Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Study In Second Person

In the morning, it takes a few moments for the morning mist to clear away from your eyes. Grabbing your phone from off of its stand, you check the time. The sudden brightness from the screen makes your eyes water, but you can still make out the digits. It's 5:48 AM, just in time for you to start getting ready for school today.
It's an exam day, which seems so strange. The school year is only halfway done, after all. It's this dumb block schedule thing that your school has put into place. As you ponder the cruelty of how the system works, you get yourself ready. After primping yourself one last time in the mirror, you head downstairs and devour your breakfast.
You hop into the car, having your mother drive to the high school as you sit there with a pout on your lips. It's still pitch black outside, but you have to go to school and take two enormous tests anyways. At least you're going to have the rest of the week off after today. You let out a great sigh when you see how long the carpool line is.
It seems like your mother is going to get you into a car accident as she pulls into the line. There's just too many people who go to your school. Too many loud, annoying, and dumb people. Even if half the school could drive themselves, the other half has managed to pack itself into this very carpool line.
Ten minutes later, which you think is absolutely ludicrious, you finally end up being dropped off. You walk inside the school to be greeted with the chatter of those who have arrived before you. As you go to meet your friends in your typical spot, you find that some random girls have already taken it. Although you roll your eyes, you say nothing. Your friend is just a few seats away, anyways.
Somehow you manage to pass the time away in the blink of an eye, and the first bell of the day is now ringing in your ear. Today you have to head to your third period first to take that exam. Three hours inside of your eighty person choir. One might think that more people would mean a better sound, but you know better.
Luckily enough, you know music pretty well. The only thing you're really worried about is the whole song interpretation part of the exam. You were given a piece of music: River In Judea. Your task was to make a creative interpretation. In your hands is a poem that you threw together in ten minutes. It's not your best work, but you think it'll be enough. At least, you hope it will be.
The class directs you to go into the auditorium. With so many people in the class, it would be impossible to take it properly inside of the chorus room. There is a seat between every other person, so you immediately find one of your friends and sit as close to them as possible. It seems to take half of eternity, but you soon have a pencil in your hand and a scantron in front of you.
You find the test is actually a lot easier than you had been expecting. You didn't study anything, but everything still seemed to make sense to you. It seems like you're nearly guaranteed to get a B at the very least on this, which sounds pretty good to you.
However, not everyone in the class is as musically gifted as you. Even though seventy six people are done, four people are still working on their tests so you have to sit there quietly. You don't know what you're going to do until they finish. It ends up taking the rest of the time for you to attempt to figure out something to do.
Now everyone is done. All the materials are collected, and the more "fun" part of this exam begins. The chorus teacher begins to have some of the people in the class present their projects for the interpretations. You're fairly sure that your poem is going to stay safely rooted on the stage. You weren't trying to be Shakespeare, after all.
One of the boys made a model river with music notes above it. His explanation only makes his project better, and now you really start to worry that your poem isn't quite enough to get you a good grade. But then you remind yourself that it's not the only thing that counts towards the final grade. This is going to end up just fine, you aced the multiple choice portion.
Then your chorus teacher calls out to one of the students. "Rebecca, do you mind if I read your story?"
"It's fine," the girl responds. She tends to be soft spoken, but she knows better than to mumble when talking to this teacher. You, along with everyone else in chorus, turn around to face her. Her face is starting to flush as her lips curves up in a wobbly smile. The teacher sends her a smile, and begins to read.
"A River's Serenade," she begins. Your teacher reads the entire story out loud as if it were a children's storybook, putting her acting experience into it. The author rests her eyes on a spot above the teacher's head, refusing to meet anyone's gaze. She looks only slightly uncomfortable, a sense of pride coming into her.
Soon the story is over, and everyone applauds for it. You're fairly sure she's the only one who did a story for this project. Most other people did paintings or poems, like you. The teacher continues to show off some of the other interpretations of River in Judea. Your poem stays on the stage, unmoved just as you had expected.
Finally, this testing period ends. You rush to lunch and claim your normal seat back from the girls from the morning. You and your friends have surprisingly deep conversations-who says that teenagers can't think for themselves? It must have something to do with the stress from testing, you believe. All of you have one more exam for the day, and then the week is over.
The next bell rings, and your rush to your fourth period. Just another three hours, another test, and you will be free. Imagine that. You can go home and sleep. Or, rather, stay up until midnight at the earliest and then hopefully not wake up before noon. You'll be doing all of that on a Wednesday. You haven't done that since, well, Christmas Break.
This is the thought that brings you through the entire exam. You finish early and rest your head against the desk, feeling jealous of those who brought a pillow. Since you were never allowed to do that in middle school, you never even tried it in high school.
Even though it seems like an era has passed in the span of an hour, the bell finally rings and you're set free from the bounds of school and exams. You go to the stairwell and begin charging down when you spot someone. It's the girl from chorus, the one who wrote that story the teacher read out to the entire class.
You don't know her, but it feels like somehow you do. You figure that she just has one of those faces. There's nothing wrong with her looks-she's of average height and build, wears a good amount of makeup, dresses well-but there's nothing extraordinary about her. Still, you find yourself searching for more information about her.
As you peer closer to her, you can see that her cardigan is rather pilfery. Evidently she doesn't like this, as she continues to pick at it. It's a nice sweater regardless of it, but she can't help herself. Cradled in her hand is a book. Her fingers repeatedly drum across it, playing a rolling rhythm. You assume that she must be a good musician, when you realize that you have heard her sing before. Of course she's a good musician.
You're afraid that you're going to loose sight of her as you continue going down the stairs. But this isn't the case-she's heading towards the buses, same as you are. You realize with a start that she rides on the same bus as you. Sometimes she just doesn't go on it, though. This makes you feel a bit dull, but you shake it off anyways.
You both reach the bus at approximately the same time. You decide to sit as close to her as possible without seeming strange. The seat across from her is empty, so you quickly claim it and try to watch her out of the corner of your eye.
She keeps on wrinkling up her nose like she's some sort of cute fluffy animal. You could swear that you've seen one of your friend's hedgehogs make that exact face. Her face starts to pale a little as if she's going to be sick, and you know why-this bus literally stinks. You've never been able to put your finger on the odor, but it consumes all of the air and burns your mouth.
It's only a five minute bus ride, but you still think that's ample time to get poisoned by this horrible odor. You're sure a dead body wouldn't smell as horrible as this. People get used to the smell of dead bodies. You've gone through an entire semester and it still stinks as much as the first day.
Trying to distract yourself from the odor, you turn your attention back to the girl. She's turned her gaze out to the window, her eyes darting around to try to catch every detail. She still has that book, her fingers still drumming away. Both of you want to get out of this bus as soon as possible.
Her posture starts to slouch over, as if she's trying to roll into herself. She seems to realize this and correct herself, letting out a great sigh. She now takes her time to tug at her shirt and jeans. Her hands fly up to adjust her scarf and down to fix her shoes. Even though no one is looking, she still feels the need to fix her appearance.
Soon you arrive at your bus stop. The moment the bus comes to a stop, she's grabbed her backpack and slung it over her shoulder. You follow her off, seeing the tangles and flyaways in her hair. Your eyes glance down to her wrist, which has a hairtie that is just the slightest bit too small and is pushing into her skin.
You both start walking down the street, trying to avoid the puddles from the rain from last night. She starts to gaze at the world around her, the faintest hint of a smile on her slightly chapped lips. When her eyes fall on something and begin to stick, you become intrigued to find out what has taken her attention.
Perched on the barren branches of a tree are small droplets of water. They are breathtakingly beautiful, and yet you had never noticed them before. The sunlight refracts and shines everywhere as if the raindrops were lights instead of orbs of water.
As lovely as you find it, she must find it far more interesting. Although it's subtle, the reverence in her eyes for this is a deep one. She moves her gaze to a puddle along the side of the street with the same gleam in her eyes. It's a dirty, mud filled puddle-and yet she looks at it as if it were one of the most beautiful thing she's ever seen!
You just don't understand it. The droplets on the tree made sense to you, but this just seems bizarre. You sigh and shake your head, causing her to flinch slightly. She heard you, and she reacted. You try to be as quiet as possible as you continue walking.
You continue to follow her, but then she takes a left down another street. You have to keep walking straight in order to get home. Following her home would just make you a stalker-you're not that interested in her, after all. You're probably going to forget her tomorrow.
But as you continue walking away, you glance back towards her as she walks along in silence. Her "real" name comes back to you from earlier in chorus that day. But you push it aside in your mind, knowing that she has a name that fits her better.
She is Rain.

1 comment: