Black. White. Ones. Zeroes.

Black. White. Ones. Zeroes.

A Story by AC Cheatwood
"

This is a story that I wrote for a contest, but sadly I was not a finalist. The contest was to write about a relationship, be it platonic or romantic, that formed over the Internet.

"

June 19, 2010

            I don’t have good ideas very often. At least, that’s how I see it. I mean, in my seventeen years of existence I’ve never felt like I’ve had many fantastic plans. And even when I have one that I start, there is rarely a finished product that I would proudly display.

            So, when I started this blog, it wasn’t like I ran out to tell everyone at school to go read it. No. I kept quiet about it. Because, like, who would want to read some teenage girl, who has a tendency to stray, talk about her love of Bob Dylan?  It wasn’t like I was holding back on that fact.  He is amazing, brilliant, super adorable (in his younger years, of course), and totally and irresistibly talen�"Tangent. Sorry, see what I mean?

            Focus, Lucy. Focus.

            So, as I was saying, I didn’t go around telling my friends at school. Mostly because I really only have, like, two friends who I would tell.  Unfortunately for me at that current moment in time, they were dating. Don’t get me wrong, see, I really was happy for them.  Samantha, who hates being called Sam so much that everyone calls her Sam, and Ian, who is half-Asian and wants people to know that because his name only sounds like the part of him that is completely un-Asian, were great together. (They’ve broken up since, and after a nervous break down inducing, awkward week things went back to normal.) I never really found out what happened; so don’t try to ask me.

            Okay, I have a confession. I do know what happened. If you honestly bought that lie, then you must be crazy. Like, how could I even escape hearing about the whole mess during that week? The one that made me seriously question why I’m their friend? If you wrote down “true,” students, then you may give yourself a 100.

            The truth is, as much as I hate to admit it, they are part of the reason I started this crummy old thing.  Because when they weren’t fighting, they primarily only talked to each other, and when they fought, they only wanted to talk to ME about each other.  So, it was basically a lose/lose situation, but a situation that I adapted to nonetheless.

            It was during one of their lovey dovey moments when they didn’t have time for me. This isn’t a pity party, though. I swear. I just�"well, I read this quote, you see, by Fanny Hurst. I had never heard of her, and I mainly just read the quote because, I mean come on, her name is Fanny. It says, “I’m not happy when I’m writing, but I’m more unhappy when I’m not. “

            Anyway, I just thought that everyone could use a little less unhappy in life, myself included. So, I took up writing.  I’m not a writer, though.  You must know that. I’m not a writer, but I write because I need to tell someone these things.  I mean, I did.  I have someone now.  Her name is… well, I’ll get to that in a little while.

            I didn’t know what I was going to say, so I did what I always do best: I ranted. My blog name was “Less Unhappiness,” which doesn’t really sound great, but I had to name it something. I didn’t want it to be fancy, anyway. No one was going to read it. It’s just for me to rant when I needed to rant and ramble when I needed to ramble.  It’s a pretty simple concept, really. My first blog post was called “Nobody Will Read This,” which doesn’t really sound great either, but I had to name it something, too.

January 12, 2010

Nobody Will Read This

So, as the title states, I know that no one will actually read this, but in the event that someone does, thanks. My name is Lucy King, and I’ve never written anything like this before. So, no judgment. I guess I’m just going to write stuff down that I need to say? Until next time, Lucy.

 

            I was right; no one read it. At least, no one said anything to me about it.  I probably should have started when I actually had things to say. I’ve never been really interested in the Internet, anyway. I finally got a Facebook page after my friends begged me, but I didn’t hang out with most of my “friends,” so their lives never interested me. (That’s not completely a lie, but, yeah, their lives interest me. A lot.)

            It didn’t take long until I realized, that even if no one reads it, everyone needs to share his or her feelings. I wasn’t depressed, but I wasn’t really happy. And I’ve never really gotten why it always has to be an either/or type of situation.  Teenagers rarely see the gray area that is so obviously there.  Actually I don’t really think it’s something that we grow out of feeling, because adults act that way, too. We have to teach ourselves to think differently. We have to calm ourselves down. 

            Take Sam and Ian, for example, since this really does revolve around those two, just as they would have liked it. Everything is a big deal for them.  Even when they were just friends, they were so possessive of each other. I guess that means you love someone? I don’t know. I’ve never been in love.  However, all that I knew of that kind of love, the kind where you hold hands while walking down the hall to the Chemistry Lab, came to a crashing halt when Sam came up to me on March 8th. It was a Monday, which meant that school sucked even more than usual. (I kind of feel bad for Mondays, having such a bad rep and all.) Anyway, they had broken up for the, let me count, fifth time, I believe? But something was different about her puffy blue eyes. They were already the kind of eyes that look sad naturally even when she’s ecstatic, but now they had such a deep look of pain. So, I knew something really was up.

            “Ian broke up with me,” she said, acting like this was the first time it had ever happened. Like, this was the “for real last time that I will ever put up with him treating me this way.”  That had happened three times before. The first time they broke up, she was fully aware that she would put up with his s**t. Because, honestly, half and half Ian, who looked like whole Chinese, had a lot of it, and I kind of felt sorry for anyone who tried to deal with it all.

            “Oh, no!” I said, trying to act like I couldn’t tell, and not like “Really? Cause it looks like you were hit by a truck.”

            “He just said that he had too much on his mind about college, and that his parents didn’t think that he needed the distraction. Apparently he agreed with them. Can we get some dinner tonight? I really don’t want to be alone, and Ian and I ALWAYS go out to eat on Mondays, because that’s the day we started dating.”

            “Sure,” I said trying not to think about how ridiculous it was to go out to eat every Monday.  “I’m here if you need to talk.” I realized that it was pointless to say that, because I was destined to listen on and on about their “tragic” breakup.

            I would have said more, but the bell rang.  A girl who I’ve never actually met before pushed through between Sam and me.  I’d seen her around school, though. She was always late and very clumsy.

            “Ugh. Watch out!” Sam said in her “that girl is a b***h” voice. The girl looked back, seeming even meeker than before, and pushed her long, brown hair down in front of her face. I never really understood why Sam used a voice that made her sound like the exact thing that she was pointing out, but there is no real understanding in anything that Sam does.

            Between the time that I had to hear about the break up at school and the time that I had to hear about the break up at dinner, I found a second to check my blog. That’s when I saw it: my first comment ever.

            “ ‘All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie.’”

            A Bob Dylan quote. I knew the song. I knew the phrase. I had once, being in my unique phase of life, decided to write that line on my old pair of Converse.  I still wore them.

            At dinner that night, the comment was all I could think about.  Why did this person say that to me on that specific post?  I was talking about my dog’s torn ACL, which I didn’t even know was possible. What about that was a lie?

            I couldn’t think about what Sam saying, because I didn’t really care.  At some point during our conversation, which consisted solely of Sam, sorry Samantha, talking and me contributing a few head nods, I became completely entranced in my own thoughts about who this “anonymous” could be.

            I guess that’s the thing about the Internet, you can always be anonymous. And yet, I felt like this person wanted to be recognized. But that might be because I was completely new to this whole Internet thing.

            “So, will you?” I snapped back into reality, with the musty looking tables and chairs around me, and Sam, sitting across from me, asking me a question.

            “Huh?” I said.

            “Will you talk to Ian about what happened? I’m dying to know what he thinks about all of this.”

            “Sure.”

            I lied.

March 8, 2010

Are We All So Colorblind?

These are just some things that have been on my mind recently: is our vision so tunneled that we cannot even see options other than the extremes? My two best friends, who happen to be dating, or were dating, have now reached their fifth hiatus.  The reason this time is college and distractions. But isn’t it more distracting to have to deal with a break up than to just stay together? I guess I think too much. That’s what my mom always tells me. Why does it always come down to “yes” or “no,” “together” or “not?” Why can’t it just be like, “we’ll see what happens” or “we can compromise?” I’ve never understood it. Maybe I won’t, but how about we try to deal with things in a way that aren’t so…permanent? Not that this breakup thing will last with them, but then again, maybe fifth time’s the charm?  

Until next time, Lucy.

            Again, another message appeared on my screen. This time, though, the person forgot to click the “anonymous” button. Or maybe, just maybe, they wanted me to know who they were. The message was the same Bob Dylan lyric.

            Being inquisitive, I obviously went to her blog page. Yes, the non-anonymity of this person has proved that she is a she and not an “it” or a creep.  

02/18/10

Have you ever?

Is it just me? Have you ever felt like the days pass by in such a haze? Things are always going so fast! I just moved to a new school this past fall, and I feel like I’m completely different from everyone else. I’m not sad, though. I know that seems weird, because I sound completely depressed. That’s not it. I just miss having friends. Oh well. Someone who I can’t remember said, “Each journey is work of art.” I guess each day I’m just adding another layer of acrylic to my masterpiece. One that will hopefully get me into this art school that’s been on my radar for quite some time now. Sending in my portfolio tomorrow! Wish me luck! Ashley.

            After reading that, I knew I had to message her back. I read some of her later posts, but that one just got to me.  She was just different from anyone I had ever met.

            “Thanks for commenting on my post! I absolutely love that line from Dylan! It’s a personal favorite of mine.” I don’t actually talk like that. I rarely use that much enthusiasm when I speak, but I was curious.  It was necessary.

            It didn’t take too long for her to respond.

            “I just found your blog, and I saw that you like Bob Dylan, so I thought I would put those lyrics to see if you knew them. A girl in my Chemistry class has them written on her shoes.”

            I thought that was weird. I mean, what are the odds that someone else has the exact same song lyrics written on a pair of their shoes.

            “That’s so strange! I have them written on mine as well! They’re great lyrics. Small world, huh?”

            “Incredibly small.” That was all she said that night.

            I couldn’t stop thinking about an identical pair of shoes floating around somewhere else in the world. But then again, she didn’t say what kind of shoes. And, I mean, that is a pretty well known phrase for fans of Dylan. (Sometimes I realize how annoying I get when I talk about Bob Dylan, but I can’t help it. Truly, I can’t.)

            The next day at school, while pretending to listen to Ian’s take on the whole break up situation, I kept looking around, hoping to see the girl that messaged me there, sprinting through the halls, because once again extremities were everywhere. You could either be the tortoise or the hare in the hallways of my high school, but either way, you weren’t making it to class on time.

            I just needed to talk to her again. I don’t know why. I wasn’t obsessed, but feeling like there is someone out there, who notices things the way that you notice them, is comforting.  That night I messaged her again.  I said a lot. Too many things that, really I knew she wouldn’t care about, but that I needed to tell someone. I felt like we could be friends, great friends, actually. I just needed to hear from her.

            No reply. It had been a week and still nothing.  

            Then finally I got one, a real reply. One that I had been looking for my whole life without even knowing that I was searching for it, but isn’t that way it always goes?  We talked. I, of course, was curious about who this girl really was, in real life, with her friends.  Because knowing that she didn’t know who I was, made me feel like I could be open with her.

            On April 5th, when things were finally looking up for Ian and Sam, a girl who had incredibly long hair covering part of her pale face came up to us during lunch.  We were sitting at our usual spot in the cafeteria. Occasionally our spot is disrupted by the inevitable break up of two-thirds of our group, but change wasn’t really our thing, so we would always try our best to get the far table in the corner.

            It was that girl who Sam hated for no reason that I knew.  (Sam doesn’t just dislike people or just get angry, she hates with a passion that I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be able to conjure up.)  Surprisingly enough, the timid looking girl kept walking towards us, somehow dodging the lasers that were hastily coming out of Sam’s eyes.

            The whole situation made me uncomfortable, so I left to put up my tray. I really wasn’t in the mood to see Sam be, yet again, ridiculous, and on a Monday to top it all off.  My philosophy on Mondays has never changed: let nothing too exciting happen, let Mondays come quietly, and let them pass by as quickly as possible.

            Unexpectedly, the girl turned and followed me.  And when I saw her face, I knew who she was.  Her brown eyes showed that she was exactly who I thought. She was pretty, I mean, not gorgeous, but the kind of pretty that Sam will never be, because Sam cares too much about her looks. Sam stepped in before we could actually have a true conversation, but we both nodded, knowing that the person behind the screen really existed.  We were best friends, and even though right then we weren’t supposed to meet, we knew that each other was real, that the person who most understood us was there all along, just waiting to be seen.

            We met, by the way. And we’re still best friends, better friends than Sam and I could ever hope to be, but that’s okay. I found out later that she knew who I was all along, but couldn’t say anything because of Sam, who finally came around once she realized that not everyone, or any other girl beside herself “wants a piece of Ian.” Apparently Ashley was unintentionally the cause of Break Up #3.  Ian probably glanced at her, and Sam had a meltdown.  Dramatic much?

            We truly do live such lives of extremity. That’s something I’ve learned through all of this. Even though I try to act grown up, I haven’t really taught myself how think at all. I guess Ashley is right when she said that sometimes you can’t think things out.

            So, for now, I’m going to quit trying to be just less unhappy, and I’m going to strive to be just happy. And, if I do say so myself, I think I’m already halfway there.  I guess I did have a good idea after all.

Until next time, Lucy. 

© 2012 AC Cheatwood


Author's Note

AC Cheatwood
I would love constructive feedback on my style. This is the first short story I've ever completely finished.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

172 Views
Added on March 2, 2012
Last Updated on March 2, 2012

Author

AC Cheatwood
AC Cheatwood

TN



About
I'm 19 I mainly write poetry, but I'm getting more into short stories. I'm a pretty happy person. That's about it. more..

Writing