Seen, Touched, Heard, Bothered

i get the creeps from all the people in here / i cannot breathe, it's too crowded in here / don't look at me

Lykke Li, "Everybody But Me"


I am a joke.

This is all a joke.

Well, okay, this isn't a joke. This is school. Since I was in kindergarten, I've been told that education is the key to everything. Go through elementary school like a cake walk; come out of middle school somewhat unscathed; and come flying out of high school like a bat out of hell's army because—surprise!—you made it.

I sound like the typical teenager, only I'm not. In all honesty, though, high school isn't that hellish for me. At least, it wasn't at the start of the year.

Anyway, I was also taught that after high school graduation, college is the way to go. You're nothing if you don't go to college and don't plan on being famous. I can't be famous. Not for any decent reason. What would I be famous for? Reading? Being an outcast? Do they give out Hollywood stars on the Walk of Fame for that? They have to. I mean, Hollywood stars used to be real stars. People who, in their age, had all the talent and all the looks and all the dedication and were really, really famous. Musical legends. Actual movie stars—not the talentless scum dominating the box office. Sex symbols. People like James Dean. Marilyn Monroe. Insert other Old Hollywood star here. The ones that I can remember were actually good.

I'm not famous, though. I'm not going to be famous. Not any time soon, if at all.

If you don't go to college, you're nothing. The end. After college, you're supposed to get married, have kids, and live life mediocrely ever after. That's the agenda they gave me in kindergarten. No options. No choices. My life has been set up this way.

What if I don't want to get married and have kids? I had a different future planned before—a future of never aging and being beautiful. I saw those dreams dash and divide away as quickly as they arrived, though.

What if I don't want to go to college? What if I don't even finish high school? What if I drop out next week?

That's silly, Charlie would tell me. You're gonna finish high school and go to college and get married and have kids whether you like it or not. You're an only child. How else am I gonna get grandchildren to spoil to death?

Too bad, so sad.

Maybe school really is a joke.

There are no doubts about me being a joke, though. I'm as pathetic as they come. I wonder if Charlie wants a refund.

I sit outside of my truck now, and I swear this is all a terrible movie. I'm surrounded by happy couples. In every direction I look, there is a couple holding hands or hugging or kissing. It used to make me feel sick.

I haven't tolerated or even come close to liking it yet. Nope. Not at all. I'm just sad—no, forget that, I'm totally pissed—because all of this is what we could be. Or what we could have been.

Sam Uley just had to go messing things up. I want to be a vampire now. I want to scare him shitless. I know it's not your choice; I know you didn't choose to become a wolf. I replay our conversation on the beach in my head over and over.

I admit it, Jake. I wouldn't have dated you back then. I used to be so focused on just friends. At the movies I even gave you false hope. But with you being gone for this long, on and off, I've put together how I really feel. What I feel is need. I need you and I need to change myself. I just don't know when I'm going to see you again to tell you. I thought you were supposed to always be there, Jake. Don't fail me now. You're all I've got. I need you.

The hole in my chest isn't aching anymore; it's numb. I'm so beyond the pain right now. All of this hurt has turned into jealousy, loathing, and annoyance.

Why is it that everybody but me can be happy?

These stupid, happy couples all walk around me—they seem to be multiplying by the numbers. I feel claustrophobic. I can barely breathe. I know everybody's looking at me. She has nobody, they're probably thinking. It's pathetic.

You know what I'd tell them?

I'd tell them that I've got a werewolf just a half hour away that I know loves me and that I love back but I'm too scared of myself to say it out loud. I'd tell them that my werewolf also happens to be the most dedicated person on the planet and would do anything just to be mine. I'd tell them that in a matter of time—I just don't know how much time—I'm going to see you and I'm going to tell you how I feel. I was stupid enough to deny, deny, deny. I'm tired of denying. I'd tell them that I'm the best me that I can be when I'm around you, because it's spot-on. I'm always better around you. You don't make the pain go away as if it was never there in the first place; you heal me. I'd also tell them that my werewolf—Jacob fucking Black—would beat up anybody who calls me pathetic, even if it's one hundred percent true.

That's what I'd tell all those disgustingly happy couples.

I'd also tell them that you and I, Jake, would look a thousand times happier. We would kiss and hug a thousand times more than these couples do, and do it better while we're at it. They do things better in La Push, anyway. I heard that Natives make outstanding lovers. I believe it.

These happy couples should all go inside. I want the entire world to go away, if I'm going to be honest here. These couples have no business canoodling in front of my face. They should go inside the school and get their educations so they can go to college and get their one-way tickets to their mediocrely ever afters. My pleading is really doing them all a favor.

I feel like a crusty, grouchy old man, sitting on my stoop and cursing at all these young people. I don't feel young right now. I feel anything but. That age game we played for a while was ridiculous. I wanna be my own age. I wanna feel young and wild and free. Then again, I've never really been my age. Always older, on the inside.

You know who makes me feel my age, though? Or at least close to it?

You do.

Really, Jacob. You do.

Everybody but me is laughing and having a good time. Laugh it up, I want to tell them to their faces. You're all gonna have kids before you're old enough to even buy beer. Team Virgins forever. Stay well-preserved.

Everybody but me is living, breathing, loving. I want to join. I'm a loser, sitting on the outside, looking in on normal, healthy lives.

I'm also moping. Moping isn't nice. Moping makes me look older than I already am.

I'm so indecisive. I enjoy not being disturbed by the horribly happy couples surrounding me, and then I mope about not being disturbed. I'm like a desperate loser, begging to be seen, or touched, or heard, or bothered, in any way possible.

I need a hit of my drug again. I'm too sober. I need Edward's velvet, fluid voice, running through my head, coursing through my veins, burning up my mind. And to know that there's a cliff waiting in La Push for me… It sounds like paradise.

Maybe I'll see you today, though. Edward is my drug, but you keep me clean. At least, when you're here. I can never be too clean, right?

All in all, though, I am a joke. Everything is still a joke.

This joke is going to take her worthless ass home.

This joke goes into her ugly truck that has a better social life than its driver, and drives home. This joke is going to be silent and not think about the absence of a radio in her truck. This joke is going to go home and become famous by reading and being the voice for all virgins, fantasy drug addicts, and teenagers who think like cranky old people. Someone has to do it.

This joke also needs to see you and tell you how she feels, or the drug will win her over. Not today, but someday.

I can't live mediocrely ever after if I eliminate the living part.