Iris By T. Edward Redd
1. Fade into Black
I usually took the time to comb my hair in the mornings I hated it when it looked like I just woke up. But there was too much on my mind to care about preening. All I wanted to do was go back to bed, burry myself in the sheets and let sleep take away my pain. That wasn’t an option anymore. I had to face school eventually. I had already missed too many days. It was senior year and I wasn’t going to throw away three years of hardwork.
I put on the first thing I could find; a brown sweater, blue jeans and black shoes. My hair was still a mess. I couldn’t find the motivation to actually care though. I just wanted the day that had barely started to end. After a lot of reluctant effort I forced myself out of my quiet home. It was hard to ignore the harsh winds of the fall weather.
I gazed the sky as I shut the house door behind me. The sun was shining bright and the skies were painted with different soft shades of blue. There were a few clouds here and there. It kind of made me smile. A sign of a good day? Suddenly a few clouds blocked off the sunlight. Then I was reminded of everything that made me stay home for so long.
I got into my silver convertible and the drive to school began. Why couldn’t I just stay home just a little longer? One more week. How could I face her? I didn’t want to. Things would be so weird and painful now. So badly, I wished that I could rewind to last summer. Maybe I could have said something to change her mind. The more I thought of it, the more I wanted to hold her warm and soft hand. I still couldn’t understand what happened.
After a long and quiet drive, I was at my high school. It was nothing out of the ordinary. It had space for a couple thousand students. Pleasantly painted royal blue walls, white tiles, long and quiet hallways filled with lockers. When I passed the lounge areas I got a strong whiff of coffee. Just a typical high school. The only thing out of the ordinary about it was Caroline Green. The more I thought about it the more depressed and pitiful I felt. I pushed her to the furthest part of my mind and walked to my third period class.
As I walked in I felt this sudden blankness as eyes stared at the boy who had vanished for months.
They all knew Caroline and I broke up. Nothing had changed even though it took me a month to come back. Professor Grays crinkled his grey mustache and fixed his glasses saying, “Thomas Rouges, you’re back.” He handed me as I walked past him. I avoided the dozens of faces watching me as I went to the middle of the room.
When I walked inside everyone stopped what they were doing. The guy who vanished for months had returned. Professor Grays was writing on a board in front of the class. When he stopped to ask a question, he saw me. He stared and cleaned his glasses and crinkled his bushy mustache. It was like he couldn’t believe I came.
“Thomas,” he said with an overly surprised tone. “You’ve shown up for class? It ends in about fifteen minutes but I’m still glad to see you. The teachers were worried. Are you ok?” He handed me the packet. I didn’t give a verbal response. Just a shrug and a grunt.
I ignored the dozens of eyes watching me. I walked to the middle of the classroom and took my seat. I could feel them all staring at me. Trying to invade my mind. No words were spoken but I could hear their thoughts.
“Why did you two break up?”
“Will you get back together?”
I hid away in the world of history, letting hundreds of the book’s pages hide my face.
“Thomas!” I heard someone whisper.
I looked back. It was my friend Ace. His actual name is Albert. He’s a sort of round kid with short hair, brown skin and glasses. He usually wore sweatpants with some sort of anime t-shirt.
I watched as he sketched Japanese cartoons in his pad as he usually always did. His thick brown fingers held the pencil delicately as the led paced back and forth, then in circles on the canvas. I never understood how people could be so talented with a simple sheet of paper and pencil. He looked and realized I was watching him.
He whispered, “Oh. I didn’t think you heard me. Where’ve you been? School started in August and it’s almost October.
“I know that,” I said, trying not to be heard.
He said, “Is this about the breakup? It’s been almost three months. Dude you…”
“Don’t even,” I interrupted.
He took in a deep breath, nodded and started drawing again. Being so harsh felt bad but so was my mood. He was going to say, move on. As if it were the easiest thing to do. Caroline was, perfect and my best friend. I turned away from him.
It upset me he would even think to that. Everyone knew how much she meant to me. Yet they just kept telling me to forget and let go, move on. It’s not like I can turn the feelings on and off like some faucet. I hated how they all thought it was that easy when it wasn’t.
Then I heard laughter. That really got to me. I quickly turned back, trying to find out who it was. But they weren’t laughing at me. It was a girl I had never seen before. I nearly forgot why I was upset. She made me so…speechless.
She had hints of blush on her face and her skin was radiant. Her hair was what stuck out the most. It was red and wavy, reaching her shoulders. She wore this black dress that looked to be from medieval Europe. It was beautifully decorated with floral designs over the black. A classic novel was resting on her desk as she read it gracefully, not a care in the world. As she flipped a page and I saw her smile ever so slightly. I started to smile with her. But the moment was ruined. A tiny paper wad hit her in the face and her smile slowly turned into this blank stare.
Her eyes shut. I knew she was going to either cry or confront them. Or so I thought. She opened her eyes and kept reading, never flinching or anything. The boys kept snickering and tossing things at her. But it was like she couldn’t see or hear them. She was so calm.
The kids at my school were always like that. They could be really annoying and cruel. Especially to the new kid. I didn’t understand. All she was doing was reading a novel. And I’m sure she hated the school. Who would blame her?
Without any warning she moved her eyes in my direction. She never moved her head, neck or body. Just her eyes. Had the teacher called on her? I looked back but he was writing on the board as he spoke to the class. I looked back at her. Her eyes were still locked on me. I couldn’t look away as I tried to figure out what she was saying with her eyes. She never smiled, frowned or even blinked. Why was her stare so familiar yet unknown?