Alex, a tall, thin child of only 16, walked the populous sidewalk of the small town of which he resided in, alone, hands concealed in the pockets of his dark-blue hoodie he wore, with the hood enveloping his head, despite is being a moderately sunny and warm day with the exception of a slight wind chill. His gaze stretched only to the pavement mere feet in front of him, not looking forwards, or in any other direction except his unwavering glare at the tan concrete that he walked on. There were many different, and often unique, pedestrians walking around as well, such as business men, couples, and even street performers such as a mime in full white attire acting in usual mime fashion, but failed to get much attention due to the act being out-of-date for the modern era. On his left were a variety of facilities conjoined together on the crammed sidewalk, as most small towns do; there was a tanning salon, restaurants, bars, and even a small animal shelter, which was slowly going out of business due to a lack of homeless pets being kept there; one could only hope that it was due to a large and sudden rate of adoptions. Alex, while shaming his head towards the group, failed, or rather, neglected to notice these surroundings. Instead, he kept fidgeting at the phone kept in his right pocket of his hoodie, seeming eager for something to notify him on that device. Alas, after nearly 10 minutes of walking and waiting, nothing had occurred.
During his unappealing venture through the town, he overheard a couple approaching him from the front, bickering about something that Alex simply didn't take the time to pay attention to. He never even took the time to check out their facial appearance, but had he looked, he would have seen two moderately fit people: a fully grown adult male and female, the female in an elegant dress with red roses sprawled out over what seemed like a tinted yellow canvas of a dress. The man had a finely tuned beard, shaven and shaped to what seemed like perfection; it would not budge and inch at the wind that slapped it. They didn't really seem to be arguing at each other, but rather complaining about some sort of bad deal they took part in. A few feet in front of Alex, they had halted their conversation abruptly, but that did not matter to Alex, who was not paying attention to them to begin with.
"Are you alright?" the man asked, supposedly to his significant other, but Alex was not concerned about it, for he would have immediately assumed it was not directed at him had he been listening. The couple's feet entered the sight of Alex's unflinching gaze at the ground until they had finally passed behind him.
Nothing changed in the surrounding area after the next few minutes of walking, aside from an increase in the wind blowing into his face. A small sniffle came from Alex's nose, but it was rather difficult to tell if it was as a result of the wind, or something else. Suddenly, and seemingly expectedly based on his swift reaction, his phone buzzed against his right hand and stomach. Like a quick flash of lightning, the phone exited his pocket and laid within his right palm, perfectly aligned with his eyes, still never looking up or in any other direction. Forcefully pressing him thumb on to the side of his phone morphed what was, for a brief moment, a sense of excitement into a sense of utter dread and disappointment; his pleased face turning into a face of a man who would have had everything stripped away from him at that moment, even though that wasn't actually the case.
"Horny singles in your area!" the phone notified, creating a faint light casted on his pale, grim facial expression. He immediately swiped away the notification from his screen, eliminating it from his line of sight, but he never put the phone away.
"I thought I got rid of that stupid account," he angrily murmured to himself. His face froze at the part of the screen the notification had appeared, contemplating on whether or not he should check it out once more. He gave in and looked at the source of the temptation he experienced; an app called "MeetMe". He was unable to fight back as he scrolled through the list of females that were on display, some nude and some not, occasionally coming across a man that he began seething at the sight of a view he was uninterested in viewing. Alex messaged several of the females he had interest in, often getting responses that would recommend a website for that individual's nude pictures, to which he was smart enough to not tap on, but couldn't help but feel emptier and emptier as this process repeated himself until he had enough and shut off his phone. He was about to return it to its rightful position in his pocket, but came to a sudden halt, bringing it back up to his face. He swiped his thumb across his phone again, unlocking it instantly; he does not have a password on it, he does not see a need for one. He opened his text messages, which consisted of a very small amount of contacts, half of them consisting of his mother, father, and grandparents. However, there were two other contacts in his phone: Brent and Carly.
He reluctantly opened the conversation with Brent first, eyeing is with sheer intent. The last things that were said between the two seems to have taken place two days prior, where Alex replied, "see you around," after Brent had sent a decently sizable message describing a trip him and his family had just finished, saying that they were on their way home. According to the phone, that message took place at 5:37am, in which Alex replied nearly 4 hours later since he was asleep at the time, so Alex had been involuntarily believing that Brent had already returned, but never informed him.
"He is probably just busy," Alex willingly thought to himself. "Or he just doesn't want to speak to me anymore, or something." His negative state of mind has infiltrated his head, resulting in a sudden feeling of loneliness and misery. It was not a thought he had desired to have, but felt forced to have by some overwhelming presence. He honestly did not understand it, but he had accepted those involuntary thoughts as his own. He never fought back against them because he, too, believed them to be true.
His fingers pranced around the digital keyboard, typing the question, "are you back yet? Free to hang out?" His thumb loomed over the "send" icon, hesitantly deciding if he wants to ask or not. Ultimately, he did and pressed they icon, forwarding the message to Brent. He awaited a response for a long while, but got nothing. He could not help, once again, to succumb to that negative feeling he always has. The same feeling that intrudes his cranium whenever he possesses self-doubt, or even at any random moment in his life. A second sniffle erupted a small shower of tears that would rub down his cheeks and on to the sidewalk that he was still walking on.
Looking for solace, he opened the conversation with Carly, ending three hours ago when proclaimed his love to this girl in a seemingly natural way, almost like it wouldn't have been the first time he had messaged her something like this. However, his attempt at solace was all for not when he scrolled upwards in their conversation, desperately searching for anything to bring comfort to his fragile state. What he passed while voyaging in the archive of their conversation was the occasional happy and normal friendly conversation, of which was overshadowed by more romantic pleas from him, making it evident that the feelings were not mutual, nor were they ever. All along, he knew this. Even before she had said she didn't feel the same, he knew that they weren't mutual, nor would they ever be. No evidence even existed of there being a chance of a relationship occurring, but he still persisted, but in a polite and respectful manner, at the very least, and she turned him down in a delicate and friendly manner. His own acknowledgement at his respectful tone in their conversation only made him feel worse, however, and he shut off the phone, a few tears making themselves home on his screen before, in an angered rage, launched his phone over a building, uncertain as to where it landed, which he did not care.
What he did notice, however, was that, the moment he lifted his head only slightly to chuck away the phone, everything was quiet, which confused him, since there were cars driving on the street. He had voluntarily blocked everything out, only listening to the demeaning voice spewing negative comments into his mind, of which is willingly permitted. He tucked his head back facing the ground in shame and even more self-hatred; a feeling he was all too familiar with. He took a deep breath and continued walking, tears streaming down his face like a waterfall. He passed a plethora of other civilians, all of which showed evident concern for him, but he ignored them, or rather, did not hear them. He had dug himself deep into a hole of self-doubt, always involuntarily believing there was no one that enjoyed being around him, talking to him, messaging him. He felt guilty. Guilty for bothering those whom did not wish to have contact with him in any way imaginable.
He walked, and walked, and walked some more. He tuned out all other sounds, a trait of his he had practically mastered, despite him not willingly doing it. However, his negligence to hearing and refusal to look up caused him to walk on to an active road, where right in front of his foot rolled a tire that had been hardly a foot away from him. He sprung backwards, crashing down on to the solid concrete he had been walking on the entire time. He pounded his fist into the ground, bruising it slightly, but that had brought no concern to him, for he had been broken down, crying enough that he could almost drown out the roaring cars that had been slowly passing. Rather than noticing the slow moving cars, or the fact that the car that had almost killed him had stopped, he sat crying, his head facing the ground, leaning against his knees. Sound had begun flowing into his ears, but he still refused to acknowledge it, until a voice had emerged from behind him; a direction he hadn't bothered to look at.
"Are you alright, sir?" a man said, grabbing Alex's attention. He turned around and, for once, lifted his head up. The man who had asked that was the man from earlier, and his significant other had been standing right beside him, holding his hand. Not only those two were behind him, however. All types of people were standing behind him: businessmen, elderly, children, and even the mime he had come across earlier. It was like a gathering of at least 20 people, all of which he had never seen before, accompanied by two familiar faces: Brent and Carly.
Alex spun around, finally taking in his surroundings. The white vehicle that had almost ran into him was stopped, a large, shaven man staring back at him with a look of clear concern. He looked across the street where others were paying attention, hands on their hearts for reasons he had not understood.
"Dude," Brent said, regaining Alex's attention back towards to crowd behind him. "Are you alright? What's going on?" He held up his phone, showing Alex that he had responded, saying, "we actually just got back. When we are done unpacking, I will meet you at our usual spot". The message appears to have been sent not too long after Alex had thrown his phone.
"I-I-I...don't know," Alex replied, contemplation between emotions of relief and sadness.
"I never got a response back from you, so I left my house before we finished unpacking to see if you already there. When I arrived, there was this large crowd following you. Truth be told, Carly and I had just shown up before you almost got hit by that car."
"Yeah, sorry about that, by the way" the driver said. "I guess I simply wasn't paying attention. That was entirely my fault."
"Wh-w-why were all these people following me?" Alex questioned.
"You never know who could be an ally, Alex," Carly answered. She kneeled down to his level, and Brent shortly followed. "You have friends in many areas, some of which you haven't even met yet. There will always be someone there for you, as you can see. You are never alone. You are cared about, so do not let yourself think otherwise." Carly helped Alex up, and Brent shook his hand, which Alex later used to wipe away his tears. All those who were following him surrounded him, giving him pats on the back and words of encouragement.
The fact that Brent and Carly had already known about Alex's invading thoughts made her small lecture even more comforting. He had always assumed that people would never willingly confront him in a friendly manner like all those people had. His secondary voice had led him to believe that he was an annoyance; a burden. It wasn't until this very moment that he felt like his presence wasn't agonizing to others. That he could embrace a firm belief of acceptance that he wished and hoped that he could hold on to as long as he lived. That day, he had found not only his friends that he had known for years, but also friends of which he had never met. He discovered that there will always be someone for him to talk to and be around and not feel judged or excluded or wished away. That day, he had found acceptance in himself and stopped doubting himself, no matter what invasive thoughts tried to barge into his mind. That day, he turned around not only his head to the bigger picture, but also, to a greater and happier life.
Author Notes: It has truly been a long time since I had published anything on here.
This story hold a lot of different personal elements that I will not go in to; you will just have to figure them all out.
Thank you everyone who reads my stories and supports me and boosts my confidence, both here and in real life!! I likely wouldn't be doing this with the encouragement I have received.