WARNING: Contains drug use. You don’t want to read about people getting stoned and smoking, don’t read this then.
Chapter 2: Now and Again
In a bleak world with little to show for itself, now and again, there was a little life, James thought. As he walked down the corridor and up the stairs towards his locker, little but disinterest picked at him. Disinterest, however, was not the word he would use to describe a collision with a tangled mess of brunette hair, nor the sound of his, or her, impact with the cold floor. In a glimpse of rarity, those were all interesting events.
He was the first to recover, standing up before she did. He offered a hand to the face that was nameless to him.
“Cheers,” she said coolly.
“Have we met?” James asked. She blinked at him, picking up her bag.
“Maybe. I’m Kate,” she said. Putting names to faces was what man was born for, James thought. Recognising people was something people did all the time, it was one of those little things that people did without noticing.
“James,” he said, offering his hand again. She looked down at it, looked back up at him, smirked.
“Shaking hands? Really? How… conformist,” she remarked, before brushing past him and walking off, leaving him standing there and looking at his hand in a deep stupor.
Only after she had completely disappeared did he realise that he might never meet somebody so individual again, at least, not for a very long time.
He continued down the corridor and up yet another flight of stairs, straight passed the huge windows that went almost from the floor to the ceiling. He arrived at his locker no less ceremoniously than he ever had before, and he entered his code (62-34-78) no differently than he ever had before.
Classes hadn’t become more interesting after the break. They never did. Breaks were there so people could take pauses from boring things, James thought. Uninteresting and depressing things, they were, classes. Oh, they said they would teach different subjects and different ideas and all these things. But that was all bullshit. They all taught knowledge, or tried to, at least. The problem with teaching knowledge is that it’s impossible to teach.
“Mr Michaels, perhaps you could enlighten us on what you thought Salinger’s book,” the teacher, some old lady, said. She was nice, mostly, but she was one of those old waspy characters that drove most people insane with their niceness and prying eyes.
“I think he has the right of it, truthfully. People are mostly two-faced and selfish, but we don’t like to talk about that. We like to talk about how nice we are, and how good we are, but Salinger realised that good things are useless if they’re based on lies,” James replied, setting his pen down, and looking up at the teacher.
“Is that so, James? You really believe society lies to itself?” she asked. James nodded. Society was like a petulant child. Practiced stupidity commonly, lied to everything and its mother twice a minute, and blamed the exposer when they were caught red-handed.
“I believe society is plagued by idiocy, and that idiots lie to themselves to make themselves feel better, instead of just accepting the fact that they’re idiots and moving on,” James said. “But I also believe that there are too many idiots for the people who can see through idiocy to deal with, so I don’t expect much to change. Not much of anything ever really changes, these days.”
And with those words, the flustered teacher abandoned asking James questions in favour of asking other their opinions on the text.
Classes went by slowly, but surely, they went by. James almost fell asleep in Math, but that was because he found the subject more boring than any subject ever deserved to be.
Lunch rolled around as it usually did, sometime around one; James had lost track of time at some point during the endless, mind-numbingly boring maths topic that was commonly referred to as Functions.
When Lunch rolled around, James, as he usually did, was wondering what exactly he should do during lunch. He wandered around until he saw the shed. It happened to be a well-known shed, this shed. It was green and sat against a wall, right next to the corner, but was famous about this shed was the little area between the shed and the wall with only one entrance.
James had never been behind this famous shed, nor had he ever visited the people that occupied the infamous space between the shed and the wall. He supposed, today, that if he wanted something to be less than static and more than unchanging, he would actually have to do something himself. So he wandered around the area and behind the shed.
There were about five people there, all of them smoking something. Three were just smoking normal fags, but the other two looked like they were stoned. James suspected weed. What really surprised him was that Kate was there. She was one of the ones with the ordinary fags.
“James! Didn’t think I’d see you here,” she exclaimed. He glanced between the ciggie in her hand and the smile on her face.
“Same,” he replied. “Have a spare smoke?”
“Maybe,” she replied. “I’ve never seen you here before. Ever smoked before?”
“Never,” he replied simply. She handed him a fag, and he nearly coughed at the smoke that came at him from hers. “A light?”
She tossed him one from her coat pocket, and he lit the ciggie. It burnt for a moment before he took a puff. A second passed. He started coughing coarsely and Kate laughed at him.
He had gotten used to it by the end of lunch.
Two hours later, and with little input from James, the school day ended without much fanfare, much as it always did on these normal days during the week. He was walking down towards the main gate. He felt a grip on his arm, and swivelled around to find himself face to face with a girl who was fast becoming familiar.
“Hey,” she greeted, letting go of his arm. He rubbed softly.
“Hell of a grip,” he remarked, and she smirked. “Any reason why you grabbed me?”
She glanced left, right, down at her toes, before looking up at him.
“A bunch of us are coming to my place for a get-together kind of thing; I’m inviting you,” she said. This time he looked around.
“When?” he asked.
“Now,” she replied.
“Spontaneity; how not conformist,” James said.
And much like they arrived, they left. Without any fanfare at all. The only difference was they were together when they left.
The trip to her house was short; she was an inner city bug. They hopped on a tram, simple and easy, and they were there. It was a three storey building, modern, and pretty cool. It was clean inside, and most things were nicely organised. But, it was a house. James liked homes more.
“Parents not home?” he asked. She shrugged nonchalantly.
“Business trip. Won’t be home ‘til the weekend,” she replied. “Beer?”
He nodded. “Sure. Why not?”
“Exactly. That’s what I think, anyway. You can do peaceful, healthy shit when you’re dead, right?” she asked. He nodded again.
“I suppose. Some stuff is just too crap, though,” James replied. Kate laughed, and handed him his beer, the first of the day, he thought.
“Don’t knock what’ll kill ‘til you try it,” she replied, and quite suddenly, James got the feeling that he was a little out of his depth with this girl. Was that normal?
“Why?” he asked.
“There’s something about escaping, hiding from the world in happiness and ecstasy,” Kate replied. “Sometimes it’s what people need.”
Are you one of those people, Kate? James thought. Very out of his depth. This was going to be fun.
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