Halfway into class, we stopped reading from our text books in Mr. Norman’s class for a writing assignment. Carson sat next to me, again. Life was being so unfair. I’m trying to avoid him, I think to myself, mad at the world.
From beside me, I heard a small snap. I knew it was the sound of a pencil breaking.
“Do you have an extra pencil? Mine broke in half,” Carson asked me quietly. I’d had a feeling he was going to ask me.
Not saying anything, I sighed furiously, and handed my extra pencil to him.
“Keep it,” I say meanly.
“Thanks,” he mumbled, sounding almost like he was hurt by my meanness. I tried hard to ignore the sharp pang of regret and guilt.
“Whatever,” I said rolling my eyes at nothing in particular, again, trying to distract myself from him.
It was so aggravating how he could get on my nerves so quickly. Though, I am short-tempered; especially when people I'm going out of my way to avoid are trying to talk with me.
Within a very short two minutes, I was done with the assignment; Carson was done shortly after me. I will admit he was a fast worker.
I sat back in my seat, staring blankly at the ceiling.
“Seattle, Carson, because you are the first two done, I want you to work together on this next assignment,” Mr. Norman instructed quietly, standing behind our desks.
”Seriously?” I breathed to myself, nodding at Mr. Norman. Mr. Norman, nor any other person, hadn't heard me.
Mr. Norman handed me and Carson both a three page packet and pointed to the page number. For the second time that day, Carson scooted his desk right next to mine.
“What is it with you?” Carson asked quietly.
“Seriously?” I repeated mostly to myself, glaring at Carson. I rolled my eyes and started focusing on my work again.
“Seriously; now, what is it with you? I’m trying to be nice to you, trying to make conversation and all that, and you just keep pushing it all away. Why?” He asked, giving me the strangest look I’d ever received.
I looked up at him again. I thought carefully about my answer. I didn’t want to reveal anything too important, but I felt I owed it to him to give him a real answer this time.
For what seemed to be hours, we just looked into each others eyes; his clear blue, my mossy green eyes focused so intently on each other.
Finally, I answered him.
“I don’t exactly have what you would call ‘social skills’. I don’t like working with people. I prefer solitude, and find that everyday small talk is pointless.” Plus, I added to myself, everyone else is safer without me.
“You realize I’m not going to give up, right? I’m going to keep nagging you until you get so sick of it you either punch me in the jaw, or finally converse with me,” He told me, a smile playing around his lips.
“Well, if those are my only options, I’d be shielding my jaw if I were you,” I answered him jokingly. I probably wouldn’t punch him, but if he kept it up, I would be tempted. Before I realized it, I was smiling and shaking my head slightly.
“There it is,” he said quietly, mostly to himself. Apparently, we both talk to ourselves a bit when we’re in a conversation.
“Why? Why do you insist on ‘conversing’ with me?” I asked, truly curious.
“Why do you prefer solitude?” He countered.
“No, I don’t think so. It’s my turn for questions. You got your turn at lunch,” I told him sternly.
“Why do you do it?” I asked him again, not in a pressing way, just merely curious.
He sighed. “I do it because I like a challenge. And I knew from the start that you’d be just that. Also, I like to have friends,” he answered me.
“I’m a ‘challenge’. That’s why. Yeah, I sure am; and you’re going to have a hard time with this ‘challenge’” I told said, glaring at him again.
“Are you bipolar?” he asked suddenly.
“If I am, I’ve never been diagnosed with it,” I told him.
“I don’t get you,” he said shaking his head.
“Yeah, well, you won’t get a lot of things. For example, I still don’t understand why you like challenges. Personally, I would love for everything to just be easy and simple,” I started talking to myself again.
“But, if everything is easy and simple, then what’s the point to life? If you’ve nothing to work for, you’ve nothing to live for. And if that’s the case, there’s no point in living at all. We’d just be here; not really doing anything worthwhile, yet not doing nothing. See my point?” he explained. The way he looked at me... his eyes burned right into mine. I swear, if it was possible, I would've melted right then and there. That's probably what compelled me to say what I said next. Wait, oh my god. Did I seriously say that I could melt from the way he looked at me then? Okay; since when did I get all touchy and crap?
“Yeah, I saw your point from the beginning. But, right now, nothing I do is worthwhile. I know you’re going to say, ‘So look for something to do that is worthwhile’. And, believe me, I’ve tried. But I screw everything up; I try everything I can, and it's still not good enough,” I admitted. Ugh! I did it again! I just can’t keep my mouth shut.
It took him a moment to find the right words, but when he did it wasn’t anything I was expecting. I was expecting something like, “Then try harder still,” or “Well, you’ll find it eventually.”
What I got was this: “So? Why is that stopping you? Take this for example. When I lost my parents, I thought the world had ended. My life was gone. I had only my sister, but we got separated from each other because of foster care. That’s why I’m here, in Michigan. But being with people is worthwhile for me. Maybe you should try it some time,” he told me. I almost started to cry.
He’s practically in the same boat as me. Well, kind of, anyways. He was still one hundred percent human, and I was never put in foster care, and I didn’t lose both of my parents, but still.
“We should start working,” I said, trying to distract myself in any way possible.
Carson nodded, and flipped his book open to page eighty-seven. Together, we finished in about a minute.
“You’re really smart,” he said nonchalantly.
“That is a matter of opinion, but thanks any ways,” I told him.
“What, you don’t think you’re smart?” he asked, almost laughing.
“I know I’m book smart,” I replied, not looking at him.
“‘Book smart?’” he asked lightheartedly.
I just nodded.
“What?” I asked, looking at him again.
“Nothing,” was his answer.
“Whatever,” I said, shrugging.
He chuckled again. I whipped my head around and gave him a callous stare.
“Laugh at me like that, again, and I’ll pin you to a wall,” I threatened.
He got a serious expression on his face, and did the My lips are sealed gesture, pretending to zip up his lips and toss the key away.
I shook my head, trying not to laugh at him. Laughing was a bad thing to do in a class room full of kids that have known you for months and have never seen you laugh except once. It brought about unnecessary attention.
“So, how do you intend to pin me to a wall?” Carson asked playfully. “I mean, you’re just so tiny compared to me, and I don’t really think it’s possible…” he trailed off, noticing my spiteful glare at him.
It was true. Carson towered over me by at least a foot. But I’m not exactly a full human, and I’m a lot stronger than him because of it. But that doesn’t mean that I want to beat him to a pulp. I’d rather he just leave me alone like everyone else does so I don’t have to.
The rest of the hour passed without much incident. The bell rang, and my classmates and I packed up and got ready to go home.
"Hey Seattle, hold on a second," Carson said. I looked at him cautiously, wondering what he could want now.