The room explodes with applause as I take an awkward bow. People are screaming my name, their cameras flashing, flower petals drifting from the lightly illuminated ceiling. It’s a chaotic scene. Some of the closer audiences begin to out-stretch their arms toward me leaving security to immediately usher the too crazed fans out of the back theatre’s exit. Only the remaining few cooperative ones are allowed to remain seated and all the while silent.
This catastrophic scene seems to slightly humor me, even though this hadn’t been my first recital. A chuckle escapes from me as I recall memories of my first few times performing in front of a crowd this large and restless. A frail little girl I once was, mesmerized by every single detail, always seeming to just stand and gawk at the crowds, intrigued by their fascination towards my original pieces. Such heart-warming and delightful feelings I held then; however in reality, I began to visualize the disapproving scowl on Henry’s face, his scrawny fingers beating rhythmically upon his right leg. Always scowling, always drumming.
Deep in thought, I’m startled when the heavily accented host of the event speaks into the mike. He looks to be in his late twenties, and extremely attractive. I struggle to remember his name; an Arnold Davidson seems to pop up from the top of my head.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he seems to sing in his honey sweet voice, “Our dearly beloved, Alia Grey and her marvelous poetry!” The room choruses with applause, Arnold seems to wink at me causing my heart to soar. He gestures a free arm in my direction for a greater effect. I can already feel the excitement course through my body, and knowing how much regret I would hold over this movement, I begin to place my hands to my lips and start blowing imaginary kisses to everyone. Everyone throws into fits, reaching to catch each breath of love greedily. The foolish sight has come to amuse me as I fell into a fit of barely audible giggles.
Once the giggling ceases, I walk up to the humored Arnold and lightly tap his shoulder, my arm extended for the microphone. He understands right away, and being sure to give me yet another breath taking, dazzling smile, he begins to address to the still energetic crowd of the new, incoming speaker.
As this is happening, I can see from the corner of my eye, a horribly concealed Henry glaring at me through cold-hearted eyes, shaking his head in disproval. But before I could reconsider my actions, I feel a heavy unbalanced weight drop into my hand. Arnold gives me a playful pat on my shoulders, smiles yet again causing me to go beet-red, and gestures for me to say whatever I needed to announce. The audience begins to hush one another, eager to listen.
I clear my throat heavily too many times, still feeling Henry’s uncomfortable stare, and throw my unoccupied shaky hand to the side, as though I want to embrace the listeners.
“Good afternoon everyone,” I announce, cringing at the sound of my nasal voice. It sounds as though I were speaking with an inconsistent airstream of vibrato, full with fear. “I’d like to thank you all for coming to my performance. It has been a pleasure to be here, in London, with each and every one of you!” Applause, once again, circles the room, leaving me with that familiar, warm, weightless feeling.
“I love you Alia Grey!” a certain individual seems to yell. A rose is lightly thrown in my direction, falling softly at my feet. Picking it up, I can already hear security seeking my secret admirer. I chuckle softly to myself, making sure as to not hold the microphone too close.
I don’t forget of Henry, risking a quick glance in his direction, the crowd still being distracted by security’s pursuit on the previous fan. He is still glaring, only with more force, clearly instructing me to cease the madness.
Feeling cold with a new uneasiness, I turn back to the crowd. “Once again, I’d like to thank everyone for coming to my recital this year. I hope to be able to have the honor to return sometime in the future!”
They seem to sense this as a close to my brief speech, the mood of the audience switching to a gloomier setting. As people begin to stand to take their leave, I quickly run backstage, still clutching the microphone tightly against my aching chest. Finally, after several long, heart pounding, agonizing seconds, I stood before the impatient man.
Henry wasn’t an attractive individual, with his scrawny face and crooked nose. His deep sea green eyes held me in place; a ferocious storm surged throughout them, creating a whirlpool, pulling me into the black hole science would normally identify as his pupil. A dark aura surrounds him, weighing down upon anyone who stood near him. His pale, crackling dry lips were always slightly open, exposing his two bright white “fangs”, and his most hideous feature, his red clump of hair which looked as though someone had just recently glued it on too far to the right.
“Alia”, he finally speaks, his deeply accented voice startling me into a panicked state. “What in god’s name was that about?” he continues, then pauses, letting out a slightly frustrated sigh. I knew he was struggling to remain calm, to prevent himself from striking me in front of watchful eyes from the crew. “We are on a very tight schedule. We were supposed to leave about ten minutes ago for our flight, remember?”
My heart drops. I felt my face flush. I had completely forgotten about our flight.
One of the eavesdropping crew members walks into our direction. As the figure drew closer, I recognize her to be Beatty, one of the women in charge of the stage lighting. She avoids making any eye contact with me, directing her attention towards Henry.
“Sir, if I may, I’d like to alert you of an issue we seem to be dealing with,” she announces, waiting patiently for Henry’s approval. With a slightly agitated grunt, he nods. “Earlier this morning, right before the performance Ms. Alia gave to the audience, you gave me the plane tickets. Do you remember that sir?” He nods yet again, growing impatient. “I’m sorry to say that I might have misplaced them as I was tending to the lights, so either way, you wouldn’t have made-”
Slap! The impact echoes the room as Beatty falls to her side, a bright red mark clearly visible on her right cheek. My jaw drops open from behind her, Henry expressionless. The rest of the working crew seems to freeze and hold their breath.
She briefly glances in my direction, saying nothing then stands up slowly. I stare in horror at the red liquid that slowly trickles down the corner of her mouth. He’d gone full strength on her, I would know from past experiences.
The others who witness the scene do nothing, but merely look away in shame. My face feels hot with fury, but I too feel ashamed for I couldn’t do anything without making the situation worse. If I were to step in, my disrespect would only lead to more violence, so I could only helplessly stay out of the way.
Still expressionless, Henry wordlessly walks towards her, leaning in to whisper things I couldn’t depict from this distance. Whatever he was telling her wasn’t good news. Just as he finishes his brief message and I begin to think he was over his fit, he turns to glare at me.
On instinct, I quickly place my free hand into my right pocket. He begins to walk toward me, ready to advance to his next target. The room seems to be spinning, and I begin to feel extremely nauseas.
He is standing directly in front of me now, Beatty standing limply behind him. Her eyes widen, and even from over here I can see her teeth clenching as Henry reaches into his pocket for something. A trickle of sweat slides down my neck as I come to wonder just how he was going to punish me.
However, he soon finds what he’s been looking for and after snatching away the microphone I had unknowingly clutched so tightly onto, he shoves the two slips of paper into my hand. I wince at the few paper cuts I receive along with them, pulsing with a heated wave of stinging pain.
“Hotel, at six sharp”, he hisses at me, loud enough to capture the crews’ attention once more, “and don’t be late”. With that, he storms off, leaving me with a relieved Beatty catching her breath.
I find myself gasping for air. I had been so terrified, that I hadn’t noticed when I had stopped breathing. Taking my hand out of my pocket, I observe the two slips of paper Henry had given me.
Small streaks of my blood ran along the edges. Two plane tickets, scheduled for six thirty at night. My hand shakes with the pain of the cuts as well as the rising mixture of my emotions. He had purchased these tickets just yesterday.
Beatty hadn’t moved ever since Henry left the room. She stands completely still, staring at the floor, a blank expression on her face. Compassion drowns out my anger at the moment, as I carelessly shove the bloody tickets into my left pocket. I wince as one of the cuts upon my hand slides open from the rough cloth of my worn out jeans. My other hand was still clenched into a fist after I had removed it from my right pocket. The pocket that I had so frantically rummaged through only seconds ago. I tighten my grip and silently approach Beatty.
I feel the eyes of the others stare at me in wonder, their curiosity growing with every step I take. The pressure of their gazes angers me. Before, I had hoped that they were watching with compassion in their hearts for their own friend, their own acquaintance. It seems as though I had thought wrong, perhaps all they actually wanted was something new to gossip to their fellow companions, the way they gawked with such large eyes, waiting for something else exciting to unfold before their dull lives.
I cease my slow walk when I reach her. She notices the stares and begins to look embarrassed, everyone leaning in to hear what I am going to say. Like the audience from before, I feel intense curiosity and full attention being directed towards me. So I take a deep breath and speak in only a whisper, “Get out.”
They see this as a dismissal, a command, running about, pushing equipment off the stage into the next door storage room. It is empty within only a few seconds, except for me and Beatty.
Beatty begins to walk away from me. I don’t let her, grabbing onto her arm with my unclenched hand.
“So you lost the tickets?” I ask suspiciously, my clenching hand beginning to relax. “Well that’s a shame. Henry really seemed upset about that.”
She makes no kind of movement, only stands in place and listens. “He was upset enough to turn his attention away from me.” I continued.
Beatty still says nothing, as I gently pull her arm back to find her relaxed, open hand. My hand still slightly closed, I place it over hers and drop the two slips of paper I had tried so desperately to hide from Henry. Her hand clasps over them, and I release my grip on her arm, laughing half-heartedly.
“You are the world’s worst liar Bee,” I tease, punching her gently on the back. A few painful, silent seconds pierce the room, until she finally turns around to face me, grinning like she had just won the Nobel Prize.
“I know,” she smirks jokingly. She takes the two airplane tickets that she had claimed to have lost and rips them into tiny pieces. “Good thing he didn’t check your pockets.”
I frown. “Yeah, but don’t you think you were cutting it a little bit too close? He really went for it today. You know I can take care of myself right? I’ve had plenty cuts and bruises, I’m not complaining,” I say, eyeing the dried blood that was still on Beatty’s chin. My heart feels heavy when I look at it. She seems to notice.
“Oh this?” she motions to the blood spot, “This is nothing! It’s fine really. Joshua was a million times worse.” She smiles at me, the name causing her to shiver.
Joshua was Bee’s ex-husband. She never grew comfortable enough to give me the whole story, but it had been rumored by the roaming crew he had taken pleasure to letting off steam on her in horrible abusive ways. But since those chats, I never truly yearned to learn much more than that.
Feeling the need to change the subject, I went on speaking, “Hey Bee, earlier, I saw Henry whisper something to you. What did he say?” It dawns on me I had probably picked the worst subject change, cursing to myself for the terrible new topic. I had only moved from past hardships to the current problem.
She doesn’t hesitate to answer. “I’m fired,” she says chuckling and flicking the shredded paper to the floor. I stare at her smiling self in disbelief. If it weren’t for the blood and the sudden news of her termination, I’d probably feel the strong urge to smile with her. Like her heart, she was a beautiful woman with short, wild brown hair that turned gold in the sunlight, and blue eyes that sparkled like sapphire jewels. Her extremely slim figure was what worried me, and I had often wondered if Joshua had anything to do with it.
“Hey, it’s alright, I’ll be fine, you should be more concerned with yourself. Stop worrying about me, you know I can take care of myself right?” she mocks me, still beaming. I can’t bring myself to avert my eyes from that awful spot of dried blood. My wounded hand burns at the sight. Bee did have a point though. What was I going to do without her? She had always been there for me, cheering me up when I felt down, and she would place my priorities over own. She held a piece of me in her, so just how could I survive with a part of me missing? I would have to face Henry alone.
“Besides,” Bee continues, “You still have good old reliable Ja to back you up,” she reassures me, laughing even harder. I twitch at the sound of his name.
“We’ve been over this a thousand times, his name is Jimmy. We already established that like four years ago. You have got to stop pronouncing it like that. He hates it when people pronounce it like “Jaw” it’s insulting.” Despite the fact I was losing a friend today, I can’t help but share a quick smile with her. “Remember, it sounds like “Jay”?” I fake a disturbed shudder. “Oh god, please don’t leave me here alone with those two, they’re going to kill each other, and I’m going to somehow be stuck in the middle of that bloodthirsty battle. I will die and you’ll be at fault!” I plead, giving her my childish pout.
She laughs once more, patting me on the shoulder reassuringly. “You’ll live Ali, hey,” she gestures toward a clock I hadn’t noticed on the wall across from me. The face read three thirty seven. “Don’t forget to get to the hotel at six ok? I’ll be seeing you round kiddo,” and with that, she walks out without saying another word, her laugh still echoing around the room. I listen with awe to the sweet sound until it began to diminish into another still silence.
Time was passing by, and my eyelids drooped. Exhaustion hits me from nowhere as I struggle to keep awake, walking back out to the auditorium’s grand stage. Beatty had walked out this way.
Once I stepped out onto the stage, I am startled to find it completely deserted. For a large building being nearly full only minutes ago, I hadn’t expected it to be cleared out in such a short time frame. Security certainly knew how to handle their job. It seems everyone was able to make their way home quickly.
I let out a sigh. How I longed for a home to go to like everyone else, instead of being crammed into every dump of a hotel with Henry. Even more so, I longed to have what any typical kid had. Parents.
I walked over to the edge of the stage. It was a rather large one, as I counted every large step I took, One, two, three… ten, eleven, twelve… twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven. I reach number thirty when I set myself on the cold, wooden surface, and swing my legs over the side to hang off the edge.
The gigantic room was exceptionally elegant; a large golden chandelier hangs above me, giving the auditorium a soft, glow. Large paintings of beautiful coastal islands cover the walls; I am not familiar with any of them. It appears to be a bit odd for such images to be placed in a place such as this, however I’ve always wanted to go to one, but Henry would never approve. In front of me are thousands of red, plush chairs, placed neatly row by row. A second floor is visible from where I am sitting, even more chairs covering from wall to wall. Looking up, even higher is a third floor, but I can’t see whether it is only another replica of the other descending levels. My eyes scanned up, down, left and right, to search for any sign of Bee possibly waiting to give me a proper farewell, but there’s no one in sight.
Abandonment. Now, I wasn’t one to know the feeling, but sitting here on this cold stage looking for someone who I may never see again seems like a good enough example.
Henry’s warning comes back into memory, “Hotel at six, sharp”, he had said, and “don’t be late.” He had been serious. I fear what would happen to me if I even show up a few seconds late.
My eyes lower to the floor still covered with thousands of flower petals and roses. I pity the cleaning crew that would have to clean the mess up. Like any other day I had spare time after my performances, I began to ponder about my unknown past, hoping to recall something, anything, tired of only small fragments and blurred out faces.
An accident they had told me; or they’d always tell me. Henry would only scowl and wave me off, never giving me a decent reply. Wondering never did anything for me, except slow time down. All I knew were the obvious facts: they died a few months after I had turned eleven and joined this program, they didn’t leave me with anything, no money, no memories, nothing but Henry, and no one actually knew who they were. I had no other family members to take me in, no friends of any kind. Mom and dad had been the only thing I ever had. Now, with Beatty gone, I have no one, perhaps Jimmy, but even he alone couldn’t fill in the hole that now hung heavily in my heart. It angers me that I had lost them at an age where memories could easily be created, but I held nothing, I remembered nothing. Doctors would all say I had amnesia, but I knew they were lying, uncalled for sympathy for their patients. Before, I had tried to tell Henry of my suspicions and doubts, but he only strikes me for speaking of such “nonsense”. No one understood what I was, and still am, going through. Even Bee had only looked at me with those sad eyes and told me everything was fine.
It wasn’t fair. I find myself asking no one in particular why my life had started this way. Asking others only proved to be pointless as they never expressed actual kindness for my burdens. They only saw the world famous poet Alia, poor girl who lost her parents in a tragic car accident at only age eleven. They only saw heroic Henry save the poor thing by taking her in. They never saw poor Alia, girl with no past or home, poorly mistreated, abused, alone.
The floor becomes blurry as tears slid down my face. My legs swing side to side as I try to calm myself down. My hand burns with severe pain as I try to wipe my tears, the salty liquid seeping into my scrapes. Wet drops form at the thighs of my jeans. Little drops of blood drip off my bleeding hands. I swing my leg against the back of the stage in frustration, making a loud, thump!
With a little grunt, I drop off the stage onto the ground. A red chair is right in front of me, looking inviting, so I make my way toward it, and slump into it.
Comfortable, I wipe away a couple more tears, and lay my head against the soft headrest, sighing away my sadness. From this position, I see only the ceiling, or the floor, of the second level. In my mind I make a silent note of how painful it would be if the whole thing collapsed. I conclude that I have done enough stressful thinking for the day, attempting to guess what time it was. Assuming it was around four, I would have about two hours of free time to myself, might as well take a quick nap. What if I am to over sleep and wake up at eight? I ask myself. I deserve just a few precious minutes to rest. Jimmy would come and wake me at five thirty the latest.
I close my eyes, letting darkness consume me once again.
No, it is a floating jellyfish.
I stare in wonder. It is so mesmerizing, so unusual, so… real. The room, or wherever I was, was completely white. The creature was the only thing in sight, a beautiful ocean blue, like the pictures on the theatres’ walls. My eyes widen, or at least I feel them widening. Glancing down, I am shocked to find I have no feet, no legs, it’s all white. The shock disappears as quickly as it came, being replaced with more curiosity towards the foreign sea creature.
I am non-existent. The jellyfish is the only thing real in this place. It’s a true beauty, and I want it, I want to grasp it, to keep it for myself. I wish to claim the creature all for myself. I don’t want anyone to have it but me. So familiar, why is it so familiar, this want, this living thing, this feeling?
A child laughs in the distance.
Everything fades to black.
My eyes jerk open to a young girl staring at me, standing too close for comfort. Surprised, I jump up in alarm, exclaiming as my foot twists awkwardly, and I fell to the ground from my chair. Humored, the stranger breaks into a large grin, then nearly doubles over, laughing.
Moaning with pain, I struggle to pick myself up, my head feeling swollen from the impact of the hard ground. Her appearance was unexpected and I had to come to wonder how long she had stood there observing me. The thought makes me nervous, and so embarrassed from my graceful impression, I try to keep myself together by observing the girl.
She is a rather interesting sight. Wearing a flashy red polka dotted shirt, blinding white shorts, and even more eye cringing lime green flip flops. Lightly pinkish lips, long blonde hair, a sort of cute slender face, and even a playful aura seemed to surround her. She seemed no older than ten. Slung across her chest was some kind of a black duffel bag, bulging with unknown items.
Overall, she was just a normal little innocent looking kid. Nothing was really unusual about her. Until I make out the color of her eyes. They were yellow.
Yellow eyes, I’ve never them on anyone before. They were beautiful, a sort of golden-yellow. It sends a sort of message to me, as if saying; I’m fun, and energetic! Let’s play!
Jeez that’s creepy.
Her laughing ceases and a troubled look crosses her face. Worried I was staring at her for an uncomfortable long amount of time, I break the silence.
“Uh, I like your shoes?” I feel stupid as the words form more of a question than a compliment. I feel even more sheepish at my attempt to start a conversation. Normal people probably would have just said a plain hello, or what’s up. Not say “I like your shoes” in the form of a question.
Despite that, she doesn’t seem to mind. As if anything of hers couldn’t get any brighter, her eyes shine with excitement and she began exclaiming with happiness.
“Aren’t they?! They are just absolutely gorgeous!” she is screaming at me now, jumping up in down with a seemingly endless supply of energy. “I just love the color green don’t you?!” I slowly nod my head, blinking rapidly, stunned by her sudden increase in chatter. She gasps in exasperation. “Oh! How rude of me!” she finally stops bouncing, staring at me with intense admiration. She clears her throat, trying to calm herself down. Her smile vanishes, and her eyes close into a phase of deep concentration. Baffled, I don’t know what to do or how to react.
“Uh…” I can only manage to say.
Then her eyes open unexpectedly, her smile coming back, bigger than ever. “Well good-morning Miss Poetry Sunshine!” My eyes seem to bulge as I’m dumbfounded by what she had just called me. It sounded as though she had named me using my career and sunshine?
I laugh nervously. “Ha, ha, good morning…” I trail off, deciding to play along, then the thought occurs to me. Wait. It’s the afternoon.
As if she read my mind she says, “Or wait, no, it’s after that sorry,” her eyebrows crease in deep concentration. She looked so deep in thought, I had come to worry smoke would eventually rise from her head.
Again, her yellow eyes stare right back at me, penetrating through my very soul, causing me to shudder. I still haven’t gotten used to them; they now seemed sort of mysterious. I watch as her eyes narrow and her face went pale. She points a small shaky finger at my face. “Is that blood?” she questions with a sort of uneasiness. My eyes widen, I think back to when I wiped the tears away with my bloody hand. I curse myself for my carelessness and give her what I hope to be a reassuring smile.
“Nah, sorry, I was working with the crew on a painting project for the set” I lie. It was a lousy shot, but then again, she wasn’t necessarily considered normal. I shuffled my feet uncomfortably, “Guess I must have gotten some red paint on my face.” I pray she would go with her youthful thinking and buy it.
She sighs with relieve, “Thank goodness, I thought it was blood.” She surprises me with her sudden calmness. The change in personality was slightly bizarre, however I secretly sighed in relieve. That was just too much energy for me.
“Nope, just paint.” I watch as she rummages through her bag, and pulls out what looks to be a pocket mirror. She offers it to me politely, along with some sort of rag. Flattered, I take the items and begin cleaning off the blood. She begins to speak once more.
“So this painting project…” she pauses, looking down silently. I close the mirror and place the dirty rag into my pocket, waiting for her to continue. “Do you think…” she is barely whispering now, I lean in closely to hear her next few words. Without warning, she jumps up and down once again energetically. “Do you think I could help?! Please?!” she screams into my ear, the room shaking slightly. Instinctively, I clasp a hand to my now ringing ear, accidently dropping the mirror.
“Sorry but we’ve already finished,” my voice replies shakily. I rub my head, willing the room to stop spinning. “Maybe some other time,” I lie yet again, bending down to pick up the dropped item.
“That would be awesome!” she continues screaming, I feel like having a heart attack. The girl was unpredictable.
“Yeah we’ll ha-“
“Hush bumblebee! Just tell me your poetry!” she interrupts. Three twirls and a curtsy follow after her odd little rhyme. Not knowing what on earth what to do, I give her an awkward smile. Whether she was being funny or requesting me to recite one of my works, I was afraid to try to know. Without warning, she freezes and begins to look extremely depressed.
“Oh no, I am so sorry Miss Poetry Sunshine,” she says to the floor, sulking, “Suzie Lotus has offended your poetry.” Puzzled, I infer Suzie Lotus was her actual name.
“No, it’s quite alright,” I say quickly, afraid of another sudden outburst. I hand her back the mirror, “That was really great rhyming you did just now, you sound like a poet.” I immediately regret what I’ve just said. I just had to encourage yet another episode.
Her large yellow eyes become two giant orbs filled with excitement, making me stumble back a bit, bumping into the chair I had been napping in. Once again, she spins three times, and then curtsies. In a word, she was frightening.
“Thank you my dear miss! Thanks very much!” she reaches into her bag once more, and pulls out a small notepad, holding it to me. I hesitate before grabbing it, fearing the thing would burst open unexpectedly and strangle me to death. The joke is sounding more and more realistic to me with how this situation was going, making me uneasy. To my relief, when I take it from her shaking hand, it turns out to be a normal book designed for signatures. “Autograph please milady?” she asks innocently.
“Sure,” I say opening the notebook to a new blank page. Despite the fact she was watching me with fascination in her golden eyes, I find myself quickly scanning page by page, looking for more of a clue to who she could be. She starts talking to me, rambling utter nonsense, me trying desperately to drown her out. I find some drawings, some other signatures, nothing of any importance.
I give up my curiosity and finally find a new, clean white page. The color makes me think back to the peculiar dream I had moments ago. Could this girl be the one I heard laughing in my dream?
Little miss chatterbox interrupts my thoughts tapping my shoulder. “Hey, does thou needeth a writing utensil?” she asks speaking in a sort of medieval tone.
“Umm sure,” I say, watching her reach into her hand bag yet again to fish for a pen. She happily hands it to me and goes back to her joyous rambling. It seems bottomless with each thing she pulled out from it. I’m feeling a migraine coming on.
I quickly scribble my name onto the paper, and with a kind, gentle smile, give her back the notebook. She beams at me, “Oh thank you Miss Sunshine! Thank you! Mama and Papa will be so happy!” My smile feels painful at the sound of those words. They brought me back to the harsh reality of being alone. For a moment, I feel a strong pang of jealously.
“So, your name is Suzie huh?” I ask wanting to change the subject. A long pause hits the room, her body becoming stiff and motionless. After a while, startled, she shakes her head furiously, as if she were trying to wake herself up. The sight brings a chill up my spine.
“Hey? You alright?” I ask, concerned with her behavior.
The shaking stops as she frantically looks around the room and eventually sets her eyes upon me. Stunned, I gawk at her eyes in shock. The golden color, the fun and hyper look, it was gone. They were now just a dull brown. Her eyes had changed color.
“Excuse me?” she says so very quietly, looking lost and confused. I chuckle nervously in my head.
“Uh, your name, it’s Suzie?” I repeat cautiously, trying to prevent myself from asking about her sudden change in personality.
“Yes ma’am that’s me, but excuse me. Did I say anything weird a while ago?”
Confused, I shake my head no.
“My apologies,” she laughs, “I tend to have a nasty habit of saying the weirdest things without really meaning it, then draw a blank and kind of forget what I say.”
“Oh, is that so?” I ask, feeling dizzy. This didn’t seem like the same girl from before. She seems too formal and proper. Her eyes bore through me, sending shivers down my spine. I try to distract myself from them.
“Yes,” she says with a sad look in her eyes. For a while we say nothing, she looking off into space, and me looking at her alien green shoes. Something seems to be on her mind.
“So, what’s with the bright get-up?”
I had been wondering about it ever since I first set my eyes upon her. It wasn’t something considered stylish or just plain normal. She looks down at her outfit, creasing her eyebrows yet again, lost in confusion.
“I sometimes like to wear really flashy things I suppose.” Her expression has now changed to a dull, almost bored face, as though she wants the conversation to end and be over with.
“Those shorts, isn’t it like thirty degree’s outside?” I try keeping conversation, sweat trickling down my neck despite the bitter cold. It was the month of January, she must be freezing.
“I’m warm blooded,” she says abruptly. The answer leaves me speechless. She had spoken all casual like, as if it was normal for people to walk around in summer wear, in the month of January. Perhaps she was joking or really was getting impatient, either way, I was beginning to feel slightly offended.
“Oh yes, that reminds me,” she continues in her formal tone. “Mama and Papa are taking me to see a movie, and I would be so happy, no, honored if you could come.” Her sudden correction of vocabulary leaves me slightly irritated. Her tone sounds smug.
“Sorry, but I’m on a tight schedule.”
I am actually relieved about Henry’s scheduled time meeting now; I certainly did not wish to be with this strange girl.
“Well, since you are famous and a sort of celebrity, you’d think you could do whatever you wanted right? Even skip some certain meetings and such. You could do whatever you want. Even see a simple movie.”
She proves a convincing point, yet her persistency bothers me. It frustrates me even more, her tone misleading more than ever; I was beginning to lose patience with the child.
“Sorry, but life just isn’t that easy,” I say, just about at my limits. I had come to wonder if I usually felt like this when talking to others, but I remember it was a rare thing for someone to speak to me besides Jimmy and Beatty.
“Henry I presume?” She asks. I cock my head at the sound of his name.
“How do you know about Henry? I never spoke about him,” I ask suspiciously.
“The news,” she says too quickly. It seems she is hiding something. This proved to be a contradiction. Henry hated the news; he would do anything to keep off it. She lies as badly as I do. “So? Who cares, I’m sure you have plenty of time to come see just a real quick movie.” She pulls out a cellular device from her endless supply of things, from the inside of her black bag. Jealousy overcomes me yet again. Not only does she have the pleasure of having beloved ones, but to furthermore have a phone? If only she had a taste of my life.
“It’s only four twelve, the movie is only seventy minutes,” she continues after reading the time off her phone. “When do you need to be at the meeting or whatever?” For a second, I come to wonder if she already knew the answer.
“That’s sort of personal, look, I’m sorry but I really can’t today.”
“Well, we could leave during the middle of it or something,” she says pleadingly. My right eye twitches. How far would this girl go to get me to see a movie with her?
“Sorry Suzie, I can’t and that’s final.”
“Please,” she begs, finally actually sounding her age. “I would be so happy if you came,” she pauses. “Miss Poetry Sunshine?”
Her hands press together as if praying for me to say yes. I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had gotten down to her knees to beg.
“I’m sorry… I just,” I avert my eyes. She seems so eager for me to go. I feel the strong urge to change my mind about her and walk out with her to that one showing. “I can’t,” I finally manage to say.
Defeated at last, she grimaces. “Okay, bye Alia.” With that, I watched her slump out of the auditorium.