“Harry wait,” I called as I left the building. There was something dragging me to him, something deep inside me that I couldn’t pinpoint. I just had to tell him I saw what happened, and ask him if he is okay. It didn’t matter if he was a detestable person, I was not.
He turned around but didn’t look me in the eyes “What is it?” He wasn’t mean or harsh, nor friendly, just indifferent.
“Well I -uh,” I stuttered. “I was in town a few hours ago and...”
“You saw me?” he finished my sentence “So what?” this time he sounded annoyed. I approached him a little bit more.
I looked at the ground and played with my fingers. “I just wanted to know if you were okay,” I said with a soft voice and his features softened “Those guys hit you really hard.”
He tilted his head to reveal his black eye “I am okay, or I will be, I guess...” he answered. His eye looked really dark with some purple spots here and there. I also noticed some scars along his face.
I was not expecting that at all. Nobody had ever asked me if I was okay, at least not at Hudson. But that couldn’t just be it. Why would she, after annoying her since she arrived, suddenly care about me? I concluded that she only wanted to know what happened, she wanted to know why I got into the fight so she could tell all of her friends. She didn’t truly care, she was just prying.
“I know what you are doing,” I said and walked closer to her aggressively. She took a step backwards “You are trying to know who was hitting me and why!”
“What?! No, why would I want to?”
“Oh I don’t know! Maybe because you are the most intrusive person I ever met!” I exploded.
“Is that so?! Well, now that we are being so honest, you are the most horrible, despicable, heartless and selfish person I ever came across with. What you did to everyone here at Hudson is unbelievable. Don’t you feel guilty for what you did to that little boy?” she paused and took a breath, but still talked in a harsh way. “I have no idea why you were beaten, but one thing is for sure Harry, you deserved it!” I felt as if I was being stabbed. No one since John had ever spoken to me that way. I didn’t know what to say or what to do, and before I could think of something, she turned around and walked away.
“And just for the record,” she added “I had no intention in knowing anything, I just wanted to know if you were fine.”
I stood there as her beautiful appearance walked towards Hall A. It was unbelievable really. She must’ve had a lot of guts to do that.
But it didn’t really matter that she was so harsh with me by saying those piercing and hurtful words. After all, she was sincerely worried about me, or at least that was what she claimed. Since the first day I saw her I knew she was different from everyone else. She was kind, a truly good person... How could she be so nice all the time?
I went to my room to think. It was the quietest place. I walked past the loud boys and went to the upper floor. I closed the door of my room with a huge amount of force and laid down on my bed, facing the ceiling.
She asked me if I was okay, but then she told me she hated me? This didn’t make any sense, but I knew if I continue to think about it I would go crazy.
I pushed Summer aside and thought of Tom. That wasn’t the first time Tom and his friends beat me. It happened twice last year, after that kid died. The first time was the worse: broken leg and nose, some deep cuts and bruises. I went to the hospital and stayed there for a whole week. The worst part was not the excruciating physical pain which one couldn’t imagine, but the psychological one. I felt so bad, so guilty... ”But it wasn’t me, I didn’t kill him with my bare hands!" I told Tom time after time. It was true, I didn’t push him off the bridge, but deep down, I knew I was the reason why he did so. I tried to forget, I tried to believe it wasn’t me, but it was. There was no running from the truth.
The few friends I had stopped talking to me after that. People were scared of me, they didn’t look me in the eyes and they ignored me to protect themselves... If people treated me like this before John’s death I would’ve felt so powerful and mighty, almost like a king. But at that time, the only thing I wanted was to have someone who would tell me that it wasn’t my fault even though I knew it was. I just wanted to feel safe and not alone.
After that incident, and to make the matters worse, some parents took their children out of Hudson. I knew it was because of me, I knew it was because their children were sleeping under the same roof as a “murderer”. Who in their perfect mind out want that to their child?
That was when it hit me. I couldn’t do anything to change my situation, so I decided to do my thing and leave everyone alone. Yeah, I knew they all thought I was heartless and aggressive, but I had already accepted that reality and became used to it.
But I hated it. I hated that everyone hated me and I hated hating everyone! I knew I wrote my fate, but I never ever wanted that boy to die. I knew I was a jerk to him and a son of a bitch and if I could take it back I wouldn’t even hesitate.
I cursed under my breath and threw a pillow at the door. I never wanted to come to his school in the first place. It was all her fault that I became who I am! If I wasn’t so revolted when I first arrived at Hudson, I would have never done those things. Nevertheless, in the middle of all that mess and despite my deep frustration, I still missed her.
I believed in my heart that when I graduated there would be nothing that could stop me and I could go to Germany. I would go to Germany, even if that was the last thing I did.
It was time for dinner. The last thing I wanted to do was to eat and to be seen with a black eye which was hurting like hell. I just needed a good night sleep to get my thoughts straight. I curled up in bed after closing the curtains. That day was a day to forget.
After dinner we went straight to our room so I could tell the girls all about that afternoon.
“...And he was so nice. He even paid for the lunch!” I said happily as I skipped around the room. My hair was in two messy braids that bounced to the sides as I walked.
“Good for you, it’s hard to find decent men nowadays,” laughed Amanda.
I laid on my bed and looked at the ceiling. What a perfect day it had been.
Thoughts of Harry clouded my mind. Throughout the whole dinner I couldn’t think of anything else rather than him. You’re the most intrusive person I ever met, his voiced played on repeat. Did he really mean it? I had to admit I was a little intrusive, but that was certainly not the impression I wanted to give him, or to anyone else in that matter. But still, how dare he say such a thing about me when he was the one full of sins? I had to admit, what I said was harsh, it was far meaner than what I intended, but he deserved to hear every single word.
For whatever reason he got beaten, it is his problem, not mine.
“Do you think you will go out with him again?” Anna asked with a smirk on her face. I said I didn’t know, but I wouldn’t mind if we did.
“Don’t forget that next Saturday is my horse race,” reminded me Lucy.
How could I forget, I was so excited to go somewhere other than downtown I couldn’t wait.
“And then, Winter holidays!” added Lottie. All the girls smiled widely and clapped their hands in excitement. I just stared at with a sad face. I had received a letter from my parents; they wouldn’t be able to come home from Germany, so I would have to stay in Hudson for the Winter holidays.
“What’s wrong?” asked Anna, noticing my lack of excitement.
“Oh, it’s nothing...“I said, “It’s just that my parents won’t be able to come so I will spend almost a month all alone here.”
“It’s not that long, you’ll see,” Anna tried to cheer me up. I faked a smile and hoped she couldn’t see the sadness in my eyes. It was the first time I spend my birthday and New Year away from home, not to mention Christmas which was the most important day of the year for my family. It was that one night where my dad would buy a turkey for us and my mum would make the most delicious desserts. It was that time of the year where we could be “extravagant” in our grocery list.
“Anyway,” she Lucy, changing to a lighter subject “I have been riding every day this week and my entire body hurts like hell so I better at least come third place or I’ll be beyond furious.”
“It depends on your opponents,” said Anna “If they suck then you have the victory guaranteed, but if they are really good, you’re screwed.”
“Are you saying I can’t beat them?” she put her hands on her hips.
“Of course not, you silly,” Anna laughed “You know what I mean.”
We turned off the lights after Aunt Marge came in and forced us to sleep. I wasn’t very tired, but I forced my eyes to close.
Images of my parents invaded my mind, and I couldn’t help but miss them. God knew I missed their voices and their hugs and the way they cooked - which wasn’t very good but still - and especially their unconditional love. I knew Hudson was perfect, but if I had to point out a flaw, that would be it.
I was walking down the corridor full of students. It seemed like a normal Monday morning but there was something in the corner of my eye that caught my attention. John - or Little John as they called him - was standing there with his usual group of friends. But didn’t he die? I tried to approach him but my feet were glued to the ground.
“Look who we found!” someone shouted. I recognised that voice as being Tom’s, but he wasn’t allowed inside the school, so what was he doing there?
Tom approached me and pushed me backwards. I fell hard on my back and tried to get up, but every single muscle in my body couldn’t move. All students in the school had stopped walking stared at what was going on. I couldn’t bear the humiliation; it was worse than any physical pain Tom could put me through.
“Do you want to tell everyone your big secret or do you give me that pleasure, mummy’s boy?” he crouched next to me, hovering over my frozen body. I tried to hit him but my fist was too slow and he moved away.
I lifted my head upwards to see if I could find Hansen. I spotted him leaning against a wall, laughing hysterically. That fucker, I will kill him!
“Hansen, stop him!” I shouted but my words came out as a whisper.
“Does everybody here know the country Germany?” Tom continued in a mocking way, shouting towards the sea of students that had gathered around. Fuck, I had to stop him, but my back was glued to the floor.
I looked around to see if I found someone, anyone that could help me.
“Summer, help me!” I called for her. She was very far away, but miraculously she heard me. She moved through the mob of students until she reached me. She knelt on the floor and caressed my hair. She had a very peaceful expression on her face, and her voice matched her calmness.
“It’s time for people to know,” she said softly.
I woke up abruptly and rose from my bed. I had sweat covering the back of my body and my hair was glued to my neck. It was just a nightmare. Breathe, I told myself. I turned on the light which was on my bed stand and sat on my bed with my hands on my knees.
I already had this dream before, many times actually, but this time Summer was in it. ”It’s time for people to know”, her voiced echoed in my head.
Usually I would wake after he told everyone the truth. It was a torture to see it and just stare blankly without being able to do anything.
I looked at the clock that read 09:15. I had missed my first lesson but I didn’t even care. I have no motivation whatsoever to go to class. The teachers were obnoxious and what we learned was basically useless, not to mention the students which sent hateful looks at me constantly and made their absolute best to ignore me. There was no point in going, and if I went I wouldn’t do shit and only get into trouble so why bother?
I opened the curtains to let some light come inside, but it wasn’t much. It was raining too hard, the wet window covered with thick raindrops, making the view ahead all distorted from the water.
I sat on the window seat and rested my head on the cold glass, my breathing fogging a small spot on the window. When was my torment going to end? When would my past stop chasing me and when would I be with her again? I had a deep feeling that it was going to be in a very, very long time.