10 (Horizon Lines) Regret

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                You’re probably wondering when I’m going to get around to talking about lady love, but there’s not much to tell.  I rarely talked to her for more than two minutes at a time and aside from how amazing and wonderful I thought she was and me being a crazy creepy stalker, there isn’t anything to fill you in on yet.  It’s a good enough reason to start skipping ahead so we can get to the meat of the matter… eventually.  Picking up where I left off Ray ignored me for the rest of the summer.  Then when school started again I became friends with Shoulder Pads.  I thought he was an okay guy and he thought almost as much of me, which was no basis for anything except we had a common interest in a certain girl, which is only possible because the middle school was right next to elementary and they shared a cafeteria.  In dedication to how shallow this friendship was I present to you my inability to relay his real name, much like his relationship with Alisa ours would dissolve event-less within the end of the school year.  It was, and then it wasn’t, nothing more to tell.  So as Ray and I ignored each other and I wallowed in self-pity with the king of all jocks, summer came back around as it always does.

                By this point I’d spent countless hours trying to devise a heroic way to win Alisa heart (attention is more like it).  So far my favorite plan was to sweep her off her feet and kiss her like Dean did, which would likely have resulted in me becoming a permanent black mark in her eyes and that of her family.  Shalen would have started to point at me and say, ‘and that’s the guy that raped my sister’, oh wait a second you don’t know who Shalen is yet, heck I hardly know that.  Shalen is Alisa’s much older sister, who at this point is away at college, I’ve met her a grand total of three times and she has no relevance to this story, so I don’t even know why I’m bringing her up.  Back to the whole kiss thing, imagine a complete stranger off the streets of the opposite sex pulled your legs out from under you and then stuck their tongue down your throat, in that context it’s not very likely to be at all romantic.  Luckily I had enough sense left to still see that, although I must admit at moments it seemed a very good idea in my head, this likely had something to do with the fact that I was now myself passing into the beginning stages of physical maturity.  I’d had the year of misery, regret and self-pity, it was time for the summer of wild pursuit the motto of which was ‘be seen or die trying’. 

                I know, pitiful, shallow, childish and stupid, I wasn’t quite thirteen yet cut me some slack.  If you haven’t figured out what kind of person I am however let me illustrate what I have just defended, running in front of oncoming traffic, jumping off high objects, threatening people of greater size, similar all around injury inducing activities, speaking louder than is needful and worst of all posturing.  That last one might seem pretty harmless, but you try leaning against a lamp post for two hours getting a back ache while the person you’re trying to impress fails to so much as to glance at you.  Ray was right; shady could have been my middle name, because no one noticed me.  I was bad at posing because every instinct in my body was already utilizing it for another purpose, to be the face passed over in the crowd.  The guy who fit in nowhere and everywhere, who was no one and therefore anyone, maybe my invisibility had never been Alisa’s gift, maybe it was mine.  If that was the case, I had no idea how to turn it off.

                Half way through the summer I burned out and started moping again.  School came back, I was a sixth grader and even with a middle school in the same lot everyone in my grade felt like kings and queens, the lords of elementary.  With all the potential and enthusiasm brimming from peers like an ocean of joyful tears and my own feelings of such a distinctly opposite nature I began to sink into a deep depression giving up on life, love and everything.  So it would have been, if not for the most unlikely of visits a week into classes.  Ray Arden had taken a placement test with scores that nearly landed him in a good college for free, but he was determined to go to high school and remain around people a little nearer his own age (and in some cases height).  What was he doing here in the middle of the day, had the term of ignore and be ignored at last been put aside so that a declaration of war could be extended.  I was hopefully, it would be a welcome distraction, but he walked up, sat down and flatly said “My Dad’s a lunatic”, I nodded

                “Am I invisible to everyone?”, he shrugged making a sour face

                “To anyone who wants something they can’t have, shouldn’t have or don’t know how to have; you might as well be wearing yellow highlights but beyond that the answers yes.  Why else do you think of people in terms of what they want?”

                “I don’t know it just kind of how I am”

                “It’s a unique set of survival instinct and considering your view of it I’d guess you don’t even remember why you developed them to begin with”

                “Cool, not really, but cool anyways.  What about that whole thing with your parents?”

                “I’m not good enough for them”

                “What… Ray you’re like a genius… just, what, I mean, common man”

                “I’m only a genius Paul, meanwhile my dad's the next Albert Einstein and my mom’s Lise Meitner”

                “Who’s Lise Meitner?”

                “A Jewish woman in berlin who… made uranium bombs possible”

                “A Jewish Nazi?”

                “No”

                “I don’t get it”

                “Einstein thought she was smart, which by the by his an idiot, Oppenheimers the real deal”

                “Clear enough...  I think”

                “Point is I’m nowhere near as smart as they are, I’m a… a disappointment”

                “It’s not a big deal your still family”

                “I’m adopted”

                “Oh… is being short part of the genius gene?”

                “No and your straying off topic”

                “I do that sometimes”

                “So are we good again or what”

                “You ignore me for a year after threatening to argue with me and then you show up all apologetic and sad… are you gay?”

               “What… NO, if anyone here is gay it’s you”

               “How do you figure that?”

               “We were just talking about how you’re a mystery man, that’s not even a little bit gay?”

               “First off I don’t like how your using the word gay, second if I’m a mystery man, than I’m a bad-ass one and last off I’m obsessed with a girl remember!  So me liking a girl and you being all upset about it in the first place, is it really so hard to believe that I came the conclusion, hey maybe he’s gay”

               “I’M NOT GAY!”

               “I didn’t say you were, I said you might be and if you are it’s totally okay because it’s never been more in style than it is right now”

               “Paul”, I looked front and center, “stop being smart”

               “Because it’s your job”

               “Damn straight”

               “Alright but one last thing before I lose those extra brain cells.  You didn’t just come here in the middle of the school day to make nice did you?" 

                “No… I’ve got a job and… and I need your help”, he had my attention for two reasons.  Job meant employment in which he himself was not the overall boss, Ray didn’t do jobs.  Then there was the word help, Ray never needed help, in fact until this moment I didn’t think need or help had ever been in his dictionary.  With the truth of hindsight Ray may or may not have been able to do it without me, but I am certain it would have got done without either of us if only a little later in the year.  I say this because I know now that the author of this job was the Good Doctor himself who knew obsession even better than myself.  My doomsday clock was ticking.

Created: Mar 27, 2014

Tags: 10, regret, fiction, story, apocalypse themed, indy adventure, romance, lines, horizon, horizon lines, sci-fi, science fiction

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