I open my eyes to find myself in a room, laying down in the corner of the spacious area, curled into a ball. I push myself into a seated position, looking around to see that it’s a rather empty room. No door, no other people inside, just empty. Well, except for a chair, just a single chair in the center of the room.
I stand up, looking at the piece of furniture and come closer to it, slowly making my way to it as curiosity gets the best of me. When I’m just a step away from the chair, I stop and look down upon it.
It wasn’t much really. Just a chair, that was just about begging to be sat upon. So, that’s what I did.
As soon as I let my body relax against the chair, all the lights in the white room flickered out, leaving me in complete darkness.
That’s when the voices began.
“What an ugly fag.”
“Just go die.”
“No wonder your father died, he wanted to get away from you.”
“You’re useless, unwanted.”
“Nobody has time for you.”
“Go do something useful.”
The voices continued, the name calling didn’t stop and it felt like it continued on for hours, leaving me in a state of panic.
“It’s not true …” I whispered, moving my legs onto the chair so I could hold on to something. “Stop it … Please … It’s not true.” Yet, with my pleading it didn’t stop. Not even when I began to scream. “SHUT UP! STOP IT!”
A few minutes later the last insult died out, signaling for a single light to flicker on. This stream of light came from the ceiling and shined on a woman I recognized as my mother. She sat in her office chair, typing into a computer while she talked into the phone lodged between her shoulder and ear.
“Anna,” she sighed my name, her hands stopping as she heard my request to have lunch together. “No, Anna. I don’t have time for you.” She snapped, hanging up and placing her phone on her desk.
I woke up, jerking into a sitting position as something hit me in the head. I looked around me, finding myself in a classroom filled with laughing students. Some were talking in corners, spreading gossip and rumors to friends. There was a group of boys that were peeking beneath a sleeping girl’s skirt. A couple making out, and letting their hands “travel”. The rest of the class was either doing something stupid or sleeping.
Sighing, I looked down at the ground beside my desk, seeing a wadded up piece of paper, the thing that had hit me. Eyes narrowed, I looked up to see my best (and only) friend, Alex. He was grinning as he stood, walking over and sliding into the desk beside mine.
“It’s about time you woke up, Anna,” he teased, poking me in the side, “I was dying of boredom.” He complained half-heartedly. He stood again, stretching and yawning a bit. “Come on, honey bun. The bell for lunch is about to ring and I’m sure you don’t want to be stuck with anyone who might want to stay here for lunch.” At that both of our eyes wandered to the front of the class, where the pranksters were getting Mr. Layn’s pants wet, doing their best not to wake him as they carried through with their plan of making it seem like he peed himself.
“What a stupid prank.”
“I know. I could do a lot better.” Alex said and laughed while I smacked him playfully in the stomach. Both of us then left the room, grabbing our bags on the way out, the bell sounding overhead.
We walked through the hallways and to the cafeteria, both of us laughing as we talked with one another. As we entered the spacious place we went to our normal spot against the walls, sliding down and sitting on the floor.
“Okay …” Alex said, opening up his bag and taking out a brown paper bag. “What ‘surprise’ has Mother packed today?” He wondered as he reached in and removed a sandwich wrapped in a paper bag. He removed the food and cautiously took a bit, his nose scrunching up afterwards.
I laughed, leaning in slightly towards him. “What? What is it?” I questioned and he looked at me, whispering, “Peanut butter and pickles.”
He put the sandwich back with the rest of his lunch while I giggled. “I love your mom so much, Alex. She’s so awesome.”
“And she loves you, Anna. She’s always asking when you can come over. Really, she adores you,” he said, giving me a soft smile.
“Well, then maybe I should come over Saturday. I don’t have work then.”
That’s when he looked away, biting his lower lip softly. “Saturday isn’t … good. Really, no day is good.” He looked at me, letting out a breath as his face switched from happiness to sadness. “Anna, I have to tell you something.”
I tilted my head and nodded, letting him continue.
“Anna … we’re moving. In three days.”
My stomach turned into itself then, eye’s getting wide at the fact that my best friend was moving and leaving me behind to face my mother that didn’t want me, the bullies that caused me so much pain. He was leaving.
He leaned forward, brushing away tears that had suddenly appeared. “Please, don’t cry. We can still talk text and so on.
“I promise we’ll still be the best of friends.”
I took a deep breath, looking down at my hands. “How long did you know you were going to move?”
“Three months, Anna. Three months.”
That’s when I kind of broke down, starting to cry as he hugged me, keeping me close to him. I don’t know what hurt me more, the fact that he was moving, that I wouldn't be able to see him as much, or that I knew we would probably grow apart because that’s what distance does.
All I do know is that he held me while I sobbed, gripping at his shirt as my world really began to fall apart more than it ever has.
This was the beginning of my real struggle.