The cafeteria was always crowded by the time I got there. Every group in the school had its own designated common table; it was a tradition that had to be respected for the years to come. Or that was what the higher echelons of high school social classes made us think and we could do nothing but to abide by those once self-created laws. The food, most of the time, looked inedible, and today was no exception. After a quick survey of the menu, I walked to my designated table without a lunch tray and without appetite.
“Dude!” the tallest of my friends greeted me between mouthfuls of the poor excuse of a potato salad. “How’ve you been?” That question had become far too common and connected with subtle implies concerning “her”. “Why don’t you have any food with you, part of a hunger strike to get her back?”
“Rick, you can be so insensible at times.” Helen rolled her eyes and turned to look at me with honest concern. Her deep, wise blue eyes were sharpened with black eye shadow in her eyelids and thick layers of mascara in her eyelashes, that wasn’t uncommon among the girls whom I hang out with. “Don’t listen to him.”
“Never do,” I said, dropping my bag to the floor and taking an empty chair. The noisy room had gotten to my nerves. I never missed eating outside, sitting on the grass under the shades of the trees, more. It was hard to define my group; most of us were skaters and hard-headed garage musicians who were in constant hopes of one day becoming famous with our loud music and carefree personalities. But for now, we only played for our heart’s content. We never went so deep as to becoming junkies or druggies, at least some of us didn’t, we struggled with the classes just like everyone else, but I guess that at the end of the day the people with whom you hang around with determines your place in society.
I heard her melodious voice. The terrible thing about dating someone from your school and breaking up was that you had to face that person five days out of seven. In this particular high school, kids around here knew each other very well to have knowledge about the affairs of their neighbors. After all, what else can you expect from a school in a small town? Not everybody cared about the subject though, and I felt immense gratitude toward those who rendered the matter with indifference.
I saw her. My heart was caught in my throat and my eyes went numb with agony. I saw her walking just in front of me, through the casual gaps between passing students and teachers. Her light stride and natural demeanor were both mesmerizing and alluring; her blonde hair fell behind her back like a waterfall in a warm summer day, as if golden rays of sunlight were mirrored in the transparent water. Her eyes were the symbol of serenity and the reflection of the azure kingdom above our heads. Her lips were tip just slightly upward, in an attempt to a small smile to please her friends. Somehow, I saw through her deception and her feigned happiness and longed to hold her close to me. She was now staring at the floor. Her long eyelashes were covering her eyes from the world and her lips had fallen just slightly and were now a sad indentation on her pretty face; a remembrance of something out of her control that went wrong and she had a hard time coping with it. Maybe her tears weren’t over yet, unlike mine during my stolen moments.
Every now and then I wondered what happened to us, what part of us break. But I didn’t expect the air to answer me back and so I continued living on, or at least tried to. I realized, when our relationship got into deeper waters, that I wasn’t strong enough to support us both from drowning, and one of us had to let go. I was the one, and so, both of us sank into the dark waters of hopelessness and despair. None of us had emerged from them yet, she was still waiting for her knight in shining armor and I was only waiting for a lifesaver.
I closed my eyes and turned my head to stare at the grimy table with crumbs of food everywhere. It was painful enough to just think about her, let alone watch her walk around school with her broken smile. I couldn’t do anything about it, like any selfish guy, I had to worry about my own collapsing world and fading sanity. She walked through the remains of my shattered dreams, being torn apart from the inside out, and I wished to save her, to save us both. But my pleas were neither heard nor acknowledge and my strength ever fading. We were now walking the thin tight rope held in the air on each side by the tip of a razor blade just above the sea of depression. What would snap first, the thin rope (the journey) or the razor blade (the destination)? I hope neither.