Ballad of the Loner

Lionel

Time flies, and sometimes I wish it couldn’t do that. The
moment that I’ve been waiting for… more so half-waiting… has arrived. I had no
way of avoiding it now… the day was here. I did, in a way, felt prepared. This
was going to be a good time, certainly.

 Samantha had arranged to meet me up at the school, so I
had no idea how she would look. I could only guess. Myself, I had picked up
another black suit, but this one had a small dark blue coloring to it. I didn’t
care much for judging myself, but I thought that I looked the best I ever had.
The finishing touch was a black hat that Samantha had dared me to wear. I
complied.

 At first, I didn’t have a ride; my parents had departed
on to an additional long business trip, leaving me by my lonesome once again. I
didn’t like them being around anyway, so it was more of a benefit than a curse.

 The silent house still contained plenty of activity. I
was dancing in my bedroom, practicing my moves. If Samantha wanted to dance
with me at any part of the gathering, I would be willing to do so. I hoped that
my sudden showcase of dance moves would surprise her.

 Claudia… she was the only thing on my mind… seemingly. I
have no idea why, but I couldn’t direct my thoughts away from her. I didn’t
think about my actual girlfriend, but instead imagined on what Claudia might be
wearing.  I tried to kick her out of my
mind, but the thoughts didn’t budge. She wasn’t my date, why do I have to think
about her?

 A knock came on my door. Quickly, I turned off the dance
music that was playing in the background and leaped down the stairs. Tonight
was going to be a good time…. And I wasn’t ready for it to go sour.

 I swung open the door to see Charles waiting for me on
the front step. He was dressed in a lackluster black suit and a dark gray
undershirt to go with it. A pair of one-way sunglasses rested on his face. His
smile was stretched to its longest extent.

 For the past few weeks, Charles and I had been doing all
sorts of stuff together, so it was only natural for the two of us to go with
each other to the dance.

 “Well, I hope you’re ready for a good time” he said
cheerily. “I certainly am”.

 “Yeah, sure… I’m ready” came my weak reply. Something was
bugging me, but just what was it?

 “I’m bloody excited” Charles exclaimed. “You look… not so
much?”

 “I’m not really sure Charles… it’s just… something is on
my mind… and I don’t know what it is and why it won’t go away”.

 Charles gestured to his car parked in his driveway. It
wasn’t the Jeep he usually used, but a classic yellow Roadrunner. “Let’s not
brood, and get on a good mood!” Charles joked, making a terrible rhyme on
purpose.

 “I think you’re pushing it at this point” I replied.

 “Eh, I’ll get by. Off we go then”.

 I followed behind Charles over to his house. He took the
driver’s seat and started the car up. I sat next to him in the passenger seat.
Just as we did so, a maroon Mustang sped by our position, roaring down the
road. Charles ducked in his seat as though it was a drive-by assault.

 “I know that car” Charles said as he sat back up in his
seat. “That one bloke we served that one night drives it. I dare say, he might
be on his way to the dance!”

 “Wait… you mean Craig Johnson?” I asked for
clarification, clouds of fear forming in my mental sky.

 “I believe that was the git’s name… he was certainly the
biggest arsehole I’ve set my eyes upon”. He shook his head. “But let’s not
allow him to trample over our good time. And if he does come, he’ll have to
deal with us again, hmm?”

 With that, Charles drove out of the neighborhood in the
direction of the school. We were taking a back path after anticipating that the
main road would be cluttered with traffic. 
Not much conversation was made on the trip.

 Too much was on my mind, yet none of it happened to do
with my date tonight. It all began to center around the appearance of Craig
Johnson’s car. I had thought… or I had hoped that he was still in the hospital.
What if he recovered from his amnesia and actually remembered what I did to
him?

 Claudia too… for some reason, I couldn’t stop thinking
about her. She’s my friend I reasoned to myself, not my date. The romantic side
of my mind, the section of my brain that always steered me into awkward
situations, informed me that she was my one true love and could never be
replaced.

 Charles took a glance over at me and obviously noticed
the tell-tale signs that showed that I was thinking very hard about things I
didn’t feel like thinking about.

 “I won’t ask for your sake, but you better stop or you’ll
enter the dance looking like a wet terrier” Charles commented, trying to help
me. It did make me feel slightly better, but not completely. I tried to lessen
the tension that was brewing inside of me.

 This dance, I assumed, would be the climax in our
relationship; Samantha and I. If we could stick through something as cheesy as
this, then I’d have to believe we were meant to be together. Daniel and Claudia
looked fine… why could I not stop thinking about her?

 After a loud argument took place in my mind, I put myself
at ease and struggled to slap a smile on as my facial expression. Plenty of bad
things could happen, but I reasoned that it would be best for me to grin and
bear through it.

 Charles slammed on the accelerator, forcing me deep into
the cushion of my seat. We were lucky that this was a near-abandoned road with
no authorities around.

 “Sorry, I’m an impatient fellow” he quickly explained as
he soon brought us up to one-hundred miles per hour.

 “Charles, tone it down a bit!” I commanded, getting
extremely nervous from the rapidly increasing speed.

 “Just having a little fun mate” Charles shouted over the
roar of the engine. “Gotta enjoy life sometimes you know!”

 “Not to this extent!” I called back.

 “Oh fine, you’re such a party crasher” Charles
complained, slowly brining the car down to a speed I was much better coping
with. “If you weren’t in this car, I’d already be at the school”.

 I shrugged. “That’s your decision. I’d rather arrive at
the dance intact and not suffering from a sudden burst in a high-speed car on a
long road”.

 The drive continued mainly in silence, but luckily our
moods weren’t completely killed by the incident. Trying to get me to laugh a
bit, Charles alternated speeds, sometimes going ten miles per hour and other
times going sixty five. It did, I must admit, crack a smile on more than one
instance.

 “So I’m going to be swaying with some sort of sexy
brunette chick I just picked up. Be interesting to see how that plays out,
hmm?” Charles joked. “And you’ve got the blonde one that likes go crazy with
you in dark rooms, eh?”

 My face darkened. “Why… how would you know we did that” I
asked in more of a statement form.

 “Oh, my bad old chap… why, Claudia just slid the info my
way. I thought with you two being former lovers and all-“

 “Former lovers? Really?” I half-shouted, getting slightly
angry. “Why would she tell you that?”

 “Don’t ask me, cause I can’t really tell. No idea first
of all. You three; Claudia, Daniel, and you, get into quiet the fights I must
say. Friends you call yourselves? I compare it to a marriage on the brink of a
divorce. You look like you get along, sure, but from what I’ve seen so far, it
doesn’t look like an air-tight friendship”.

 My mouth had dropped open at Charles’ long monologue.
“Well… that is the truth in a sense. We aren’t exactly all friends… but no
matter what, we’ve always gotten through it. There hasn’t been anything we
couldn’t handle… yet…”

 With a shrug from Charles, the conversation ended. I
didn’t try to bring the subject back and left it awkwardly hang in the air. I
didn’t want to believe Claudia would willingly be spilling secrets to people
without my consent… she wouldn’t do that… she couldn’t.

 I had begun to notice the general velocity of the car
decreasing. Raising my previously bowed head, I noticed that we were pulling
into the school parking lot. There were spotlights placed on the roof to
attract extra attention. An abundance of multicolored banners were strewn about
the entrance, and a large, steady stream of people was entering. I picked off
two people in the ongoing crowd immediately; Samantha Joy, my date, girlfriend,
and love of my life… then Craig Johnson… scum of the world.

 He actually did come. I couldn’t accept the facts… but
there he stood at the doorway, seemingly waiting for somebody. His face was
half covered by bandages, including on the back of his head where I had
presumably slammed my two fists into his skull. He whispered something to
Samantha… for whatever reason… and then walked away. I didn’t want to deal with
him… not today… no problems… just for one day. Please?

 Charles had noticed him as well, and I saw him cringe in
disgust, his face contorted with burning rage.

 “That bloke again… he came after all. I swear, if he
shows his face around my general vicinity, his face will be bloody… umm…
bloody. Screwed up in other words”.

 I was hardly listening to him. My eyes traced Craig’s
path as he entered the structure… he had walked in. There was no turning back
now. Samantha was waiting for me, and Craig was thrown into the mix… but the
car was here. The stage was sent.

 Time for the curtains to open.

 The door was kicked open by Charles, and I repeated his
motion, the two of us exiting the vehicle at almost the same time. He took off
his sunglasses and, grinning, tossed them over to me. I slipped them on and
tossed him my hat, which he caught and put on his head. I found myself begging
for this to be in slow-motion.

 “I was feeling the hat, you understand?” Charles joked,
gesturing to my black hat that now rested on his head.

 I nodded, feeling comfortable wearing his sunglasses.
Charles and I knew each other well, and if we were paired together, we became
the official badass team.

 Oddly enough, it seemed as though our antics were
gathering a lot of looks of awe. I smiled, taking it all in. This was what
Charles and I were capable of, walking into a situation and running the show
from start to finish.

 “We haven’t been doing this for too long, but we’ve got
it down” Charles laughed, putting a little too much into his step for the sake
of looking funny. It did succeed by from the looks of it.

 The brunette that Charles had asked out was leaning on a
post outside the entrance surrounded by her friends. One of them pointed to
Charles, and the girl looked like she might faint.

 “Looking wonderful as I predicted darling” Charles
called, over-doing his normal British accent, and it seemed to have a
devastating effect on his date.

 With a nod to me and a smile, Charles departed and
followed her inside. It seemed like he was on his way to a great time. At this
point, I didn’t have much of a clue what was going to happen to me. Craig was a
wild car in this game, and I wasn’t sure how he would be played.

 Come to think of it… a lot of things were coming
together. Samantha and I, I could say, not because of my self-esteem, were King
and Queen. Daniel was the bishop as well as Claudia, but her chess piece was
lying somewhere in the middle of the board… every day, she seemed more
depressed, and it had nothing to do with Daniel. Charles is a Knight, simply
because of who he is. Craig marked the opposing King, and his movements were
cloaked so no one could see him.

I took a deep breath, then opened up the front door.

 Music bombarded me upon my entrance, the techno-pop
sounds pounding in my ears. The right-hand corner of the gym was dominated by a
DJ stand, which included a large set of flashing lights. The actual lights that
were in the gym had been dimmed and instead replaced by other colors. Students
were scattered about, and most of them were socializing. That was a relief; no
dancing yet. While I did feel confident, I was admittedly nervous.

 This whole scene was the largest gathering of people I
had ever been in the midst of; the middle school dance I attended prior to this
wasn’t very populated. There was no sign of Craig, and more importantly
Samantha. In other matters, I couldn’t pinpoint Claudia or Daniel among the
many faces that were moving about.

 I was all alone so far in the world of Craig Johnson. If
he could locate me by any chance, he wouldn’t waste any time beating me up for
the sake of getting revenge. Oh, revenge… such a good feeling when you enact
it, but never nice when it’s against you.

 “Hey, Lionel!” a call came. I spun around and saw
Samantha walking over in my direction. She was beautiful too; a maroon dress
that flowed at the bottom and was decorated with silver designs on the top
half.

 “I was wondering where you were” I said, approaching her.

 

“I could say the same about you” she laughed. The two of
us shared a hug.

 “You look beautiful today” I whispered in her ear.

 “And on the other hand, I think you could do much better”
she joked in response.

 I turned her head over to me and kissed her. “I think I
have enough time to make up for that”.

 Regardless of the numerous amounts of people that were
around, the two of us had a very long make-out session. No Craig in sight so
far; tonight still had a chance to be great… not saying it wasn’t already.

 We left the embrace and just started generally chatting.
We made our way over to a makeshift bar that was constructed in the left-hand
corner. They had plenty of drinks around, including Dr. Pepper, which is the
best drink on the planet. I wasted no time getting one for me and Samantha. I
noticed Charles standing nearby, so I bought another soda and tossed it his
way. He caught it and sent me a nod of thanks.

 “They certainly did a good job here” Samantha commented,
gazing around the gym.

 “Yeah, you could say that” I made my weak reply.

 “You know, did you ever bring that hat?” she asked me.

 I pointed to Charles, who noticed this motion and slung
the hat my way. I snatched it out of the air and slapped it on my head, a wide
grin forming on my lips.

“Found it” I said, my smile growing ever wider. I never
thought I was capable to do that before…

 Samantha laughed, then playfully tipped the hat down so I
couldn’t see anything. I felt her lips gently brush up against mine.

 “You said you’d look bad in it, I think I might like it”
she said in her tempting voice. It was, essentially, my kryptonite.

 I brought the hat back up on my head, and my eyes fell
upon a new sight… Claudia and Daniel. As I had pictured her, Claudia looked
amazing… but I managed to tear my gaze away from her. She wasn’t the subject of
the evening’s events for me.

 “I see your friends got here” Samantha said, looking over
at the two new arrivals. “I like Daniel of course but sometimes he looks a
little goofy, you gotta admit, right?” she joked.

 “Oh, that’s just how he is. He’s not the absolute best
with relationships, so sometimes his stature suffers” I said.

 Charles had walked over to my side.

 “Well, I’m having a pretty good time so far. If I keep
going like this, sex is on, aye?” Charles said, actually being serious.

 “Erm… whatever” I said, waving my hands to show my
displeasure over the subject.

 “You’re the new-ish kid then?” Samantha asked, this
question directed at Charles.

 “Indeed” Charles said, holding at his hand. I sighed,
then I gave him the sunglasses back.

 “Much appreciated, mate” he thanked me.

 Our talking continued throughout the night as though
there wasn’t even a dance. The four of us barely moved from our spot by the
bar; I think Charles and I had more than eight sodas a piece. It was going to
be a night to remember.

 The brunette and Charles suddenly said that they should
be on their way. In a whisper directed to me, Charles told me he was going out
for the rest of the night and knocking the poor girl up, but I hoped that he
wouldn’t. The girl seemed to have the same mindset though.

 “You all have a good time, alright? Lionel, my mate, see
you late!” Charles waved as he departed. He was a great guy, Charles, no doubt
about that. The most reckless individual I’ve ever met by far, but at the same
time very kind and up to anything that anybody can think of.

 “He’s definitely… interesting to say the least” Samantha
commented, giving off a little laugh. “Tells the best jokes though, I must say.
And you met that guy in a fight?”

 “Oddly enough, yes. He leaped out of a two-story window
and just followed me the rest of the night. I was glad for his company of
course. He may be… actually, I bet he is… the best friend anybody could ever
have. We haven’t known each other for long, but we’ve been doing everything
with each other in the past few weeks”.

 “He’s from Britain too. That accent sounds so cool, don’t
you think?” she asked me.

 I nodded. “Authentic. The only downside is that there’s
more copycats running around trying to mimic his accent. It’s getting annoying,
but Charles doesn’t seem to mind. He just thinks it’s amusing”.

 “You have kept her well, I see” a voice came from behind
me. I jumped in my skin; Craig Johnson!

 I slowly turned around to see his large figure looming
over me. “I couldn’t help but overhear your talk about the British kid. I
remember him quiet well… on different terms than you”.

 Samantha sighed. “Craig, I just wanted one night,
alright? I told you I would see you tomorrow, didn’t I?” Her voice had morphed
into a whiny teenaged girl.

 “What a minute… you… Craig? What the-“

 “We’re going out. Catch up, idiot” Craig insulted me,
walking over to Samantha’s side. She wasn’t bothered by this at all… she didn’t
object… no… no!

 “You… no… you’re not… you-“

 “Stop trying to talk; you were born not to” Craig
continued his parade of revenge. “Samantha and I have been going out forever,
even when you were with her. Allow me to explain as simply as I can… she only
likes you because you can kiss good. Other than that, you’ve got nothing that
interests her””.

 My mouth had opened up, the bottom part of it colliding
with the floor. She couldn’t have… Samantha… she loved me, didn’t she? She
couldn’t have done this, no, not tonight!

 “Yeah, I’ll admit it, you kiss nicely. But other than
that, I was acting the whole time” Samantha said, frowning. Then, she suddenly
laughed. “I can’t believe how incredibly stupid you are! I played you again,
right into my hands!”

 “Hilarious” came Craig’s deadpan comment. “Anyways, I was
leaning on the option of letting you keep her a little while longer… but the
whole incident with the English kid certainly changed my mind. You can be on
your way now”.

 I said nothing, but only stood in my place. I felt tears
forming in my eyes. I began gasping for breath as though I was suffocating. No…
this couldn’t have…

 She had done it. That’s the truth, my mind told me. Even
the romantic side of my mind, the one that was always arguing… agreed with
this. I was played, and it wasn’t the first time… I didn’t feel my heart
beating anymore. Was it even there?

 Craig found my despair amusing. “You’re pathetic. Accept
that. All your life, you’ve been the Loner, the stepping stone, the guy
everyone trampled on.  Go take your
rightful place as the doormat of the world. That’s all you’re meant to be,
Lionel. No girls, no pleasure, for you. People like me, the ‘cool’ people as
some may call it, get what we want because we deserve it. Loners don’t deserve
anything because they’re just taking up space. Get used to being treated as you
are”.

 I turned away from him and my head fell onto the table
top of the bar… tears were flooding around me. I couldn’t feel anything… my
life had just been torn to shreds… and I didn’t feel anything. My emotions…
they beat me, teased me… my brain abandoned me. She had tricked me, lied to me…
and all because she was with him all of the time… right from the beginning.

 A lot of attention was circling around me at this point.
A huge group of people had gathered around the bar’s vicinity. Craig’s gang had
gathered behind him, as well as Samantha’s friends, who were all grinning; no
doubt they were involved in this whole plot as well. However, it seemed like a
lot of people in the crowd looked no different; laughing and smiling.

 Daniel and Claudia were pushing forward through the mass
amount of people, and I hoped they wouldn’t break through… I didn’t want them
to see me like this. Of course, they managed to do this. Both of them look just
as devastated as the other.

 Craig punched me across the face, and I spun around into
a clump on the floor. He kneeled down next to me and whispered in my ear.

 “You’ve got nothing… no friends, no hope… nothing. You
are the Loner of the world… the outlier out of all of us. Do yourself a favor…
get outta here”.

 Daniel rushed over to my side, Claudia in tow. He pushed
Craig away from me and faced him down, refusing to notice how he was
outnumbered.

 My ears had seemingly turned off… I couldn’t hear
anything. Daniel’s mouth was moving erratically, his face burning read,
occasionally gesturing to me. I could only feel self-pity for myself… I was
pathetic. I never got ahold of anything. Friends, family… none of them. I was
detached from the world.

 Claudia brought me up to my feet, revealing the broken
nose I had suffered. She tried speaking to me, trying to comfort me, but I
didn’t and couldn’t listen. She shook me hard, trying to get me back to my
senses, but it wasn’t possible, it was futile.

 Craig had knocked Daniel away and approached me. With
another shove, Claudia was sent spiraling away. I could still see… I had seen
that.

 He wasn’t going to get away with that.

 As I ran towards the exit, I swung one last punch at
Craig, and it connected to his jaw with a sickening sound following it. I
shouted back at him, but I couldn’t hear it myself.

 “I hate everything, my whole life has been nothing! I
want all of you… all of you people… I want all of you out of my life!”

 This wasn’t my life. My life wasn’t meant to be. That’s
just how things are.

 I could see as I ran away that Daniel and Claudia were
shouting after me. I had no idea if they began pursuing me, but I was too fast
with a much greater head start.

 Gasping for breath after my large run, I collapsed on the
sidewalk. Tears were streaming in my wake, my emotions and my mind going
haywire. Nothing was going straightforward… I had no idea what I was doing.
Only one thought persisted in my head.

 You’re nothing. You can be something else though. There’s
one step you can take.

 Recovering from my fall, I ran in the direction of the
only place I knew where to go to; home. My feet were begging for me to stop and
rest, but I didn’t care anymore. Everything around me was crumbling apart… I
had lost everything. In my whole entire lifetime, if I added all of the
statistics together… I had never won anything, only lost.

 Never had I felt worse in my entire life… what had I lost
in my entire lifetime? Everything was the simple answer. I could go on. The
romantic side of my mind had come back bringing me some answers; the only
people I had truly loved in my life… Claudia and Samantha… either didn’t have
the same feelings or faked them.

 My friends meant nothing anymore. I couldn’t think about
them now, and it was like they didn’t matter in my lifetime at all. They could
do whatever they wanted, but I was over with whatever I was living in.

 I had finally reached my house, so I wasted no time
barging in through the front door. There was one definite action that was
residing in my brain.

 My kitchen loomed in front of me. Resting on top of one
of the marble counters was a container. I opened it up and selected an object
from it.

 It was a very long knife that shined in the moonlight the
window allowed in. I ran my finger across its sharp edge. It felt so natural… I
could picture this going inside of me, nesting inside of my body and destroying
it like a virus.

 I waved it in the air in front of me for a few seconds. I
felt this was all part of a Shakespearian play, and I was nothing but an actor
in it, a ‘player’ in his words. It went along a little like this;

 A man named the Loner enters the stage, and he is
immediately picked on by the other cast members. He meets a new girl that comes
onto the stage, and becomes the Loner’s love interest. One day, she leaves for
another man and never comes back. Yet another girl becomes a part of the play
when the Loner falls in love with her. A new boy makes an appearance as he
shows how the Loner’s whole life was nothing but a lie. It meant nothing.

 The curtain closes as the Loner raises the knife…

 I plunged it into my body, right below my heart. Are you
kidding me! I missed my own heart! Can I not even kill myself! I shouted in
agony, a curse word following it.

 I fell onto my back, the knife’s handle sticking out of
my chest. Blood was pouring in every which way, pooling around me. I shouted
again as I raised my hands towards the handle. If I dug it any bit deeper… my
life was over. If I pulled it out or left it where it was, there was a chance
of surviving.

 Come on I shouted at myself. The knife was in my chest,
you got it that far! Just plunge it in a little deeper you wuss, you stupid
Loner! It’s right there! Just end your life! It’s what you wanted isn’t it?

 My hands were frozen in the air, unmoving. More yells of
pain emitted from my mouth, my voice cracking. I spit a speck of blood onto the
floor, trying still to put an end to my misery.

 But I wasn’t able to. My eyes began to darken… no… no!
Just kill yourself! You’re almost there! Don’t stop now, just get done with
yourself, your pathetic existence! Can you not even manage that?

 Everything was spinning… my head was becoming sore and
dizzy. The pain was gone, and I felt like going to a sleep.

 So that’s what I did… not knowing whether I would wake up
or not. Secretly, I hoped I never did. I was done with my life… I hated it.
This was an obvious fact I only just now noticed.

 This was ‘Ballad of the Loner’, written and performed by
Lionel Stephens.

 Time to take my final bow.

The End

188 comments about this exercise Feed