The next day I walked over the the Starbucks again to grab a coffee and make my way to the park, when I reached the cafe I saw Tolkien sitting at a table with what I assumed to be his breakfast and his face buried in a notebook he was feverantly writing in. Is this what he liked to do? I shook my head at the thought and contemplated a way to stealthily get my coffee unnoticed. Though I hardly doubted that he would remember or recognize a person like me. Why would he? Good question.
I thought I was in the clear because he seemed so absorbed in his notebook, when I heard my name being called as soon as I reached the door to leave with my drink. Dangit! I slowly turned around and stared at him. He had a smile that could almost be described as infectious. I almost let a petty thought of smacking it off his face cross my mind if only for a moment.
"Hey! I didn't think I'd see you here today!" He walked up to me, tucking his notebook into his bookbag and grabbing his food.
"Hm." Was all I could manage.
"So are you free today?"
I stared at him for a moment before asking, "For what?"
"I don't know just to hang out, I guess." He threw his trash away then shoved his free hand into his pocket and shrugged.
"You totally ran off yesterday, besides don't you ever do anything just because? For fun? Or take risks? "
"I'm talking to you, aren't I?" I snapped before I could stop myself. Where was my control?
He laughed. "That's not a real risk now is it?"
It was for me. Instead of vocalizing my thought, I pushed the door open into the autumn cold only to be followed by that stupid boy. What made me angry, more than the fact that I'm not stealthly at all, is the fact that this stranger made me think more about myself than any person that's been close to me ever has. But isn't that what I wanted, for a stanger to look at me, really look at me and see the pitiful person inside that had no reason to be. But to just see that? This is what I wanted? I really am an idiot.
He fell into step with me very easily. He was just as silent as I was. In all honestly, I didn't have a clue where I was going though that may have been due to the fact that I was sort of trying to lose him. But not really. Somehow I ended up at my park bench. I sat down, still without a word and he joined me. The silence was not as bad as I made it seem and there was even a bit of comfort about it. I fiddled with the end of my sleeve and my almost empty coffee cup. My mind playing random scenarios that would never possibly ever happen. Maybe.
I would pretend to be happy and he'd buy it. Then I could live in this pretend happy world that I wish I had and was.
Tolkien would leave me alone.
A giant dragon would swoop down from the sky and land in front of us. And I would fly away on it. Or the least it would do was breathe fire onto some trees and distract Tolkien enough for me to just get away and be.
I would get up and Tolkien wouldn't follow me and give up, so I can live my life like I had before I met this person. There would be this quiet chaos that I was comfortable with because at least I knew-know it was there and real. I know that it was there and I know that about myself unlike so many aspects of my life.
Tolkien would know everything without even having to ask. But would anyway just in case. He wouldn't prod. He'd just ask nicely. And wait for an answer like when he asked me what my hobby was and I still haven't given him an answer. But he would wait. And in a perfect world I'd open up and tell him everything. There would be this trust, there wouldn't be this fear that may or may not have manifested out of nothing. Even I have kept it a secret from myself. And I would be happy. Genuinly happy. For real.
He peeked a glance at me. I only knew because I was checking my surroundings. There were the leaves still orange engulfing the trees and blanketing the sidewalk, the grass, everything. Everything else was gray like my mood. Tolkien this time didn't do anything. He just sat and waited. I assumed that he waited for me to actually talk, to say anything. I didn't. This silence scared me. I didn't know what he wanted me to say. Was it the hobby question? Was it why I left yesterday? Was it the reason for my moods? I panicked. Why?
"Why what?" He cocked his head to the side, the coffee cup still in his hand.
"Huh?" I looked up to him.
"You asked why."
"Oh." I made no show of me giving him an answer or a question.
"Nevermind then." Another lull.
"Why? Why are you following me?" I asked quietly, a bit of strain in my voice. I looked down at my hands.
He shrugged and didn't say anything for a long time. The silence was aggravatingly painful. Was he not going to answer my question? Then again why would he answer mine if I have yet to answer any of his? Minutes passed. He sat and contemplated while sipping the remainder of his coffee. "I think that you should be happy and need to just be."
"And you're the one to help me with that?" I tried to keep my voice as monotone as possible, despite my wanting to shout at him for being so confidant. So arrogant.
"I'm not sure. I could. It's more of a I think you're interesting."
We were quiet for a good five minutes before I bit my tongue and angrily whispered, "Don't do me any favours, I'm not charity."
"I never said you were. I just-"
"Don't. Just don't, okay? I can't deal with this right now."
"With what this and a million other things you must be doing?" He sighed.
"You've only known me for a day. Don't think you can assess the damage and-"
He chuckled. I clenched my fist to fight the urge to hit him.
Fortunately for him and unfornately for me, I got another phone call. This time from a person that I knew would make make the day hell for me. Someone I avoided to the core. I looked at the caller ID aptly labeled "The Demon Witch". Tolkien looks over and sighed a bit confused. I decidedly pressed my phone to ignore before setting my phone on silent and sighing to myself. I didn't want to deal with both that demon witch and Tolkien in the same day. Same week. Same lifetime. I wondered why I never changed my number. Maybe there was this sad hope that this time would be different. But I wasn't that naive. Finaly curiosity seemed to win Tolkien over because he asked who the heck was this "Demon Witch" and he was in a way relieved, that I didn't run off like I did last time and left him while shopping, in the middle of a coversation. I didn't answer right away because of course that wouldn't be characteristic. That wouldn't be like me. Not like me at all. All the while that I was thinking this to myself, Tolkien took my hand and dragged me out to some direction or another.
"Where are we going?" I started as I tightened my grip on my bag with my somewhat free hand.
"Trust me. " I of course had my doubts. This infuriating stranger wanted me to follow him and after he chuckled a and mocked my issues. We were almost out of the park by then and I still wasn't sure. But for some reason my panic did not sound. And my panic sounded a lot. Paranoia does that to you. As well as my way of seeing life. My life as this sad shell of existance and mistrust for no apparent reason. Next thing I knew, we were in front of The Pier. Where there was a year long fair of some sorts. Carnival rides, fair food, and everything one could think of. How we got there, I had no clue. He led me to some stands, his grip still firm on my arm as my grip was firm on my bag, desperately trying not to lose it and keep up and not lose my arm. He sat across the table from me before cheerfully asking, "So how long was it since you came to The Pier?"
"I haven't," I answered quietly.
"What? How long have you lived here?"
"All my life..."
"Wait, what? Are you serious?"
My eyes narrowed and didn't' say anything. Why would I lie? There was no point in that. After a pregnant pause he asked. "Why not?"
I shrugged and said nothing.
"Well there's a first time for everything." He looked around before grabbing my arm again to drag me into the line of what seems to be the biggest roller coaster on The Pier. "You okay with heights, right?"
I shrugged. I wasn't entirely sure to be honest.
He didn't question it, then again I hardly think he questions much. He seems to live in this world of happy, I had no idea how a person like him could survive or make it without seeming sad. Maybe he was just optimistic. Whatever it was it was pretty annoying. And maybe I was just being petty. Nah, that couldn't be it. As we neared the ride I gave a sigh and threw away my long gone empty Starbucks cup. Tolkien was giddy and smiling at me. I honestly didn't care. We got on the ride, as soon as it started I suppressed any and all screams that might have erupted from my chest. My face stayed as impassive as I could, letting out a wince or two but never a cry nor scream. When we got off, Tolkien gave me an odd look, especially after he was making so much noise and flinging around the ride like a child or wild man, after looking at the pictures that they took during a really bad turn and drop. His was of glee and slight terror; mine was blank.
"I take that you're like really okay with heights and stuff."
I tilted my head and said nothing. His only response was a sigh. He really shouldn't expect so much from me. I don't know where this faith comes from. There really shouldn't be any. I never gave him any reason to have any sort of anything for me. We had ridden just about every ride with the exception of the rides we were to tall to ride. Not too old but too tall, with the same result. Me not showing an emotion and Tolkien acting like a complete lunatic.
"Wow, Kennedy, you're like a rock." He laughed as he guided me towards a food vendor as soon as he heard my stomach grumble. "What do you want to eat?"
I shrugged, "Anything really, I'm not picky."
"Okay, two corndogs, fries and two large..." He turned back to look at me. "Is coke okay?"
I shrugged. I really didn't care.
He then guided me off The Pier onto some benches on the beach a couple of feet off The Pier. I was not one to turn down free food but this being around someone I had just met and just spending an excessive amount of time with them letting them take me to the Pier for the first time, letting them take me to rides, letting them see how emotionless I've become, especially when I don't even know if...I don't even know.
Author's note - I am so sorry for the delay. I know I suck at updating, to my defense, I was busy with school. I hope the length of this chapter makes up for it. Again, along with the second chapter the feeling isn't really like the first as I wanted, but I'm still pretty happy with it. The next chapter will hopefully come out sooner than this one did. Again I'm sorry. You are free to tell me how much I suck for making you wait for months. Though I really appreciate you all for sticking with me if you did.