Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Predator:: Part II

I stopped the car at a public park.
"Do you seriously expect me to be grateful to you?" She demanded, as I shut off the ignition. "or is this some kind of twisted pick-up line? Do the other girls actually go for this?"
"I've never done this before." I told her plainly, exiting the vehicle and crossing to the passenger side. I let her out. "If you'd rather be at work, let me know. I 'd gladly bring you back." Then I waited. I watched her face. The passenger door hung open, her ticket to a new world. To the unknown. I stood before her like forbidden fruit: pressuring, suggesting, but not forcing. She could come with me and face the unknown, or she could go back to her safe but monotonous existence. The choice was hers to make. She seemed to weigh all the options, then, taking a deep breath, she trustingly offered me her hand and allowed me to help her from the vehicle.

She could not have possibly made a worse decision. But I was not about to let her know that. People should feel a sense of pride for making a decision, particularly one where they abandon a life they are used to. I couldn't bare to break the news to her about how horribly wrong she was. We walked silently from the parking lot to the park and directly to the swings, which were abandoned. She took one, while I hesitated before taking the other. "Do you want a push?" I asked, trying to conceal the almost devilish smile I felt forming.
"No." she said firmly, before taking a deep breath and beginning to pump her legs furiously. I sat beside her, making images in the sand with the toes of my shoes. I didn't say anything to her for a long time, hoping that the silence would make her uncomfortable enough to fill it. It did.
"You're wrong about me, you know." she said finally. "My job may be unfufilling and unexciting, but as far as personal talents go? I don't have any. At all." "At all?!" I asked, incredulous. "At all." she repeated.
"I find that very sad." I told her.
"Yeah? Well, you and me both. Not to mention my parents, teachers, and guidance counselor." She paused. "Do you have any cigarettes?" The mere mention of school had clearly upset her.
Digging into my pockets, I produced a pack of cigarettes, but discovered I only had one left. We split it, passing it back and forth between the swinging chains. I was a bit of a cigarette hog, undeniably not used to sharing, and she had to keep motioning for me to hand it back to her. Her smoking abilities were less then perfect as well, and she slobbered all over the filter. I pretended not to mind and said nothing, but it was disgusting. We allowed each other our imperfections, and she continued. "I hate school, I hate work, I hate everything. Life as a whole is pretty goddamn disappointing."
She looked sad, but not scared, and I had to ask-- even though I already knew the answer.
"Have you attempted?"
"Suicide?" she asked, mid-drag, nodding. "Who hasn't? My only regret is failing. Things don't change once you attempt... they only get worse. The people who pitied me before just pitied me harder. People who ignored me went on ignoring me. The only people who even dared to mention what had happened were the people who used it against me... mostly the same people who had driven me to it in the first place."
"The bullies?" I asked.
"Bullies," she laughed. "such a ridiculous term, only used by parents and teachers. A bully is when you're seven and they pinch you and steal your lunch money... chase you on the playground, tell you Santa doesn't exist, that sort of thing. These kids are way beyond that," she paused for one final drag before crushing the cigarette but into the sand with her heel. "I call them The Sadists."
I nodded, remembering my high school days. That seemed a fairly accurate name for them. "Yeah," I sighed, feeling a sense of nostalgia, if such a word could be considered in a negative context. "kids can be pretty fucking cruel."
"You have no idea." she replied, pulling up the sleeve of her shirt to reveal a large patch of scarred flesh. "Freshman year Chemistry. Hairspray and a Bunsen burner. Sheena Lewis had seen her boyfriend glance at me in the hallway and wanted to make damn sure it wouldn't happen again."
"Jesus," I breathed, staring as she continued to show my the full size of the burn-- it began at her arm and went clear up to her collarbone.
"I got lucky," she told me. "she was aiming for my face."
"What happened after that?" I asked.
"Dropped out." she replied. "Naturally. I mean, what would you have done in my position?"
"Probably the same." I answered. "How long ago was that?"
She shrugged her shoulders. "Two, maybe three years ago. I've lost track."
"Are you working on your GED?" I asked.
She scoffed at that. "Why bother? It won't make any difference or do me any good when I'm going to be working at the supermarket until the end of my days."
I shook my head at that, but said nothing at first. She didn't need me to reiterate how sad I thought she was-- she knew exactly how I felt. I thought for a moment before delivering my next questions with all the determination of a newspaper reporter.
"Do you plan on traveling? Having children? Getting married?"
She laughed in my face. "Right. Like there aren't enough fucked up kids and failed marriages in this world without me adding mine into the mix."
She was growing more and more hopeless in my eyes. I was clearly a fool to originally believe that I could save her-- she obviously wasn't interested in being saved. She was completely content to go on like she was... a high school dropout, minimum wage earning perpetual child with no goals and no foreseeable future. Worst of all, no desire to improve.
Our swings rocked back and forth in silence. It was a long, uncomfortable silence that neither o fuse were sure how to break.

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