The Other Side of the Story

The normal high school student, Raven, needs to analyse the famous fairy tale of Snow White. Thinking this as easy, she soon uncovers the truth about the perfect Snow White, and realizes it is much deeper, raw and tragic than the story we all know so "well".

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29. Something in Common

Why not? Even though I was an introvert and had trouble with strangers, something inside told me that I had to do this. Normally I would prefer to be alone, but a sudden stroke of reassurance hit me. I should at least try to get a friend. Both of us had none so even if it couldn’t be defined as a friendship, we would still have a partner in school. Maybe it was the Snow White story that had made me realize that my life wasn’t as lonely as it seemed. Ravenna’s sure was.

When Hunter got his laptop and books ready, he walked through the room towards me. At this point the whole class was looking at us, since I never sat with anyone, and as far as they were concerned, neither did he. Suddenly I felt really embarrassed by all the attention we were given, just because we were about to sit together.

“Oh, I wouldn’t try and sit beside her; she might bite your head off.” Jack called obnoxiously.

“I think I can decide that myself, thank you very much.” Hunter answered icily, not even glancing in Jack’s direction. All the students were listening to every word and gasped when Hunter had responded that way. Jack was an idiot and could be pretty mean, but no one had ever told him off. Someone should though.

I felt very uncomfortable now, and started to regret my sweeping declaration.  Why had I thought it wouldn’t be really awkward sitting beside someone I didn’t know, like usual? Why did I think I could get a friend all of a sudden? I could feel my cheeks flushing, which only added to the pile of nervousness inside me. Well, this was a bad idea.

“Hey.” He said simply. His voice was deep but he sounded very nervous. “I’m Hunter. What’s your name?” He held out his hand as a gesture and looked at me expectantly.

“I’m Raven. And thank you for that.” He was looking into my eyes, but I looked away. It was weird for me to look into strangers eyes, even though I wanted to. I shook his hand in return and got settled. My mind was racing with things I could ask him, and wondering if I should say anything at all. Maybe this was just a school thing, where we sat together, but didn’t speak. Or maybe it was strained conversation from my side.

“No problem. And I don’t know if you know this, but I’m new here. I started about two weeks ago.” Hunter said, setting up his computer while talking. He seemed very casual, but his voice was a little shaky. I guess he felt the same way as I did. Especially since he was new.

“Yeah, I noticed. What do you think of Bleakly?” I gently pulled my hand through my hair, in an attempt to straighten my hair, which had a tendency to tangle up.

“It’s nice, I guess. I don’t know the place well enough make an opinion.” He answered, and then in a low rumble continued. “Although those two girls, Ashley and, umm… what was her name?” He looked into the ceiling, thinking hard.

“Maria” I said barely audible. I wanted to know what he thought of them. My hand crunched up in a ball, while waiting for him to answer. Hunter threw a quick glance in their direction, and then averted his eyes towards me.

“Yeah well, you can correct me if I’m wrong.” Again his voice dropped to a whisper. “From what I can see, they’re total bitches.” He said it in such a serious way I couldn’t help but laugh. It was so true, but he was looking at me as if he was a lost puppy.

“I can only tell you, that you’re completely right.” I said under my breath. He smiled, and exhaled relieved. It was clear he was happy that I agreed with, since he didn’t know anyone, and probably didn’t want to make a bad impression. Reassured he continued.

“There were the same types at my old school. The popular girls, trying to get any guy they wanted. Sure did piss me off. And then when I came to this school, those two girls were all over me, even though they hang out with the guys, over there.” With his thumb, Hunter discreetly pointed towards their table.

“So what did you do?” It was difficult to think of much to say, but I tried my best. If I could get through this lesson, and talk to him, maybe I could gain a very mediocre friendship. Since I started at Bleakly High School that had been my dream. To have a friend. But something inside me had just clamped shut, so that each time someone came near me I had nothing to say. I had had a friend once, in elementary school. Alyssa. She was much like me, a somewhat loner, so without noticing we just started sitting together, and after a while we got talking. This happened in the first grade, and over the years we bonded and became friends. It wasn’t a clingy relationship, it was spacy and nice. We could hang out together, but there were no strings attached. We understood each other in the way that we both liked to be alone. When we grew up and hit age thirteen, I could tell her anything. I didn’t have much to say but our connection was strong. We came to need each other, in a way I never could’ve hoped for.

But of course it had to come to end. Alyssa’s mother was offered a really good job. So they moved away from Bleakly and lived in the southern town of Hampton, which was on the other side of the country. I was torn. My best friend, who meant so much to me, was taken away from me. Our goodbye had been horrible. I cried more than I thought I would, and so did she. We hadn’t realized how much we meant to each other, until the very end.

And then came High School. It started out depressing without Alyssa, but I still hoped I would get to know someone. But with my luck, that didn’t happen. So I went through High School utterly bored, sad and lonely. Until today. At least I had a partner now.

All of this flashed through my mind in the second it took him to answer.

“I told them to stay away from me. That sure did shock them, since they believe they can achieve anything or anyone they want. Let me tell you, if felt so good to tell them off, even though I don’t know them. Somebody had to. I think those two idiots are under their spell.” He smirked at me, wanting to see my response.

”Well, that’s good for you. They deserve it.” In the moment I decided to tell him why I hated them. “I haven’t said anything to them, yet they always glare at me. It doesn’t make any sense.” Hunter smiled faintly, and then both of us looked away as Mark and Jack tried to catch something Ashley sent flying, and fell to the floor in the attempt. Mr. Robertsen had been ignoring them, but since that stunt had broken the concentration completely, he shushed them and told them to sit still.

Hunter turned his attention to me, with his back to the bigger crowd.

“See that? So obvious the girls are playing them.” He said matter-of-factly. He was kind of nerdy, but still he seemed really cool. I think he felt a bit insecure here in Bleakly, but he would turn around soon.

I smiled at him, and realized that I probably had a lot in common with this kid.

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