Sleepless Nights In Manhattan

The rest of the week went in much the same way.  I sat in the practice room every day without eating lunch.  I never even bothered going into the lunch room, not feeling like dealing with all the people who hated me.

Sam and I didn't speak to each other every night on the fire escape, and I realized I'd been stupid.  Knowing someone for just over forty-eight hours isn't enough to call someone your best friend.  The truth was this:  Sam was just my neighbor who I'd gotten to know for a little bit.  I refused to speak to Gill, and Lucy and my other friends were taking his side. 

Most of everyone else hated me as well, holding grudges for the way I'd treated them in the past.  Well, that was fine by me.  I burned all my bridges, and now I was feeling the consequences. Whatever, I told myself.  I don't need anybody.  If I can bring my own problems on myself, I can fix them by myself.

The last week has just been filled with lots of new, angry paintings, and sleepless nights in Manhattan. 

 

A new month began, and nothing had changed.  All I did anymore was paint, read, and jog around town after school and every weekend.  My mom noticed that I was spending a lot of time at home, and she seemed worried, but she wouldn't confront me about it.

I told myself that I was content in my solitude, and I believed my lie for a while.  But after a new month was almost ready to begin, fall creeping up on Manhattan quickly, I had to admit to myself that I just wanted to vent.

My parents were in the middle of deciding who gets what.  It was already decided that I would stay here with my mom in the apartment while my dad got a place of his own and got back on his feet.  I was fine with that. 

With all my jogging and not eating lunch at school anymore, I thought I was losing a lot of weight, but I wasn't concerned, nor did I really care.  On a normal weekday, my schedule went like this:  Toast for breakfast, school, no lunch, back to classes, come home, snack on an apple, go jogging, have a light dinner, finish homework, paint, and then go to bed.

With no friends to hang out with and spend my money, my allowance just collected into one large lump sum hiding in a box at the back of my closet.  I went to an art store and bought more paints, more canvases, and more brushes on a Saturday afternoon.

I'd been working with acrylics for so long, I'd decided I would try my hand at oil painting.  It couldn't have been too much more difficult than acrylic painting, I told myself.  Brush strokes would maybe only vary slightly in difference, and paint is paint.  You mix blue and red to get purple, etc.  It shouldn't be too hard,  I kept repeating in my head.

My first canvas turned out pretty well.  It was of a tree covered in snow in the middle of summer.  It was comical to me, because I understood it.  Anyone else would've just wondered what was going through my mind. 

I was almost finished with it when someone knocked on my window, and my heart nearly stopped.  I looked up to see Sam's face peering inside my window; he was waving, trying to get my attention.  I frowned and opened my window.

"Can I help you?" I grumbled.  My voice was hoarse because I hadn't used it much in almost two months.  I took a swig from my water bottle, thanking the lord for his wonderful creation.

"You've been painting a lot, I noticed.  I can smell it over in my room,"  he commented nonchalantly, resting his head on my window trim.

I wanted to ask him so many things.  I wanted to ask him why he wouldn't talk to me, why he'd ignored my calls and texts, why he never came out on the balcony anymore. "Yeah, so?" I asked instead, my gaze steely.

"Can we talk?"  he asked.  I nodded, but still hadn't invited him inside yet.  "Can I come inside so we can talk?"  He added, looking as if he felt self-conscious.

I walked back to my easel to put the finishing touches on my snow-covered tree.  Sam climbed through my window and walked towards my bed.  From where he sat now, he could see the painting.  When I glanced up at him, the expression in his eyes was difficult to identify.

"Did you have something to say or were you just going to sit on my bed all night and gawk at my easel?" I prodded him rudely after a minute of silence.

 

"What's gotten into you?  Why are you being so rude?"  He asked.

"Oh, I'm being rude?  You're the one who started ignoring me first.  I know how to take a hint.  I know when somebody doesn't want me around.  I'm not an idiot."  I answered.

"Whoever said I didn't want you around?"  he said.  He didn't agree that I'm not an idiot or contradict me; he just ignored that part.

"Nobody has to say anything, Sam.  Like I said, I can take a hint."

"Look last month, that wasn't a good time for me.  My father was having his appendix removed; I had to help him out around the house.  I'm sorry that I couldn't have our late-night conversations out on the balcony."  His voice was like a double-edged sword, and sarcasm dripped off of his last words.  "You know, you're not the only one with problems and issues right now."

"I know I'm not the only one.  And I never asked for your pity or your sympathy.  By all means, please, waist them on somebody else.  I'm not a charity case.  I don't need someone to say, 'Hey, look at this poor, damaged and broken girl.  She looks so injured, her parents are divorcing and her ex-boyfriend used to abuse her and cheat on her.  But hey, I guess there wasn't much difference between that mangy bastard and her father, because he did the same thing to her mother.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, I guess.  Here, let's take her in and fix her up, try to mend her broken heart.'  I'm not broken, so you don't need to fix me.  I never asked for that, Sam."

"And I never gave that to you."  He countered.

"Why are you here, Sam?" I asked, changing the subject. 

"I told you.  I wanted to talk to you,"  he said.  His face contorted into an expression of pain, but I ignored that, focusing only on all my anger.

"Really, because it seems like you only came over to criticize me,"  I snapped.

"That's not what I came here for.  But never mind.  I was wrong to come over.  I'll just leave then, and let you return to your canvas."  Without another word, Sam was out of my window and back in his own room before I'd even taken my next breath.

My heart was pounding, and tears blurred my vision.  I slept with my window open that night, relishing in the cool air and how it seemed to cleanse my mind.  Later, I realized that I didn't feel any better for yelling at Sam.

The End

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