The rays of sun beamed down from the sky laying a thick layer of warmness on the Earth’s surface. The dark yellow school bus happily chugged along the valley’s floor and up the hill to drop off the captives for their usual morning classes. Steeping briskly, as I do, I made my way to room two where I took a seat on the chilled plastic chair that I was expected to stick to like glue. My heavy books were plopped on the table as a sigh of reality takes hold of my lungs. The confining walls lined with large glass sheets let my eyes wander the landscape. The mountains breathe deep breaths of fresh air, I see their lungs fill nature and freshness. The trees sway as the mountains exhale long and slow. The room that I sit in is atop a tall hill that oversees a field. I look down upon the land that lays many feet below, just observing. Until suddenly a small scrub jay painted in blue and black leaps off of the chipped greed roof. My first thought was that his small wings and small body would plummet down to the field below. Instead, he gracefully soared through the open air. He seemed weightless and unbelievably free. I wish with all of my mind and body that I could be that scrub jay. I wish that I could weightlessly jump off of buildings and without a care float through the sky. Instead, I sit heavy and flightless.
I got up early on Sunday, and went to the breakfast table.
We sing songs at the breakfast table: how your day has been, how my day has been, how everybody’s day has been… yes, even on a Sunday morning.
It was one thing that I did, one tiny thing that I mentioned. But then it became all that defined me. I was no longer myself, but the ugly thing at the breakfast table. Imagine the horror of that—losing yourself at a breakfast table.
Jake, way to impress the breakfast table, I thought. Now I walk with a label. It’s going to expand with delicious rumors while my bones crumble and unravel.
In a way, it was a relief. The breakfast table only found out about this nasty side of me. Even when aristocrats at the table are disgusted by the sight of me, it’s ok. It’s alright because if my character is defined by a tiny mishap, they won’t discover the real fault of me.
I left the breakfast table a long time ago, and aristocracy means nothing to me. But days like today I find my bright side wondering, did the breakfast kill me? My respect for the breakfast table has crumbled, but just like before, I’m still idle. Have you ever been to the breakfast table?
“You know, sometimes I just wanna stay like this forever. Just here, laying with you.” I look over to Will, right next to me on our school’s soccer field.
“Yeah, I like how the stars shine through the clouds.”
There is a short moment of silence. Not an awkward one, just long enough for us to think about our thoughts one more time.
“It kind of… makes you appreciate the stars more, ya know? One moment they’re there, and seconds later it’s like they’ve never existed.”
“They’re always there, Will.” I say, turning my head towards him again, but he is just looking at the dark grey-blue spots covering the sky.
“I know,” he replies. “But it makes me sad when it’s winter and it rains all day, and we can’t see them,” he sighs. “But again, we wouldn’t appreciate them as much. I guess.”
I try to think of a comparison. “It’s like… summer break. You always wait for it all year, you want it to last forever, but then the months pass, you don’t have anyone to hang out with, and you’re actually excited for school to start. I don’t know, that’s what it reminds me of.”
Will has turned around now. “I wouldn’t know, I don’t go to school, remember?”
“Oh, yeah…” I let my head fall back into the short grass. “Sometimes I forget that you’re just in my head.”
Will sits up, looking down at my half closed eyes. “I’m not. I’m right here. But I’m here just for you.” His voice is sharper than just a second ago. Did I make him mad?
“But Will, isn’t that the same thing?” He opens his mouth, as if he wanted to say something, but he doesn’t. “At least that’s what Dr. Melder said.” I say, while pushing myself upright. He gets up and takes a step forward, throwing his head back with his hands covering his face.
“Are you serious? You still listen to him? Jenna, we’ve been over this like a hundred times by now! We don’t trust him, remember?” I stand up too. “But… why not?” I stutter.
“We just don’t.”
I stand still. “No, Will, you don’t.”
“Oh, come on, what’s the difference?”
“Aha, so you admit it, you are just a part of me.”
“I’ve never said I’m not a part of you, Jenna.”
I’m confused. “But you just said you’re not in my head.”
“Because I’m not!” Will screams.
I’m getting kinda loud now. I always get loud when I’m frustrated. “Ugh! Will, you’re not real, you get it? You’re one of my fantasies. But that’s okay, I still love you.” I can see a tear rolling down his cheek in the dark.
“That’s all I am to you, huh? A fantasy, a thought?… Well… Is that all I am?!” He is screaming, but that’s okay, because no one can hear him anyways.
“Yes, okay? You’re a fantasy. That’s what you are, that’s what you’ve always been, that’s what you’re here for. You’re here because I made you up, because apparently I’m insane. Believe me, I’d rather have actual friends than some guy living in my head. But we can’t always get what we want. We never can.”
He’s actually crying now, but I don’t feel bad. I want him to leave, leave me forever. Not because I don’t love him, but because I don’t want to be this way anymore.
Without saying a word, he walks past me, hitting his shoulder agains mine when he passes, and starts to run. “Will! No, don’t!”
I know what he wants to do. I run after him. He’s heading towards the highway. I run as fast as I can, but my mind will always allow him to be faster.
There he is, standing in the middle of the highway. “Will, are you crazy?”
“Yes!” he screams. “And so are you!”
I can see his face in the light of the houses nearby. Tears are streaming down his cheeks, his nose, his chin, leaving lines of clean skin on his dirty face. I run towards him, ready to bring him back home, where it’s safe. But as I rush to hug him, I fall through him.
He really is just a fantasy.
I turn around and stare at him, horrified. He smiles. “You should’ve appreciated the stars more. One moment they’re there—seconds later it’s like they never existed.”
His body is shining brightly now, but it’s too late when I realize these are the headlights of a car coming straight at me.