Chapter 11: School
Mike entered his first period class and made an attempt to focus, but his attempts went without fruition for he seemed unable to fight his thoughts in his exhausted state. He simply lay his head down on his desk for the most part of the day. Mike had to admit that he had no idea how people did this every day. It seemed like getting to sleep was impossible, and the clock turned with such leisure that Mike made several attempts to regain his focus on the teacher, but each time failed. Mike had figured that going to school would have distracted him from his issues, but now, all he could do was sit in this room, surrounded by people, and think. The last thing Mike wanted to do. He couldn't go walk around, he couldn't watch TV, and he couldn't even be left alone. He could tell people were looking at him, looking at the star student who was sleeping in class. Ugh, 'Star Student', hell of a lot of good that title did for him. Sure wasn't much school work and a finely tuned sense of responsibility could do now.
Mike simply sat face down, though his eyes remained open. He couldn't help but glance up at the clock every several moments, not even sure what to hope for anymore. He could hope for the day to go quicker so he could go home and wallow in his own self-pity, but at the same time, he would be hoping to die sooner. The more Mike's thoughts went on, the more he considered the prospect of death. Was life even worth living if it meant he had to live with feeling like this? What was stopping him from just taking his own life and ending his suffering? Mike thought about his family, his friends, and everyone. He had thought prior that it wasn't fair to them to take his own life, but they weren't the ones who had to go through this. They didn't know what it was like to feel the cold hand of death rest upon their shoulder, only to await the fateful day it strings them from the gallows.
Mike wanted to cry, to scream, to vomit, but all he did was sit there. His head down and his eyes lids open, yet hung low. He did nothing but stare into the darkness created by the small prison like structure his arms had made to support his head. He couldn't help but feel he was staring into his future, as if he would be perpetually in pain until inevitably he was released, finally set free of the darkness known as his life. Maybe the cancer wasn't such a bad thing. Maybe it was just God's way of fixing the mistake known as Mike. No one else would have to suffer the displeasure of his presence, not even him.
Mike could feel tears slowly building up in his eyes, but he did his best to hold them back. He wasn't going to embarrass himself. Although he was reaching the point he didn't care anymore, and he was more than justified to shed some tears, he still refused to do it. All it would end up doing is make everyone ask him 'What was wrong', and 'Are you okay'. He didn't want that. He just wanted to be left alone. No one could understand anyway, since no one knew what he was going through. No one knew what it was like to be this alone, waiting for death to come to your doorstep.
Finally, the bell rang dismissing everyone to lunch. Mike slowly brought his head up, this time letting his eyes adjust to the light. He had somewhat gotten consumed in his thoughts and had given up on checking the time. He wiped away the small tears that had formed in the corner of his eyes, smoothly making it look as though he was stretching, that way no one would suspect anything. He could see a few people eyeball him, but for the most part, he got by mostly unnoticed. When most of the students had left, he slowly got out of his chair, his body sore with exhaustion, and he made his way to the door. Right before he had walked out, the teacher stopped him.
"Michael, do you mind if I talk with you for a minute?" She asked, her voice not particularly reflecting any obvious displeasure or anger.
"Uh, yeah." Mike said making his way over to her desk. "This outta be good…" Mike thought to himself.
"I couldn't help but notice you looked a little… down today. I don't mean to pry, but is everything alright?" She asked him, her tone soft and gentle.
"Oh, um, yeah. I'm alright." Mike said to her, unsure of how to respond. "I've just been a little tired lately, that's all."
"Hmm, are you sure that's all?" She asked a touch suspicious.
"Yeah, yeah… you don't have to worry about me." He replied. His words were somewhat slurred as he was quite exhausted and only somewhat aware.
"Alright, well that's all then. " She said dismissing him.
"Thanks." Mike said, giving her the generic response.
"Don't be afraid to talk to me if you want too, Michael." She said as he was walking out the door.
"Don't worry, I won't." Mike wasn't sure what he meant by that, but he didn't really care. He just wanted to get out of that class, although as he walked down the hallway he wasn't quite sure why, since lunch was bound to be quite stressful.
As he made his way to the cafeteria, he decided that he would grab something to eat. He had given Lucy his breakfast earlier, and he hadn't really been eating much lately anyway. So he got in line and began doing the most ironic of actions, waiting. He couldn't help but eavesdrop on the conversation between the two freshmen girls in front of him. They seemed to be talking about boys. Mike couldn't help but frown at how cliché it was. Normally, he just ignored things like this, but now it was really bothering him. The two girls in front of him seemed absolutely ridiculous. At first, things were just a touch corny, but soon enough they were openly talking about when they had lost their virginity.
"What the hell is this?" Mike thought to himself. "Is this really what things have come too?"
Slowly Mike's heart began to beat faster as his eyes widened. He could feel his hands tighten into fists as he stared at girls in front of him. He had started subtle, but now, he didn't care if they noticed his gaze. Mike really didn't think he could listen to the word 'nigga' even a single time more, let alone another story littered with it, but soon enough, one of the girls felt the need to advertise to everyone in ear shot of their conversation that she was a whore who called up her Ex whenever she was desperate. Luckily, the line progressed, and they got their food and left. Mike wasn't sure what he would have done if he had been subjected to their stupidity much longer, and he didn't want to know. All he wanted was to get his food and to go sit down.
As suspected, the table he normally sat at seemed to be a prime example of chaos at its finest. Mike didn't really care what they did as long as they left him alone. He didn't want to talk to any of them. He would be willing to talk to Lucy, maybe, but he was generally in a really bad mood. He had actually considered not sitting at the table at all, but it would have just made things more complicated. Everyone would ask him if he was alright and never leave him alone. Constantly pester him until he gave up and either blew up on them, or, god forbid, told them the truth.
Mike took his seat and stared down at his food. Chicken Parmesan sat in one of the small compartments on the plastic tray. Normally, he loved Chicken Parmesan, but the slimy slab of gristle known as chicken staring back at him definitely wasn't real. He didn't know what it really was, and he sure as hell didn't know why they were feeding it to him. Mike could feel the anger building up in his chest. He got a sudden urge to punch the table as hard as he could, but he knew everyone around him would question him. Just like they always did.
"Hey Mikie!" Daisy said with her typical enthusiasm, an enthusiasm that screamed to the world 'Hey, I'm vulnerable and trusting, please take advantage of me.'
"Hey." Mike said with little enthusiasm, not looking up from the 'Chicken' on his tray.
"How was your weekend?" She asked him, eager to hear about all he had been up too. Lucy sat on the opposite end of the table, in between Abbey and Paulo, and she couldn't help but look at Mike. She felt bad that he had to deal with this, but she was also curious as to how he would react. When she had talked to him the night before, he had mentioned his reluctance to tell everyone the truth, so now she wanted to know how he was going to handle the situation.
"It was fine." Mike responded, once again with little emotion in his voice.
"Hmm, it doesn't sound like it." Daisy said with a pseudo-frown.
"Well it was." Mike responded.
"… Are you okay? You sound stressed out." Daisy asked concerned.
"… I don't want to talk about it." Mike said with a moment of deliberation. At this point the whole table had turned to look at him, wondering what fresh piece of gossip they could sink their carnivorous claws into.
"Oh come on, Mikie! We're all friends here. You can tell us." Daisy said pressuring him, not fully understanding the current scope of Mike's feelings. Mike couldn't help but wonder how things went from him talking to Daisy, to him talking to the whole table.
"I don't, want, to, talk about it." Mike said, his rage taking over. "Alright?" Abbey had seen the look in Mike's eyes before he said it, and he had wanted to get Daisy away from him before he snapped, but it was too late.
"Okay, I'm sorry." Daisy said slightly hurt at Mike's reaction.
"Hey! Why are you being such an asshole to Daisy?" Paulo asked him, jumping up out of his chair. Mike simply looked up from his food, his expression reflecting as much hate as he could possibly manage. Anyone but Paulo would have been able to see something was seriously wrong.
"No Paulo, it's alright. It was my fault." Daisy said trying to get him to simmer down.
"No, it's not! He had no right to yell at you. If he wants to be a wimp and whine and cry, that's his own business, but he had no right to lash out on you." Paulo said to her as Mike felt his face contort with anger.
"What did you fucking say?" Mike yelled back at Paulo, no one expecting such an explosive reaction.
Paulo was a touch caught off guard. He stood for a moment not sure of what to say. Finally, as Paulo was beginning to realize the severity of the situation, Mike was out of his chair and walking towards him.
"Let me fucking tell you something, Paulo."Mike said as majority of the cafeteria was beginning to glance in their direction. "First of all, how the fuck are you, you of all people, going to say I'm a wimp? You are by far the biggest wimp I have ever met in my life. You're real tough until somebody, you know, just stands up to your shit. The second ANYONE, anyone at all, stands up to you, you do nothing but cry like the little wimp that you are!" Mike screamed at Paulo, flailing his arms as he spoke. "Second of all, I have my own god damn reasons for being mad. If you have some kind of issue with me, or my fucking anger, say it now or forever shut up. "Mike said staring in Paulo wide eyes. "Anything? Anything at all?" Paulo didn't respond. "Good, exactly what I wanted to hear."
The cafeteria was thick with silence. Paulo took his seat, but he was no longer looking at Mike. He seemed to be staring at the table of the cafeteria with a blank, yet saddened, expression on his face. Mike quickly left the cafeteria of on lookers and entered the boys bathroom. Fortunately, it was empty, and Mike walked over to the disabled stall and locked himself inside. He walked over to the sink and mirror within the special stall, and began to rinse his face with cold water.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!" Mike screamed to himself in his thoughts.
He could feel his hands shaking as he did his best to cup the water in his hands.
What the fuck did I do?" Mike asked himself as the adrenaline in his blood slowly began to wear off.
Mike couldn't stop thinking about the looks that he saw in the cafeteria, whether it was from the random people who had heard the argument, the people sitting at their table, or worst of all, the pained expression on Paulo's face. Paulo had looked as though he was going to start crying right there, and Mike couldn't escape it. What was wrong with him? All he was doing was hurting his friends. He was nothing but a monster.
"… It's all the cancer…" Mike whispered to himself as he stared into the sink. "I was fine before this."
"… No… I wasn't." Mike said, continuing to whisper to himself. "It's not the cancer. This is the way I've always been. I've always been a heartless monster. All I care about is myself. I'm nothing but a plague on society. Those girls… the one's in the line. I'm one of them. I do nothing but hurt this world… I am cancer."