Carrie was dreading school, for obvious reasons. The thought of meeting new people, learning a new school, taking new classes... It was overwhelming. She lay in her new "art deco" (what exactly is that?) chrome bed, staring at the light blue ceiling. Her new room was nice, but it was just that, new, and Carrie was getting sick of new. Everything was new. Her Aunt kept telling her to accept everything as a new challenge, and it showed how little she knew Carrie. See, Carrie didn't particularly like challenges, and would rather not have them in her life. Gracie seemed to think they were what made life living. Carrie made a mental note to tell Gracie about food and TV, and got out of bed. She started to approach the mirror, but decided against it. It would only make things worse.
Not that Carrie was an ugly girl or anything. In fact, Carrie's mother had used to tell her that she was really quite pretty, and would someday grow into her own. At that, A tear fell down Carrie's cheek, and she wiped it away resolutely. She had to stop complaining, and feeling sorry for herself. Her mother may have been dead, but she was alive. She understood how sacred human life was, and she wasn't going to waste it.
But something was weighing her down. Oh right, fear. What was always weighing her down. She felt it everywhere, at almost every time, and at that point it was coming full blast, keeping her from even leaving her room.
Just at that moment, Ashley strolled in, dressed in a pair of tight flared corduroy pants and green sweater that matched her eyes perfectly, and a jean jacket.
" I knew you wouldn't be dressed " Ashley said, making a beeline for Carrie's recently filled armoire at the side of the room. Carrie just stared at her in awe.
" Have you even looked in here yet? you got some pretty nice stuff in here." Carrie grunted.
Here you'll wear this." Carrie cringed at first, but Ashley came out with a pair of nice fitting jeans and a pretty rugby shirt. Carrie stared at the outfit in awe. A lot of things were shocking her lately.
Ashley noticed her look." Do you honestly think that I'm so dense that I can't figure out you style of dress? Besides, this thing is filled with that stuff."
" No problem," and she whisked out of her room as quickly as she had come.
Carrie stared at the outfit and was strangely flooded with memories of her old school. The happy memories, the memories of her and her friends and the things they would do. But unfortunately, the good was tinged with the bad, and all the crap that had happened in Toronto came back. Maybe new things weren't so bad after all.
As it turned out, Carrie's first day at school wasn't the day from hell she had expected. Instead, it was the day from hell she hadn't expected. Instead of people gawking at her in the halls, tripping her I the halls, or her making some kind of enemy, or pissing off the principal, or getting lost, nothing happened. Nothing. No one seemed to notice her as someone new, something different. Carrie started to feel like she was blending into the wallpaper. People didn't look at her, but rather through her.
Also, the school was nothing special. It was like any other school, which somehow seemed odd to Carrie. For some ridiculous reason, she had expected it to be horrible, with lots of stairs, and bitchy teachers, and the kind of cafeteria food you hear about in TV shows. Instead it was just like her old school, and any other school, with brick walls and ugly lockers and smelly classrooms. Oddly, Carrie was disappointed. If the school wasn't different, the experience wouldn't be different, right?
And let's just say her last experience hadn't been great. It wasn't like a horror story about the cruelty of teenagers, but it had it's own subtle violations. Like with her friends; she had them, they just weren't great. See, most people usually have these amazing friends who they can talk to about everything, and rely on to always be there. Carrie had never had that. Her friends had been selfish, unreliable, and when it came down to it, didn't really give a damn. Carrie hadn't really minded though; she was just grateful they were with her.
Especially now, when she really didn't have anybody. Except, of course, her sister. Ahhh, her sister. Her pretty, popular sister. The one who managed to fit into the cool group in a matter of hours. The one who was probably just as comfortable here as their last school. It was as if she were in a play, and the backdrop and scenery changed, but her lines remained the same. Carrie couldn't help but resent her; she could tell that soon she would start getting addressed as " Ashley's little sister" and lose all identity.
They walked home from school, Bennett High, since it was just down the street from their new house. Ashley started the conversation, because she couldn't stand the silence.
" So…nice school, huh?" Carrie swivelled her head around at the sound of Ashley's voice.
" What? Oh, yah, great." Carrie didn't really feel like talking.
" Well, I wouldn't go as far as to say great…"
" Fine, whatever, it's nice…for a school. Good?" Carrie knew she was hostile, but she didn't care.
" Good? Do you think I actually care what you think of this stupid school? I was just kidding. God, take a breather." Ashley walked a few paces ahead of Carrie. She suddenly felt very dejected.
She started talking again. " What's your problem anyway?"
" Oh, nothing. Yah know, the normal. New school, in a new town, in a new state…. Yah know me, miss sensitive, can't deal with any little thing." Carrie's voice was dripping with sarcasm.
" Care, you know that's not what I meant. I get that this is kinda hard for you-"
' For me! What about you? Do you really not care?"
" Of course I care. I'm just different from you…I choose not to let it get me down. I move on."
" Oh, I get it, you're Miss Mental health because you bottle things up, and I'm screwed up because I deal, right?"
" Ugggh, you're so melodramatic! I'm just saying that we're different…and I get that. Just don't bite my head for being nice, ok? Remember, right now I'm all you got."
" What makes you think that? I could have met people today!"
"Yah, but you didn't." Carrie hated when Ashley was right.
" Why not?"
" Because you're as shy as all hell! And, because right now you're not the most approachable person."
" What does that mean?"
" It means that you have a lot of crap in your head right now, and that scares people."
" Really, Dr. Phil?"
" mock me all you want, it's true. Like, look at me. I drop it all at the door, so as not to scare people, and I already have friends."
' Yah well, like you say, we're different."
" Yes, we are." The two sisters walked in silence the rest of the way home.
Carrie lay on her bed, reading an old Archie for like the millionth time, when he aunt entered, all dressed up. Her hair was out of it's perfunctory old women bun and in waves, hanging loosely on her shoulders. She was a short, stout little women, a walking stereotype really, with small, bright eyes, and a kind of motherly looking face, ironic because of how much she hated children. Fortunately, they grew on her as they got older, so she didn't mind Carrie and Ashley much.
"Carrie, dear. I'm sorry to say, but I have to go out tonight. Do you think you'll be okay?" Aunt Gracie actually looked worried, like Carrie was 12 or something.
" I'll be fine, Gracie." she didn't call her 'aunt'. She didn't know why.
" Are you sure? I mean, I figured…I don't know…that you'd be going out on the town or something tonight, considering it's Friday - but no worries, you're welcome to be home anytime!" she gave a short laugh. " Of course, except school hours! Not that you'd cut class, right?" Carrie gave her a weak smile. " Anyway, you just take it easy tonight, and there's food in the fridge. Ashley said she'd be home by 11:30, so expect her 12ish, ok?" So she wasn't completely naive.
" Okay Gracie, have fun." She was going on yet another Friday night date, as usual.
" You know I will!" with that, she left Carrie to her own depressed thoughts of how her crazy 50 your old aunt had more of a life then her.
Carrie had been living there, and attending school, for three weeks now, and hadn't made any friends. Carrie didn't care; it wasn't like she was trying. The last thing she really cared about was trying to impress a bunch of people who wouldn't end up caring about her. She had herself, and that was all she needed. Didn't people say that the only person you could depend is yourself? So really, Carrie lived a very healthy and disappointment-free existence. The utter hopelessness was just an unfortunate side effect.
She picked herself up off the her bed and headed to the kitchen to scrimmage through the fridge to find something to nibble on. She hadn't been eating much since her mother's death. A piece here, a gulp there, she just wasn't ever hungry. She always had a slight stomach ache, this horrible feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach. She cut up some cheese and sat down in front of the TV, flipping through the channels, but there was nothing. Carrie suddenly felt antsy and restless, and decided to take a walk, though the building.
She went through the main doors into the street, the night. She could feel the wind against her face, and it made her feel better. She walked along the quiet street in front of their apartment, breathing in the fresh fall air. Something about the night, and the wind, made her feel wistful. Brought back memories deep inside her, of her mother, and her sister, the good times. Sometimes she forgot there had been good times; The bad times weighed her down so much sometimes, they blocked her vision.
The stars in the sky sparkled down at her, and Carrie let her hard mouth break into a grin. She took in a breath, and felt okay. She was reminded of how big the world was, and therefore how little it mattered that she was alone on a Friday night. Because really, you're never alone. You always have yourself.