Today and Tomorrow

Riley always has a way of putting a sarcastic twist on just about anything. Their depression. Their friend's suicide attempt. Their sexuality, gender, love life. It's not even that their life is terrible. It's that their life is empty. And it appears that will never change. That is, of course, until Alex. [Entry for the Diversity Competition]

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3. Two

The night swam along and was broken by the too early sun rise. I turned my alarm off on my phone and squinted at the notifications. There was a message from Kait. I had an interesting relationship with that girl. She was in a couple of my classes, and we seemed to have a mutual agreement that we can talk to each other and hang out if we were feeling lonely, and no one else was around. She had a rather quirky personality ruled by her many fandoms. Anything can be a reference to something else (mainly boy bands) if you try hard enough. At least, that's what she's taught me. So there was a message from her that says this:

 

Kait M. : Gm Riles. Forgot to tell ya yesterday but apparently some junior in one of ur classes has a crush on u. She seemed rlly sweet

 

Well that's strange enough. I was out to a couple of friends (including Kait), but certainly not some random person in the grade above me. Wait. There aren't that many juniors in my classes. I texted her back. 

 

Me: Who? What did she say?

 

Kait M. : sworn to secrecy 

 

Me: Kaitttt

 

Generally I was, am the friend who happily watches all of their other friends drift in and out of relationships, but this stuff just didn't happen to me, so I was willing to chase it a little bit further. Good thing I did. 

 

Kait M : when u went to the bathroom in ELA she leaned over n asked me if u were straight. I said no. Then she said to tell u about the crush thing. 

 

Kait M: I said too much 

 

And I suddenly knew who she's talking about. I'd been staring at that girl since the first day of school when she wore a red t-shirt that said, "Trans Lives Matter" in all caps. She had a rainbow pin on her backpack, so I should have known, but of course I didn't. 

 

Me: Thanks (: I'll see you at school then. 

 

I still love Kait for telling me about Alex. Sometimes I think back and realize that none of what would soon follow could have happened without that girl's big mouth. Alex always said we were obligated to invite Kait to our wedding.

 

I hear my mom get up, so I looked down at the time. A good fifteen minutes had been wasted on this endeavor. I needed to get in the shower pronto. I scrubbed my scalp and face clean of the night's grime and pulled on a pair of jeans and one of my various t-shirts. After my converse were tied, and I had gathered a couple other things, I went into the front of the house where my mom was drinking some water. 

 

"Good morning, sunshine," she said to me, like every other morning. Her hair whisped off in all directions, and her glasses were perched on her nose. Deep circles rounded out her eyes, and her lungs wheezed a little with every breath in the quiet room. Cigarettes and wine every night for twenty five years don't usually do a person well. I proceeded to send a wry smile her way. 

 

"Good morning. How did you sleep?" I asked not because I was interested but because I figured that was proper person etiquette. As she rambled on, I got a granola bar and began to munch on it. My eyes wandered about the room even as I instructed them to maintain eye contact. Proper person etiquette and such. 

 

But soon enough I got out of that, and I was in the car with Allen. 

 

"Mornin' sweatheart," He said as I got in the car. I laughed a little, as I did every time. Allen often tried to act like he was one of the cool kids. He was not one of the cool kids. Not that he didn't put in the effort, but it's hard to act like you're into every other girl, love football, and don't give a damn about your studies when your ace and aro, have the coordination of a dying snail, and have tough parents who'd more than likely kick you out if you got a C. Allen's one of those kids that you just gotta love. 

 

"Good morning, dearest," I told him, mimicking his low scruffy accent. After a quick eye roll, he moved the car into drive, and it sputtered in defiance. 

 

"Come on, Lassie!" He slapped the dash, encouraging the poor car older than me along. 

 

"Violence is never the answer, Allen."

 

"Shhh, I don't need your logic right now," He spat back just as I had gotten his name out of my lips. Sure enough the car was soon off and headed toward our favorite place... school. I briefly thanked Allen for his driving and began to snake between the blobs of students heading this and that way, to this and that class. My first class always brings joy into my life. My first class is Pre-Calc, taught by Mr. Talley who's voice could send a hyper child into a deep unmoving sleep. 

 

"Good morning, Riley," He said. Mr. Talley would always stand right outside the door, so that his students were forced to awkwardly walk past and make some sort of eye contact or brief conversation to be saved form his unending stare. 

 

"Good morning, Mr. Talley." I tried to remain courteous whilst my soul was saying, 'fight me!' I slid into my seat. I always sit in the front. No, not for the reason you're thinking. Yes, I may be a teacher's pet, but I try not to have the personality of one best I can. You see, in the front you're so much less likely to have to talk with another student. I'm not trying to focus. I'm trying to be anti-social. 

 

The bell droned on as a few students scurried in last minute, and I let myself sigh as the lecture began and as several students hurriedly began their homework. I finished my homework. A yawn comes over, and I scrunch my eyes closed at the reflex. 

 

I won't bore you with the details of the variables and graphs we discussed. Just know that somehow I powered through, and that presently I do not remember a single bit of what I learned in that class. 

 

In between Pre-Calc and German, I always went to the bathroom. I was forever terrified that a teacher won't let me use the restroom during class, no matter how irrational it is. Nevertheless, those five minutes in between first and second block had become a rushed 300 seconds. Each of which were ticking by as I'm stuck behind a student who is going no where fast. Tick. Tick. 

 

I made it there safety enough. I always felt a tad out of place in these restrooms. Girls reapplied makeup at the mirror towards the end of the long line of stalls while others still ran fingers through their long polished hair, the bands around their wrists falling down their thin arms, lodging themselves atop their elbows, relatively knobbly curves that bend gracefully here and there. 

 

Then there was me. No need to elaborate. 

 

I shook these thoughts from my head and closed myself within the stall. A handful of seconds later, I emerged and washed my hands aside three other girls. Girl. Girl. Girl. Me. That was the way it had always been, and back then I didn't think to ponder it any more. God, it's a good thing Kait texted me when she did. I don't know how much longer I could have made it without them. 

 

I was almost late to German. Dan ich bin Deutsche gesprechen fur ein Zeit. Lunch followed. 

 

English. For some reason I halted for a second and half before passing into that classroom. 

 

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