To Be Found - Short Story
This is very long (around 3000 words) but I would really appreciate feedback!
He was a blonde by choice. I suppose your first year of high school is the year most people start to branch out and find who they are. Sort of. To the extent that you can in such a confined space with the pressure to be acknowledged not only by your peers but by your teachers, and even your parents. This particular young man, Sebastian by name, branched out by wearing fake contacts that made his eyes a literal icy blue. When he looked at me, I felt slightly frozen.
“Hey,” he began, in a deep voice that I might call sexy. “What’s your name?”
“Natalina,” I replied, albeit with hesitance and a harsh swallow to follow the sound of my voice.
“Isn’t that a salad dressing?”
That frozen feeling came again, though this time I wasn’t so much astounded in beauty, or enchanted, though it still felt as if the time around me had stopped. It was just me and the boy to my left, on the other side of me, who had been told to sit there so I had a partner to work with during activities in class.
I wasn’t a person of many words then, especially not to people I didn’t know very well. You could call me shy, but I think it was more so the fact that I didn’t like the way my teeth were set, and my hair was weird and I didn’t wear make up because I didn’t have any. Even if I did have make up, I wouldn’t know how to put it on. The boy to my left never cared though, at least it didn’t seem like he did, because he said things like what he just said.
My head turned slowly to face him and his face gave away that he was trying his best not to laugh, “O-or is that Katalina?”
I was angry, almost, because for once I was willing to talk to a good-looking guy without crumbling into myself and wishing I was invisible. Yet, despite my possible chance at even a decent friendship with a specimen of the male species, I was so very rudely interrupted.
I shook my head in response, and his eyes flew around the room in slight fear as he felt the pressure of my menacing gaze. Eventually, I just turned back around to face my books and picked up my pencil, closing myself off once again.
Later in the year, I read the boy-to-my-left’s name on a hand out and he became Raine. Though, despite his efforts to talk to me and find some kind of peace and happiness in sitting beside me instead of his friends, I pushed him away because the way of his persistence annoyed me. Raine was a lost cause; I ruined it, though it’s not as if my friends didn’t tell me to avoid him anyways. He smoked weed, hung out with the wrong crowd. I understood that, I’d never liked boys who smoked. But when Raine was purposely sat to my left and had the choice to ignore me like anyone else would, he didn’t. He tried, he was a sort-of-friend when I had no others.
But Raine wasn’t the only one I had eyes on. There was another, and he was born blonde. Was it possible I had a thing for blonde boys? Maybe. Sometimes I wish I didn’t, there seems to be less blonde men in the world the older I grow. His name was Elijah and he had been home schooled up till then.
Elijah was in my math class, he was shorter than me and was rather odd— still getting used to the way a real school worked. We never really did talk; he sat three rows behind me and I was stuck beside an asshole football player instead. That was the only class I ever had with the boy all throughout highschool, until English in my last year.
The class had been split into groups and tasked with creating an art piece with depictions of the poem each group had been assigned. I can’t remember the title of mine anymore, though it was about a man and a goblet. He travelled his entire life through all seasons, and saw a different sun set and sun rise everyday. The traveller never stopped for anyone or anything, he isolated himself in hopes that the delivery of this godly cup would bring him the peace and happiness he was travelling for. Though I suppose, some forget that it’s about the journey and not the destination, and his story through this piece of poetry ended sadly.
I had drawn on a piece of my sketchbook paper in pencil and shaded a few bits in, carefully ripped it out of the binds and then brought it to class. Another girl in my group put more effort in than I ever would have for anything - taping pictures to string all connected to a clothing hanger, displaying the scenes of the man’s travels. Elijah himself had also done a drawing quite like my own; though I had far more experience drawing scenery, and especially bodies. I can’t exactly remember it enough to describe it in beautiful detail, for I was too busy watching him study my own art.
He was sitting on the other side of the large table that was my desk, holding the paper gently in his hands, “You drew this?”
That was all we said, probably the only decent conversation we’d ever had, and then he went back to looking at every detail of the pencil’s marks. I wouldn’t say that this occurrence made me self conscious of myself or my sketch — I was rather proud of the piece itself even though I’m unsure if I still have it. It was one of the first and only times that I drew an entire background. I was someone to draw for fun - for design - not necessarily for an overall picture. That may be why I never succeeded with the whole computerized programs and drawing tablets, and I’m pretty sure the animation class I took I hated more than I hated regular art class.
After that day, I never really focused on Elijah again, or even had time to think about him. There was a Chinese boy in my art class, a year younger, who somehow had developed strong feelings for me even though I’d never done anything other than stare at him for possibly a second too long. I couldn’t help the fact that he looked like this boy I dreamed up one time in my daily day-dreaming endeavors, and that backfired on me rather quickly.
Fu Yung was persistent, something I wasn’t used to. I’d never had any real relationship with a teenage boy, and my only knowledge of relationships were the pathetic two-week to two-month long love fests the other kids in the halls had before it ended in some dramatic episode. (And of course, there were the characters from all of the anime I watched). I found out very quickly that even though I liked romantic things to a small extent, I did not want my real life to be as dramatic as an anime.
But poor, poor Fu Yung, who only wanted me to like him as much as he liked me, acted as if we were in an anime. He started his mission to woo me in one of the worst ways possible when dealing with an introvert such as myself. I sat alone at lunch because I left the only two friends I had, and he walked up behind me and tapped my shoulder.
I ripped my ear phones out and turned around, my brain began to short circuit,
“Would you like to come to Tim’s with me?”
That’s what he said, I believe. But in that moment I not only was reminded of how horribly shy and socially awkward I am, but also that Fu Yung had a very strong accent and I couldn’t understand a word he had said. And so, I just shook my head ‘no’, still dwelling in my confusion, and he flinched as if offended, or shocked maybe, before quickly running off.
At that time I was sweating rapidly and my mind was racing as my consciousness came back to me. I kept trying to figure out what he had said, and also why he had even said anything in the first place. When I did figure it out, I felt both bad and relieved in the same sense. I told my religion class friends about it, who leaned in close to me and gasped. They laughed it off with me for the time being, but when I finally got down to thinking about it, it was rather terrifying.
Not because even though I had always dreamed of someone coming along and pulling me out of my lonesomeness and now I wished I was alone again without anyone to worry about (which is rather upsetting if you think about it), but because I really couldn’t understand half of the things Fu Yung said.
He continued his quest with me by asking for sharpeners and mark-pens, and eventually came up to me at lunch again. It was right after I had stuffed my face with the last of my sandwich and I had to viciously try and swallow it down as he asked me for my number. Slightly shaking and worried about the way my face looked (red with embarrassment), I quickly gave him my number and he called me right away to make sure I didn’t give him the wrong one.
If I had thought to give him a false number as a way out of the situation, I would have failed miserably, so maybe it’s a good thing I just gave him the real one. When texting, I could understand him a lot better. Fu Yung had lived in China for most of his life, and then lived in Britain for a few years before coming to Canada. This should explain the seriousness of his accent, a thick, deep voice paired with a Chinese and British accent wasn’t a good mix for my small brain to comprehend.
Then, he continued by buying me hot chocolate one day at lunch, and then asking me to eat lunch with him which I always declined. Up till this point, I had always wished that someone would take initiative with me and care about me like this, pulling me out of my comfort zone and giving me more smiles. His persistence should have been a good thing to me, I should have thanked him for it, but I didn’t. Instead of thanking fate for sending me someone, out of every idiot in the school, I wished I had someone else. Someone I could at least understand.
I thought I was justified, and I suppose I was. I didn’t have to like Fu Yung back just because his feelings for me and his persistence may have been what I asked for once upon a time. It may be possible that his existence was just to tell me to pull it together and start figuring out what I truly wanted and liked instead of just day dreaming about unrealistic fairy tales. He passed me a note once, that I kept for about a year and a half after he gave it to me and I rejected him later on, before throwing it out and letting it go.
Up until that point, if anyone had asked me why I was still single I would have said “I guess no ones really been interested” or, “well I’ve always been alone” as if running a pity party for myself. I was alone quiet often, and I would watch shows and movies and animes and read all sorts, wondering why the shy girl in that world got her happy ending so early, but I didn’t have mine. In every piece of fanfiction I’ve ever written and read, every girl is always in high school - even when I started university - they were still in high school.
It’s like everything brings me back there, even though I would tell anyone I was so damn glad to leave. Eventually, I would think back to it and think about how much better I could have been. I would think about how I was mistreated, and regret why it took me so long to figure myself out. I would think about the last semster I spent in highschool with real friends for the first time. I spent every day with them, I was finally in a group chat and got myself a nickname too. I went to prom even though I’d been telling my mom I wasn’t going ever since the year before. But most of all, when I think back to high school, there always seems to be some connection to love. To boys - maybe more specifically, and I guess that’s just how high school girls are, even if they were into other girls instead of guys, it still would have been the same scenarios.
The experience I had, the four years I lived through, were all about the want, the need, the desperation to be found. I wanted to be found by a handsome boy, I wanted to be found by someone who understood me and would come over to my house uninvited just to watch a movie. I wanted to be found, and saved, but high school students aren’t saviors. University and college students aren’t saviors either. I wanted something, someone, without knowing that the person who needed to find me was myself.
The other girls I hung out with wanted to be found too. The only two friends I had were Sara and Kathryn, one was a hockey player and one watched hockey for fun. My family had never been big on sports, so even though I’d been to a few hockey games, I’d never really been taught how to see it properly enough to enjoy it. People can’t learn to like the things they don’t understand, and so I had already felt a bit left out, but I didn’t let it bother me. We all got along and laughed together well, until our patternized lives were interrupted by a group chat I wasn’t a part of.
Sara had made a group chat with all of the popular hockey boys at our school, herself, and Kathryn. It wasn’t very overpowering at first, though it was questionable that our little group, who’d certainly never even made any real eye contact with any of these hockey players, were suddenly friends with them.
I learned quickly that the chat was all lies. The smiles, laughs, myself staring at the back of their phones and trying to ask what happened, who said what, over and over again day by day. Every lunch was the same and it wasn’t ending any time soon. The group chat possessed my friends, and the lies Sara told snowballed in dirt. I started to get angry, but I kept my anger quiet. My mother told me I needed to stop being so aggressive, so I sat back and observed instead of yelling out my frustrations.
Sara started to say she was dating one of the hockey boys, a boy named Justin. He was slim fit, maybe about five feet and eleven inches, nothing compared to Tristan - one of the tallest of the bunch with a body screaming that he played hockey. Thick thighs, wide shoulders and a large grin. When they would pass by us in the halls, Sara would turn away completely, none of them even glanced in our direction. None of them waved.
If I knew anything about hockey boys, it’s that they were usually pretty outgoing. It didn’t matter who it was, if they knew them they would at least call out a “what’s up bro?!” to a friend. Sara and Kathryn were never their friends, and I began to see that this group chat was a giant play. It was Sara’s creation to trap Kathryn beside her. The group chat was all just Sara being a cat fisher, convincing Kathryn that she was friends with the popular boys. Sara convinced her that she was dating Justin by saying they only saw each other in the mornings before Kathryn or I got there. She lied over and over again, but Kathryn was too naive to see. She thought she’d been found, loved, she was happy.
If I was in her position, I’d be just as foolish as Kathryn was. I would fall right into Sara’s net because even if it was fake, I would love hearing it. The attention, the humor, the feeling of being found by the people you wanted to be found by. But I hated it. I hated the group chat and I hated Sara, eventually I even hated Kathryn. One day when I tried to speak my mind, Kathryn told me to “shut the fuck up” and after that, I decided I was done dragging myself along behind them.
I was jealous for a long time, before I found out about the lies. I wanted what they had, I wanted in on the group chat. But instead I opted to sit alone for the rest of my high school career - because being alone is better than being betrayed.
Sara was never much of what you would call a pretty girl. She was overweight and selfish. She fooled around and tried her best to be cool and beautiful, but deep down her flaws got the better of her. So much so that she resorted to such a horrible thing, that broke not only Kathryn in the long run, but myself as well. I had already lost my best friend from grade school to the girl who hated me most, and now I had lost the only other two I thought I had.
I pushed people away even before I lost them, and now it only got worse. The pushing continued, the walls of my isolation grew thicker. I wanted to be found. I begged. I begged God, I cried when I watched my shows, begging for the same kind of reassurance. Someone, find me, someone, break through. It took me a long time to realize that walls aren’t meant to be broken.
Doors are meant to be built, and I had to build them.
Learning All My Life
~A quickly written piece of my school life experience in a moment of great sadness~
"That was a bad term."
"Well, you were learning!"
But I've been learning all my life.
In grade three, my test book got mixed with someone else's and I was ridiculed for being stupid.
In grade four, I thought I had written a great poem, and when I handed it in the teacher yelled about how bad it was in front of the whole class.
In grade eight, I failed a math test and no one could look me in the eye.
I failed my French test and had to go up to the teacher in the halls and ask her to retake it. She made me tell her again that I failed so that she would let me try again.
I studied the hardest I've ever studied for a science test, and still got a C-.
I misheard the teacher during a spelling test, and had to ask him to tell me the words again after because I got confused. He got angry with me, and even when I got them all right in the end, I still cried.
In grade nine, I stayed almost every day after school to get math help but I still almost failed every test.
In grade ten, I stopped trying and my parents told me I just needed to put more effort in.
In grade eleven, I got my first 90, but by the end of the term it was a 70 because I just couldn't do well enough on my tests.
In grade twelve, I studied hard for a history test, but what I studied wasn't on the test. I wrote what I knew, still failed. My old best friend laughed and wondered how I could get an F-.
By then, I was used to it.
In first year of university, I was alone with no friends and barley got by. My marks were okay, I thought I was going to be okay.
In my second term of university, I took courses that I shouldn't have, I didn't understand them and I suffered because of it. My GPA dropped from a 7.00 to a 5.20.
In my first term of second year I wanted to go abroad, so I studied harder, gave up shifts so I could focus on school work.
The papers I wrote and edited multiple times only came back with C's.
The amounts I studied weren't good enough to get me a decent grade.
The academic advisor told me with a frown my GPA might not be good enough to get me into the abroad program.
My drawing has never been good enough to get me anywhere.
My studying has never been good enough.
It seems my writing has never been good enough either.
I wished one day to try my hand at writing a book. I write stories, not essays, but I can't help but feel that I'll get the same reaction with my own personal writing that I currently get from my essays.
They say God wrote the bible
If God wrote the bible,
His words would be carved into the mountain sides with his lightning.
If Jesus wrote the gospels,
His words would be drawn into the deserts of demons that he conquered.
If Mohammad wrote the Qu'ran,
His messages would be scraped into the cave walls that he sat in for days on end alone, so that he could hear what the angels were saying to him.
No book was ever meant to be written, for true believers never needed a book to turn to for solitude. They believed in themselves, their world and their God - with nothing but their hands pressed together as they bowed thier heads to the sky.
Now we don't kneel to the sky, we kneel to priests and the altar.
Now we don't turn to God, we turn to the bible, a book written by mourning men of their fallen teacher as they aged away, trying to remember all the life they wished they could live again.
These books we cherish and worship were writen by humans just like us, edited by humans just like us, with help not from God but from sinners like us.
Now, tell me again, what do you believe in?
We forget our own humanity.
Humanity is unity you see, we are a righteous kind that prevails in determination and loyalty.
And now because we have been consumed by consumerism and materialistic greed, we fail to remember who we are.
We fail to care about others like we should.
Now, it is everyone for themselves, a world claiming independence to be a congratulatory trait.
And our unity that once was the very thing that made us the greatest species of all, fades through time, and we begin to fear each other - hurt each other.
Remember who you are.
Remember your humanity.
To deserve or to not deserve
If he who was once the bully, was in the past also bullied; ignored by who he thinks are his friends, forgotten, ending up alone and thus feeling lonely and confused… does he deserve to be in pain too? Just for being the bully in a what now seemed to be just a moment of his past life? No matter how cruel or ugly, does that person not deserve love like the rest of humanity?