Today was my last day of school before summer vacation, which means that, yeah, I just finished my high school career — sat in my last classes, took my last exams, waved to my friends in the hallway for the last time.
It’s surreal. It’s bittersweet. I’ve been really nostalgic and sad about it for the past year or two (I’m not even kidding).
But then I also basically look like this right now:
(You tell ’em how it is, Puck!!!)
In other news, here’s your Wordy Wednesday for this week. 😛 This is a short story I wrote around this time last year for the Dystopia Contest with Lauren Oliver on Figment. It was the first contest I ever entered on there, and I was extremely honored to be awarded as runner-up/second place (despite the fact that I later realized this is basically exactly like Lauren Oliver’s own novel Delirium, which I didn’t read until after the contest — go figure).
“Tara.” Ryan comes up right behind me, taking my hand in his. With the other, he sweeps my too long bangs out of my face and back behind my ear. His rough skin leaves a series of tingles behind and I look down at our intertwined fingers, mashing my lips together.
“It’s too dangerous,” I whisper.
“Don’t say that.”
“It’s the truth.” I shrug away from his touch and turn so that we’re face to face. “What if we get caught? You don’t even know for sure if They exist.”
“They do.” He takes a step towards me, but again I step back.
“Please, you can’t go –” I break off as my eyes reach his.
“Stop pretending like you have any choice in the matter.”
At first I think he’s joking, and I crack a smile, but his caramel brown eyes remain stony and I feel my muscles tense, my features melt back into a frown.
“I’m going whether you want me to or not. If you’re too scared to come along, you don’t have to, but I’m going to find Them, and then we’ll come back for you.” He takes several steps forward so that he’s so close I can feel his breath on my cheek, and he cups my chin in his hands. “I love you, Tara.”
There they are. The four words that started it all.
It had been an accident the first time, I’m sure. A test of authority. A brush of lips on pink cheek, faint in the twilight the academy building cast during lunch, his voice a whisper, “I love you, Tara.”
Ryan hated it then, hates it now. All of it. The rules – inside before sunset, silent before 10:00 PM – and the checks – breathalyzers at the door, do you look too happy? Quick, check your blood, run a scan, what are you hiding?
We are human, our very existence our demise. We live to crave touch, affection, longing, and this is our problem. Love distracts us. At times like these, when the entire world infrastructure is on the brink of collapse, we need to focus on furthering our knowledge, being innovative above the other cultures as they try desperately to be innovative above ours… not love.
There’s a purpose behind the documents and rulebooks, regulations and regulators, but Ryan has never seen it.
When we were twelve, he pulled me back behind the gym and pressed his lips, wet with mist, to my cheek.
“What did you just do?” I had asked, touching my skin, surprised by the warmth.
“I love you, Tara,” he said simply.
If he had been anyone else, I would have reported him to a teacher and they would have sent him to a reform academy – it sounds crazy, but societies need order, and order doesn’t come from letting people off the hook just because they don’t, can’t see the bigger picture – but Ryan and I were friends, best friends, and I couldn’t do that to him.
After that, there were more and more infractions; kisses, crooked smiles, long talks into the night as we lie under a canopy of treetops where no one could see us, while on the streets just on the other side of the woods regulators searched for delinquents.
To love is to commit a crime, and somehow we have become criminals.
There was a way out, Ryan said. They, the Resistance, living in the northern part of the country, the part that the government abandoned after stripping it of its resources – we could sneak out, join Them.
“We can go there and be safe. We won’t have to hide anymore,” Ryan whispers, now.
“You know I can’t go,” I say, my voice a sigh, a quiver. I rest my head against the hollow between his collarbone and throat and feel the beat, rhythm, pulse, that marks him alive, warm and constant.
He’ll come back for me, he promises again before leaving, disappearing into the tree trunks and foliage. I bite my lip, try not to cry.
I turn back toward the road, toward home, when suddenly an arm wraps around my waist and spins me to face its master. Ryan presses his lips to mine, pulls our bodies together so that his hands are in my hair and mine are looped around his neck; one last kiss that fades far too quickly.
“I love you, Ryan,” I whisper into his shirt.
“Don’t forget that,” he replies. “Whatever you do, don’t forget love.”
This past Sunday was the annual awards gala for my theatre company. This is always a really big ordeal — all the girls wear their prom dresses and the guys wear their tuxes, and everyone walks around eating fancy desserts and stuff — but this year was particularly big for me since it was my last gala. And, as a senior and one of the leaders of the company, I was up for two really big awards.
I was completely blown away when I actually won both of them.
I got a fairly hefty scholarship from our drama boosters to spend on college stuff, aaand… wait for it… I WON THE OUTSTANDING THESPIAN AWARD!!!!!!!!! That is LITERALLY the highest honor the theatre company offers, and it means that my name’s going to be on a plaque in our lobby with all the other Outstanding Thespian Award winners from the past however-many-years we’ve been doing this award (along with the other two people who won it this year, too — who, by the way, it is A HUMUNGOUS HONOR to share the 2012 slot with! 🙂 ), and it’s just… incredible. I started crying. I never thought in a million years I’d get it, because there were a lot of other awesome and dedicated and talented people in my class, and they’re all a lot funnier, or more outgoing, or whatever-it-may-be than me. I’m just kind of there all the time, I’m not the kind of person who you really notice. Or who’s even really particularly likeable. And the Outstanding Thespian Award is based completely on the votes of the company, so it’s usually the really popular, I-am-the-face-of-the-company kids who get it.
And yeah. It was just incredible. IN. CRE. DI. BLE.
Anyway. I’m going to go rock out to more school’s out kind of music, now. 😀