It was math class.
I was bored.
So I threw a piece of rubber at old dotty Ms. Perkins. Too bad my bad aiming took a turn for the worst, and actually hit her.
She whirled around in all her bohemian glory; long skirt floating, and peasant top righting itself apparently. "Who was it?" Her blurred eyes were missing the glasses that were sitting at the lower ridge of her nose.
"Me." I raised my hand lazily.
"Who?!" See, she must definitely be blind.
"Me." I let my hand thud back to the table, and I shifted in my seat. Ms. Perkins pushed up her spectacles righteously, and I could almost hear her pleasure as the world righted itself once again. Her beady eyes looked round the whole class. "Who threw the piece of rubber at me?"
Okay, I have to give it to her – that woman was perceptive. She knew it was a piece of rubber! I am amazed.
But that was the end. The rest of the classroom stared back at her balefully, and she admitted defeat. "Fine, but if the culprit does it again…" She left the threat hanging in the air.
I wasn't scared.
So I threw the piece of rubber I had left at her again. I missed.
But I'd hit the whiteboard, just inches away from her head.
That reminds me, I have to buy a new rubber.
The bell rang.
"Talia, you're such an ass!" Jack exclaimed as she moved towards the table with a tray in hand. I looked up. "Yes?"
"I totally saw what you did to Perkins alright! That was absolutely wicked!"
"I try, my dear, I try."
"That was definitely more than trying!"
By then, the girls surrounding me on the usual table we used for lunch stared at me. "What happened?" they chorused. Well, not exactly chorused, but you get the picture. Nadia's raised eyebrow, Lynn's smirk and Julie's gasp.
Jack quickly recounted the incident to the girls, her black eyes glinting in pleasure. It wasn't often that she had the girls eating out of her hand! They were not in the same class as Jack and I – they were in the other more advanced Math class. To call me an average mathematician would seriously be an insult to them, and Jack. Math and I, we don't mix. Like oil and water, you know?
And I still don't know why Jack's in my class.
But anway. I tuned back into the conversation and realized that Jack had finished talking and was gobbling her food down. "What's the hurry?" I drawled. "We've still plenty of time."
"You maybe, but not me. I've got a drama practice soon."
See, the thing was that I hung around the greatest bunch of talents in the whole of Stonewall High. They wouldn't exactly call themselves that, but I know it to be the god honest truth. I mean, hello. They didn't go around proclaiming it to all and sundry but that didn't lessen the reality any bit.
I sometimes doubt and wonder why the heck they were with me. I mean, I could offer nothing except this one secret. Nobody knew, not even Ryan.
I felt my wrist moving. I looked up, my blue-grey eyes dazed. "Hello Ta!"
Nadia smirked. Even through my drifted thoughts, I can feel her smirking. That is the extent of what she's capable of. And when she speaks… honest to goodness you just gotta listen.
"NATALIA GRAHAMS! YOU ARE NOT LISTENING!"
I shot to attention, my attention caught. My full name was hardly voiced out except in emergencies. "Yes, yes!"
Julie grinned. "See I knew that would always work."
I shook my head. I'd continue with the thoughts later.
"Yeah, whatever. That is… don't overdo it cos I ain't gonna answer to it anymore."
I got up, and moved to take my tray from the table. The rest followed my action and we moved out of the cafeteria as a group. There were five of us – Nadia Adams, Julie Jean (yes her mother was a fan of alliteration), Lynn Hans, Jacqueline Linnins and myself, Natalia Grahams.
We were the usual lunch group, with some others who joined us from time to time. We weren't exactly the closest bunch of friends, but for right now they were enough.
I was at home; sitting by the bay window and staring out. The homework laid untouched on the wooden table beside me, and the door was closed. But that didn't really signaled anything because nobody was home. And that's the way I liked it.
I was the eldest in the family with two annoying brats following after. My sister was first at thirteen years old and my brother a mature eleven. I loved them a lot – at a distance. Truth to speak and its pretty much in your face anyway, I was not very close to my family. Shrugs. No big deal. The mother was suffering from some sort of depression and the father was never at home. Go figure.
It's at times like this when I'm alone that the thoughts take over. When the mask was laid aside and the mind slowly drift from topic to topic trying to make sense of things.
I sighed, laying my head against the wall behind me and stared out at the clear sky. It was evening and I can see people walking around in their suits and cars moving at a very slow speed. The traffic didn't reach me because the window was closed.
The dog whined.
I glanced to my side and smiled a little. His name was Whiney and he was a Siberian husky. He was a one year old and I adored him. "Stupid bum." I muttered affectionately.
I picked up the guitar resting beside him and strummed. It was a simple song I was playing, something I learned when I first picked up guitar.
The phone vibrated on the table. The relaxed mood disappeared, and I threw a quick look to the noise originator. I moved off the window seat and ambled towards it.
Hey, free for a cuppa?
It was from Ryan. He was a good friend. My closest, in fact. I smirked.
What do you think?
The reply was fast, mere seconds after I'd pressed the "sent" button.
I think you'd be stupid to resist. My treat.
That boy sure knew how to press the right button. I was reluctant to leave the house but I knew the crappy mood I was in wasn't doing me any good.
"So, what's so urgent that prompted you to treat me?" I smirked at Ryan, eyeing his hair as I settled into the leather sofa. It was done in spikes, but the spikes had trampled places as though he had run his hand through it. And knowing him, I guess he did. That boy could never keep still.
"Is there a need for a reason to treat my bestest friend in the world?" he declared proudly, his lanky frame spread on the sofa facing mine.
"Uh… besides the fact that you're usually a miser?"
"Hmm.. hey! Watch it man!" He threw a cushion at me.
I grinned. He was my resident funny man who provided me with my daily dose of jokes. I've had known him for a number of years, and we've seen each other close to everyday for that. Strange how we haven't grown tired of each other. Or maybe he's too nice to tell me that he had. Oh well.
"I don't know, I just felt kinda down, you know? So thought I'd give you a call and see if you can hustle the blues away." Ryan admitted, his brilliant blue eyes hidden from my sight as he gazed down.
So that was it, I thought to myself. "Well, thanks man cos you caught me at that mood too."
He looked up hopefully, but still with a hint of guilt clouding his eyes. 'You know me… the usual melancholic." I grinned, halfheartedly at that because it striked too close to home.
Ryan looked happy. "Well since we're two old misers let's go do what misers do always!"
I smirked. That boy didn't give up easily.
We went to the theme park. It was a tradition of long ago – when we were still young and were not allowed to do many things. It was also when my mother was still normal and my father still hung around at home. But I pushed the thought aside. No use dwelling on things I couldn't solve.
It had been a pretty long time since I last came here with Ryan – we had agreed to put aside the odd habit of riding our sorrows away.
We screamed, we laughed, we shouted. We rode the rollercoaster, behaved like naughty kids on the Ferris wheel and tried to bump each other off the go-kart racing track.
It felt good, you know? It felt as though we were enclosed in some air bubble, and the troubles were kept at bay. It felt as though years had passed and had fortunately forgotten about us.
The phone rang.
It burst our bubble.
"Hello?" Ryan's smiling face tightened and the laughing eyes grew somber. "Yes mum I'm on my way. Yes. Yes. I know. Bye."
I rubbed his hand. "Hey let's go."
He didn't reply.
"C'mon honey, let's go." I moved to hug him.
"Hey thanks for shifting the storms away," I murmured at the side of his ear. "I really appreciate it. Let's do it more often aye?"
I pushed back to see his reaction. He had relaxed as I spoke those words and now he smiled. "Yeah pretty girl; thanks too."
I know I have a secret place with you
And it's with you the world feels right
I'm your wonder woman you're my superman
The world's ours; this's our game