The Indeterminable Space between Us
This evening, I learned of the passing of a wonderful human being who was once one of my closest friends. We had deep conversations, we discussed physics and the workings of the world, we ate lunch in the Art rooms, we cleaned whiteboards because it can be cathartic. This friend left my school at the end of Year 8 and, despite numerous attempts to get back in contact, we never had the pleasure of speaking again. It is only by a coincidental series of events that I became aware of this person's passing.
This piece is for anyone and everyone out there who feels alone, who feels afraid and unloved. This is a work of my once 15-year old mind, for the 13-year old friend I'll never see again. The people depicted in this story are fictitious.
If you, or a loved one, are going through a tough time, please access the services of Kids Helpline (Aus) 1800 55 1800, Lifeline (Aus) 13 11 14 or beyondblue's online resources. In an emergency, dial your country's emergency hotline or 112.
I see her always sitting and always staring away into a foreign world. Away with the fairies, but I do not think they are fairies. Her face is long and her body slumped as if hiding some foreign terror. Always sad. Always lost. And I am powerless to help.
The room is large with tables and chairs everywhere. The grey table tops and dusty old and worn carpet perfectly reflect her mood. Everybody talking but not her. Everyone is oblivious to this quiet and lost soul in the back of the classroom.
Her soul. How I wish to know what exists inside that head and inside that heart. I am blind to the ways of this world. I thought I knew. I though I was knowledgeable until I met her.
Each day I watch her. Each day I wish I could move my feet and hold her, make the pain go away. Yet each day I stay glued to my chair and she continues to sit there with a great pain hidden underneath her bland and impenetrable exterior.
Always staring at her books. Sometimes writing. Sometimes thinking. Mostly she seems to just exist second to second trying to ignore the insanity that envelopes her. How I wish I could help, how I wish I could just fix her up.
Sometimes I am distracted from my hypothesising about her often ignored life. My friends do not understand, they would not understand. I keep my fascination with her to myself. They would mistake this intrigue for love, yet it is not love. It is a strange magnetism, a yearning to help, curiosity and emotion. How can one person affect me in so many different ways? Somebody who I know not, somebody who wishes to know me not. It is a puzzle, just as her life is a puzzle with so many pieces missing.
The talk buzzes around the room. So many people chatting away as if there is not a care in the world. Can they not see the pain and suffering of those nearest to them? Is this why our world is falling apart? Nobody wants to see what is wrong because that would make them responsible for fixing it. But perhaps if they just took notice for a moment they might see that you don’t have to try to help. You just have to be aware. Awareness brings hope and awareness brings a world stronger.
I become distracted. My friends talk to me and I forget about my curiosity, I forget that I care. I become absorbed in the simple gossip of a life I have no interest. I become obsessed with the teenage lifestyle, of that which amuses all the people in this classroom, except her. How do I become so childish? How can I help her when I cannot pull myself away from the childish want of knowledge about that which doesn’t even concern me?
Why do I not even know her name?
I look around the room. Do you know what I see? Everyone is happy, everyone seems to know exactly what is going on. I haven’t anyone to talk with. Nobody even sees me.
I slowly study each person. Looking away from me. If they accidently catch my eye they hastily look away as if I am a charity case and so ugly that staring would just be rude. But I know they stare when I am not looking. Everyone stares. I must be atrocious.
Then suddenly I look directly across the room, and there is one person who looks back. Maybe he doesn’t realise he is looking back for a moment later he shakes his head. As if something is wrong and he just realises I am actually alive.
I came to this school yesterday. I came, I saw, I stunned. No, that is not true. I wish it had been.
They put me in this class. I am to live with the likes of 10K for another 9 months. Perhaps “live” is not the best word. But I am stuck with these people. I am stuck with them, and maybe this will be the end of me. I feel lost again.
People always assume the worst about me. They think I am not worthy of their notice. So I sit here in the back corner of the room with nobody either side of me. Perhaps that is expected on a first day at a new school. But I had hoped that everything would be fine and dandy. Wouldn’t somebody want to be my friend?
Does nobody see that I need a nice, kind person to take my hand and show me around? I need somebody to make me welcome in this horrible world. Nobody ever says anything nice anymore. Even taking the bus here this morning I was pushed around and shoved into the back. I paid for my ticket and I paid for my seat yet everybody else thinks that my age makes their behaviour excuseable. Just because I am youthful does not mean my behaviour is similar to those irresponsible youths which give us all a bad name.
Why does it feel that everything I do is being scrutinized? I just want to be free for a day. To have the love and life that I imagine everyone else must enjoy.