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                                                  Chapter Three


    School drags on, not helping my tired state.  I'm finally sitting in my last period, Statistics, and there is some new boy. He sits in the back, laughing with Macy, and the other 'popular' people.  My guess is he's the brother of that new chick in my English class.  She seems cool, but he just seems like another prick;  just what this school needs. I roll my eyes, and turn to where Mr. Cole is starting class.
    When the bell rings I am so absorbed in my own head, and how good it'll be to go home and sleep, that I run right into the new kid, and almost bust my head open on the door.
"Sorry 'bout that. Are you usually this clumsy?" I sort of jolt when I realize that he's the guy from the park last night.  I don't, though, want him to know it's me, so I just nod and look down, hoping to hurry away.
"Well, hey, I'm not going to hit you or anything, don't act so terrified." I shrug and keep walking trying to make it clear that I don't want to talk to him.
    "Can you even talk?  Or are you like, mute or something?" I completely ignore him.  He stuck out his hand, but I just kept on walking.  It's one thing telling your problems to a complete stranger who you think you'll never see again.  It's something completely different to have a popular new kid know everything about you that you don't want anyone else to know. He could hold it against me or just tell people, or who knows.
"Do you walk to school?  I could walk you home." He offered.  I stared straight ahead.  I could tell he was one of those boys that would just use a girl to get what they want.  And we all know what they want.
"Well, I should walk my sister home anyways, being the first day and all.  I'll see you later, mystery girl." He shot me a smile and a weird little finger wave, running off to meet his sister.  I sighed in relief and hopped on the bus before it left me behind.
    My mother wouldn't even look at me. Go ahead mom, just go and make me feel like less than the dirt you walk on, I don't care.  I wince, but erase that out of my head.  No feelings for me; that would just make it worse.  I grab my dinner, and bring it upstairs, but don't intend on eating it; I can't just be consuming disgustingly greasy foods willy nilly.  I stand in my room for a minute, unsure of what to do with it.  Finally I just throw it in a plastic bag and take it out to the dumpster.
    "Hey honey, how was your day?" My dad asks in his usual anxious state.
"It was fine." I am short, waiting for the lecture.  I know mother told him about my room.
"Me... me and your mother had a little talk this morning.  She told me what you did to your room.  Why did you feel the need to destroy the walls like that?" I stare off at the wall; maybe if I just don't talk, he'll go away. "Asili, what is the matter?  Why won't you talk to me, or at least pay attention to what I'm saying!" Shaking out of my mind, I realize he had been talking the whole time.  Why do they never leave me alone?  I try to take something for myself, make my life my own, and they have to take even that little bit away from me.  I stare at the lamp beside the couch. There are a bunch of colors in the marble like surface.  They melt together until I can no longer discern the different colors, or where they start and end.
    "Asili listen to me!" My dad screams.  I had zoned out, not wanting anything to do with him or his disapproving demeanor.
"What dad?" I say as coldly as possible. He seems to recoil, and his anger fades.
"I... are you ok?  You haven't been feeling... unhappy or anything lately... Have you?" He seems so scared I have to reassure him.
"Yeah dad, I'm fine, really.  Don't worry about me." He nods, and gets up to leave.  No point being around crazy any more than necessary.
    I am sitting on my roof, the light there just enough to see the words my dad printed on the page. This is another update on how things are going, though I wish it were one where he was reminiscing.  I am going to put the letters back tomorrow when I get home from school, so he doesn't miss them.  I sigh and lean back, feeling like my heart is missing, like there is a big empty spot right in my chest.  You wouldn't think something that wasn't there could hurt so much.  But oh god, it could.  I start to feel horrible, like I can't breathe, though my lungs aren't the problem. Then I'm crying, sobbing silently onto the page.  I'm not sure why I started, or when for that matter, but I know it is unbearable, crushing me like Atlas holding the world.  I shake my head slowly, whimpering 'no, no' with no clue what I'm saying no to.  My world is spinning, rocking horribly, until I can't take it, and I feel like I need to scream.  I can't, so instead I stuff my hand in my mouth and clench my teeth.  Whatever it is, the pain can't be as bad as my bite, my teeth slowly sinking into my skin, breaking it after a long pause of nothing. Nothing can be as bad as actual, physical pain.  But I know it's not true.  It hurts just as bad, maybe worse.  Especially because physical pain will go away, will heal.  This pain, though, what feels physical, inside of me, eating me away, can't just go away.  It isn't going to get better by itself.
    I am lost to the world, twisting and turning, my mind on a full spiral down. There is nothing at the bottom, and a low keening sound comes out of my mouth.  I don't realize it comes from me, though. I am too busy trying to pull myself together, stop the hurt that came without a cause, and won't just go away.  I finally feel empty, like there is nothing left in me.  Like I have no more tears, no more emotions. Nothing.  When this happens I just climb in my window, and fall asleep, leaving the letters lying on my floor.
    I wake up with puffy eyes, feeling exhausted.  Nothing beats crying yourself to sleep, does it?  I wash my face, hoping that' will help.  The people at school already think I'm a freak, why make it worse?  Mother doesn't comment as I slug around the kitchen, wasting as much time as possible, hoping for a miracle to happen so I don't have to go to school. Of course, one doesn't, and I'm running for the bus as usual, getting lucky this time.  I jump into a seat, and eventually Ben slides in too, making me wish I did miss the bus. Nothing escapes his watchful eye, and he slides closer, reaching out as if to touch my face. I flinch away, and he gets the message, instead just asking me what was wrong.
    "Nothing Ben.  Nothing that you can do anything about." I turn away and pretend he isn't there, making my head hurt watching everything pass by, trying to focus on everything, instead of just one thing at a time catching my eye.  I am glad when we stop in front of the school, because he really won't stop pestering me, and I am about to scream.
    The seat in lunch is freezing as I slide in my usual spot. Or, I imagine it would be, if there wasn't a body in it. Eli shrugs apologetically as if to tell me that they tried to tell him... I want to tell him to get lost, but it is, of course, the prick from yesterday, and he thinks I'm a mute or something, so I motion the twins over to the wall for a minute.
"Listen, this guy thinks I can't talk, and I want it to stay that way, so just play along, please? I'll go into specifics later.  Thank you!  And why is he in my seat?"
"Oh, um, I don't really know, he just came over and sat down... But we should go get our lunch now, I want to actually be able to eat before the bell rings." I tell them I'm not eating, and go sit down across from the boy, who is pulling snacks out of a brown paper bag.
"Hey, mystery girl!  Fancy meeting you here, huh?  No, actually that's a lie, I stalked you and found out what table you sat at. I also know your name!" I ignore him and try to not roll my eyes.  The twins finally save me from his incessant chatter.
"So, um, what's your name?" Ellie asks awkwardly.  Leaving the 'And why are you sitting with us' unspoken.
"Ronnie. I was stalking mystery girl here.  By the way, do you have any nicknames?  Like Li, or Silly?  I think I'm going to call you that; silly.  It definitely matches your personality." I had to give him a weird look at that one, but then resumed glaring.  Who was this boy to come marching in, listen to my whole life story, steal my confidence, my seat, and my voice, and have the nerve to ruin my name?  He flinches when he sees my glare, acting hurt.
"Wow, if looks could kill..." I turned to look at the twins, ignoring him completely.  He eventually gives up, and turns to start badgering the twins. I put my head down until the bell saves me.
    The next few days are uneventful, containing pretty much the same things; Ronnie harassing me, me playing mute, Ben stalking me, not eating, dad worrying, mom ignoring; the usual.  It is Saturday and I am walking around, lost for something to do.  I have a book, so I walk to the park, going to do some reading.  The weather is finally warming, a little late, it just turning May and all.
   I curl up against a tree and start reading; 'Escape ' by Casey Lauter.  It is about a girl who is abused by her boyfriend, so she gets into drugs and stuff.  I definitely steer clear of things like boys and drugs.  Both are bad news.  Both can rob your innocence, ruin your life, and/or kill you.
    Soon I am wrapped up in the book, paying no attention to my surroundings. I can't even see the words on the page, but instead it is like I am living them, breathing the words out like a dragon breathing fire.  Nothing makes sense to me, except what I am reading.  It is like I am enchanted or something. The light starts to go dimmer and dimmer, before I realize it hurts to see the words, and I am all alone in the park.  In silence I walk home, the darkness shielding me, calming me. As I walk through the door, I feel lighter than I have in days.

*Note: Escape is not a real book, but it is based off a real book; Dreamland by Sarah Dessen that is about the same thing.
Chapter three!
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