The Silent Life of David Shatter

I'm mute. I don't talk. Ever. Comes as a shock to some people. Comes naturally to me. I can talk. I just prefer silence.

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2. Aileen and Jack

As time went on in school, I admired Aileen from a distance. She and her group of giggling cheerleaders. I would study in the bleachers, watching Aileen practice for cheerleading. I kept that crush a secret. I don't know how obvious it might have been, I'm a bad liar, but she didn't notice, and if she did she never mentioned. We would hang out a lot. Jack had laid back a bit, realising his girlfriends was just my friend. I felt like every time she said "Just friends" it was like someone was holding a huge neon sign in front of my face that said:
DAVID! WELCOME TO THE FRIENDZONE. THIS IS WHERE ALL THE NICE GUYS END UP BECAUSE THE GIRLS ARE ATTRACTED TO ASSHOLES. ENJOY YOUR ETERNITY HERE.
"Hey David. Wanna hang out later?" Aileen came up to me in the hallway and asked.
SURE. I typed. To be honest, I longed to talk to Aileen. I longed to use my voice.
"Your place or mine?" she continued.
MINE. I typed. SEEYA LATER.
"Yeah. Bye!" Aileen waved goodbye as she ran off down the corridor.

"Favourite colour?" Aileen asked. We were sitting in my bedroom. It had a double bed, a hammock, a desk and chair, a bookshelf and a wardrobe, though most of my clothes were usually on the floor.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.
"Really? A guy and a love story?"
I KNOW. IT'S JUST SO REAL.
"I know. That's a gift."
CAN I ASK YOU SOMETHING? YOU DON'T HAVE TO ANSWER.
"Yeah. Sure." Aileen said, slightly puzzled.
DO YOU LOVE JACK?
Aileen stared at the words on my screen. She really didn't know how to answer. She thought about it for a while.
"No. No, I don't. I really hadn't thought about it before. It just happened. And it just seems normal. The Jock and the Cheerleader." Aileen said, shocked at this sudden revelation.
IF YOU DON'T LOVE HIM, WHY GO OUT WITH HIM?
"As I said, it sorta just seems normal."
OH. WELL.
"Yeah."
The awkward silence that ensued ended in Aileen going home early. The next day in school, Friday, was altogether horrible.
"The fuck did you say to Aileen, Speechless!?" Jack roared at me.
WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU ON ABOUT?
"Aileen called me last night and said she didn't love me and she was breaking up with me. What did you say to her?! I know you were with her last night!"
I SWEAR I DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING. IT'S A FREE COUNTRY. SHE CAN DUMP YOU IF SHE WANTS.
Jack pushes me into the wall of lockers again. He runs towards me, grabs the collar of my t-shirt and lifts me up, pushing me into the wall and restricting my breathing.
"You think you can take my woman from me, huh Speechless!?"
"I am not your woman, Jack! Not put David down!" Aileen shouted at Jack from behind him. She must have seen him lift me up against the lockers. Jack put me down, more like just dropped me, and sauntered over to Aileen.
"Defending Speechless, are we?" Jack asked mockingly.
"Leave him alone Jack." Aileen said, scared of her ex's rage.
"Little bitch." Jack said. He wandered off, no more to say about the matter. Aileen ran over to me.
"Are you ok?" she asked as she knelt beside me. I shook my head. I wasn't. The back of my head was thumping, and my throat was on fire. I bit my lip when he shoved me, and that was bleeding.
"Here. Put your arm around my shoulder." Aileen instructed me, helping me up off the ground. She lead me to the nurse's room, where I got an icepack of my head and some painkillers for my throat. Aileen waited in the room with me. She was carrying my iPad for me. When the nurse was done, she left us alone.
"What happened?" Aileen asked, audibly worried.
JACK WAS BLAMING ME FOR YOU DUMPING HIM.
"Oh." Aileen said, her confidence disappeared. Her voice was small, scared.
IT IS MY FAULT.
"No it's not! It's not your fault that I don't love Jack." she said, defending me.
YOU NEED TO GET TO CLASS. I'M GONNA HANG HERE FOR A FEW.
"Ok. I'll see you later." she said quietly, and waved an awkward goodbye.
I never felt so alone in my life.

Later that day, I was texting Aileen.
"I'm sorry about earlier." Aileen texted. "Jack is out of control."
"Not your fault." I replied. "You didn't physically assault me."
"David, I've been thinking. 'Bout what you said. I realised, I don't love Jack. And you showed me that. Thank you. The longer I stayed with him, the worse it would have been." Aileen texted.
"It's all right." I texted back. "I gotta go. See you tomorrow. Bye :)"
It was late in the night when I was awoken by a knocking at my door. I got out of bed and put on some trousers. I ran down stairs, almost falling. I got to the door and opened it.
"David. Hi. Em, this is awkward. Can I stay here?" Aileen said. Why was Aileen on my doorstep? Not a bloomin' clue. But I wasn't gonna leave her out in the cold. I had my iPad upstairs, so I just beckoned her in and put a finger to my lips to tell her to be quiet. I let her sleep in my bed. I took the hammock. When I got up in the morning, it was Saturday. I was tired and had no memory of the previous night. I grabbed my glasses, and realised that:
A- The girl of my dreams was in my bed.
B- It was Saturday. So no school. So no easy way to get Aileen out of my house.
C- HOW THE FUCK DID AILEEN END UP IN MY BED?
I slipped downstairs to grab two coffees, and my family were already up. What time was it? I glanced at the clock in the kitchen. It was already 12!
"Ah. Now that you're up, I'll go get the dirty clothes from your room." my Mother said. It didn't hit me until it was too late.
"Mmmmm!" I tried to get my Mother's attention. And she walked straight into my room. And straight back out again.
"David. Why is there a girl in your bed?" my mother roared at me.
AHH, SEE, I CAN EXPLAIN. I scrawled on some scrap paper.
"Get your iPad. You've got terrible writing." Mother ordered. I ran into my room, grabbed the iPad, and ran back out. I typed furiously for what seemed like forever. In the end, this is what I had to explain Aileen's being in my bed:
Last night, I heard a knock on the door, and Aileen was there and she just asked if she could come in and I don't know what was going on but she needed somewhere to stay and I wasn't gonna leave her out in the cold so I just gave her my bed and I slept on the hammock and I swear to God I did no "Do" her.
That seemed to be explanation enough for my Mother.
"Get that girl up and find out what's going on, Dave."
YES MOTHER. :)

 

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