The Unsatisfactory Response | Teen Ink

The Unsatisfactory Response

April 28, 2022
By ImogeneLeneham, San Jose, California
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ImogeneLeneham, San Jose, California
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Author's note:

My name is Imogene , I was born in Brisbane Australia and raised in California. I am currently a Senior in highschool. I have always been drawn to reading dark mystery novels which is wear my inspiration comes from. My parents and teachers inspired me to use my creativity to write stories. This story has been the one story I have spent the most time on and the most proud of. 

Everyone looks at me weird, judging the way I walk, talk, dress, probably more than just that, but no matter what I can always feel the glare of their eyes. 

I’ve always known I was different, but will never truly understand what it is that makes me different. Mum and Dad have been taking me to the psych ward ever since I was seven for tests though. 

I know you’re probably thinking, “why at seven?” Well you see when I was seven I just took a laundry hose clamp and tightened it around the neighbors cat's neck. I thought I was doing everyone a favor by shutting up that pesky animal. When it happened, a lot of people started crying and begging at my feet asking me why I did it. I just stared blankly at them, saying “Isn’t it for the best?” 

That’s when the tests started. Every couple of weeks I am coerced into going back to the same old damn hospital, stuck in a room for a couple days doing tests that seem absolutely pointless. I’ve been told on multiple occasions that I’m something called a schizophrenic. My parents' faces appear petrified and pale everytime we get the same news, but I never know how to react, so I just stare back, it seems like the only logical thing to do. 

I don’t understand what being a schizophrenic has to deal with why people look at me funny, but Mum and Dad always tell me to never mention it to anyone and to try to stay away from those at school. 

I have barely had any friends in the past nine years all because I stay away from everyone no matter how badly I want to be near human contact or even have a conversation with another teen. I want to, I just can’t.

I try to just block out everyone and keep my head down. My parents always say to me, “head down keeps you sound.” How am I supposed to live a normal life if I can’t even socialize with people, I just want a normal high school experience of having a ton of friends and falling in love. 

There is one girl though. I just have to look at her. Any room I walk in, I have to veer around looking to see if she is there. 

Her hair is so bright that it catches the corner of my eye in an instant. The vibrant, violet, hair strands framing her face, framing the magnificent bone structure of her jaw and cheek bones. The way the sun hits her face, lighting up her emerald green eyes, while simultaneously warming her face in a blush mesmerized me.

Just describing her makes me want to jump as high as I can and fall back down, just to feel all of the adrenaline course through my body, making the nerves on my skin tingle. I love that feeling. It makes me feel normal, like I’m just like everyone around me. 

I decided to make goals for myself this week, even though my parents may not approve, I want to talk to Maeve, the girl, and say “Hi” to people in the halls. I don’t care about following my parents' words anymore. Whatever this “schizophrenia” thing is, doesn’t matter, I’m going to do what I please to make myself happy and feel that rush of adrenaline that makes me normal.

* * *

It’s the beginning of the week and I’m feeling pumped and wound up, prepared to reach my goals.

School typically starts around 9 am but I know that Maeve gets there early because she likes to sit and read outside in the courtyard before class. I’m going to get there soon after she does so that I have a private moment to talk to her. 

I told my Mum that I was going to talk to a teacher about an upcoming assignment so that she would take me to school early and not have to worry about me talking to others. Even though that’s exactly what I would be doing, I would need to do it behind her back. 

She sat with her knees tucked up to her chest while both of her dainty hands gripped the book close to her face, while she sat at a circular picnic bench. She decided to wear a beanie today, oh how she looked so comfortable. It made me just want to hug her from behind. I didn’t.

I stared in amazement at her for probably five minutes before I decided to come out from behind the tree in the distance. With a loud exhale, I held the straps of my backpack on my shoulders, and began to take slow strides over. 

“Hey… uh Maeve… What book are you reading?” My voice trembled because of my nerves but I tried my best to hide it.

“ Oh Hi. uh it’s Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin,” she said in a gentle tone. 

“Oh cool, isn’t that a romance novel.” 

“Yeah it is, they’re my favorite.” 

I wasn’t sure how to continue the conversation so I asked “We have a history test coming up this week, do you think you could help me study since I missed some classes?”

With some hesitation she responded “Yeah sure we can meet at the library next to the campus after school a couple days leading up to the test.”  

Her saying that made my face light up with excitement.

“Perfect, I’ll see you today and Tuesday then,” I said in agreement and turned over my shoulder and walked away, still holding my basic, black Jansport backpack. 

Walking away in earnest to write this all down, I decided to go into an empty classroom to wait for school to start. I couldn’t get over the way those eyes looked at me, like I was normal. She’s probably the first person to ever look at me like that. I don’t even get that from my parents. With a sigh of relief, I realized how special she is to me and that I never want to lose her kind, pure soul.

I thought about her non-stop the rest of the school day; I was left stuck in a loop of day dreams during each class. Oh those eyes. I can’t get over those eyes, or that smile. Oh that perfect, minty, white smile. She is a vision of perfection and that is all I see, a beauty with no flaws.

Today, it felt like everyone was glaring at me with disapproval as if they knew a worthless creature like me had spoken and made plans with a magnificent being like Maeve. I tried not to ponder on it though. I was too focused on the overall fact that I got a chance to see her and maybe even fall in love.

I paced myself walking over to the library. I didn’t want to get there before her because all my nerves were jittery. With a deep breath I grasped the sturdy, metal handle and opened the heavy library door. I took another breath with each subtle step. I saw her sitting in the far, right corner at a large table, with no one around. The silence left me to hear my thoughts: wow all this time alone together. Could she feel the same way about me? Could I finally be in love? What are the chances this goes well? 

As I sat down next to her, she veered up from our textbook saying, “Are you ready to get to work?” I responded enthusiastically with “Most certainly.” We then spent the next few hours flipping through pages of revolution. We made flashcards that touched base on specific historical dates along with what certain events. This was the exact routine that we maintained for the next couple of days, leading up to the test. 

* * *

It’s test day. Days and hours of studying with the most magnificent girl there must be worth it. Even though I was supposed to actually focus on the work, I spent most of our sessions staring at her and fantasizing about the possibility of us having a future together. 

Heading into the test, I somehow felt prepared in a sense, maybe it was just because I can connect everything we discussed to a certain expression she gave me. Like when she would ask me what date an event was, if I would get it right she would nod her head in agreement and look up to me with a smile saying “Yes.” 

I finished the test quickly for some odd reason that I couldn’t really explain. I have never received a good grade on any test, my mind just wanders and can’t recall almost anything. Plus, there is always something rattling in the vents like some creature that crawls and wags its tail back and forth, creating a clanging sound as it hits the sturdy sides. On occasion I would see the creature run past the classroom and I would just get out of the cold, metal chair and bolt after it, always leaving my stuff behind. I could never catch it though, I didn’t even know what it was but the fact that it is a mystery to me makes it even more appealing to go after. 

Away from that tangent now, Mrs Alister, our history teacher, typically would give our tests back by the end of the period. Since I finished slightly early, I sat waiting with both feet planted on the floor and my thin Number 2 pencil in the nooks of my dry hand, twirling in and out from between my fingers. I enjoyed watching the ends of the pencil go in a circular motion as it seemed to go in an infinite loop. It relaxes me and is the only time I can focus on one thing and forget my surroundings. 

The bell rang forcefully in my ears, announcing that the class period was over. Mrs. Alister stood firmly by the door as we stood in a line waiting for her to hand each test as we walked out the door. Maeve was ahead of me in the line unfortunately so I was unable to be close to her presence when she got her results back. She seemed pleased as she headed out the door. As Mrs. Alister handed me my test, I began to feel anxious about looking. With a deep breath I slowly turned the pages over to view a glorious B+. I had never even gotten higher than a C before, it is all because of Maeve that I got this grade. I then looked up from my paper to look around the halls to go up and tell her how well I did. Oh how I have actually fallen in love with this beautiful girl. I saw her down at the end about to turn into the next hall. I rushed past the other students while they stared at my gruesome self. I approached Maeve and tapped her on her shoulder to get her attention. With loud exhales from being out of breath, I flipped my paper to show her my results, saying, “Look Maeve we did it! We did so well!” She answered with “Good job, I'm proud of you.” “It’s all because of you really, I couldn’t have done it without you and your brilliant brain. You’re the reason I’m happy too, I think I’m honestly in love with you,” I confessed. She replied with an “Oh thank you” and a cold shoulder as she glared at me with dissatisfaction at the words I had just spoken. How could she just respond with three words? That doesn’t make any sense. I was so certain that she felt the same way after all the time we spent together at the library, so close to each other, entangled in each other's presence. How could things turn south so suddenly?

Rage began to seize through my body making me feel like I was about to explode. After her response I stormed out of the school to be picked up immediately. There was no way I would be able to see her again after that response. 

I stumbled into my fathers car with confusion. I didn’t say a word during the car ride home but my father had asked if I was okay and I just responded with a head shake saying no. I walked into the house aggressively opening and closing doors as I passed through them. Dropping my backpack on the richitey, wooden floor with a loud bang, I sat down at my study desk and whipped out a notebook. 

Frantically trying to process what has just happened, I decided to plot an execution towards this bitch ass of a girl. How would I do it though? Oh I know! I know exactly where her house is and the route she takes home. I can tie that rancid scarf she wears so often around her throat, strangling her. But wait I don't know if the scarf will be able to maintain my sturdy grip. I could bring some rope with me as well to help reinforce it, I know my father keeps some downstairs with our camping supplies. Oh how this could be a marvelous crime. I can envision seeing her body squirm with a sense to save herself and the pure emotion of fear bursting through her eyes. 

This can take place tomorrow night when she’s walking home from the library. They're is a small pasture of trees on her walk home that I could hide her body in. It’s right before the weekend as well, what a perfect time for a disappearance. 

 * * *

Today is this day, ah the glorious day of victory. Maybe this will make me happy unlike the false happiness she gave me. 

I decided not to go to school today since I had a long night ahead. Thank God my parents didn’t question me about it, they probably just thought I was having a rough day with my “schizophrenia.” I still needed to figure out a way to get out of the house though, so that I could follow through my plan. 

I decided to just tell my parents that I was going to take a walk to the library to get a book that I needed for a project I just made up. It’s not like I was going to be walking around people so there was no way they wouldn’t let me out. 

Yes, they let me out just like I knew they would. It was a bit chilly outside so I put on my dark maroon hoodie with a black beanie, perhaps she would not recognize me like this either. I have always been pleasured by late night walks alone with the simple noises of the world to surround me. I looked around as I was walking, seeing the street lights flicker and emit a buzz of electricity along with the sound of car engines starting and humming along. 

I can’t get over the fact that Maeve doesn’t feel the same way. How could she not feel the same way? Was she actually looking at me with disgrace the entire time we were together? She must have been, but how could I have not seen this. I could’ve sworn she looked at me the same way I looked at her, in complete awe. Whatever, it doesn’t matter anymore anyways. 

I became giddy with excitement and began to walk fast as I clenched the rough rope  in my pocket to hide its appearance. No one is out right now so this really is the perfect time to do this. I was close to the library when a sudden feeling of uncertainty washed over me. Why was I doing this? How could I change my mind so fast? She really is a wonderful person, there is no way I could actually go through with this. I don’t even think I deserve to look at her anymore. I was finally seeing myself the way others see me, an utterly ugly monster full of disappointment and embarrassment.

I think I am the one who needs to suffer. Instead of stopping near the library I approached my quiet school next to it.  There is a tree on the front lawn that looks just perfect for this moment. I climbed up the tree with tears in my eyes reaching a high enough point that I was far enough from the ground. As I leaned against the tree, standing on a branch, I slowly withdrew the rope from my pocket and tied a perfect noose, placing it over my head, then tying it around the long, thick branch that hung above me. All sturdy, all perfect. With yet another deep breath I would jump. I jumped.

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