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What's seen from atop the buildings
Author's note: I love writing, so why not?? :)
Ever lived in a town so small and independent, it hasn’t even earned itself a spot on a worldwide map yet? If you have, I’m sorry. If not, good job avoiding the hidden. I myself happen to be one of the 346 who live in the washed up city of Proverb, Washington. Proverb, Washington is kind of a hole in the wall city within a state constantly mistaken as “beautiful” and “green”. Ha. Those who say Washington is a beautiful state are boasting tourists or just plain brain dead. Washington state happens to be just as much of a hole in the wall state as the whole in the wall towns within it. Okay, since when is it a good thing to call something a beautiful shade of green? Nothing good comes out of green. Snot is green, vomit (occasionally) is green, and St. Patrick’s day is a day almost completely circulated around the wearing of green and the celebrating of a fictional “mascot” also inhabiting the shade of green. The fact we dedicate our day into pinching others for not wearing green in honor of the mystical leprechaun is half the reason why the world is crazy. The other half is thinking Washington is beautiful. Oh yeah, that’s right. I live in Proverb.
I’m always the type of girl who gets hyped up when told that we are going on some sort of heated, tropical vacation. I will literally do anything to escape this dome of rain and clouds and blah at least once a year. The sad thing is though, if I got what I wanted, we wouldn’t be living here. My mom thinks it’s incredible, and therefore will not allow us to leave for more than 4 day increments.
“I can’t wait to come back home! Deb and I are planning a spa weekend up in Proverb canyon on the 14th! Can’t you wait to see your friends, Blair?” she says. On our way out of the state. Everytime. All I can do is sigh, and nod in sarcastic appreciation at the fact that Deb and my mom go to the spa so often, I really don’t understand how they still can grow skin, and that two, I had no friends.
I go to school at Proverb Canyon High School which is literally three backyards away from my house. It’s a lot bigger than most schools in the state, which I didn’t know why until I found out that we need more space for the percentage of kids who don’t graduate, which is a screaming 30%. My class, the Juniors, are at the most awkward part of high school. Freshman don’t give a s***, Sophomores really don’t either, Juniors, though, have to spend some time deciding if they want to become part of the 70% or 30%, and Seniors usually know. If they can’t decide, essentially, they just become part of the stretching 30%. Unlike every other egotistical book, movie, or TV show you watch, I actually devote time into enjoying school. It’s really interesting, if you care enough to not fall asleep during one of Proverb Canyon’s state known lectures. Those suck.
Proverb canyon looks a little bit like a jail house. The outside is coated with chipped, mahogany and faded gray bricks that build up higher and higher unevenly on different sides. Each classroom is separated by subject, so if you have ancient civilizations in room 600, then you’re next semester worth of social studies will be designated in that pod. Same for different performing arts, which somehow public speaking managed to work it’s way into that pod. There are a lot of somehow’s in Washington.
There’s this library that’s even more hole in the wall than the hole in the wall city it’s in in the hole in the wall state of Washington. It’s called Rankin Bookstore and & Breakfast Cafe. Or, at least, that’s what the sign says. It creaks, and it’s cracked, and it’s absolutely fantastic. I love the library more than I love the Batman Trilogy, which is dedication in its strongest form. My favorite is that of the sci-fi mystery section, but my all time favorite is hands down the cheesy, lovey dovey teen section that is now labeled, “Vampire Fantasy”. There are 3 shelves per section, each column being about 12 feet tall, and horizontally, congruent. They’re made of cheap wood that creaks more than the sign out front, and the older women that work behind the checkout desk. There’s a little wheely stool that migrates around the library, and it’s a hunt to find it. To your own surprise, it’s always full in Rankin library with kids attending the university down the street for the comeback 30%. My favorite spot to sit in the library is in the back. The way back, where there are no chairs for sitting or computers for working or people for talking. It’s just floor, and it’s always just me, luckily. But, if I’m lucky, sometimes I get a direct sneak peek at the people hooking up on top of the Sarah Dessen books. It’s Sarah Dessen, though, and it’s easily more exciting to make out on her books than to waste time reading them.
After school, on a Tuesday, I make my way anxiously to Rankin Library to, hopefully, get my astronomy homework done. I had to sit in the section with the computers for working, which really disappointed me. The lady in the front, Ms. Montegar, had half her head appearing over the desk and the other half doing who knows what. I came in at 4 on the dot.
“Is that you, Blair?” she creaks, like I’d said she would.
“Mmhmm.” I mumble, barely letting out a sound compared to the dangerously loud music blaring in my ear. My hands tugged at the inside of my black North Face’s heated pockets.
“Could you lend me a hand?” She whined, exposing the rest of her head, but barely cutting below her chin. I flopped my backpack to the ground in assurance, and she nodded me a thank you as I made my way to the back.
“Put these in Adult Sci-Fi. It’s in the back corner, by Adult Mystery,” croaking, she motioned a finger to the back, encompassing the corner she’d instructed me to. Ms. Montegar hadn’t a name, or a husband, from what I know. She always felt the need to point with her left ring finger when drawing attention to a person, place, or thing because she says she’d never had the heart to lie using the finger that only connects to her heart. She says she can’t explain why because George would be disappointed. I asked her why, and she was never 100% straight forward, but I managed to piece together everything. Her real name is Grace, and she used to live in Czech Republic, which is one of the most random life destinations which made you engaged in every story she’d tell about the country. She did indeed have a husband, and his name was George. Grace & George didn’t seem too exciting, but their love story was like that of Indiana Jones meets Lara Croft. Unfortunately, George had been more adventure seeking than Grace was as the days went by and their marriage got even more in depth. He wanted to do everything, but she didn’t want anything. It was always “we” for her, and never independent. He decided, before he dies, he wants to taste victory and claim it as his own, and joined the army. George got shipped almost overnight just a week later, miraculously, and Grace had no idea he was leaving at all until he was gone. The only note he left said something along these lines;
Nothing is forever, and I have realized in the darkest times that the safety of you and I will indeed not last forever unless I put forth effort. Hopefully, I’ll see you soon.
And didn’t sign the damn sheet. Grace, weeks later, found out that he’d been shot repeatedly in the hip, puncturing all important organs within the area of his right hip, killing him slowly in 5 hour increments, until finally, he gave up. She didn’t cry. It hasn’t occurred to her that she needs to because she is still taking his word to heart.
Hopefully, I’ll see you soon.
Tattooed on the inside cavity of her ring finger. The whole anticipation of waiting for something to come back that allegedly will never return made her lose her mind, and start forgetting things. Sometimes, you’ll hear her whispering what he’d told her, if you listen close enough.
“Sure thing. Anything else? I can take the whole box, actually. I don’t really have anything else to do.” I mumbled, again. She smiled, revealing 2 silver teeth and a row of yellow painted teeth. But they were straight. Ms. Montegar handed me a second box with blue masking tape on the top, securing that the two flaps stay together. It said, “Teen Fiction”.
Vampire Fantasy, I thought.
While storing away the teen fiction books in the section the books belonged, I noticed it’s label. Teen fiction. But, 99.9% of these books included the element of love. I couldn’t help but think, why is adult fiction labeled “Adult Romance”? It had always been so irrational when my mom would always tell me that people under 21 can’t love another person. She had assured that her point was clear, and that was that you can’t be in love if you’re still a kid. I would nod like I always do, taking in her opinion, but rejecting the fact in her story. They label it “teen fiction” because they are convinced it isn’t for real, and that it’s all just for fun. Ridiculous, I’d think.
I sat criss crossed at a used computer, with brown spots on the keyboard from poor hygiene of the technology. Astrology homework was like a break, because it didn’t require any effort but the efforts of Google Chrome. We were talking, basically, about why. The whole class was surrounded by why but not how, because how always ruins imagination. But so did learning about stars and what they’re made of and not just thinking what we have thought since we were kids. The astronomy teacher, Mr. Pager, assigned this interminable stress inducing project that is in fact due the day after it was initially assigned. It was on Jupiter’s moons, and we had to pick one that seemed super significant or one that really spoke to us (somehow) and write a poem and/or fanfiction (somehow). Like I’d said, the world involves a handful of somehow’s.
It was a Tuesday, and like most Tuesday’s at Proverb High, it was the most slammed day of the entire week. Regardless of the fact that I’d finished my astrology homework just a few minutes into my time at the library and that it was April, the second to last month before I’d officially become a senior, I had homework in every single class. My stay at the library ended up being wildly extended to 8:00 exactly. I had a thing with being early, because (here’s another why) why would you feel the need to be late?
“Blair, honey, it’s 8:00. I am locking up. Do you still need the computer?” Ms. Montegar whispered from behind the back counter, only exposing yet again, half her head. She felt the need to whisper, even though the library was completely empty.
“I still need the computer, if that’s okay. You can leave the key by the book slot. I’ll lock up!” I yelled back, and out of impulse, she shushed me. I’d been able to move the desktop computer down onto the floor, double checking that all of that each chord was in the correct outlet that was connected to the carpeted floor. I lock up all the time, almost every time, actually. But Ms. Montegar still sees no need to ask me if I’d like to be employed. Although, you can’t really prove you’re good for the job if all you can do is shut a door and twist a key.
“Just make sure you’re home by 9:15, sweetie. I’ll see you tomorrow.” And she was gone with the door blowing in a cloud of snow flakes just to land on the floor and soak it. It was creepy being in the library alone. It might have been a hole in the wall place, but that is just for social status in Proverb. It’s ultimately 3 stories high, each level becoming less and less interesting as it goes. There’s my associated level, where there are actually people who come to the library for the appropriate reasons, Then there is level two, where it’s a little less posh and ready-to-go as mine with the occasionally paper airplane fly from above the railing only to land on top of one of the 12 foot bookshelves, and then level three, which could easily be mistaken as a college dorm. That, I can say honestly, is one level where it wouldn’t surprise me if someone found a portal to hell under a shelf.
Ms. Montegar’s voice still registered from outside, and she sounded enthusiastic about telling someone that we were closed. But nope, apparently, there’s always room for one more. The door swung open again, blowing in 10 times more snow than before, staining the carpet underneath this person’s beaten shoes. They were vans, and I hated them. Checkered vans, I might add. Green. I could add that, too.
“Thanks.” A voice echoed from across the room, but it didn’t occur to me that there was a point at looking at anything else but the sad fact in front of me that this person seriously needed new shoes. It was a male voice.
But then, this person was gone. I craned my neck around, nearly breaking it when suddenly they disappeared behind the dwarfing columns. There footsteps still tapped against the ground, and I didn’t really trust this setting at all.
1. Nearly delusional teacher allows kind stranger to vaguely just come in the library at 8:00 sharp. Keep in mind the use of stranger.
2. He becomes a shadow, and suddenly disappears.
3. and I think I’m gonna die.
He reappeared after 2 minutes of my irrational freaking out. Rounding the corner, my assumed “he” was indeed correct. A hood was wrapped stubbornly around his head, black, straight hair sweeping below his eyebrows. His sweatshirt was just black, and apparently just enough to make his appearance rather boring and nothing too exciting. He had a, ugh, green backpack slung over his shoulder and it weighed down his entire left side. His figure was tiny. Well, not tiny tiny, but he obviously didn’t really care at all about muscle tone. But neither did I. Backpack launching to the ground, he slammed himself down as well just a couple measurable feet away from me. I wanted to say something about personal space until I realized I was staring at him for like, 5 minutes.
“Hi.” He whispered, under the same spell that we weren’t alone.
He nodded, pulling his hood down, and flipping his hair. Drips of water fell to the floor, and more than I had expected. His skin was extremely pale. In Washington, no one is expecting you to have a golden tan, but where I go to school, one shade below Ivory is considered California Made. Talk about 3 shades above average here. It was insane, and in a way, I was weirdly jealous.
“What are you doing here?” He said, tone changing to more assertive. He acted as though he owned the library.
“I was thinking the same thing, coincidentally.” I smiled the fakest smile I could pull off, and he mocked me completely.
And then it was awkward as hell.
“Astronomy.” I mumbled under my breath, almost a sigh. He didn’t even bother to look up at all, but stuck to a standardized textbook. I wanted to laugh at the fact that he had to be stuck using, well, reusing books ages old while my school was modernized with technology and stuff, but I decided not to. He didn’t hear me.
“You asked what I was doing and I’m saying that I’m doing astronomy.”
“Ah. I see. Well, cool.” He raised his eyebrows. He pursed his lips. I kind of had no intent to do anything else but just watch.
“In case you’re wondering, I’m writing.” He stated matter-of-factly. I rolled my eyes.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Oliver Andrew Gray.” he said without hesitance.
“Right. Well, Oliver Gray. I wasn’t wondering at all, in case you’re wondering. In fact I could care less.” I didn’t mean to be a b****, but sometimes a b**** can’t help but be a b****. He was quiet for a while, but I watched the corner of his mouth crumble into a smile, slowly, but sure.
“I know you were. If I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t have told you, but I knew you did, so I did.” he grinned maniacally. He had his lip pierced, and in its place was a tiny black stud. I hated thinking it, but a girl can’t help but think if someone is attractive, and Oliver, well, he was kinda hot. But I didn’t know him.
I rolled my eyes again, but this time smiling. Then, it dropped dead into an intimidating feel of awkward silence, again.
His pencil managed to make the most annoying sounds ever. He scribbled out everything he wrote down, and it made me start to wonder why he was even writing at all if he took everything back. I continually looked at him when he’d keep scratching away at the busted up notepad he had, and eventually, he caught me. He chuckled.
“You’re trying to work, sorry. I better get going anyways. I’ll see you around.” We waved his hand, slinging over his backpack. He looked my age-ish, if not older. But I’ve never seen him before now, which was weird because the wallflowers tend to notice the most. Like today, I noticed Kimberly Markus pluck this nasty ass black hair from her top lip through a childish mirror in her locker. But, if we’re lucky, us wallflowers will notice things we actually could live without noticing. But I have noticed, and I’ve never seen him.
He paused right before sliding into the shadows, furrowing his eyebrows.
“Why are you here so late?”
I tried not to stutter, but his gaze was dead on me. His eyes were strikingly blue, and the dark hair really complimented them. It was a total cliche that, you know, I was lost in his eyes, but really, they were beautiful. I was in mid thought when I realized he was waiting for my response so he could leave.
“Why’d you come so late?” I whispered.
“Because I felt the need to.” He was serious, until I saw him break into a smile.