. The plastic red chair had several cracks and was wobbling. Ms. Miller said I’m gonna end up in the nurse’s office when the chair breaks. I told her it’s my goal before I leave here.
“Sup, stupid bitch!” My head immediately turned to the familiar female voice that yelled my way. I saw a girl my age with dyed bleach blonde hair with pink and blue streaks at the bottom. Her nose and eyebrow had metal in it which complemented her black boots that had chains on the side. She wore an old t-shirt, black denim shorts, and ripped tights. It was my best friend, Alex. We were literally the same person except she’s an only child with parents. Lucky fucker.
“No fuckin’ way you got this class too!” I yelled back at her. Alex only responded with a nod and giggled, making her way back to sit next to me. I sighed happily as a smile came to my face. Alex is the type of person that lights up the room with her presence and weird quotes. One time she made me laugh so hard during lunch that chocolate milk came out of my mouth and nose... at the same time. The Double Squirt as Alex named it, making it weirdly sexual and our new inside joke.
“Ms. Crane and Ms. Gomez!” The other woman yelled behind her glasses which covered her annoyed eyes. “Please watch your language. The last thing we need is for you two to cause trouble.”
“A little late for that.” I chuckled, causing a groan from my favorite teacher. Freshman year was rough for Alex. She had just moved here from a highly Christian school and town about two hours away from Greenfield. Alex’s dad didn’t want her going to the local public school due to some rumor about the kids eating lice. So, he stuck his daughter in a high maintenance catholic school. Once she moved here and was able to have freedom, she started doing whatever she wanted. Her parents aren’t surprised nor disappointed. They don’t care as long as she’s not hurting herself or others around her. Too bad they don’t know about the miscarriage she had last year and how she’s been a pothead for the last two years. That’s why we’re best friends. We don’t give a fuck about what others want from us. We will do whatever we want and pay for consequences later. You have one chance at this life, make the most of it.
Some more people began to pile in but I didn’t care. Alex and I were talking about the past summer even though we spent most of the time together. She reminded me of how she tried to get a job at the movie theater during mid June. I began to laugh over how she quickly lost the job - which was throwing popcorn at a kid who tried to outsmart her of how the popcorn was made. She hates know-it-alls and kids. Yet she actually wants to be a mother. That’s a major difference between her and I. She wants to do something with film, she doesn’t care what. Acting, writing, directing, editing, anything. She loves it all and helped production on school plays the last few years. That’s another reason why Alex tried to work at the movie theater. She just loves escaping through films and television.
“I want to be like Dan Schneider,” she once told me, “except without the child allegations and making shit for kids. Just... my stuff to be well known.”
“Oh, Tim Burton.” Alex then winked at me, giving me the satisfaction with my educated guess. She’s always loved horror movies and anything creepy. I’m okay with that type of shit. I’m to the point that every horror game, movie, and show has the same jump scares and death scenes. I’d rather go to a haunted house walkthrough and shove people in the face of the killer for everyone’s entertainment. Knowing my luck, I would get kicked out for doing just that. But at least I’d have a laugh on the way out. I remember going to one last year with Alex and Shelly. Shelly had brought along some guy that she had a major crush on. By the end of the whole thing, he was shaking and crying, wanting to go home. Shelly and him never ended up going out after that night.
“Good morning, class!” Ms. Miller announced, “Congratulations, y’all are seniors now.” A few people clapped slowly while Alex let out a loud sigh, happy to be a step closer out of this hell hole. Ms. Miller then continued, “I’m sure you guys know each other by now but it is a tradition to go around the room and tell us who you are.”
“Oh joy.” Alex muttered to herself.
“Ms. Crane, you seem like a chatterbox today. Why don’t you go first?” Ms. Miller forced a smile as she stared at Alex. She’s also had Alex before and isn’t the biggest fan of her. Alex tells her straight up; no filter. I actually get along and somehow relate to Ms. Miller, making us have a genuine friendship. Alex is a bitch by nature, I’m a bitch by choice.
“I’d love to!” Alex beamed before raising up in her chair. I had a bad feeling about this. “I tried to get a job over the summer but it didn’t turn out well.”
“How come?” Ms. Miller asked.
“I almost killed a kid by throwing popcorn at his head.” Alex bluntly said. A few other classmates struggled to hold their laughter back as Alex smirked at Ms. Miller. Ms. Miller, who had an expression mixed with confusion and horror, was speechless. She probably wanted to ask a bunch of questions to the blunt teen next to me. Ms. Miller made eye contact with me as I held my own giggle inside my grinning lips.
“Well, thankfully nobody was hurt.” Ms. Miller’s forced smile made her comment insincere. Alex’s smile enlarged before pulling her gaze away from the teachers. Soon, everyone else went around the room and began to talk about how their summer was. Some people got jobs, went on vacation, toured colleges, and then there was me. I just sat at home and did nothing. If I wasn’t hanging out with Alex, I was smoking. If I wasn’t smoking, then I was touring my own town on foot late at night. When I can’t sleep, I sneak out and just try to find something new in town. So far, I’ve discovered two abandoned houses that haven’t been touched in years. One had a few graffiti designs but they faded severely. That house was a time capsule from 1983. The other was from 1997. I found a shit ton of old toys and electronics from that era. I’d be lying if I say I didn’t steal a few things from both houses. It’s not like the owners will miss them.
When Ms. Miller asked if she went over everyone, I stayed silent. Nobody decided to pay attention to whether I was in the class or not; which is how I like it. Ms. Miller also knows I hate saying anything in front of the class. I don’t have anxiety when it comes to people, I just prefer not to have an audience. When the class went silent, Ms. Miller took the opportunity to speak.
“Thanks, everyone. I’m sure graduation will-”
The door opened, cutting Ms. Miller off. She stopped as everyone’s head turned to the door that creaked open slightly. A young boy slowly walked in, his black t-shirt hung loosely on his shoulders as he wore a black jacket, trying to hide the rest of his body. His dark gray worn out jeans matched his shoes which had layers of dirt on them. His head was hung low as he forced a small smile at Ms. Miller, embarrassed by his tardiness.
“It’s fine, Mr. Winters. Please take a seat.” Ms. Miller smiled softly before leaning against her desk. The room was almost full except maybe four desks which included one diagonally left from me, close to the window. His blue eyes scanned the room before locking onto mine, making eye contact for two seconds, before the desk near me. He loved sitting in the back too. The teenage boy walked towards Alex and I before sitting across from me. I looked over at Alex whose mouth was open with a slight smile.
“Who’s that? He’s cute!” She mouthed. I simply shrugged. Truth is, I did know him. Well, of him. His dad was trying to run for mayor a few years back and his mother is a well known doctor at the local hospital. A parent who’s in politics and the other who’s a doctor; this young man was basically set for life. If his dad got mayor or governor and his mother got hired to a bigger hospital, his college tuition could be paid off. Honestly, it probably is. He’s very quiet and a teacher’s pet as you call it. Well, sorta. When people think of teacher pets, they think of kids who tattles on others to the teacher. He doesn’t. He once caught me and a few guys near the football field smoking. He saw us and kept walking, and didn’t say a word to or about us. Instead, he’s like me in a sense. He gets along with the staff members. I’ve heard he has an old wise soul by Ms. Miller and others. But, I wouldn’t know. Nobody would. He rarely speaks. In fact, him simply apologizing was the first word I ever heard him say. His voice was scratchy - as if he had woken up recently. But it also had a smooth undertone that I could only imagine that caramel would sound like if it had a voice. Does that make sense? Foods having voices? Oh well. It wasn’t too deep or high, it wasn’t monotone nor whiny. It was strangely soothing to me.
“Mr. Winters, would you like to describe yourself and how your summer was?”
“Did everyone else go?” He asked, the older woman slowly nodded. The boy with the caramel voice sighed softly as he swallowed hard. His blue eyes flickered back and forth between his hands before tightly closing them. Based on his body language, I could tell he was nervous. He was different from me; hating crowds instead of the individual people. It’s what some people would call social anxiety. I just hate talking to people because they’re dumb and won’t understand. With him, he probably assumes people think he’s dumb and won’t understand. Finally, after a minute of solid silence, his voice came out in a whisper. He didn’t have much to say and Ms. Miller quickly realized he wasn’t going to say much anyways.
“My name is Jacob and I’m a senior.”
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