Another day begins. It begins a lot like the day before. An alarm goes off. Impatient commuters use the horns of their cars to communicate their impatience. Tim wakes up in a cold sweat. His heart rate is up. His hands griping the bedsheets below him instinctively bracing himself against a terror he did not now remember. It happened again. The night terrors that often torment him in his sleep. He never remembers the dreams, he only remembers the feeling those dreams produce and the involuntary reactions of his body to those dreams.
Tim gets up and prepares himself for the school day that lies before him. He braces himself for the boring lectures and social humiliation that awaits him. Tim has gotten to the point where he dosen’t care. He could be mad. He could wish for some kind of revenge against his tormentors. Rage could be seething just beneath the surface until it got to the point that his mind snaps but it doesn’t. There is no rage, only indifference. A quiet acceptance of fate.
Tim enters a dilapidated building badly in need of repair. It’s clear it’s best days have been long forgotten. A wave of dispair washes over all who enter it’s hallowed halls of learning. Soon upon entering Tim is spotted by an individual who mass towers over him and the individual is not happy.
“Hey Dweeb, That paper you gave me got a ‘D’. If my grades drop I wont get to play football anymore.” The towering individual speaks with both anger and disgust with a hint of entitlement sprinkled in for good measure. “You better fix it.”
Tim is use to being ordered about like a slave and he obeys his orders without question. There are worse things than being used and being used was a perferrable state than the alternative. Tim is unmoved by the tone of the towering individual.
“Don’t worry, I got this.” Tim answers with the tone of confidence that let the towering individual know that Tim would not let him down.
“You better.” was all the towering individual could say in reponse. With that situation defused, Tim proceeds to class. The bell is close to ringing and he doesn’t want to be late. He hears a voice calling him from behind. He doesn’t want to be rude and ignore the voice but he also doesn’t want to be late to class. He turns to confirm who the owner of the voice is. It is Cindy. He weighs the social cost of ignoring Cindy to the time cost of being late to class. Against his better judgement he stops and waits for Cindy to catch up with him.
“Guess who has a crush on you?” She says teasing.
“No one has a crush on me.” Tim replies.
“I heard that Kelly has a crush on you.” She follows up.
“Kelly does not have a crush on me.” Tim reinforces.
“Oh, you thought I meant Kelly Richards,” Cindy states,” I meant Kelly Franklin.” and after saying that she doubled over laughing.
“Very funny.” Tim replies. Kelly Richards was the most popular girl in school, Kelly Franklin was a guy. Tim is used to Cindy teasing him. It has gotten to the point where nothing she says can get a rise out of him. She sees this lack of response as a challenge and vows that she would get him good one day.
The bell rings. They are both late to class. The teacher givse Tim and Cindy both a slip of paper which indicates they will be attending detention later that afternoon. Tim tries to stay awake during the boring lecture. He feels the stare of several individuals that make him feel like an ant under a magifying glass.
In between classes when the students shuffle their way between point A and point B, Tim sees one of the few friends he possesses. George was also a social outcast and their suffering was a shared experience.
“Hey Tim, you should come over later. I got that new VR headset.” George says.
“Sorry, Cindy got me detention.” Tim shoots back.
“Again!, I think she does that on purpose. Maybe she secretly wants to be alone with you.” George teases.
The thought of being alone with Cindy makes Tim want to throw up. Cindy is higher up on the social ladder than both Tim or George but it isn’t by much. To suggest that Cindy was the one who had a crush on him was a thought that Tim doesn’t want to entertain.
“I’ll talk to you later.” Tim states as he is going to make sure he isn’t late to his next class.
The day flows like molasses until finally the time comes for detention. Tim enters the room to find a usual group of deplorables who all eye him with mutual disgust. Tim takes a seat and starts on homework. Cindy comes in a few minutes later and takes the desk right next to him. She smiles like a cat who had just cornered a mouse and is about to play with it against it’s will. Cindy starts making Tim feel uncofortable and is fully aware of it. When he has finally had enough he decides to turn the tables on her.
“Do you want to go out?” He asks her.
“What?” She says shocked. She is taken completely by surprise at this turn of events.
“You know, on a date?” He follows up. Tim’s voice sounds irritated.
“What?” She repeats still not quite getting it. Tim decides it is time to make Cindy really uncomfortable. He gets up from his desk, walks around it and gets on his knees to beg. Everyone’s eyes are now fully fixed on Tim and Cindy except for the teacher who is lost in some app he is unsing on his phone.
“Will you please go out with me?” Tim begs.
“No!” Cindy shoot back, “Why would you even think that?” She follows up.
“Look, the truth is I think about you all the time and you’re the one girl who actually talks to me. I can’t stand it anymore. You have to go out with me.” Tim explains. Tim is lying. He knows that Cindy will never go out with him but maybe if she thinks he has a crush on her she will leave him alone for awhile.
The expression on Cindy’s face changes and softens.
“I didn’t know you felt that way.”, She says with a tenderness that took Tim completely by surprise. “Of course I’ll go out with you.” Tim’s gambit completely backfires. He thinks that she will run for the hills but instead she accepts his invitation. Now he has to take her out. Tim swallows hard but he can’t admit he is just trying to get back at her.
“Thank you.” is all he can say in response.