|On the Outside Looking In
Author: Nixy Angel PM
Cody finds an unlikely friendship with outcasts from school, but when a tragedy shakes the student body his world begins to crumble. And it'll take more than forgiveness to wash the pain away. CoWrite with Sillvermedal. COMPLETEDRated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Drama - Chapters: 15 - Words: 28,102 - Reviews: 117 - Favs: 37 - Follows: 17 - Updated: 04-27-07 - Published: 08-06-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3090251
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hello everyone…this is Nixy. And I am here with a thousand apologies. I'm so sorry for disappearing…something happened that I would rather not talk about. I haven't been at a computer at all for some time, and just recently began restaking my existence on the online world I've indulged myself in. I must say, real life is hard. Frustrating, depressing. And it can make you do things you wouldn't believe possible, and things you don't recognize as a part of your own character because of its immorality. I apologize for being gone…you all have every right to be mad at me. I promise to eventually update my other stories…but I just couldn't bring myself to update this one…so Sillver did it for me.
Let me tell you, she was the brains behind this story. The brains, the skill, and the heart. I just started and helped…it would have been nothing without her. She is an amazing writer, and I owe this storie's success to her.
This is her chapter…and it is the final one. I have enjoyed writing this up until now, and I hope you have enjoyed reading. Anyone feel free to PM me, I will talk with anyone. I greatly appreciate all our readers, and especially our reviewers. You have been incredible!
With much love, Nixy Angel
Note from SillverMedal: I'm sure Nixy Angel will explain her absence as she sees fit, but I want to say thank you so very much to anyone who ever left a review. You have truly inspired this story, and I know I speak for the whole of the FF world when I say each word means something special to us writers. I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this with Nixy, and I hope that you have enjoyed this story as much I have.
Sometimes I wonder if the world is all that bad.
Sometimes I think maybe it's not and maybe we're all just exaggerating. Maybe we're all making everything up and the world is really just some Eden that we live in constant oblivion towards.
And maybe that's complete crap.
Because let's be honest with ourselves, the world pretty much sucks.
Maybe Griffin's lucky he can't see it. Maybe Zack's lucky he'll never be overly-trusting like me. Maybe Carly's lucky that she was adopted, or maybe Ben's lucky that his music isn't all that famous yet.
Maybe we're all in some sort of bizarre existence that uses differential contemplation as a sort of portal to a destiny we'll never know we've found…
We stayed at the cottage for three days, and while we were there found out more than we'd ever thought we'd find out.
I learned that Carly's birth parents are both still alive and living in Oklahoma, and that she sees them every summer and sometimes for Christmas now they've completed drug rehab.
I learned that Griffin started painting because he wanted to impress a girl in his sixth grade art class and thus discovered his talent in life simply because he wanted to look gifted at something.
I learned that Ben was born with a twin brother named Bryan who died as an infant because they were born prematurely. When he told me that it made my heart get all constricted because I knew someday either me or Zack was going to have to go through losing the other, and that terrified me.
And I learned that I loved peanut butter and hated heights and somehow I told them that I wanted to be an Oncologist someday, which I know now is true but at the time I had no idea.
We went into town and watched DVDs and played music and Guess Who?, but mostly we just talked. And I guess that's weird, isn't it? Three high school guys "chatting"…Carly had an excuse, being a girl, but I guess none of us cared.
Because life was too big to care.
Looking back, I don't know what would have happened to us if we hadn't of taken that trip. The cottage was just some little building in the woods, but it was a sort of other world for us.
And if the real world couldn't be an Eden, then it was damn good thing we had the cottage.
And it was fun and it was enlightening and I'd never felt so alive before.
But then it ended and we drove back into the monotony of day-to-day life.
And that was, surprisingly, okay.
We'd all learned things about ourselves and we'd all sort of…I don't know…became more like ourselves if that makes any sense. It was like wearing shoes that don't fit you right for years and then finding a pair that had fit perfectly.
Five weeks after our return from the cottage Griffin picked up a paintbrush.
Carly told me and Ben later that she had almost taken it from him and waited for him to start crying, but he never did. In fact, never once at the cottage did he complain and as the days slowly expired he grew more and more extroverted until his reclusive recent behavior all but disappeared.
And when he picked up that brush for the first time since being blinded, I think a part of him, maybe a final part of him, clinked into place.
The mural on his walls was never completed, or at least not to my knowledge, but that made it all the more masterful. It wasn't until he finally let others see what had been hiding underneath the cover on the canvas that I finally realized the magnitude of skill, and the finality of defiance.
Ben's band never really became big, but he continued to play his guitar and sing his own songs for years. He ended up with a single that was picked up by an independent film and I suppose that meant more to him than the Billboard charts.
Carly decided at some point that she was going to be a singer, and though she never really pursued it professionally she won a few talent shows. Mostly, though, she excelled at debating and organizing and made the reluctant decision to enter the world of business. Nobody worried about her, because Carly was as street-smart as they came, and she knew what would make herself happy.
Zack continued being a jerk in public and a friend in private, but after awhile I stopped caring. His insecurities were like Griffin's in that they went deep and were his greatest sense of weakness, and I held sympathy towards that. He stopped drinking and though his GPA never saw the number three, he tried harder and eventually learned to stand up for someone other than himself.
And me? I didn't change a whole lot. I was just glad to have friends and to be liked by others. I think being okay with yourself is like being in the middle of a huge desert with no water. When you finally find an ocean it's all the more refreshing, even if it's a little more salty than expected.
I'm not on the outside looking in anymore, but I'm not on the inside looking out, either. I'm just here, and I'm just me, and I'm darn glad of it.
The Sunday before the last week of sophomore year the four of us sat in Sully's and had coffee. We were all in high spirits and all wore grins with our shorts and light-hearted humor with our sneakers, and that was part of the magic of summer.
"I can't believe I signed up for Shakespeare…" Carly groaned, burying her head in her hands as we all laughed.
"Romeo, o' Romeo! Where for art thou, Romeo?" Ben teased, trying on a fake falsetto as he snickered.
Griffin smirked. "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?" He voice turned mockingly solemn. "It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!"
"For never was a story of more woe," I finished, bowing dramatically. "Than this of Juliet, and her Romeo."
Carly shot me a look and kicked Griffin under the table. He cried out in indignation and stuck out his tongue at the table. Ben reclined backwards in his seat, sighing in what sounded like contentment.
"What a year," he said reminiscently.
I nodded. "Yeah," I agreed.
"Yeah," echoed Griffin darkly.
"Yeah," said Carley sarcastically. "What did you expect? It's high school."
I heard the door to the café open and turned my head to look at whoever was walking in. With some degree of unease I saw that it was Zack and a girl I didn't know. He saw me see him and stopped, hand on his wallet.
For a moment we just stared at each other, saying nothing.
And then he smiled and nodded slightly. I returned the expression and mouthed a greeting. I was glad to see him, and he was glad to see me. It was cool.
"I have a stupid dentist appointment to go to today," Griffin remarked, crinkling his nose and narrowing his sightless eyes.
Ben clapped on the shoulder sympathetically. "That sucks," he said, voice light. "Are you going to pick a balloon or a prize when they're done?"
Griffin laughed. Carley said, "Only big boys get balloons, Ben," she said, voice mocking as she smirked. "He's still in the Matchbox stage."
We all laughed and I took a long drink of coffee. "Well," I said quietly after a few minutes. "Another year's over."
Griffin shrugged, carefully raising his cup to his lips. "Fine with me," he said casually. "We're all going to hang out this summer, yeah?"
"Obviously," said Ben good-naturedly.
"Definitely," I said, my voice as eager and naive as usual. I was okay with it now, though. I was okay with a lot of things. Having friends does that, you know? Gives you confidence, and stuff.
"If you insist," said Carly with a playful sigh.
The four of us all smiled and resumed an earlier conversation regarding normal teenager interests. Like movies and hip hop and sports and music.
Like being on the outside and staring into a window, and then searching until you find a door.