Every day has been like the previous one. I had never been fond of routine, but I liked my new one very much. I woke up earlier than everybody else, got dressed and went to have breakfast. That was when all my morning grumpiness obliterated in thin air. Summer and I had arranged a way of sitting directly facing each other but not at the same table.
I would glance at her. She looked at me with a smile. It worked. It was like the old days during the holidays, but this time I made sure I captured everything. She ate toasts every day with a glass of milk, her hair was slightly wavier sometimes, she always crossed her legs under the table, people walked up to her to greet her, she had a smile on her face every single time she said ‘good morning’ and sometimes I even heard her laugh – if it was reasonably loud and I considerably lucky. During the moments of silence at her table she would connect her eyes with mine again, and evidently, I was already looking. It was like we were talking with our eyes, our smiles. I greeted her good morning, and so would she.
Breakfast would be over fast, and I either had classes or a free period. I didn’t usually go to lessons before but now I would think twice before going back to my room. I loved to see her walk from room to room with her – still annoying and pretentious as fuck – friends and see her smile once more. Once the afternoon lessons were over we would always meet in different places around the school. Once, we met behind the bleachers outside, obscured by the bushes and trees. Another time, we even met in a janitor’s closet, which was pretty fun, to say the least. By rule, we would go to the music room and spend hours straight there, where we would leave the world outside and enjoy each other’s company.
There was something different and new to talk about every time I saw her. She was slightly different to or maybe those differences were mannerisms that I hadn’t noticed yet; the way she talked, the tone of her voice, even her facial expressions as she laughed uncontrollably at something really stupid I said were different every time. I just couldn’t get enough of it. She also looked even prettier as each day passed and would find myself wondering how that was possible.
She was like the sun, or a star, or a candle, or the dime light outlining the frame of a door when the room was pitch black. I was never entirely full of darkness. Even in my loneliest and hardest times, I wasn’t completely out of light. I knew I had something good inside me, I could feel it like the sun on my skin on a warm day. She was some kind of fuel, she kept my light on, making it always shine the brightest it could. She gave me kindness, and friendship and a reason, and for that I was thankful.
God, I was going crazy for her.
It was half past seven. I had just been with Summer in the music room and decided that instead of going back to my room I would walk around the gardens. There weren’t many kids outside since it was almost time for dinner so for once silence could be heard. There was still some light coming from the almost-disappearing-in-the-horizon sun which created amazing shadows in the trees. I still wore a jacket although the end of day was quite warm. There was not a single cloud in the sky and I walked with ease through the open fields, the high trees, the gardens of flowers and across the bridge over the lake as memories of the day Summer and I ice-skated flashed through my mind.
The only thing that was left to make that moment perfect was a cigarette between my teeth.
I chuckled at that thought and sighed. Why did I still think about that? I decided to sit down for a bit on a bench nearby. I observed the things in my camp of vision. I could see about ten kids at different distances, although I didn’t hear any single one of them.
I closed my eyes for a second and tilted my head backwards, enjoying the moment of silence. That was when I heard two faint, low voices. I opened one of my eyes and turned my head in the direction of the sound. Two senior guys were walking my way and talking casually. I recognised them from my form class, but I didn’t remember talking to them before. I didn’t even know their names.
I closed my eyes again and tried to abstract myself from the mumbling voices, but as they approached their words started to become clearer and I couldn’t stop myself from listening.
“I’m telling you, she’s so hot!” one of them said.
“Yeah I know, but she is younger than you,” The other replied.
“When did that ever stop me?”
Both boys laughed and continued walking. I kept listening as they got closer.
“You just want her because she’s new here,” the second one said. I turned my head slowly to watch them.
“What does it matter anyway?” He said. He skipped in enthusiasm and held his friend’s shoulders “Ah man, have you seen those legs? One time I saw her cleavage in P.E. and man, you wouldn’t believe what this horrific uniform hides!”
They laughed heartedly. I even chuckled to myself, agreeing with the statement. The light-hearted conversation was actually contagious, and I felt more relaxed as I laughed internally with the guys.
“Oh man, you gotta move on, you will never have her.”
“That’s what you think!”
“You haven’t even talked to her.”
“Talking… That’s funny! When did ‘talking’ ever stopped me from getting what I wanted?
I cringed at his words. He sounded a little too full of himself. That moment reminded me of why I wasn’t their friends in the first place.
“Since you are so confident why don’t we make a bet?”
That caught my attention again.
“If you manage to get in her pants by the end of the month I give you all my allowance for a year.”
Although it was quite funny to listen to them, the conversation was getting quite serious. Poor girl, she was in big trouble.
“Then you can start giving me the money because I’m gonna win!” He clapped his hands and rubbed his hands. “I can already picture what I’m gonna do to her. I hope Summer enjoys it. I know I will.”
When he said her name I felt like a building collapsed on me. I felt sick, nauseated, but most of all, completely and utterly disgusted. I couldn’t believe what the girl they were talking about all along was Summer. A shiver ran down my spine as I thought that I was actually enjoying their conversation, assuming it was another girl. Anger started to boil inside me almost instantly and I could feel the blood rising to my head. All of a sudden I was no longer in control of my actions and thoughts. Before I could process anything, my fist was colliding with the guy’s face.
He back off, obviously startled by my sudden reaction. The other guy, the who offered his filthy money copied his move. They looked more confused than angry as I started at them with death in my eyes.
“What the fuck man?” The guy who said those horrible things shouted as he took his hand to his face.
I was breathing heavily, my fists clenched and my teeth gritted. There was nothing that could have prevented what happened next. I punched the first guy in the stomach with all the force I could muster, making him involuntarily curl in a ball. The other guy acted upon on what he was seeing, and without hesitating pushed me to the side, which hardly unbalanced me. I hit him on the right side of his head and he fell square on the ground. I kicked him once more before landing my attention on the first guy I assaulted. He was getting up and moving towards me, which I reacted immediately to.
Rage and adrenaline were pumping through my veins, making me oblivious to everything around me. Somehow, however, I noticed a group of kids watching us from a considerable distance, and more and more kids were coming to watch the scene.
I tackled the guy to the floor, making him hit his head with great force on the ground. I was on top of him, securing him in place with my legs as I punched him as hard as I could. The dark coloured blood started to be seen in some places of his face, and it made me hit him harder.
“You son of a bitch!” I screamed in his face as continued to punch him again and again. “How do you dare talk about her that way?!”
I ignored his requests for me to stop and continued to hit him, disregarding the pain I felt in my knuckles. He wasn’t going to get away with what he said and planned to do.
I was looking out the window at the rising moon. Night time has always been my favourite time of day, as well as dawn. Everything was so peaceful, so quiet. The people around me seemed to be fond of it too, as they did some activity that didn’t make much noise. Anna was apparently studying, which was no news to me. I actually should be doing the same thing, but I found it likewise or even more important to distract ourselves from the complications of school once in a while. I liked to disconnect from everything and everyone. However, the most important thing for me was having company. I needed people like I needed air to breathe. Even if we weren’t talking, I needed to feel the presence of someone. That was why I was in the community room, my dorm was too silent for my liking.
All of a sudden the closed door of the room opened abruptly and I flinched at the sudden sound as the door hit the wall. Lucy stood in front of it, panting for air as she leaned against it.
“You won’t believe what’s happening!” She said with an alarming voice “Three guys from year twelve are fighting outside!”
Everyone’s attention turned to her “Who are they?” Amanda asked as she stood up immediately.
“I don’t know two of them, but Harry apparently started the fight. That’s what everyone is saying at least,” Lucy said, placing her hand over her chest as she breathed heavily.
No, that couldn’t be right. No.
I didn’t even have time to process my actions as I stood up and ran out the door as fast as I could. He promised me he wouldn’t do it again. He almost swore it to me. This was what I feared, that he would get mad for some stupid reason and acted irrationally.
I ran outside, not knowing where to go because Lucy didn’t say where the fight was taking place. I spotted a group of people near the lake and assume the obvious: everyone was watching the violent scene. There were about fifty students of different ages around the three boys. They all looked frightened, but I noticed something else. Excitement? Expectancy? It sickened me that they were all just staring, but I didn’t blame them. If I was them and I tried to stop Harry, he would surely attack me.
But I was not them.
I made my way through the crowd of shocked people and entered the circle. Harry was on top of one of the older boys, his fist colliding with the guy’s bloody face multiple times. Harry’s voice was clear as he shouted in the guy’s face “If I ever see you near her you are a dead man!” and “Stay away from her!”. The other one was gradually getting up and walking towards Harry, ready to strike.
Harry didn’t notice my presence, and for some moments I just stood there watching the horror in front of me. Apart from having a lurking sensation of fear, I was also in shock like the rest of the crowd. I could hear people saying with shaky voices “It’s happening again,” I knew all too well what they were referring to, and I felt sick to the stomach. I could picture perfectly a young boy, a child in the place of the senior underneath Harry’s body. I could see John. A frightened, vulnerable, alone little kid.
I clenched my fists and I felt fire run through my body. Again, that sensation of the devil taking over my body lurked in me. My thoughts were jumbled, my heart was pounding and I knew that if I didn’t do anything fast that situation could end catastrophically, and that feeling was even worse than the feeling of Harry breaking his promise
With the entire world watching me, I took heavy and determined steps towards Harry. He lifted his arm in the air, preparing for another swing when I grabbed his fist with both my hands.
“Stop!” I yelled in a high pitched voice. Harry looked up at me when he felt my hands touch his. His furious expression changed drastically once his eyes met mine. I could see the colour drain from his face, although momentarily noticing his eyes, reminding me of bull’s wild stare. I directed my vision to the guy underneath him. If he wasn’t unconscious, then he was dead. The amount of blood coming out of his nose and lips was unspeakable. His face showed some kind of distortion causes by Harry, although I couldn’t exactly put a finger on what it was.
I sensed movement behind me and I turned around. The guy who was just seconds before trying to get up was now mere inches away from me. He had his arm raised and was ready to punch Harry, and for some brief moments, I really hoped he did.
“What the fuck did you do?!” I shouted in Harry’s face, ignoring the guy behind me. He just stared at me blankly as well as everybody else around us “Harry, you promised me!”
I seriously didn’t care if everybody was listening, I couldn’t keep it all bottled in. The guy behind me took a step back once he heard my distressed words.
“Look at what you’ve done!” I pointed at the guy on the floor. I could feel a suffocating lump form at the bottom of my throat, not because I was sad but because I was furious, desperate.
Harry’s knuckles were covered in blood, as well as part of his shirt, although it was hard to see because of the dim light of a lamp post nearby. He didn’t say a single word, not that any would possibly change the situation.
I stared at the crowd. Everyone was whispering things to themselves, which I had a fairly good idea of what it might’ve been they were saying to each other. I spotted Anna and the rest of the girls in the crowd with their chins on the floor. There were just too many things going on at the same time, too many feelings, too many things to worry about.
“You really screwed up this time,” I told Harry in the lowest voice I could. I heard a teacher’s blaring voice just before I glanced one last time at the body on the floor. I looked at the teacher in the eyes once he entered the circle, completely in shock at the sight before him.
“What is happening here?!” The man in his late sixties shouted in a raspy voice as he looked at the four of us.
Without saying a single word, I started to walk out of the centre of the circle.
“Come back here Miss!” The teacher shouted once more. I completely ignored his request as I made my way through the crowd. Once out, I started to run as fast as I could out of there. I had to get as far away as possible from Harry.
Tears ran wildly as I found myself running towards the gym. I opened the door and entered the empty building. Everything was dark, cold, and not a single soul was in sight. The only sound that could be heard was from my heavy breathing and stifles. The ample, eerie room made me feel even smaller than I already felt and it only reminded me of how powerless and pathetic I felt. I didn’t even find the strength to find a bench so I just sat right there at the entrance of the gym, my back to the wall. The white, smooth wall was cold, even colder than I thought it would be. I pressed my forehead against my hands.
“Stupid!” I muttered to myself as more tears ran down my face. I knew he would do it again. Why did I trust him? Why did I let myself believe he could change? How naïve of me to think that he could. Now I was hurt, he was hurt, those two guys were hurt, and why? Because some people just couldn’t change. Another cliché that was true