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Back to Life, Back to Reality

Reluctantly I opened the door and stepped over the threshold. I should have stayed home today; I’m not ready for this. Back to life, back to reality. The hallway in front of me seemed to go on forever; it was bright, loud, and overcrowded with people I didn’t want to talk to or be around.

I put my cigarette out in the water fountain, opened my jacket, and removed the giant sunglasses covering my face. These sunglasses, a dollar store favorite, were big enough to hide, not only my bloodshot eyes but the prescription glasses I wore daily. I slipped them into the inner pocket of my jacket and kept walking.

With fingernails painted black and hair shaved into a Mohawk, I walked through the mass of students, and they parted like the waters of the Red Sea. The hallway, usually noisy, became so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

Whispers found their way to my ears. “I heard he’s a Satanist.” “Did you hear that his girlfriend killed someone?” “Someone told me that he is a vampire.”

Jesus Christ, am I going to have to listen to this all day? And, who the hell said something?

In the morning, as instructed, I reported to the office before homeroom. After all, this was my first day back to school post hospitalization, and I guess they wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to go all schizo on other students or teachers.

Before coming back, the principal promised that students and facility did not know about my recent holiday to the city’s funny farm. From the looks on everyone’s face, it was apparent that that was a lie.

“Charles we’re so happy to have you back to school,” was the first turd to fall out of Principal Adams’ mouth. More turds kept falling and piling up on his desk. I thought I might drown.

The take away from the entire shit show was that if I felt like I needed a timeout or a “mental health” break that all my teachers knew to excuse me from class. All I had to do was signal the teacher, and it was a free hall pass for Charles.

“Thanks, Principal Adams, I appreciate it.” The turd to fall from my mouth was the largest of all. He smiled with a sense of accomplishment.

Now I know who blabbered the news to the school, or at least to the teachers. But how did the news trickle down to students? The story leaked.

Lucky for me, I had my news network of other misfits. By the time the fourth period rolled around, it was confirmed. There was indeed a leak, and it came from fellow misfit – Nicole. It would seem she couldn’t refuse to talk about the delicious and juicy news. I had fifth period English with Nicole.

As I walked into class, I looked directly towards her and made sure to make eye contact. I’m assuming the look on my face said more than enough and she sank into her chair. Usually, I wouldn’t sit by Nicole, but today I made sure to grab the desk right beside her, “Hi, Nicole long time no see.”

“Fuck Charles, I’m sorry. I only told a few people. I told Jen, Emily and Ian, that’s it, no one else I swear. I thought that would be okay?” I could see that she was legit sorry, but it didn’t matter.

“No Nicole, it’s not okay.” I got up and sat on the other side of the room praying that the rest of the day would go smoothly. Mrs. Anderson, the English teacher, walked into the classroom and seeing me sitting in her class appeared to be startled.

Goddammit. I just put my head down on my desk, “Can I get that hall pass?”

I walked out into the hallway and made my way to the bathroom. As I opened the door, one of the basketball jocks shot up quickly from the counter, his nose and throat made an old familiar sound. He reached for a tissue to blow his nose and then he ate it. As he walked out, he hit my shoulder and said, “Fucking freak.”

I should’ve stayed home, I hate this school, and I hate this town. I fucking hate it! I found myself sliding down the wall of a toilet stall. Sitting on the cold ground, with my head on my knees I began crying.

After a few moments, I collected myself. I stood up and made a decision. Instead of going back to class, I just walked out the same long hallway I entered this morning and went home.

The house was quiet. No one was home. I went upstairs to the third-floor bedroom and shut the door. Plopping down on the couch, I closed my eyes and didn’t wake up until the next morning.

When I awoke, the room appeared so bright and clean. While I was away someone came up here and straightened up; the room was unrecognizable. Yesterday, somehow, I failed to notice that everything was gone, the mannequin arms in the lazy boy chair, the dolls and bears dressed in black robes, the posters on the wall; this place was no longer a depression pit.

I walked back downstairs and entered my mom’s room. I knew her boyfriend kept my stash of pot in there and I assumed that they hadn’t taken it out of the house. I thought right. I went back upstairs rolled a big fat joint and got high. It was such a relief from the stress of yesterday.

However, just as fast as the relief came, it was gone. I remembered that today in history class I was going to have to sit next to Amanda. Amanda is the granddaughter of the man my ex-girlfriend killed; she sat right next to me in class.

When I got to school it was the same old routine; cross the threshold, get spat on and called ‘faggot,’ ‘freak,’ ‘Satanist,’ listen to the rumor mill while trying to cultivate a new, fresh, state of mental health. It was an uphill battle.

Not to mention, I couldn’t stop thinking about history class and what I was going to say to this girl. What can you say to someone who lost a loved one due to the actions of your loved one? Anything that came out of my mouth would just be shit, the same shit that I dropped on Principal Adams’ desk yesterday morning.

Mr. Acre, the farmer, gone history teacher, walked into the classroom and cracked a joke about 17th century Europe. No one laughed. His sense of humor was old-fashioned and consisted of poking fun at his teaching style or his family name, which happened to be the same last name as a famous ice-cream brand. His family “was” the Acre Ice Cream brand, and he was very proud of that achievement.

I wish that I found his jokes funny; maybe it would help me relax and take the edge off? Probably not though, I don’t think anything could help. I just couldn’t stop thinking about what the hell I was going to say, what could I say to make things right? Plus, Amanda’s body language was saying that she knew, all too well, who I was and she didn’t want anything to do with me. I couldn’t blame her.


This piece is autobiographical, and so names have been changed. This draft is an excerpt from a book I’m writing, and so I’d love your input on this post. Please leave a comment below or send me a message here.



Originally posted on the blog CM

Photo by Syda Productions on Shutterstock

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