I raise my eyes from my laptop and see the raindrops tapping against my window. The sound is soothing and I can see myself drifting in a deep sleep. I try to keep my eyes open just for a brief moment. My room is darker than usual. I guess with the storm that is coming it will be like that most of the time. I close my eyes once more, this time when I open them I catch a glimpse of light beneath the door. It is quite late and I didn't think someone would still be up. I close my computer and get up off the bed. My bed makes a slight squeaking noise but not loud enough for the person in the hallway to hear. I am an only child which means one thing. It could only be my dad in the hallway trying not to wake me up. I never told him that I spend hours after my official bedtime reading through the most popular's college website. I am graduating this year and I still haven't chosen where I want to go next. I lay on my bed relieved at the idea that only my dad could be out there. Soon drifting in a deep sleep.
I woke up to the sound of my dad yelling to me to come downstairs. I slide out of them, put on my stolen hotel slippers and walk towards the stairs. Before putting my hand on the rail I look up and through the window, I can see the storm raging. A shiver goes down my spine. My dad calls out for me again. I run down the stairs suddenly not wanting to be upstairs alone anymore. In the kitchen, breakfast is ready, set perfectly on the table. My dad always had a thing for cleanness and perfectness. I look around and no sign of my dad. He must have gone to work early to work with some of his special students. He never really explained to me what he did even though I'm 18. He says that he helps people with special needs so I always assumed he helped autistic people. My dad was always good and generous helping others before thinking about himself.
I eat breakfast, get up and take my backpack. I never really had a friend to walk with to school. I never really had friends in general but I always lived with it. I didn't need friends because I never had anything significant enough or interesting enough to share. I was bland, boring. I close the door and stand there until I hear the click of the security system. I walk past houses that all look the same, they are white with little square windows on each side. The perfect house. As I walk past them I try to imagine what kind of family lives in them. A little girl with ponytails and her dog in one and an old couple in another. The only resemblance between all of them is that they are happy. I arrive at my school and look around. All of the same people, at the same hour. Sometimes I feel like I am repeating the same day again and again. They are no jocks or punks in my school, they exist only in films. No, in my school they are just boring, sleepy people who dream about everything and quite often end up with nothing. Do not think I am pessimistic on the contrary I think I am the most optimistic person in this school.
It is not just the school, the whole town is sad and depressing. I live in Sandock. I didn't even know this town existed until my dad made a surprise party to announce to everyone that we were leaving. The wind comes blowing and hitting me in the face interrupting my thoughts. I shudder. The wind is getting stronger and clouds are starting to form. I walk faster and enter the school at the same time as the bell rings for the start of the class. I enter math class waiting to see the face of Sarah. She is looking desperately at the teacher trying to understand what he is talking about. Mr. Cornell turns towards me a frown on his face. He was never the chill professor you can find laughing with the students after class, and sadly I think he will never be but there is something intriguing about him. There is something that makes me likes his classes and I don't know what. He takes two steps forward and leans in just enough to see the start of his beard grow back.
- You're late Miss. Jenkins. Professor Cornell tells me with his deep grizzly like voice.
- I know, I'm sorry. I woke up late and then I couldn't find my dad. I respond
- No need to make pitiful excuses Miss. Jenkins. You can go find your seat now. He says.
And with that, he turns doing a little whoosh sound that only I can hear ad takes his original spot next to his desk. I feel myself turning red. I stare straight at my feet; finding my seat and trying not to bump into any desks. I take my seat and finally decide to look up. I find Mr. Cornell looking at me with a smile forming at the corner of his mouth. It's amusing to him. Of course, I should have seen it coming. I open my notebook and start doodling. I only look up at the end of the class. While people start getting up and cleaning up their papers, Sarah comes up to me still looking a little bit puzzled.
- Did you understand a thing he was saying? I ask Sarah.
- Yeah, it's rather easy. I lie.
She shrugs and grabs her backpack.
- You coming?
- Yeah, just a sec.
I grab my stuff and we make our way to the door. I try not to look back but I can't resist. I peek over my shoulder to only see Mr. Cornell rearranging his desk. I don't know why but I swear I thought he was looking at me. I walk faster, and Sarah can barely keep up with me. I only stop when I am in front of my locker. Sarah looks at me as if I am a whole new species and sometimes I feel like one myself too. She takes a step right in front of me and pierces me with her deep blue eyes.
- Are you okay Jenny? Are you feeling well? She asks me, looking deeply concerned.
- Yeah, yeah everything is fine. I'm just not in the greatest mood. I reply trying to sound the most convincing possible.
Apparently, it worked because she didn't ask any more questions. We don't have any more classes until lunch so normally I would not see her until then. The other classes passed quickly. I had Spanish first with Ms. Reden than biology with Mr. Perier. I didn't pay much attention to what they were saying because all I could think of was science and not the nerdy kind of science, no I'm talking about the mysterious part of it. Sarah interrupts my thoughts.- So... You're coming to eat or not. She asks me a little too persistently.
- I'm coming. I just need to grab my lunch from the front desk. I answer with the same tone.
I take off before she can stop me and ask me if I'm okay because I am okay. Well, I think I am. The front desk is not far from my locker so it doesn't bother me to walk a little especially today. It is a special day today for dad and me. I say hello to Susan at the front desk. She hands me my lunch with a little note attached to it. My dad likes to give me little notes to brighten my day. Even though I'm almost 16 now, I still look forward to it. I open the little note waiting to see an inspiring quote or just a little drawing of some sort but when I open it all I see are number. 6508437653 is the combination I find on the paper. They are ink stains on the edges of the paper and on the bottom of the note, a larger stain of ink seems to be from a word that was erased. I walk down past the auditorium to the lunch tables where Sarah waves at me. I sit down next to her while still letting a space between us to show her that today isn't a normal day. The fact that she doesn't know what this day means hurts me a bit but I am not going to jeopardize our friendship for that. Our friendship is strong and I don't doubt that. Sarah is a pretty normal teenage girl. She has two loving parents and an annoying little brother. As I said, she's living a pretty typical life. We eat in silence and It doesn't disturb me. I like silence; It has always been of the things I which I had but when your friends with Sarah, your life is rarely calm. The bell rings announcing the end of lunch. Today is a half-day so I just need to grab some things from my locker before heading home.
- You wanna do something after school? Sarah asks me looking up from her half-eaten turkey sandwich.
- I need to check if I have a lot of homework for tomorrow but sure I can stop by. I respond.
- No! Do not come to my house. She responds standing up.
I must have looked lost because Sarah looks at me uneasily.
- I'm sorry. It's just that my house is a mess these days and I prefer that you stay out of it. She adds.
I understand. I never had the best life growing up without a mom but I never thought Sarah might have problems at home. At least, she never talked to me about it.
- It's ok. But you know you can talk to me whenever you need right? I ask her looking straight into her eyes.
- Yeah, I know. She responds seeming deeply interested in what was happening on the floor. It's just that I don't want to be near the house. She says.
I didn't ask any more questions even though I thought that what she was saying was weird. Now, I know that this was the biggest mistake of my life.
Later, that afternoon I waited for her at our meeting point. The little park with the river flowing through it is one of our favorite places. However, she never came. I waited for her for a good 20 minutes but no one came. I decided to call my dad since the house is far away but no one. My dad was not responding to his phone and neither was Sarah. I started to worry because neither of them ever leave their phones unattended even in the middle of the night. I felt drops against my hand. Rain is coming and I don't want to be under it.
- Maybe the connection is down. I thought to myself.
I called the first person in my contact to see if my assumption is true. It rang two times before I heard a rough voice. It worked! The telephone worked! I hang up the phone. A feeling of distress crept over me. Why aren't they answering their phones? I walk to the entrance hoping to call have an Uber with this weather. I open the app and start typing in my address when I receive a call. It is an unknown number. Maybe it just someone from school reaching out. I answer.
- Hi. This Amelia Rain-heart, the school counselor. I'm really sorry for your loss and if you want to talk to someone my door is always open. I hear on the telephone.
- What loss? I respond thinking this is a prank call.
- Well, your father of course and a girl named Sarah Spencer which I think is one of your friends right? She asks.I let go of the telephone. I can't believe it, my dad, the one that protected me since I was a baby is dead. The love of my life is dead. The one that held me up when mom died. My legs give out and I stumble painfully to the floor. My shorts and T-shirts are soaking and my hair is so wet that it sticks to my face. I'm freezing and sweating at the same time. How? Why? All the questions jumble up in my brain causing me to have a migraine. I curl up against the ground. It doesn't feel wet anymore; no, it feels safe, comforting. I know that I will not fall deeper when I'm already at the lowest possible. I don't want to move. I want to stay here; in my bubble. I want to forget; forget what happen, forget why I'm here on the floor soaking wet crying.
Author Notes: Hope you enjoy!