Thursday, June 11, 2009
Every Thursday I can, I'll be posting a short story I wrote of some type. This Thursday the story is called "Weird Girl" It is kinda about a high school graduation, so it's relevant. Pic unrelated.
In my senior year of high school, she came along. From the far away land of California, she walked into our classroom. She was slender, not exactly skinny, but no where near chubby either. Her hair was dirty blond, and was tied up in a messy pony tail. Unlike most of the girls in my class, she wasn't wearing makeup, but her complexion was still very good. For her introduction, all she said was "Yo!" as she waved her hand at the classroom. The teacher told us that her name was Estelle and directed her towards a seat in the back of the classroom, the seat that happened to be next to mine. Estelle immediately laid her head down on her desk, and looked over at me with a lazy expression on her face. She stared at me, not saying a word, her eyes seeming to scan every part of me. She met her eyes with mine, and I noticed that they were a blueish color, slightly green. They also appeared to be swirling, the color of her eye changing constantly as the colors mixed around, almost like a kaleidoscope.
I'd been staring at her eyes for a few moments when I realized how awkward I was being, sitting there staring at this girl without saying a word. I opened my mouth and said the first thing that came to my mind. "Um hi, I'm Marshall". Estelle continued to stare at me without saying a word. I felt uncomfortable in my seat. I couldn't stand her just staring at me, so I opened up a book and pretended to read while waiting for the first period bell to ring. All the time I felt her gaze upon me, and I was thinking, this girl is really weird.
Estelle went through her the rest of her high school career doing some of the most bizarre things. She wasn't really friends with anyone, but occasionally she got a group of people to join in her antics. Once we came into the classroom in the morning to find everything in the room upside down. Apparently Estelle had gotten a group of girls to help her. She declared it was upside down day. The teacher wasn't very amused but didn't give Estelle or any of the other girls detention. Estelle never got in trouble for anything, even when she talked in class. Seemed the teachers were almost scared of her weirdness.
Estelle did many other strange things, including a week where she wore outfits made out of duct tape and trash bags. She said it was all the rage in Japan. I heard about an incident in the girl's gym class that Estelle had decided she was too hot and jumped into the pool fully clothed without a change of clothes. In our AP English class Estelle routinely ignored the writing requirements and would write stories about how evil carrots were, and the upcoming penguin revolution. She was indeed, the strangest girl I had ever known in my life, but I some how couldn't keep her out of my mind.
It was almost the end of the year, and we were in science class together. We had been paired together since our both of our normal lab partners were absent that day. Estelle quickly did all the work without any of my input. We still had a lot of time left before the class was over, so we got to talk for the first time. I didn't know quite what to talk about with this girl so I just brought up the first topic that came to mind. "So Estelle what music do you listen to?"
"Hmm..." Estelle was doodling pictures of the cutest lions I had ever seen in her notebook. She didn't look at me before she answered, "Well I like the Beatles, and Frank Sinatra."
I hadn't really expected a normal answer from her, so I shrugged of her answer and plowed ahead. "What do you watch on TV? I really like Lost."
Estelle had started drawing a happy little pig playing with the lions in her picture. "I don't watch TV. It brain washes you."
"Ah well, it's entertaining..." I didn't know quite what to say, so I watched her draw for awhile. "You should draw a butterfly too." I said in an offhand way.
Estelle's pencil stopped. Her hand seemed to twitch a little, she turned her head quickly in my direction and said in an extremely loud voice. "BUTTERFLIES ARE SCARY! They are demon spawn!" She had an entirely serious look on her face as the whole class looked over at her. She looked at me angrily for a moment, then went back to drawing. Instead of a butterfly, she had decided to draw a disco ball over her lions and pigs.
I sat there in silence for a few minutes, unsure of what to say to her now. I opened my mouth to say something, I'm not sure exactly what it was. Before I could even utter one syllable, Estelle grabbed my hand and looked into my eyes again. I felt hypnotized by her eyes as she said "You don't have to say anything." She didn't say it in a sad way, but her eyes seemed to be very sad to me. Her soft hand continued to hold mine for a moment before she let go. She then went back to drawing her animal dance party.
Even though I saw Estelle many other times before we graduated we didn't talk in school again. Now every time I saw her though, I felt a sadness in her eyes I hadn't seen before. Perhaps it had always been there, but no one ever really looked close enough to notice. Estelle continued her craziness and always seemed to be happy. Then came the day of our graduation.
Estelle's class ranking was eleven. She confided in a loud voice to one of my fellow students that she did it on purpose, because she didn't want to be a nerd in the top ten.
After the graduation ceremony, everyone was crowded in the gym. It was so crowded it was hard to move around. Everyone was taking pictures with their friends and several people were crying. I was standing with some of my friends when I felt a soft hand grab mine. "Marshall" Estelle's voice whispered in my ear sending chills down my spine. She pulled on my hand away from the crowd towards the back door of the gym. "Marshall run away with me."
She stood just outside the door of the gym, holding my hand as I stood on the threshold. "But...I have things to do, I mean..." My mind raced thinking about all the parties and things I had planned on doing that day.
"The world will go on without you for one day. What's the worst that could happen?" Estelle smiled at me. I felt a shiver of excitement. I had lived my life up to that point much like that of my peers, never doing anything all that unexpected. I did the things normal teenagers did, but this felt different, this felt important. I stepped over the threshold of the door.
Estelle didn't let go of my hand, she just looked up at me and smiled. For the first time, I saw her eyes smiling as well. "Sweet!" She declared, and started walking quickly, pulling me along.
To this day I'm not sure why I went with her. We weren't even that close, we were just classmates. I guess it was really just curiosity. I wanted to see what made Estelle tick, why she was such a strange girl. At the time I really didn't think about it, I just went with her.
We got into her car, a small red Ford Escort. Before starting the car, Estelle took off her gown. Instead of wearing formal clothes underneath like we were supposed to, she was wearing a tank top and shorts. I took off my gown too, feeling out of place in my dress shirt and pants. Estelle scanned me again, much like the time she had the first day she had come to school. She gave what seemed to be a nod of approval, and started her car. She rolled down the windows all the way, and turned up her car radio, which was tuned to classical music. Just like that, we escaped from high school.
I knew better than to make small talk. I didn't even ask where we were going, Estelle seemed to have a plan. We stopped at a diner to eat dinner and neither one of us talked about anything. The silence didn't feel so awkward now, it felt more natural. We got back in her car and the sun began to sink. I watched the sky grow darker.
Estelle finally stopped her car in a parking lot near the beach. "Ah here we are." Estelle said.
"I've never seen the Atlantic Ocean before. I mean it's all just water and all, but I've never been here before." Estelle jumped out of her car, and ran towards the water. I got out of the car and watched her run taking off her shoes as she did. She ran right into the water and stopped suddenly. My mind had been racing prior to that point, thinking about how worried my family and friends might be since I disappeared. My cellphone, still on silent since the graduation ceremony, seemed to weigh heavily in my pocket. But at that moment, I watched Estelle's child like delight at seeing the east coast. All my worries disappeared as I watched her fall into the water, completely soaking herself. She sat up and yelled "YES!" I couldn't help myself, I laughed at her. She seemed so happy at that moment, I couldn't help but be happy myself.
Estelle eventually got tired of the water, and came out grabbed a towel she had in the trunk of her car and wrapped it around herself. We both went and sat in the hood of her car. Estelle said in a happy voice, "Ok now we have to make a wish! Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight!" She closed her eyes tightly and seemed to be wishing with all her might. I closed my eyes and tried to think of something to wish for. Many thoughts raced through my mind, I wished that I didn't have to ever go back, I wished I didn't have to go to college, I wished that this night could last forever, just here with me and Estelle. In the end I couldn't think of anything to really wish for, so I didn't wish for anything.
"What did you wish for?" I asked Estelle when she opened her eyes.
In a completely serious tone she answered, "If I tell you it won't come true." She paused and looked up at the sky. "There are so many stars, maybe one of them can grant my wish." Estelle said in an almost inaudible voice, but I heard her. "Will you stay up with me all night? I've always wanted to watch the sun come up over the ocean." I nodded in agreement.
We did stay up all night discussing various things. I told her how I wanted to be in graphic design, and she told me that she wanted to be a voice actress for cartoons. She told me how she got jealous of cats getting to sleep all day, and I told her how I was jealous of all the other guys being taller than me. No topic was taboo, we talked the night away.
Soon the first rays of lights started peaking over the ocean. Our conversation stopped at this point. Estelle watched the sun rise intently. I looked at the sunrise for a moment before turning my gaze instead to Estelle. Estelle didn't seem to notice me looking at her, she was looking at the rays of sun coming up from beneath the ocean, reflecting in the water. I watched the sunrise in her eyes. Her eyes fogged up with tears that soon began streaming down her face. I didn't ask her why she was crying, instead I grabbed her hand and looked back towards the ocean.
After the sun had completely risen, Estelle started to talk again. "I've never seen the sun rise over the ocean before. This is what true beauty is. No one bothers to watch things like this anymore. Everyone is too busy with their lives to notice the world..." Estelle wiped the tears from her eyes, and continued. "I'm really tired, let's take a nap before we go back."
I didn't want to go back, nor did I really want to sleep. I felt more awake, more alive than any other time in my life. Of course I didn't say no to Estelle, and we went back inside her car. Estelle leaned back her chair and seemed to fall asleep pretty quickly. I leaned back my chair as well and watched her sleep. Her hair and fanned over her face. I lightly took my hand and brushed her hair out of her face. Estelle didn't move when I did this. I desperately wanted to kiss her. She seemed so innocent, so normal, while she slept. Somehow I knew that kissing her would be wrong. Estelle was a weird girl, but she was also a special girl. A guy like me could never hope to have the love of a girl like that. So I held myself back, and didn't kiss her. Somehow, I drifted off to sleep myself. By the time I woke up, Estelle had already started the car and we were back on the road back to our lives.
I never talked to Estelle again, once she dropped me off at my house. I remember watching her car drive away with a sad aching loneliness in my heart. I knew what I had felt while I was with her, I would never experience again. When I got back to my life, I was scolded by my parents for disappearing, and my friends were all surprised at me for not coming to the graduation parties. I still felt like what I had done that night was far more important, and any trouble and grief I received would be worth it.
It was only later, when I had started my freshman year of college that I heard of Estelle's death. Apparently she had some form of cancer, and she had moved to the East Coast because her parent's had heard of a doctor out here that might be able to help her. In the end they couldn't and Estelle had died in the hospital. I hid in my dorm room bathroom and cried for nearly an hour when I found out. I felt so hopeless and helpless. I didn't even know what to feel anymore. The world collapsed in on me that day.
Of course, all of that was many years ago now. I look back on that day with a sort of happiness tinged with sadness. I realize that Estelle had chosen me to go with her to experience that sunrise. That had to mean something. Now I live with my wife in a cottage near the ocean. I never told my wife about that day, it's my little secret. I keep it locked in my heart, talking about it would sully the memory. Of course, everyday I get up early enough to watch the sunrise, and I wish on the stars at night that I'll get to see the sunrise again tomorrow.