“Comrads, whatever you prefer,” he shrugged sitting next to me.
“I was going to say; if we were a monestary we’d be like that one from Monty Python,” I said.
Jeff chuckled while James shrugged. James was a close friend as well and one of my drama club companions. His tone was always one of unless you knew him it was almost impossible to tell if he was joking or not. Luckily over the years I had learned his tells. James was short, but stalky with dark hair and features. His baggy t-shirt and jeans that he always wore masked his rugged physique. James was quite physically powerful, and had a very sharp wit to match. He enjoyed labor which was why he is my number one set crewman. James’ humor was dry, but when he truly enjoyed himself he smiled a crooked mischievious smile and his eyes sparked with a harmless evil glee.
“So are we having a sci-fi meeting tonight?” James asked as he took a bite.
“I’ve some some projects I need to work on,” Jeff shook his head after a drink.
“Besides, I’ve got to work on those set pieces,” I chimed in.
“Do you need me to move them out for you before I go?” James asked.
“No, Mr. Sarissa said he’d move them out for me later,” I shook my head.
“I can at least haul out the paint you need,”
“That works,” I nodded.
” I saw Mr.Sarissa earlier. He’s worried about you,” Jeff said looking at me.
“I know, and I just don’t feel like myself lately. I don’t know what it is,” I said playing with my sandwhich a little.
“Hormones,” James said matter of factly.
“Works for me,” I said.
“As true as it probably is, what has been bugging you lately?” Jeff glared at James.
“I honestly don’t know. I sleep, but with the dreams I’ve been having lately it feels like I haven’t. Then of course there was that incident this morning,”
“Wait, what incident?” James asked.
“Karen thinks she saw someone this morning out on the school grounds,” Jeff explained.
“I don’t know who or what he was. He was dressed in this black ornate looking war armor, and as crazy as this sounds, I swear that I could feel his stare burning into me,” I looked back and forth between Jeff and James.
“Perhaps he’s a representation of all of your frustration which in turn would mean that you need to face them head on,” James said as he took a drink.
“Don’t play psychiatrist with me right now,” I sighed.
“Maybe that is exactly what you need though,”
“Bad as I hate to admit it, James may be right on this one,” Jeff agreed.
“I don’t know what I need,” I said getting up.
“Where are you going?” Jeff asked.
“Lunch is over and I have a free period because I can’t go to gym class, so I’m going outside for some fresh air,”
I hobbled my way outside to a bench that over looked the basketball and tennis courts. I was horrible at spots, but I didn’t mind watching them from time to time. What was going on with me? The dreams that I was having seemed more and more real, but when I woke up I could only remember a part of them. I had been seeing stuff out of the corner of my eye for weeks. Today, the hallucination of the armored man, that was a breaking point for me. Was I completely losing my mind? I sighed deeply trying to calm my thoughts. Just then someone sat down next to me. I look towards the other end of the bench to see Mr. Sarissa sitting there.
“I do appreciate your offer to help earlier,” I said looking at him.
“The offer still stands,” he said.
“Like I said, I don’t think there’s anything you can do. It’s probably just some teenage hormonal stage I’ve gotta get through,” I said turning back to the courts.
“You and I both know that you are far more perceptive than that,” he glared at me over the top of his glasses.
“So is it a curse to be more perceptive than others? I mean if this is what I get for having a higher natural ability then I don’t want it,” I looked back at him frustrated.
“Never wish to be anyone other than who you are, and for your information I enjoy your observations and insights. Look around, do you really want to be one of the kids who skates by caring only about getting out and not what they can really do?” he said waving his hand towards the courts.
“No, I wouldn’t be,” I said quietly.
“Do you want to talk about things at home?” he asked leaning in.
“No offense, but that is something I would really rather not discuss; especially with you,” I looked at him.
I never wanted to be one of those teenagers who whenever they got into trouble or were depressed blamed it on things at home. No, I always held my head high and muscled through it. I think that I did it because if I acted like nothing was wrong than nothing would be. I didn’t want to face that waiting at home was a Dad who worked so much I barely ever saw him, and when he was home my step-mother had a list of things for him to do. My step-mother was my biggest problem. I wasn’t one of her kids and she made sure that I knew it. I was the remainder of a marriage between my mother and father therefore I was an eyesore. Everyday when I got home from school I would have a list of chores waiting for me. Then I would have to watch my step-siblings when they got home from school. I barely had time for homework; especially with a bedtime of eight o’clock. I wasn’t really allowed to go anywhere and I was far too ashamed to have anyone over. Everything was my fault and I could do no right unless she wanted to show off what a good mother she was. I hated her, but I was also mad at my Dad for letting her do it. Jeff and James knew my situation, but Mr. Sarissa knew very little. I had a bit of a breakdown on him one day when one of the actors snapped on me during drama practice. I still feel bad for doing that to him. Although I count myself very fortunate that I have an adult that I can call my friend. The bell rang and I thanked Mr. Sarissa again for his kindness. I went back inside headed towards cooking class. I just had three more classes and my day was done.
The last bell rang and my spirits lifted. Class was so tedious and all I really wanted to do was work on the sets for the school play. James met me on the stage next to the supply closet. Sure enough along the back wall were five flats lined up ready to be worked on. Flats are the skeletal and muscular structure of a play. The actors provide the heart and spirit, but the flats provide the scenery to enhance the illusion. I took a look at the scenes in order to figure out what paint and brushes I was going to need. Once I had made up my mind I told James who lugged the paint cans out for me. The drama club bought five gallon house paint cans with the shades that Mr. Sarissa said he would need. After I had what I needed James left leaving me on my own. I turned on the radio and set my crutches against the wall. I stared at the scenes for a moment trying to pick my starting point. I bent over to pick up a paint can lid. Something dark went by me. I stood up quick scanning the stage. I was just still a little freaked from this morning that was all. I continued what I was doing. I limped up to one of the flats and added some green texture to a bush. A shadow fell on where I was working. It was the shadow of a large man.