You Learn

This story is based on a 18 year old girl Evelyn and her view on the world. It takes place in her last year of high school and the experiences and truths she learns a long the way.


5. Footloose

Once Harriet started back at school, I saw it as a turning point. A chance for life to go back to normal. I was trying to bring in a no drama policy with my friends. Well, jokes on me for that one. It’s high school. I had to be realistic about it. Drama never ends. Fights never stop. Life doesn’t stop, even if we are going through ten thousand things at once. Even though I came back down to earth on that one, I still could not have seen this next one coming, no way. My mind was on the party this weekend, and I was stress free for about two minutes.

 “Hey, have you got your date for prom yet?” I asked.
“Yep. Just sealed the deal this morning” Zadie replied.
“Oh my god, who?” I asked.
“Christian?” I sighed “Zadie…”
“What?” Zadie asked.
“He is a total player. You know that. Everyone knows that. He has the reputation for only wanting one thing from girls. Donna was telling me the other day that he does drugs” I replied. I knew the Zadie had poor choice in guys, but this was too extreme. I was worried for her. She keeps putting herself in danger, and it’s all in her own choices.
“So? I’m going to prom with him. He asked me and I said yes. I think he could make the night a lot of fun. So what he wants that one thing? It’s no big deal” Zadie said.
“It is a big deal!” I said. I felt my heart pounding harder. My face was going red. I was struggling to not just blurt out everything that I thought. I already realised that I may have gone a bit too far.
“Of course you would think that, Evelyn” Zadie said as she opened her locker and started pulling stuff out and getting it into her bag.
“Zadie, where are you going?” I asked.
“Where do you think? My house” She replied.
“But we’re supposed to be working on our assignment, it’s due tomorrow” I said.
“I’ll, um, email you the parts I’ve done tonight. See ya” Zadie said as she slung her bag over her shoulder and shut her locker.

Clayton and I were heading down the corridor. It was busy like it always was. Everyone was rushing around getting to lockers and classrooms. Constantly having people shoving past you, and people standing in the middle of the corridor blocking it, was something that I couldn’t get used to. It infuriated me every time. Although today I was engrossed in discussion with Clayton. I was trying my best to persuade him.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Evelyn” Clayton said as he got to his locker and began putting in the combination.
I leaned up against the lockers, my arms aching with the heavy textbooks.
“Oh come on, Clay. It’s just a party. I was told I could invite anyone I wanted and I decided to invite you. It will be fun” I said.
Clayton turned his head, looking at me. “You do know who the other people will be at the party, don’t you?” he wasn’t so sure about my idea.
“I promise, it’ll be fine. I haven’t been out since Dean and I broke up, do it for me” I said as I tried to get him to smile. I was totally over the whole Dean thing but it was coming in good use. Clay lets me use the Dean card once a week. If he is allowed to play his ‘cafeteria incident’ card when he wanted to.
“Fine, but I’ll give it one hour and if it sucks, I’m out of there” Clayton said.
“Deal” I said as we shook hands to seal the deal. It was going to be great. At least I hoped it would, for both our sakes.  
“Hey guys” Harriet said as she walked with such an energy and a bounce in her step.
“Hi, Harriet” Clayton said as he grabbed a few more books from his locker and then shut the door. “Talking about the party?” Harriet said.
“Yeah, you going?” I asked.
“Yep and I cannot wait. It’s my first party out since, well, since my parents let me go out” Harriet said.
“Awesome…Well, do you guys want a lift?” I asked.
“Sure” Clayton and Harriet replied in accidental unison. They both laughed.
“Come on we have to get to class” I said as we went to walk away. I noticed Whitney staring at us. She looked me up and down and gave me this look that I felt right down in my heart. It hurts. I feel so small, like nothing, when she stares at me like that. It’s the kind of look that makes me want to scream ‘what the hell are you looking at?’

Confidence can get you pretty far, trust me, I’ve seen it from experience. I don’t really understand it because to be honest with you. It seems to me that when people push themselves to get forward in life, for the most part they are lying or making promises that in their hearts they know they cannot keep. Confidence is not my name and it never will be. It’s never really been who I am. My friend Zadie oozes confidence but that hasn’t always been the best thing for her. I still wish I had a bit more. I wish I could walk up to someone and strike up a conversation and not be nearly dying inside. For people who have never been shy, never been anxious, for people who have always had things come easily to them, there is no way for them to truly understand how it feels. Being shy isn’t and definitely isn’t something you can just stop or change, it is just something you can simple get over. It follows you constantly. Things that seem so simple, and maybe even seem fun, can in fact be quite hard to face. A good example of this is going to a party. The thought of walking into a room and everyone staring at you, or having to make conversation with people you have never met, wow, it gets my heart pounding even just thinking about it. So I was glad that to have Clay and Harriet by my side.

“You can’t tell me who I should or shouldn’t date. You can’t control me, Evelyn. I’m not like you and I never will, thank god. You’re so uptight. So perfect. You’re like my own little parent, always on my back. You don’t even know what you’re talking about. You’ve only had one serious boyfriend in your life, boyfriend full stop actually. So what would you know anyway?” Zadie said as she went to storm out of the room.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“None of your business” Zadie replied as I followed her out the door and into the corridor, she headed for the door. I saw her Johnny sitting in the car, he begun tooting the horn.
“You can’t possibly be thinking of going with him. He’s been drinking, he’d be way over the limit. Don’t be stupid Zadie, you know better” I said as Zadie scrambled to gather her things. “I’m going. Bye Harriet” Zadie said and as she went to leave, I grabbed her arm tightly. “Ouch” she said as she pulled her arm hard so I lost my grasp.
“Zadie! Don’t! Please, please don’t go” I cried as I stood on the porch of the house. I watched Zadie head down the steps and onto the drive way. “Zadie! Zadie!” I screamed. She ran over to the car, not looking back. Johnny leaned over and opened the car door. She climbed in and slammed the door. The car zooming off, in a blink of an eye. I was left standing in the dark, sobbing. Please, don’t let anything happen to her.

I slowly tilted my head back and all I could see was dark sky and thousands of bright stars. Infinite space. Stars always make me wonder about my world. When I was a little girl my aunt told me that when people die they turn into stars. I would like to think that is true. That all those stars that light up the night sky are everyone’s loved ones looking down on us. But what about down here on earth? We are all put on this planet for a reason. So who are we intended to become?

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