Author Topic: Reality's Illusion - A True Story  (Read 930 times)

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Offline Slushie Man

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Reality's Illusion - A True Story
« on: December 26, 2008, 11:25:03 PM »
Each and every one of us is constantly fooled by a very common illusion. When things are going great for us, we feel like nothing bad can touch us - but that is only an illusion, as ALL things that as ever made us happy, has eventually, or will eventually, come to an end as its yanked from us. This is Reality's Illusion - that we are not as untouchable as the  mental drug called Happiness would lead us to belief, and that an unseen, untangible force is waiting to yank that illusion away from us - could be five minutes from no, could be tomorrow, could be two years from now, but it WILL end.

I remember the events that took place in my second year of Junior High very vividly. I was in Grade Eight then, and I remember them as if it happened only recently. I tell you this story, in hopes that you become aware of what you have while you have it, and to cherish each moment of it while it lasts.

Because it won’t last forever.


***

St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, 1999

The dull-yellow school bus slowed to a stop as it pulled up in front of a two-story school. All around the parked bus, various other vehicles of all makes and years slowed to let other students out, and then sped up again as they drove away. The bus itself was covered in a mixture of dirt and mud, staining the yellow appearance. The other vehicles that drove by after having dropped their younger occupants off at the school, splashed more mud onto the bus which didn’t help with its growing ugliness.

The front doors of the bus squeaked open, unleashing the anxious hoard of students wanting to stand up and stretch their legs. However, those students quickly found out just how cold of a day it really was, and really should have had enough common sense to realize that it was the normal temperature for a February day in Newfoundland.

Pure white snow lightly blanketed the ground around them, but not enough of it to stop the top of the longer yellow and brown grass from poking out the top. There were even some small patches where the snow had melted during a short heat streak the week before. Of course that was before the sub-zero temperatures had returned to re-freeze the land.

As students stepped off the bus and onto the wet, muddy, and slushy ground, those without warm jackets quickly began shivering. Their breaths could be seen in the cold air as the carbon dioxide left their mouths like smoke from a sideways chimney.

Among that group of shivering students making their way inside the warm school as quickly as possible, were Roberta Hammond and Ryan Miller, the former thirteen-years old and the latter fourteen-years-old. Roberta and Ryan lived in the same small town called Portugal Cove, which was about a twenty minute drive outside of the massive city named St. John’s. The small town was best known for its close proximity to the only Ferry boat that traveled over to the smaller island known as Bell Island and back twice a day.
 
The two teenagers were both good friends and had been for most of their lives. They had lived just down the street from each other their entire lives and attended the same schools while they grew up. Although despite their closeness, they hardly ever hung out together when not in school. Outside of school, they were just as far apart as they were close friends in school. They weren’t really similar in any way, and didn’t have the same interests at all, so they’re after-school lives never crossed paths too often.

They walked with the rest of the students through the thick metal entrance doors, hurriedly getting out of the nipping cold air and into something a bit warmer. Once inside the main porch, they scraped their shoes against the floor to wipe all excess mud and snow off. The floor was already covered in mud and melting snow from the dozens of previous students that had already been through. Ryan sniffled his nose and wiped some dripping mucus away as they continued on through the second set of large metal doors and into their busy school, MacDonald Drive Junior High.

Once inside the school, the group broke apart and everyone went their own separate ways, melting themselves into the already-huge crowd of student bodies that populated the narrow halls. Roberta and Ryan were two of the people that separated from each other as Ryan went straight for his locker and Roberta started her morning ritual of meeting her boyfriend at his locker, before continuing on to her own.
As Ryan reached his locker, he took out a Kleenex and wiped some more of that yucky running snot from his nose before he started to turn his lock, creating the combination he needed to make in order to open his locker. Just as he entered in the correct combination - something that usually took multiple tries but this time he got on his first shot, I walked up to my own locker, which was located right next to my best friends'.

After our daily morning greetings to each other, Ryan asked me, “What do we have first?” He unslung his bookbag and began to empty out its contents into his locker.

“Hang on a sec,” I replied as I removed my black sunglasses from my eyes and placed them in the inside pocket of my blue jean jacket. I then took several minutes and three attempts to succeed in getting my combination right and opened my locker. On the inside of my door, I had my weekly class schedule taped up. “What day is it?” I asked Ryan as I stared at the seven days on the schedule.

“Tuesday,” Ryan replied, thinking I meant the day of the week, as he removed his jacket and hung it up in his own locker.

“No! I mean, what Day!” I emphasized so he understood what I meant.

“Oh. Day Four.”

“Ok, let’s see...” I hung up my own jacket as I looked at his schedule. “We have Math first.” I didn’t even bother trying to hide the disappointment in my voice. Both of us hated Math more then any other school subject; it had always been our worse subject and it didn’t help that we had to go to a treacherous summer school the previous summer in order to pass Grade Seven Math.

"****," Ryan swore as we pulled out their Math text books and placed them inside their bookbags. Rather Ryan placed his inside his bookbag and I threw mine in, not caring what papers it squished.

“Valentines Day is tomorrow,” Ryan stated as we closed and locked our lockers. “Have anyone special in mind?”

“No,” I quickly lied as we turned and walked away, pushing our way through the crowded hallway. I secretly harbored a huge crush on Ryan's friend Roberta, but had never told a single soul. I hardly ever got to hang out with her because she was a grade below me – which at that age is a huge deal - and the only times I had managed to hang out with her was due to her and Ryan sometimes hanging out once in awhile.

I knew I couldn’t date Roberta though, even if by some miracle I gathered up enough courage to ask her out. Roberta was already dating a guy named Shane, who was in the same grade she was and thus closer to her age. They had been dating ever since the beginning of that school year and he was able to spend far more time with her then I ever could. You see, my mother was extremely strict about me dating, and often said that she didn’t want to see me dating until I was older and more mature - a place in the future that would never arrive as far as she was concerned, I often thought to myself.

Ryan and I reached one of the many staircases and began to walk up it when we were greeted by one of our friends, Justin Lundrigan, who had been walking down the stairs and was passing by them. All three stopped on the platform in the middle of the staircase to congregate.

I had been friends with Justin ever since Grade Three when I first moved to the city and was put in his Elementary class. Even though we grew slightly apart in Junior High, we still hung out from time to time, and at least I had found a new best friend in Ryan.

“You guys going to the Pond at lunch?” Justin questioned us as he straightened his loose-fitting glasses. Justin and his group of friends usually went across the street at Lunch to a pond with a walking trail around it. There was also a large square-shaped wooden Gazebo, which had a short wall about half the size of an average person. Inside it was a circular bench attached to the wall. On top of the wall were four struts, holding up a flat roof. The roof consisted of a bunch of thick boards going across, with enough space between them to fit a pair of fingers through; it was the perfect little hangout for us.

However there was one downfall to all of it; on the other side of the pond, there was a wide grassy field - Or rather, grassy in the summer as at the moment it was covered in a blanket of snow. On the other side of that field was a second Junior High School known as Mary Queen of Peace. Although the word Peace was associated in the title of the school, the students that attended that school didn’t seem to know the meaning of it. They were very protective of the Pond and often referred to it as their pond. As you could probably guess, that didn’t exactly bode well for students from MacDonald Drive.

“I probably am,” Ryan answered. He almost always went over with Justin and his friends every day, despite me usually never going.

“I’m not,” I politely declined.

“Why not?” Justin asked. “You never come with us.”

“Yeah,” Ryan added on. “All you do here anyway is walk around the halls when you’re done eating.” Ryan used to eat lunch with me, and while he never out and out told me, it was obvious that he began to find the constant hall-walking boring after awhile, which I always assumed was why he ended up going over to the Pond with Justin just about every day lately.

“I just don’t want to go.” My parents have always been extremely strict and so when they told me that they didn’t like me leaving the school grounds during my lunch hour, I knew better then to disobey them. However I never told any of my friends that because I was scared of being embarrassed and that they would tease me; the last thing I wanted was for my friends to start calling me a Momma’s-Boy. I already had enough crap to deal with from the people that didn't like me.

“Suit yourself,” Justin shrugged. I always found that if something didn’t affect him too much, he never really cared what other people did. He never could bring himself to worry about other people’s actions that didn't affect him in some way.

“See you guys later,” Justin said as he turned and continued on down the stairs as Ryan and myself continued up.

***

We walked through the doorway into the badly-carpeted Math room. Mr. Kerry Park, our tall bushy-haired teacher sat behind his desk, marking papers and sipping on a cup of coffee. There were a few other scattered students around the room, but not nearly enough to fill all the desks. Of course the morning bell hadn’t rung yet, so the majority of students were still wandering the halls and hanging out.

We greeted one of our most-hated teachers with dread as we walked past his desk and approached our seats of torture.

Mr. Park glanced up to see who had greeted him and returned with a pleasant “Good Morning,” before looking back down and continuing with his marking.

Ryan sat in his hard plastic seat first and then I proceeded to plump down in the adjacent seat. We unzipped our bookbags and unloaded our Math text books and supplies onto our desks. I turned to talk to him, but the morning bell rang, signifying the start of class.

Mr. Park quickly finished with his marking as the remainder of the class walked into the room and prepared for our daily lesson - or daily ride through Hell as a few of us saw it as.

***

Eighty long minutes later, the dreadful Math class ended and all the students, including myself, made our way to our lockers to get our  books for the next class, which was Options.

At the beginning of the School Year, all students had to choose between three courses – Industrial Arts, Computers, or Home Economics, for the Options time slot. Myself and Ryan, along with a few others in our class had chosen Industrial Arts, so while most of the class split apart, a small group headed directly to the I.A. room.

As we approached the wooden door located at the bottom of a couple small steps, it opened and the tiny Grade Seven class that had been in there before us started leaving. Among these people were Roberta and her boyfriend Shane, who had his arm around Roberta’s side, holding her snuggly against him. Also with them, were Roberta’s two best friends, Megan who had thick glasses and curly blonde hair, and Jolene who always dressed in dark colors and usually wore black lipstick. To top it all off, she also had pitch black hair. Ryan and I often referred to Jolene as a vampire because of the dark colors she always wore and her emo anti-social personality.

“Hi,” Roberta greeted Ryan as she passed by him.

“Hey Roberta, sup?” Ryan returned the greeting. As we walked inside the room, I stole a quick glance back at Roberta as her and her friends walked down the hall and disappeared around the corner.
Even though I knew from long before that point that I could never have her, I figured there at least wasn’t anything wrong with looking and daydreaming either.

***

When Lunch started later that day, Ryan and I met up with Justin and his friend, who was known only by his nickname of Weasel, in the hall near the exit doors.

Weasel was a tall lanky friend of Justin's that came from Sadie Arabia when he was a small kid, however because he had been living in Canada most of his life, he spoke fluent English. No one ever called him by his real name though as it was far too hard for most people to pronounce, but if one was to describe him as an animal based off his looks, it would be a weasel; nickname courtesy of myself.

“Jeff’s going to hang with us until we leave,” Ryan explained to Justin and Weasel.

“That’s cool,” Justin said back. “We’ve got to wait around for a bit for the others anyway.”
“What others?” Ryan was confused as it was normally just him, Justin, and Weasel.

“Them,” Justin pointed. I turned with Ryan to look down an adjacent hall and see Jolene, Megan, Shane, and most importantly Roberta, approaching us.

I immediately turned back to Justin. “I changed my mind. I’m going.” **** my parents.
Our group exited the school and walked across the wide soccer field, avoiding the ball that was being kicked by the kids playing lunchtime soccer. We reached a sidewalk and waited at the busy street for the traffic to die down.

Megan, impatient as ever, went over and pushed a button on the light pole. After a couple seconds, the green lights above the traffic turned to red and a cross walk sign lit up, indicating for us to cross. We did so and when we got to the other side, we walked down to the walking trail and walked part-way around the slightly-frozen pond until we reached our lunchtime haven - the Gazebo.

We sat on the bench lining the inside of the structure and took our food out to start eating. The day had warmed up a bit since the morning as the sun rose higher in the sky and the little amount of snow that was there had starting to melt. The blinding sun, with not a single cloud in the sky to block it, also shinned straight in our eyes, making each of the others probably wish they brought sunglasses with them. Of course I always had mine inside my jacket at all times, for such an occasion.

After we were all done eating, I joined Justin, Ryan, Weasel, and Jolene - trying to prove like usual that girls can do whatever guys do - up on top of the Gazebo and we took turns running and jumping off, landing in a soft patch of snow on the ground below.

As I waited patiently for my turn to make the big leap, I glanced down through the spaces between the boards of wood that we were standing on, and saw Megan, Roberta, and Shane sitting on the bench and I watched them looking out over the side of the low wall while they watched the others all jump off the roof.

Shane had his arm around Roberta’s shoulders and she was cuddling up comfortably next to him. When I spotted this, I scowled and evil thoughts involving Shane and painful death entered my mind.

Megan stood up, throwing her garbage in a nearby stone trashcan and walked over to Jolene, who had just jumped off the Gazebo. They talked to each other for a minute, although I was too high up to hear their conversation, and then they turned back to us. “We’re going to the Dollar Store before Lunch ends,” Jolene informed them.

“Ok, meet you guys back at school,” Roberta said as they walked away.

Deciding I had no yet been caught spying on them, and figured that gave me at least another few good seconds, I looked down again and spotted Roberta and Shane pleasantly kissing. I instantly felt my heart sink and a pang of jealousy shoot through my body. Many thoughts began to clutter my mind; thoughts of Roberta, thoughts of me and Roberta, thoughts of me being with Roberta. I had no control over them and quickly got lost in them, even though I knew none of them could ever come true.

Later on, Justin would swear up and down that he shouted at me to hurry up and jump, however I never heard him, as I had been zoned out and too lost in my own thoughts.
 
When I failed to pay attention to him, Justin must have felt anxious at wanting to get a few more good jumps in before having to go back to the school, and so he felt the need to push me off the edge.

***

“I’m really sorry!” Justin apologized profusely, sitting next to me in the Nurse’s Office of our school. As I held a freezing ice pack firmly against my arm, I just glared back at Justin.

“What?” Justin asked, duly noting my death gaze. “I seriously am! Who could have guessed you were going to miss the snow and hit the only part where there were rocks sticking up?”

Ok, let's back track slightly. After Justin immaturely shoved me off the top of the Gazebo, I had landed on some rather large and sharp rocks below and sprained my arm. We had all returned to the school and they felt it was best to bring me to the Nurse’s office – a request I was definitely not going to argue with. After we told the Nurse what had happened, she scolded us for being immature and ranted on about how we should have known better then to be ‘horsing around’ on top of that structure.

The others sat around in the room to make sure I was ok, however when the bell rang, they all got to their feet and stretched.

“See you after class,” Ryan said as they started to leave me alone in the Nurse’s office.

“Take care, man,” Shane said as he walked out of the room with his arm around Roberta. I just glared at them as they filed out; the way I saw it at the time, it was Shane’s fault the entire thing happened anyway. After all, if he hadn’t been kissing Roberta, I wouldn’t have phased out to begin with.

Before the couple fully exited the room though, Roberta turned her head back around and smiled an award-winning beautiful smile. “Hope you feel better soon,” she said softly and then she too was gone.

I just sat there, completely alone, as a big smile quickly formed on my face and I realized that this little incident had finally put me on Roberta’s radar! That was the very first time she had ever talked to me! Who knew that such a wonderful and exciting thing could have come from such a disaster?

I felt like getting up and dancing, but managed to contain myself when the Nurse walked back in the room with a white bundled bandage to wrap around my arm and a sling it hold it all in place, reminding me once again of the pulsing pain.


« Last Edit: December 27, 2008, 12:19:23 AM by Desperado Newfie »