"Fool" tries to survive school and life with a "broken brain."
|Everyone feels sad now and then. Everyone has those days where his or her heart feels broken and scarred. Windows are shut, and the light is forced to stay outside. Doors are locked, and no one is welcome. Phones are turned off because the sound of another’s voice adds a painful scraping in one’s head.
After a while the sadness ebbs, windows and doors are reopened letting the light of the world back inside and the voices of loved ones no longer scrape.
Some people, just some, can never turn off the hurt. They try to take it away with medication, meditation, therapy (aroma, auditory, and physical among others). People self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. Nothing works, regardless of how hard he or she tries.
There it stays…
...slithering around your insides.
Am I good at my job? Am I fun to be around? Am I attractive? Am I a good friend? Am I a good boyfriend? Am I a good ...person?
The answers to these questions could be ‘yes’. You could be the envy of many people, however if the feeling of being loved and valued is not felt on the inside, what happens on the outside doesn’t really matter.
B R O K E N
Tears fill my eyes, for no reason that I can think of, as I sit in the library trying to read “Of Mice And Men” for my AP English class.
This same group of girls walks by, who tends to just happen to be in the area whenever I feel this way, see me and give me a look like I’m pathetic. My dad told me that girls like to be around you when they like you. I’m pretty sure that’s not the deal in this situation.
Makayla, the leader of the gaggle, stares at me the longest and slowly shakes her head, not breaking eye contact with me. She is obviously playing some kind of mental game of chicken with me, which she almost instantly wins. I expect her to say something to her cronies, but she says nothing. Jessica does and they all laugh, all except for Makayla.
As I sit and watch them walk away, a lump fills my throat and I feel this overpowering urge to cry.
I refuse to let a bunch of mean girls get the better of me, no matter what my Dad says.
The book is difficult to get back into, so I close it and toss it into my backpack. My eyes close and fill with tears. I wonder how long it will be before someone notices me crying while sitting at a kidney shaped table in the middle of the library.
Before I know it, my best friend sits next to me and puts her hand on my shoulder. Her name is Lydia and she is the most wonderful person I’ve ever met besides my Mom. Since my Mom died two years ago, it’s been all Lydia.
She, like me, gets picked on and made fun of everyday just for being who she is. We KNOW we’re different than most, so we don’t need anyone else pointing out that fact.
Lydia is big.
Stands at 6’2” and weighs almost 350 lbs. She’s not oddly shaped, like all of the weight is in her butt and legs. It’s very evenly dispersed throughout her body. She’s tried diets and pills and even had that surgery to make her stomach smaller.
She lost 80 lbs. Because of it and quickly gained it all back and then some when her dad said this to me when we were about to leave her house, “You going to a barbeque?” I just looked at him with a confused eyebrow raised. “Cuz, I see you got your pig with ya!” Then he broke into fits of laughter that caused him to have a coughing fit. Lydia hurried out of the house and I gave him the finger. I’m kind of glad he didn’t see me because he would toss me out of the window like he did their Christmas tree one year.
“You Okay?” Lydia says to me as she hands me a Taco Bell napkin from her Hello KItty purse.
“...but it’s so scratchy…” I say wiping tears from my eyes.
She pulls out another napkin and holds it to my nose.
“Now, blow!” She commands a little louder than she intended. I reach up to take the napkin from her hand and she swats me away.
I blow my nose and I can feel the napkin tear. I can totally tell that I just covered her hand in snot.
She begins laughing hysterically. “Oh my God! I didn’t think you’d actually do it you idiot.” My tears instantly turn to smiles when she drops the snotty, shredded, makeshift tissue into my lap. She quickly grabs another napkin and begins scrubbing her hand as she continues to giggle madly.
“Pick up that nasty thing and get your bony ass to lunch with me, Fool.”
That’s what she calls me. “What up, Fool? How’s it going, Fool? Sit down, Fool. Be quiet, Fool. Fool, you’re my best friend.”
ALL the time.
We stand up and head for the library door and the ‘media specialist’ not ‘librarian’ gives us the stink eye and says, “A little quieter you two.” Lydia looks down sheepishly and I aggressively nod and look accusingly at her letting the ‘media specialist’ not ‘librarian’ believe I’m on her side.
My Lunch With Lydia
We stand in line waiting for the cafeteria to open its doors.
“You hungry?” Lydia says as she stares at her phone.
“A little, I guess.” I reply looking at the back of Doug Finnigan’s shirt. It says ‘Got milk?’
I’m not entirely sure about this but, I think his mother was in a bike accident and lost a lot of her basic motor skills as a result.
“Move it, Fool.” Lydia says as she pushes me forward.
She quickly flashes her phone in my face and pulls it away just as fast.
“I didn’t even see it, Lydia.” She holds it up again and it hovers too close to my face and I move it away so my eyes can focus on her iphone.
It’s a meme of a baby with his eyebrow really arched with the words: “You mean to tell me spoons don’t actually sound like airplanes?” plastered to it. I smile and leave it at that.
“You don’t find that funny? Everyone makes plane noises to get babies to eat.” She says as she moves me again.
“I know that.”
I grab a cheeseburger and a sleeve of undercooked fries and one chocolate chip cookie. My nutritious lunch all last year and most of this one.
I look at Lydia and she just stares at the buffet of lunchroom, culinary nastiness. She lets out a sigh and says “Eff it.”
Everyday she says this.
I try to explain to her that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. All that matters is how she feels about herself. Then she tells me that if people call you trash and worthless enough times you tend to believe it after a while.
She always tells me that she knows that, but I really don’t think she does.
I watch as Lydia grabs pizza then puts it back, then grabs a chicken sandwich and puts it back. She finally settles on a double helping of chicken alfredo and a plate of fruit.
When you have a parent who is emotionally and mentally abusive...how could you not?
She tells me that I keep her sane in an insane world. She’s my person and I will always try to help her.
We get up to the lunch lady and she looks at me and says, “You’re reduced right?”
I nod and my head lowers instinctively. I pay .40 cents instead of $3.40 ever since my mom passed away and everything has been placed on my dad’s shoulders. We’re poor, but my Dad makes sure I have everything I need and some things I want.
He’s a great Dad. Lydia loves him.
Lydia and I slowly navigate through the student body to our regular spot in the dead center of the cafeteria. We figure this is the only way we’ll ever be the center of attention.
We sit and I begin to stuff my face. Lydia says I have the metabolism of a rabid squirrel. I’m pretty sure I do.
She stares at her food for a few minutes and then looks at me.
“Eff it...Am I right?” She whispers more to herself than to me.
“...yeah...eff it…” I whisper quietly in return.
I watch as she eats and every bite looks like it’s a chore to go from the tray to her mouth.
“What you staring at, Fool?” She says and I break the eye contact I have been making with her spork.
“Sorry. Is it any good?”
“You finish your essay for Pawlowski yet? I ask trying to steer my mind away from my best friend’s hurt heart. If I don’t, I will cry...again.
Most people in school don’t mess with Lydia, not because of her size, but because she has made more than one mean girl cry just by responding in kind to the insults that get thrown at her. One time, she responded to Wendy Christiansen calling her Bigfoot by wondering aloud how the girl’s lunch tastes the second time around after she pukes it up for being a wannabe model.
Wendy’s face got all distorted and she began to cry.
I feel bad for Lydia, but I also feel bad for Wendy Christiansen. I don’t understand why people can be so mean to someone else and when that someone defends themselves by being mean back the bully ends up acting like the victim.
My Dad taught me to be kind. Above all else, be kind.
“This tastes like I’m eating athlete’s foot.” Lydia barks between mouthfuls.
“Why eat it then?”
“Cuz…’eff it’ ...that’s why.”
I go to say something and a lump emerges in my throat, so I say nothing.
“Did you see Kendra yet and her choice of attire? She looks like a hooker.”
“Really?” I stand up and quickly look around the lunchroom to find the offensive Kendra.
“She’s not in this lunch Fool. She’s got B lunch.”
“Well this sucks.” I say as I sit back down disappointed that I didn’t get to see my first highschool hooker.
Lydia takes her napkin and wipes her mouth. Whenever Lydia finishes eating she closes her eyes and says a little prayer that’s only for God’s ears.
She gets up and tosses her trash into the garbage can then notices that I’m not with her.
“You coming?” She says as she wipes something out of her eye.
I stand up and throw my trash away, when I notice Tara Thomas. My heart skips a few beats whenever I see her. I have been crushing on her since the 4th grade. No, crush doesn’t seem to cover it. I once got to stand behind her in line and she backed up suddenly and her hair hit me square in the face. I know it was just shampoo, but oh my Lord, it was the sweetest smelling strawberry shampoo I’ve ever had the pleasure of accidentally smelling.
Have you ever met someone who made you forget your own name? That’s what Tara Thomas does for me...Makes me forget the important details of my life. Dark hair, dark eyes, dark skin. She’s so dark, she lights up the room. I’ve only ever seen her be sweet to people. Even the people no one really notices except to say something ugly to.
“I said ‘you coming’?” Lydia says and it snaps me back to reality. I let out a long sigh and walk to Lydia who’s standing in the doorway beckoning me towards her.
In the hallway Lydia and I go our separate ways punctuated with a Scooby Doo hug. (Which is, Lydia picks me up and bounces me up and down while telling me how much she loves me.)
As Lydia walks away, I notice Makayla say something unintelligible to Lisa Black who shakes her head and blows out her cheeks mocking a heavy person. Makayla doesn’t laugh. She just stares at me and Lydia like she hates us completely. I’m not sure why she would, as long as I’ve known her we have said, maybe, 10 words to each other.
Makayla and Lisa walk past me. They don’t give me another look.