One day can change everything, and change nothing. One day is the centre of the heart and the heart of the centre. You cannot change one day if that day has already begun. That day is done, and done it has been.
Walk. I walk along the river.
Feel. I feel the breeze amongst my hair.
Think. I cannot change a thing.
Life is a bittersweet memory. I stop and look to the river, its wide expanse stretching beyond the distance that my eyes can see. I look. The bridge is not so far. I walk. To the bridge to cross the river.
I stop again and knee, expecting with every moment that I will see the birth of ripples spreading over the water caused by the boat of Charon. But when I look up there is nothing there. Evidently.
Then I dip my hand into the water. It’s cool and polluted, but I do it anyway. I am so small beside the river whether I am sitting, standing, or kneeling on the river edge. Just like I am but an insignificant being in this vastly populated world. So what difference would one day make?
I look at the water, it’s dark and murky, unpleasantly unclean. I have no doubt that it would stain my body and health with its black mark of death. I watch in silent horror as the surface changes. It doesn’t reflect the sky and its blueness. Or the sky and its puffy white clouds I’m so far away from. Instead it shifts and changes, and morphs into something else.
It is a mirror, a bowl of water, with a crystal in the centre. It calls to a past I want to forget. It calls to the days that are insignificant.
I walk to the bus stop and say hi to the girl I call my friend. She laughs and says hi then pulls me along the bus to the back where all the boys are. Then she flirts with them while I sit next to here, trying control my blush as I talk to the guy on my other side.
He’s nice. I like him. I’ve liked him for a while. I tell myself I’m not nervous because he’s talking to me. I tell myself I’m nervous because I’m afraid of what I’ll say.
The bus stops and the idea of class at nine hits me full force. There’s still forty-five minutes until it starts, Les drags me to the canteen where she stacks up on unhealthy but absolutely delicious breakfast foods before plonking me into a chair with a bunch of rowdy guys.
They roared and punched her in the arm while their hands reached for her food. I batted them away for her. Like always. She was incapable of keeping them out of her food. When I wasn’t around, she’d end up with nothing but one or two. And this was why she loved me. Because I was her wingman, her best friend, her buffer, her food saver.
If we hadn’t been the only two loners in year seven too quirky for the rest of the class, then we’d never be friends. But I know this is the reason why we were friends in the first place. Because neither of us could really ever truly be the best friend of someone else. Nor could we get along too well with a bunch of other girls. We had our secrets, and we had the reasons why we could not go out like the other girls. And we bonded in that way, even if we never actually told each other why.
We trusted each other. Somehow indefinitely, and because of that our fates seemed entwined together. But I was still me. I was still the only. I was still alone.
When class began, I sat in my usual seat beside a random friend. She chatted unnecessarily about some party or another. I nodded and smiled, it was customary, familiar, repetitious.
The teacher started speaking then and her talk was drowned out. Thank god.
I scribbled mercilessly all over my book. Touché I didn’t actually write anything. Recess passed like a breeze. Les buying a chunk of food, and me buffering the hoard of people trying to take her food. She flirted again.
Maths was the bane of my existence. Why not? Since the reason why I was in maths in the first place was because I was egotistic enough to think that I was good enough. But I couldn’t back out now. No matter how much I hated it. The rowdy guys from this morning flooded the seats next to me and around me and badgered me all lesson. I wasn’t surprised, they needed my help. So I did my work ahead and helped them in class rather than doing my work.
Too bad, I was such a pushover.
Lunch came and they all dragged me with them even though I might have preferred to find a quiet place, far away, a place that doesn’t exist.
I buffered for Les again. She was forever always in my favour.
Then the day ended with another class, again, I was doing nothing more than scribbling in my book. I was too far ahead for the teacher to comprehend. Too bad.
And when the day ended, I had received more than the norm in invitations to parties, Les looked at me. I gave her a sad smile and put them in the bin.
The scene disappeared, and the river was once more a river. It was as it was. Flowing and fluid. Liquid darkness that could poison me bit by bit.
I took off my boots and pulled off my socks.
The water was warm. I pulled off my other boot so that I could stand on the stairs, with my feet in the water. It seemed to call to me. It seemed to want me to swim. The other side of the river wasn’t so far. It couldn’t possibly be as far as walking to the bridge to cross what I could cross now.