She's always there, watching, just sitting there, waiting for someone to notice her. In the back of the classroom, among her so-called “friends,” even among her own family. She just sits there, silently, writing, reading, drawing, following most instructions. They barely know her name. She takes whatever attention she can get, whether it's being bullied by classmates who are supposed to treat her like she's their family, or a best friend who uses her as an emotional punching bag, or a verbally abusive boyfriend... Anything, not to be invisible.
But, when they get bored, and move on, she just vanishes, once again part of the background, a smudge on the wall, an extra shadow under a tree. And they forget. She disappears from their memory, like she never existed in the first place. But it's normal, she's used to it. She's desensitized herself to the pain of being forgotten, abandoned, left behind, like some old jacket that doesn't fit quite right.
When she finally graduates high school and starts attending college, she expects it to be pretty much exactly the same. Invisible girl in the back of the classroom, never gets called on, but gets decent scores on tests and finals, gets a good portion of her homework in, and generally passes the class. And it is, until she meets one person, a guy, who actually sees her, and not just as something or someone that can be used and abused, then left behind and forgotten. He sees her as a sentient being, who has emotions and thinks for herself.
But, she's not used to that. She forces herself to disappear once again, breaking her heart, and his. She wants him to forget, because that's who she is: the girl no one remembers.
“You're nothing.” Liza spits at me as she pushes me to the concrete floor of the locker room, “You're worthless.” She walks away, every word she says having been true. I stand up, dusting off my dress, and pull on my graduation gown. I pin my cap to my head, and step outside. I fall into line, and wait for the ceremony to be over.
The ceremony finishes, and I reenter the locker room. I take off my graduation gown, discarding it on the long bench behind me. I carefully unpin the cap, making sure not to mess up my hair, then open my locker for the last time. I pull out my bag, folding the gown, and place it in, the cap quickly following. I sigh, closing my locker, and the click of the latch rings through the locker room, like the closing of a book after the final chapter. The finality of it hits, and I smile, barely.
After today, there's no more Liza, or her friends. I get to get away from them. I get to move away, where they'll never find me. And they'll forget. People always do. Because everyone forgets me. I'm a living ghost. One day I'm there, the next, I vanish. I disappear in the blink of an eye, and then you forget I was ever there.
I sigh, turning away from my locker, and walk out of the locker room, hearing the gym door close with a resounding thud. The sound echoes throughout the gym, and I stare up at the bleachers, remembering back to freshman orientation, before I had faded into the background, before I had become part of the shadows, nothing more than a passing blur to most people.
Yeah, I'm bullied, but what they say is true, and at least I'm getting paid attention to. I remember the pep rallies, and the winter drum shows. All the things I watched from the bleachers, never participating, never one of the performers, unless it came to the things I truly loved, music and dance, but even then, I was just in the background. No one watched me perform, specifically.
But anyway, I got accepted into UCLA. And that's where I'm going, to get away from everyone. I leave in two weeks. No point in saying goodbye to everyone, or anyone, really. They won't even notice I'm gone. I just have to pack up and leave. I already have an apartment set up. My cousin, the only one who will actually acknowledge the fact that I actually do really exist, is renting it out with me. She graduated a year early, but isn't ready to go to college quite yet. I don't have to live in the dorms, since I'm living with family.
I know that this next year is going to be exactly the same as the last three years have been. I'm going to be invisible, or bullied, or a combination. I hope it's just the invisible part. I'm honestly quite sick of being called a ghost, even though I basically am one. It gets old. And now, it's three years old. I'm bored of it.
I walk through the gym, my heels clicking on the faux wooden floor, and I push open the door to the outside. The twilight sun spreads its light through the sky, providing me with enough light to see, but not enough for me to be seen. I gaze out across the campus, not regretting leaving this place, happy to forget these past few years, but then my gaze locks onto the tree on the hill directly across from me, where my friend and I spent the first half of freshman year, and tears gather in my eyes.
“Come on, Kait!” He ran up the hill, calling back to me. “Before someone else claims it!” I laughed, shaking my head, but soon followed him, my bag hitting my shoulder in a rhythmic beat as, once again, I followed my idiot best friend up the steep incline of the second-tallest hill on campus.
We settled down at the base of the trunk, red-faced and breathless, laughing. “I'm pretty sure those seniors are still mad two freshman beat them to the best spot on campus.” I leaned my head back against the trunk and pulled out my lunch.
“They'll just have to deal with it.” He laid down and put his head on my lap. "This is our tree now. And it will be until we both leave this place.”
If only we knew that one of us would be leaving a few short months later… I continue my glance around, and my gaze lands on the third-tallest hill, the one that hold the library on top of it, and the tears start to fall.
I walked onto campus, early, as usual, so I could meet him before school started. Plus, he told me to meet him here earlier than normal, so I was guessing it was important. I climbed up the hill to our tree, but he was not there. Instead, there was a book, and a note. Confused, I began to read it.
I'm leaving, and I'm never coming back. I'll want to, but I won't be able to. Wait until the sun hits the third hill, and you'll see. You were always curious about what I was reading, so here it is. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I'm a lot like Charlie. But I'm not him. I don't get the girl. I don't have a sister who panics when she gets the phone call. You're my Sam, except we're the same age. You're always falling for any guy but me, and I was just sitting there. So, I'll write it down, so you can at least see it. I love you, Kaitlind Aquamarine Lawrence. Forever yours, Tarran Anthony Connor.”
I slowly lowered the note, staring at the book in my hands. I'd never read it, but I'd seen the movie, and I knew what Charlie did. He attempted suicide after Sam left for college. But I was right there, and I was not leaving, so why would Tarran do that? I read over the note again, and I realized, he thought I didn't love him. After all our stolen moments, our secret kisses before we opened the front door, he thought I didn't love him. I just didn't like public displays of affection.
I couldn't remember which way the third hill was, so I had no choice but to wait until the sun rose. “Tarran?” I called his name, hoping, praying, for an answer. “Tarran, please!” When the sun does come up, I saw him jump, and all I could do was hope I got there in time, and if I didn't, pray that it was painless. I sprinted, running faster, faster, all I could do was run. When I reached the hill, I climbed, and it felt like time slowed down. When I got to the top, it was all over. There he lay, blood pooling around his head, his limbs bent at angles they weren't supposed to bend.
I pulled out my phone, and did something I knew was hopeless. “911.” The operator's voice was almost robotic as she responded. “What is your emergency?”
“My best friend just jumped off the roof of my school's library.” I was sobbing. I never cried, and then I was sobbing.
“Heaven Hills High.”
“An ambulance should be there soon,”
“Thank you.” I hung up, sitting next to him. When the ambulance arrived, I rode with him to the hospital. He was in a coma for three months, and then died.
I look back at the hill Tarran and I had spent so much time together on, then turn and walk down the steep set of stairs, heading home. The sound of my heels hitting the pavement echoes through the quad, and I hear someone calling my name. I spin around, to find my boyfriend, well, ex-boyfriend, Brandon, standing behind me. "Hey, Kaitlind." He smirks, saying, "Didn't think you were going to get away that easily, did you?"
"I knew you would see me before I left." My voice as cold and hard as ice.
"Don't talk to me like that," The next thing I know, my head is flying to face the wall next to me, and I can taste blood in my mouth. I spit out the little bit of blood, staining the pavement, and turn to face him once again. His expression changes, turning from anger to shock, as he looks at the mark he left on my face. "is that why you broke up with me?" His voice is questioning, and I nod in reply. "I can change, Kait." He's begging, and I flinch at the nickname.
"Never call me that." I spit out a reply, "Only one person could get away with calling me that, and he's dead."
"I can change, Kaitlind." He tries again, reaching out to grab my hand, and I quickly pull it back, grabbing the strap of my bag.
"I believe you can change, Brandon, but I gave you a million chances. I can't give you another one." I push past him, but before I realize what's happening, he's pressing his lips against mine.