But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world."
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
What was it with the fox and the rose and the alien discussing philosophy in the middle of the desert? Eleventh graders should be discussing Macbeth, Don Quixote. Complicated things. Superficial things.
"This is so stupid," grumbled a certain redhead, tapping her pencil onto the still empty page. They were all supposed to be writing an analysis as a group assignment-about a children's book, no less. They'd had three days to work on it and the deadline was tomorrow. From the looks of it, they'd probably never begin.
The redhead went on, "We should just Google this crap. Write some deep shit about the alien prince and use complicated words and that's it, easy A." Not waiting for further opinions, she took her phone out and began to furiously tap on the tiny screen. The other group members looked mostly catatonic, and from the looks of it, this applied to the whole class.
If Carrie would compare it to something, she'd choose galaxies, and each group would be its own solar system, encased in itself, ignorant of any further sign of life. And of course, every group had its sun; it tended to be the one thing holding the rest together.
"You're lucky Violet isn't here today," said the entity next to Carrie, a girl who'd just started to hang around with them. "'cuz if she was, she'd bite your face off."
Redhead was to Violet what Nemesis was to the sun; a hypothetical companion always wanting to take over this solar system. Carrie, on her part, had limited her existence to doodling imaginary creatures on her notebook. Boredom seemed to make artists out of people.
"Shut up," barked Redhead, "unless you want to get a six-page analysis of a book you haven't even read out your ass?"
Cue Charlie's entrance. "Girls, let's all calm down and chill. Chill…" he trailed off, inhaling and exhaling in an exaggerated manner. Carrie grinned, but the rest of the group ignored him.
The entity raised her hands in the air like someone aimed at her. "I'm just sayin'."
And thus their analysis became a summary sprinkled with words like plethora and acquiesced and the false notion it meant anything. The prize? An A+. The price? Actually learning something. Indeed, a true achievement of the education system.
"Done," smirked Redhead. Upon glancing around, she announced, "And hey, guess what? We were the first ones to finish."
More like the first ones to remember Google existed. This was the problem with school. It wasn't made for learning. It was a legal way to segregate the worthy from the unworthy, the honest from those who would cheat their way up to the top.
Then again, these thoughts could be a side-effect of facing the truth. The more you faced the truth, the uglier everything became.
Almost immediately she glanced at her side, where a guy roughly her height glanced at her from the corner of his dark brown eyes. "Charlie," she replied, grinning almost by inertia.
As though tact didn't exist, he went on, "You keep staring at the floor. Something wrong? D'ya miss Violet that much?"
As though she'd been invited, Redhead barged in with a scoff. "Of course she does. She's always clinging to Violet like a parasite."
As though that hadn't meant to be acid, Carrie laughed. "A parasite," she echoed, "No, I'm fine. Just thinking about how the floor must feel lonely. Y'know, always being stepped on."
Charlie's eyes sparkled. "Ah. An act of charity. Very noble of you."
Before Carrie could clarify she had been mostly talking to herself-and not about the floor-Charlie turned to it and eyed it so intensely Carrie half-expected the floor to rise from itself and hug him. At the opposite side of the table, Redhead scoffed, and the other organism whose name Carrie couldn't quite remember emitted a hybrid between a groan and a snort. Other than that, they were silent. Their sun was absent. For today, they were stray satellites looking for something to orbit.
Carrie went back to her notebook, to her doodles. Senseless, imaginary creatures twisting into nothingness. She glanced at the pencil, the pencil, chewed on at the top and scribbled all over like whoever had done that needed something to destroy. If silence told miles, the things one did when overcome by emotions told leagues. More than leagues. Whatever lay ahead leagues.
She wondered what her own actions told. Maybe if she knew, she wouldn't mess up so frequently. "I liked what the guy on Google said about the book," she announced all of a sudden, commanding the group's attention. They seemed so eager to break the silence she couldn't resist a grin, nor the impulse to keep going, "About how it's a protest against adulthood and everything."
Charlie didn't stop staring at the floor even as he spoke. "I know! Makes me actually want to read it."
With Charlie, Carrie never knew if he was serious or not.
Redhead guffawed. "Whoever wrote that was an idiot," she remarked. "Why the hell does he hate adults? Isn't he like one of something? And the prince... thing. He loves a freaking rose. What is he, a plantophile?"
That's when Charlie burst into laughter. "Planto…" he trailed off, practically choking. The organism next to Redhead seemed uneasy, like she couldn't figure whether she should laugh or glare at the boy. "Anthophilia," he corrected, shaking his head, "that's what you call a person who, how to say this…"
"Finds flowers hot?" Carrie volunteered.
"Hot. Hell yes. Who needs porn when you can have a garden?"
"Ew," mumbled the entity.
Redhead seemed openly displeased with the conversation. "And this guy is supposed to be our role model."
Charlie winked. "Making the world more awesome since 1999."
During moments like this, it almost looked as though they were a step above dependence. As though they were a group because they had a choice. Carrie laughed because she could, not because she had to. Sensing this, Redhead suddenly smacked the table with her open palm and jolted everyone back to normal.
"Ow, Sam!" whined the organism.
Samantha. So that was her name. Upon clearing her throat, the redhead glanced at Carrie, suddenly furious for some reason. "What are you laughing at?" she grumbled, "I thought you had gone emo?"
And just as easy as that, the momentum was lost.
Upon sighing through the nose, Carrie mumbled, "This again?"
"Carrie, please. Stop acting like you didn't know them. I saw you in the morning. It's not like Violet is here to get angry because you're not being her bitch-"
"Ah, so that's it," Carrie clicked her fingers, neither friendly nor openly hostile. "You wanna rat on me, don't you?"
"Rat?" Sam laughed sardonically. "Are you two that obsessed with each other?"
"Are you that obsessed about being the school's official slut?"
"Girls," Charlie squeaked, looking pained.
The entity seemed puzzled. "I thought you hung out with her because she's popular."
Sam took her chance; it was just too golden. "She hangs out with her so they won't call her a whale to her face."
Charlie's incessant chanting to get them to chill suddenly stopped. Even with skin the color of chocolate, he seemed to grow pale just as Carrie's cheeks flushed bright red. Birds stopped chirping; the wind stopped blowing. Somewhere in the world, a man froze with a cup of coffee in his hands. Carrie's hand rose for a moment, and it took a great deal of self-control not to cross Samantha's pretty face with it.
"Hypocrite," she hissed.
She didn't realize how badly she wanted to spit the word until she did. To whom was it really directed, though? For how long had it lingered inside all those imaginary creatures?
The class had fallen completely silent. A fight among the popular crowd-such entertainment! Carrie, however, had no reason to lash at them for this. People seemed to have a twisted sense of satisfaction when it came to watching a tall person fall. How was this any different? She had always been their clown. They all were. They would always be.
If the teacher had cared, he would have stopped this. Since he hadn't, without asking for permission, Carrie took her things up and left.
After years of watching the world around move while one stayed behind, that frozen moment in time took the comfort of familiarity. The days blurred into months, and each second was an eternity. Paradoxically, time stopped.
Eliott waited until the whole class had gone out. The girl at his side kept glancing at him, but eventually she left as well. To pass that illusion called time, he read. Before he knew it, the horizon began to bleed.
Every action seemed mechanical-standing up, taking his backpack, whispering, "See you tomorrow," as he walked out the classroom like anyone would hear, humming under his breath since he knew no one walked across the hallways at such ungodly hours. Those at the clubs were in a separate building, after all.
Snow. Silence. The dying sun above.
Nothing moved yet. Hopefully, nothing would.
That's when he noticed a figure at the distance. A person. A girl. Certainly not an accident. She curled into a ball near the edge of the path, at the fence, with her legs to her chest and her head buried into her knees. Around her, it looked like a hybrid between an earthquake and a tornado had ensued; notebooks hung from trees and a backpack lay sprawled at a side, its contents disrupting the white from the snow with the red and blue and orange from pencils and books.
The girl uncurled, glancing at her surroundings as if disoriented. Then she yawned. Then she glanced at him through still-sleepy eyes.
"Ah," said Carrie simply, "I thought you'd never show up."
A/N: Hello, it's very, very highly unlikely anyone is reading this story at this point, but if you are, I'm posting the full thing over at (since FP won't let people link) Tapas and Quotev, same name (Finding Snowflakes) and username (lolitroy). As if now, FP is... yeah. Hope to see you there! coughplscough