Two Short, Unrelated Stories
Story One: Spite
I scowl at the class of wide-eyed students in front of me. Their eagerness to learn, to collect knowledge - something I once loved - now disgusted me.
"Tom Cooper?" A girl answered.
"I'm glad your primitive mind picked up something." I spat. She was one of those girls who considered themselves to be unique and underground, when in reality they were about as odd as a blade of grass on a freshly cut lawn. A trend follower, easily swayed by the opinions of the cool kids. Her painfully fake nerd glasses (without lenses, even, the horror!) were balanced on the end of her nose. I wanted to rip them off her face and snap them in half, but then I turned back to the board.
"Now, class," I snarled. "I doubt any of you can solve this equation?"
I scribbled an impossible equation on the board. I sat down at my desk, kicking up my feet.
The girl who answered my question hurriedly began scribbling down her work. How she must long to be accepted...yet her classmate beside her wrote one word down, and raised her hand.
"Yes?" I called.
"Have you checked?" I said, spinning exactly ninety degrees and heading towards the board.
"I've seen it before." The irksome girl with those horrible glasses kept scribbling away. Her oblivion to the events going on around her was almost as irritating as her nasally voice.
"Keep trying." I growled.
I knew, of course, there was no solution. But then again, there was no solution to life. You can't just come up with an answer to existence and call it good. You keep trying. You keep trying to come up with why the love of your life just abandoned you. You keep trying to come up with a reason why you can hardly make ends meet, and you have to move into a nasty apartment. You have to keep trying.
Because somehow, you know you'll find the answer.
Story Two: Medication
I'll still remember the night he called me up, voice burdened with hurt to the point where sounded like it hurt to speak more than a syllable, when he asked me to talk him back into sanity. I can only imagine him on the other line, clutching his comforter at what he later told me was a phone booth fifteen miles from his house, those breathtaking eyes dully glinting in the passing headlights of busy cars.
"I'm afraid that I'll do something crazy, please, just talk to me."
"Shouldn't you call someone? Y'know, someone who actually knows what they're doing."
"They can't help. They'll only stick me in a psych hospital, probably put me on meds. Your voice, now that's the only medication I need." He enunciated "that", and let out a cynical laugh right afterwords. "If they could put your voice in a bottle, honey, then medication would be useless."
It was exactly two in the morning when he called, the ring of my cellphone jolting me from sleep. I saw his number and rushed to pick up.
He reminds me of a candle that's almost gone. You blow out the flame to conserve the light, but then someone comes along and lights it again.
They didn't know the harm they were doing, most time, because everyone knows you can just get a new candle. But he's the type of candle has the most beautiful light, the type of light no other candle can replace.
"Where are you?"
"I'm at home. Under the covers."
I knew he was lying, but I didn't question him. Sometimes you just play along.
"Do you want me to come over?"
"In case you haven't noticed, it's two in the morning. My parents would kill me if they found out you came over at this hour. Although..."
"Hey, are you feeling okay?"
Silence. Then his voice, which somehow always remained the same color no matter what the tone - the color of straw in the sunlight. But this time, the straw had gotten ashes on it from the fire that burnt nearby. "Me? I'm a little better now. I've got some medication."
He was always a little happier when I was around. He claimed I was safe, like a tether that tied a ship to the dock, so it didn't sail off to oblivion on its own. He spoke in metaphors and poetically, the type of words that settled in your head and you wouldn't understand until moments later.
"What happened, exactly?"
"I just got so tired. I just got home and it all came at me at once."
"Do you need to come over?"
"I'll be fine in a little. Just keep talking, okay?"