I've always been different than most to of the other children. I've never had many friends, if any at all. The best I can do is just get people to accept that, and it's exceptionally hard to in my situation. My parents move around a lot and I don't have a brother or sister to keep me company so my life is mostly a miserable mess. And in that town, Salem…we didn't know how long we'd stay. Make friends, said mother. It's not good for girls your age to be isolated from everyone else. Father agreed. Yes, he said, too painful not to have a friend to share your secrets with. Too harmful not to have a normal life. It's hurtful, for them to talk about normal to me the way they do. They know I will never be normal. If 'normal' even exists. But after I met her, nothing's ever been normal, nothing has ever been the same…
The best thing for me to do, I thought, would be to live like a lifeless drone, but even drones have some emotion. So, my plan was to go to this new school and try to make some friends. Maybe even a best friend. Maybe an entire group of friends. Maybe this school won't notice. Maybe this school will be different. Those stupid thoughts running through my head were supposed to be comforting, but they weren't working. Actually, they made me feel really bad because I remembered all the other times they were proved to be false hopes. So, I decided just to walk to school. Mother offered to drive me, but that, my friend, was given a hastened reply of no. Mother's the next Martha Stuart and I won't be caught dead with her in her frilly housedress and spotless apron, her hair perfect and teeth shining. No, I'll walk, I said, and I was out of the door. On my way, three blocks down and across the street from the drugstore, I caught a glimpse of the first kid I've seen in Salem. It was a girl on the other strip of sidewalk across the road. She had a backpack slung across her shoulders, and she looked about my age. Her hair shined in the morning sun, and I could see it was an ebony black. She was wearing the same uniform as me; a blue skirt and a crisp white shirt that identifies her as a student to Salem Middle School. But her 'normal' attire was not what made me draw a double look. It was her cloak and witch's hat that sat so defiantly on her person, I almost burst with laughter. But I gritted my teeth and made up my mind. I'd go and talk to this girl and try to make friends. Whether she agreed to that is what was bothering me. I wanted everything to be perfect. And so I rustled up what was left of my courage and looked up, prepared for the worst. But the girl was gone. Had she been an illusion? No, her figure was to clear, her footsteps had drawn an echo, and I had heard her sigh a sigh that
Told me she was filled with remorse. I looked around to see if she was perhaps behind me, or maybe she had just turned around realizing that she had forgotten something at her home. But she was no where to be seen. I just shrugged and walked on. The school was looming up on me and in the fog of the morning I could vaguely make out hundreds of students scurrying this way and that. I imagined they were hurrying to get out of the cold of December and into the warm halls of school, and trying to make it to class on time. I rushed on and suddenly I was one of them, and all day, I did not think about the strange girl again.
Two weeks later, I had glimpsed this girl on and off, but had never seen her in any of my classes, and most certainly never talked to her. A group of girls had allowed me to hang around with them in exchange for my lunch money, and since it was Friday, we were headed to the park after school. When the bell rang we all set out giggling and laughing at the nerds and the freaks. Halfway there, I spotted the girl that I was so interested in for no apparent reason, and so I turned to the girl nearest to me and whispered "Who is that girl, the one over there?"
She snickered and replied "Oh, her? That's Adedes. She's really weird,"
"Yeah!" Added another girl." Some people say she's a witch!"
and they were all upon me, tossing rude comments about her, eyeing me, and demanding to know why I was so interested in someone like that, a social outcast. I brushed them all off, not answering any of their questions, and said "I'm gonna go talk to her"
"Don't bother coming back," said the leader of the group. "We don't associate with losers, isn't that right, girls?" she asked. They all chorused a hearty 'yes' and resumed their snickers, except this time they were directed at me. I just jogged ahead so I wouldn't have to take the morale blow and crossed the street, slowing down and approaching Adedes. She seemed to have heard me, because she spun around and looked deep into my eyes, which to me felt like she could see behind them, into my thoughts and soul. She then grabbed me by my forearm and began a fierce run down the sidewalk, then veered off into the brush on the side of the rode.
"Wha-?" I tried to ask, but she just pulled me along further into this forest of a town. Finally she slowed down after a good half-hour. I could hear the sound of rushing water close by. She led me just a bit farther and that was when I asked myself why I was still following her. She had let go of my arm a while back and yet I didn't feel the slightest fear, doubt, or worries. It was as if her touch was magical, and with it all your troubles would disappear. Or maybe it was the quiet, calm woods that made the effect. I felt as if I could fly. At last, it seemed the journey was almost over. She pulled back a curtain of moss that looked actually if she had made it herself, and I gasped in pure delight. For there, in the midst of the entire forest, was a gigantic and majestic waterfall, it's waters clear and sparkling as they fell serenely over a rocky ravine. She just smiled happily at my delight and led me down a dirt path. But, no, we were going closer, closer to the waterfall's cliff, closer until my hands flew up over my eyes. If we were to fall, we would surely be killed if not by the journey down then the current's rush. I could feel Adedes gently leading me over, over, closer, closer, until I could hear the water so much I thought my eardrums would explode and- we stopped. Hesitantly I took my hands off of my eyes. We were under the waterfall, but in the waterfall. There were two overhangs covered by the water at first, but if you knew they were there, then when you got closer, you would discover a place where the water did not fall. Behind the waters fall. Once again I squealed because there was a little table filled with all sorts of sweets and tea, too. I had learned to enjoy tea in Boston. She motioned for me to sit down, and I took my place at the end of the table. She smiled at me and poured two cups full of teal to the brim. I grabbed the one closest to me and thanked her with a nod of my head. I thought that maybe her lack of words was making me into a more calm person little by little. She smiled again, and uttered the first words I had heard from her.
"Hello, Tansen." Her voice was like honey on bread, sweet and fulfilling. It seemed to grasp me by my core and hold me until I was yearning to hear more. I grabbed a crumpet and shoved it in my mouth. I was afraid I would ask her to speak . Luckily, she continued anyway.
"You probably wonder why I brought you into my world, hmm?" she gestured to the beauty around.
"I don't, actually. I'm just glad you have allowed my presence. It truly is a wonderful place to be in. I…love it here." I said happily. "How do you know my name?" I added, hoping I didn't sound rude. " Well," she said. "I've been watching you. I felt your aura, and it was strong. Possibly stronger than mine. I was interested, so I've been gathering information on you. I know where you live, which classes you prefer, even your favorite food," she pointed to the raspberry crumpet in my hand. My eyes grew wide. I gulped and gasped "So, you've been following me around for the two weeks I've been here? Like a spy?" she laughed, and the sun shone brighter. "No!" she giggled. "I just listen. People talk louder than they think. " I contemplated this thought. It was true. You have to be alone for someone to not hear what you're saying, and I was sure that some people in the school talked about the arrival of a new student. Teachers, even. So there was many ways that she could have found out such personal facts about me and not have been following me around. I must have been silent for awhile now because she said "Watch!" and got up from the table. "No, wait," she stated. "Look away for just a minute." I did as I was told. I heard the rustle of cloth. Was she going to show me something? A pretty new dress, or something? I looked around, but quickly looked back again. She was getting undressed. I heard her running. What was she playing at? She was undressed, but running out into the open. I heard a splash. "Oh!" I gasped. Had she slipped into the water? I sprinted out of the shelter and to the edge of the waterfall, gazing down hopefully. Maybe she had kicked a stone into the water. But no, there she was. "Adedes!" I exclaimed. "How did you do that?" "I do it all the time!" she yelled back to me. "How are you going to get back up here!" I asked. She pointed to a rock y staircase. I ran to them and huffed down. I sat on the edge of the water. She swam over to me lazily, treading the water with her hands and feet.