Man, all of my blog titles sound like I’m the laziest person alive. AND IT’S CLOSE TO BEING TRUE, I’M PRETTY SURE. Anyways, this is the first bit of personal writing I’ve posted that is definitely and decisively at the beginning of the story. Like, that bit of the bookstore from “Alternative”, it’s definitely earlier on in the timeline for that story, but I’m pretty positive it isn’t actually the beginning, or at least not the first few paragraphs. I intend to put other stuff in there at the start. Make more of an introduction for Molly perhaps. But this— this is the first part of a short story I’m calling “Notebook” that I probably won’t finish, or ultimately make a shitton of changes to. Because I’m generally not happy with things (never entirely) when I revisit them, and honestly, I hardly ever finish any works. NONCOMMITTAL ME, YAY.
Anyways. Yes. High school setting. MMMMMMYEAH.
EDIT: It was pointed out to me that it wasn’t particularly clear that some of my posts were fiction. THIS IS FICTION. FICTION. Okay, go now. Be free of this edit.
The first time I think I saw him was in the hallway. His eyes met mine and I looked down. I was nervous because I thought he was attractive; he had wild red hair and defined cheekbones. His eyes were a clear green, and he didn’t seem to want to smile. I hurried up and got to my locker.
The day after that, I saw him again at lunch. I was writing in one of my notebooks and drinking a fruit punch when I felt him watching me from across the courtyard. When I looked up and saw him, he seemed almost curious, with his eyebrows lifted. I was reminded of a silent, prowling cat, and I decided to use him as writing material. When I looked again, he was eating and seemed kind of sad. I wanted to go and ask him if he was okay, but I was too shy. Instead I kept writing and didn’t glance at him again.
It continued like that for nearly a week. He would eye me carefully to see if I was doing anything, and I would recognize his interest before absorbing myself in writing again. Sometimes he would hold eye contact with me for a few seconds, and my face would get too warm and I’d look away. Because he never looked at me more than once at lunch, I would have the opportunity to draw rough sketches of him on the side of my writing. Every other page held his sad expression in careful detail. He never sat with anyone.
In fact, there were few instances in which he was even spoken to. The occassional girl braved the risk of flirting with him, but even his looks did not outweigh how intimidating he could be when spoken to. He would just stare blankly at you, sometimes full of evident loathing or exasperation, until there was nothing to do but walk away from him. Everyone left him alone, and he kept to himself. It was an unspoken agreement.
One day I had decided to put on my headphones and work instead of listening to the incessant buzz of the other students in the courtyard. I didn’t see the boy clean away the things on his table, and I didn’t see him walk over to where I was in the grass by the gym wall. Only when he sat down next to me did I jump and turn, startled to find him looking over my shoulder.
"Oh, uh… yes?"
He tilted his head and stared at my notebook, and I followed his gaze. One of the sketches from two days ago took up the bottom right-hand corner of the page, and I felt my body burn with embarassment. I slammed the notebook shut, and he leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes. I watched him balefully for a few moments, expecting him to address me or ask about the drawing, but he just stayed still and breathed with his eyes shut. So I went back to writing.
After that, we were nearly inseparable. We always ate lunch together, he met me outside of classes and walked me to my locker, we lounged under the trees in front of the school before the morning bells rang, and he would walk me to my busstop when it was time to go home.
Sometimes during lunch, he would rifle through my backpack and inspect sketches in my school books, or read the odd little notes I’d leave myself here and there. He seemed to absorb everything about me by studying it intensely, or tracing it with his hands. But he knew not to ask for the notebook where he first saw himself in pencilled detail.
His name was Aubrey. He only gave me the first name, on the second day he came to me at lunch, and he rasped it out very quietly, like he was trying to keep it from everyone else. What little school work he carried in his messenger bag only held his first name, and there was no work that had been graded to show that the teachers were adding it in with red-inked consternation. I didn’t ask for it. Instead, I marvelled at how gravelly his voice sounded. I wondered if he kept this silence at home too, or if he ever made phone calls. It sounded as though he never used his voice.
I’ll confess that I wasn’t exactly a charmer the first week I was here, and I didn’t go out of my way to get to know anyone. Senior year at a new school was abysmal, and it was almost depressing to think about making new friends. Whether Aubrey was new or not, I never found out. He tended to glower at people when they strayed too close, and so I never did make many friends after he became mine. Or I became his.
He always sat very close to me, which was unnerving at first, but it was something you get used to easily after a while. The week we glanced at each other across the courtyard without coming near to one another was made up for in leaps and bounds. He didn’t seem to have a problem with personal space or bubbles or anything like that, and was always walking close, sitting close, looking over my shoulder or touching my elbow to guide me out of oncoming foot-traffic. On a few rare occassions, he dozed on my left shoulder while I worked in my notebook.
People started to realize our social isolation and stopped attempting to befriend me. I got the feeling that they hadn’t ever had that intent with Aubrey. He was gorgeous, but unapproachable. And our connection with each other seemed somewhat unbreakable or, at the very least, forbidding to our classmates. We hardly spoke, we were never intimate, but we were inseparable. We were always together.