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a story I wrote... 06-20-2005 07:21 pm namiko's Blog
This is a story I wrote about Michael, my alter-ego. Sam knows him too well for his own good, and he's a little frusterated, to put it mildly, because his parents just told him that he has AS. All of the characters mentioned are made-up characters, and most of them aren't based on any people, except for Michael.
I think he's obsessing over the stupid little things in life that we can't control. Again.
Warning: this story does have religious content...Just thought it'd be nice if y'all were fairly warned.
Samantha won’t come. You already know that. I absolutely despise that little imaginary voice inside my head, the one voice that will continue speaking to me even if all others cease. Even if I don’t want to hear it ever again.
But what if she rejects me? Both Samantha and Scott have been my friends, well, practically forever, but what if they knew? More than anyone outside my family (Mei-ling included), Sam’s always been there whenever. And Scott. I mean, Samantha is basically the one who keeps the tight-knit friendship at school strong, but what if they knew? Scott’s a great friend and all, but the he’s so talkative that the poor fellow can hardly keep a secret. No offense to anyone, but I really don’t want – or need – the entire school to know.
How do people reject others? More importantly, why? Why does everything suddenly make sense? The stuff that happened back in England? Why is it that no one ever bothers to tell me until way after the fact?
It’s starting to rain now, but I’m safe inside the shelter of the tree house. Part of me wants Samantha to come; part of me is dreading the moment. Somehow, it seems unlikely that Sam will reject me (being an INFP and all), but she might. She’s still fairly unpredictable.
The rain starts to come down harder. The wind whistles through the tree branches outside the window. There is a moment of tranquility on this side of harsh reality before my fate is permanently sealed. This inner silence is broken by footsteps on the ladder, two slow tugs of the cord connected to the bell, followed by a pause, then three more in rapid succession. The footsteps get closer and closer. Thoughts of hatred, rejection and betrayal clog my mind, temporarily prohibiting my thoughts to process properly.
“Michael?” a voice called. Definitely Sam. “Can I talk to you for a moment?” Well, was I ready to meet my fate?
About 5 minutes later…
Samantha stared at me through her glasses for a moment in nothing but pure shock. Yeah, exactly what my reaction was when I was told, but I really wish she wouldn’t do that. “What the heck did you just say?” she said, pausing between words as if to make a point. I repeated exactly what I’d just said, not bothering to simplify my vocabulary because Sam is as good or better at English than I am.
Okay, why my parents wait a full decade (plus some) to tell me, I don’t know. Whoever said that innocence is bliss should be regarded as an insane idiot and sent to the asylum for eternity. I do, however, agree that while you don’t know, it’s all fine, but once you’re told, things that didn’t make sense before start to and you also begin to doubt other people. What if there was more being kept a secret?
Sam sat down on the other wooden box that functions as a chair. She pushed some of her hair out of her ears, probably trying to buy some extra time to think. “I know,” she said, smiling. Why does it seem like everyone else on this side of reality knows before I do? I’m usually the kind of person who notices things about people, even when no one else does, like the fact that Jessica’s shoelaces are different colours or when people make grammatical errors when writing or speaking. “Believe me, Michael, I’d suspected something before you’d said anything.”
“How? Why?” was my response. It’s still raining outside, but I’m sure no one will miss me at home. I’d told them multiple times that I would be in the fort with my sketchbook and The Hobbit, which I’m drawing characters and scenes for.
“We were talking in psych class,” she replied with a smile. I’d forgotten that she was taking Miss Kerrington’s infamous psychology class. Evan said that it was an easy class, but I’m not so sure I trust his opinion on everything. “And, besides, Scott said that some people have the talent of knowing more about other people than those people know about themselves.” And Sam’s one of those people; she just knows. However, this was a brilliant and unusual explanation from Scott, who can never keep his mind concentrated on one thing at a time, especially psychology.
“Might I ask why?” Why Samantha always figures things out so quickly is completely beyond me, but maybe it’s because she writes about different characters. I don’t think she’s ever created a fictional character who doesn’t have any serious problems, so she can really go about exploring their darker side, if you will.
Sam sighed impatiently. She’s never been the most patient person in our group. (Jess is.) “Michael,” she whispered. “You know this and I know this, but everyone’s different. Each of us has our character flaws and it’s harder for us to notice them than for someone else to. Do you get what I’m trying to say?”
“Like the fact that Scott talks too much or that Danny’s too skeptical?”
Samantha nodded vigorously, and a smile appeared on her face. “Exactly, mellon-nin, but my brother doesn’t think he talks too much, believe me. I think you need to accept it as part of who you are and just move on.” Even for Sam that was a bit harsh. There was a long silence, almost deadly, it seemed, before either one of us spoke again.
“Michael,” Sam said, breaking the awkward silence that had built up in only a few moments. The great thing about Sam is that even if she starts being mad at someone, it’s hard for her to stay mad with them. She’s fiddling with her glasses. Again. “I don’t see why you don’t just accept this. Not everything is perfect and things that are imperfect don’t always need reasons.” Outside, the rain’s begun to cease, but the sun is setting rather quickly. “Are you listening to me, Michael?” She quit playing with her glasses for a brief moment to wave a hand in front of my face. She's still wearing the bracelet that she made at summer camp last year when we all went. (I think Scott and I were doing some leatherwork at the time, but whatever.) Before Mom and Dad decided to tell me.
“Yeah, I’m listening.” But I really wasn’t. Sam eyed me doubtfully, as if she knows I was lying. At times, I almost wish she didn’t know me as well, but since when does my opinion matter for anything?
Ever since I’ve known Samantha, we certainly haven’t gotten along perfectly, and it’s surprising that we’re even still close friends after all these years. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve helped each other through a lot, especially in the past year or so. I tend to have a much more scientific mind than she does, and there has to be a reason for anything and everything, no matter how theoretical the reason may be.
“No you aren’t,” she said. I wish I was invisible. Then, no one would be able to say they could see how I felt. Or if I was paying attention. “Now everything has a reason, doesn’t it?” Well, even for Sam, that was way random. But I guess she’s right. Almost. Except for the fact that the Institution is rotten at the core. All that glitters is not gold and all that is gold does not glitter.
The Institution…now there's an interesting place! What the real name is, I forgot, but it’s a place back in England (and I’m sure they have them in America, too) that “mentally troubled” children go. I mean, this can imply anything from slightly temperamental to learning disability to severe mental retardation. I try not to remember it, but the Headmaster’s name is Wormwood. There are several rooms they keep people in. But it is a horrid place. The people are cruel and unloving. It is no better than a prison.
A lightbulb suddenly went on in my mind. There was a reason why Mom and Dad both used to work long hours and send me to “day care” at the Institution. Andy and Elizabeth never went there; only I did. Both Andy and Elizabeth are normal people, whatever normal truly is. But obviously I’m not, or I wouldn’t have gone there in the first place.
“I take it you finally understand?” Sam asked in a quiet voice. I nodded, but didn’t say anything. Mom and Dad must’ve thought that the Institution was a good idea, but it certainly was not. I know people make mistakes and we’re supposed to forgive them just as God forgives us and then forget about it as if it had never happened, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.
“Hey, Michael?” Sam asked. “I should probably be getting home soon, but I’ll see you tomorrow.” She disappeared down the ladder as quickly as she’d come. I’d start back home in a couple of minutes, but I need all the time I can get alone before I re-enter the chaotic side of reality.
Mom and Dad didn’t send me to the Institution because I was adopted, which is another story. In fact, I didn’t even know this until much later. (It just so happens that I look a lot like Dad and quite a bit like everyone else in my family, except for Hannah, so it’s definitely not obvious.) But now I think I know why they sent me there…and I guess I’ll get the whole story out from them when I get home!
When I got home, no one was downstairs. It’s about eight o’clock, so Hannah is probably asleep already. Elizabeth is next-door at Ellie Johnson’s house, but since when does that surprise anyone? Andy is upstairs in our bedroom playing Tchaikovsky (I think) on his violin.
“Michael,” Cassandra said. She’s my nine-year-old sister (younger than everyone else except for Hannah). “Mom and Daddy want to talk to you upstairs in their room.” She smiled her usual smile and waltzed out of the room and up the stairs.
Okay, I really don’t want to talk to them, but I guess I’ll have to eventually. All I really want to know is why they decided to send me to the Institution. Maybe they had no choice because I did attend a government-run school in England when we lived there. And such schools (RHS being one of them) are quite idiotic and unnecessary.
After walking up the spiraled staircase, and down the hall to Mom and Dad’s room, Dad opened the door before I had the chance to knock. I really don’t know how they do it because I’ve learned from Sam to walk silently. Mom is sitting down on their bed and Dad is standing up near the door. I really wish they wouldn’t do this to me; it reminds me of the Spanish Inquisition that we reenacted in school, which had been fun because our group had been Ellie Johnson, Danny Turner, the Felíz brothers, Phoebe and Nathan Schindler and myself.
Before either of them had a chance to speak, I asked them a question. “Why did you wait so long?” There was a long, deadly silence before anyone spoke. The only thing that is worse than being in a battle is being on the edge of one you cannot escape.
Mom spoke first. “Michael,” she said, reaching over to push my hair out of my face, but I pulled away. “You don’t know this, but people are concerned about you. While you were at the tree house, Dr. Wood came by to talk to you and find out why you haven’t been your normal self lately. We talked for a while before you came back home and I let him know what was going on.” Dr. Wood is one of the few teachers at Riverdale High School who knows me well (I’ve been in his homeroom class since I’ve been going part-time to the school), but I didn’t think he knew me that well.
There was another silence. Mom didn’t exactly answer my question. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?” I asked. Okay, maybe I don’t want to know why nobody bothers to tell me about this kind of thing until much after the fact.
“Michael,” Mom said again. This time her voice was much queter than before. “When Ms. Starr recommended that we see Dr. Corsairs at the education center, we thought you should have as much of a chance at a normal childhood as any other kid. But when things didn’t improve…” Mom’s voice trailed off into an undefined point of space.
“I didn’t ask, right?”
Dad nodded and spoke next. He tends not to say much, but when he does speak outside of church functions, it’s almost always important. “When we received the papers back from Dr. Corsairs, your mother and I decided that an education at home would be the best option,” he said. There was another long pause. “Michael, you are a gifted young scholar. You were already doing advanced addition and subtraction and reading The Chronicles of Narnia before learning to speak in coherent sentences to other people or play a game of pretend with the kids from church.” That was probably true. The first two friends I ever remember having (except for Alex, of course) were Scott and Samantha.