:: The Nerd No One Knew ::
Zoey Graves was a lonely girl. She had her mom. But her mom was working all the time, and her dad, well he left a long time ago.
You know you’ve come to detest school when you have to wait a couple minutes in your car before getting out. That’s what she did. Today she waited until the warning bell rang.
The very thought of walking into that building and facing another day of persecution was her death.
She would ask herself sometimes why no one would want to bend the rules a little and reach out to her as a friend. That’s all she ever wanted.
She wanted someone to befriend her.
She wanted a friend.
She wanted to be in a group where everyone accepted each other for who they are. Sure, she could hang out with the smart people, geeks, or perhaps even the weirdos/stoners, but they never really accepted her. She was too weird for them.
But the thing was Zoey Graves wasn’t insanely random, or far out weird. She was a normal girl who longed for a great boyfriend. Who longed for friendship. And most importantly, for acceptance.
Teachers always told teens like herself that you shouldn’t go to school for friends or boyfriends.
Yeah, she was aware of that. But don’t teachers remember what it was Like in high school for them? In order to get through these years that many say are the best years of your life, you need to have some sort of companionship with someone. You need someone to vent out your frustrations to. Someone who prevents you from being left with no partner when it comes to partner picking time in class.
Zoey didn’t have that.
She was coming out of Geometry when she felt someone shove her. She didn’t know who it could’ve been. It could’ve been anyone, really.
Sighing, she continued to walk slowly to her next hour which was even more unbearable. It was English and she detested that class as if it were the plague. When she entered the classroom, one of the jocks, Peter Hughes was making a farting nose with his desk. He was being an attention-whore again. Making it seem as if the whole world revolved around him and only him.
She was one of the few individuals who sat in the front, while all the popular kids and athletes claimed the seats in the back as if it were their territory or something. They claimed those seats, like always, and there was nothing she or anyone else, could do about it. Seriously, who’d wanna sit in the front?
Sure she was the English teacher’s-Ms. Swanson’s favorite student in the class, but that didn’t mean anything to Zoey. She continued to feel like crap each day, and Ms Swanson couldn’t even notice. She just saw Zoey as the quiet girl with the great compositions.
Zoey didn’t like this class, not at all. And English was supposed to be her favorite subject. Yes, there were other people like her in this class. The misfits, the loners, the stoners, the nerds, the weirdos, and other people of those crowds. However she didn’t fit-in with either crowd.
Considering she always kept to herself, they had this certain notion that she thought, she was better than everyone else. When really, all she wanted was a friend. She didn’t have time to be scrutinizing others and thinking she was better than everyone else.
She didn’t think she was better than everyone else, and if you wanted to know the real truth, she felt as if she were less than everyone else.
She felt inferior.
When English would be over, she’d go to her next class and the class after that. The feelings were the same; self-loathing, lonely, and rejection. She wanted to go home, but her mom wouldn’t be home because she’d be at work. She never told her mom this, but she loathed coming home to a lonely-empty house. She just hated it. The blinds were always closed, there’d barely be anything in the fridge for her to eat, and the house would always feel cold because there was no other presence in the house, except her.
At lunch, she’d eat alone, in her car of course. Places like the lunchroom and student-center were too much for her to handle. No one ever talked to her and no one ever offered her a seat. She felt ostracized.
When it got close to the end of the day, a bittersweet feeling would come over her. She wanted to go home, but at the same time, she didn’t wanna go home. She just wanted to feel accepted by someone. Someone who’d always be there for her, someone who’d always meet her after class, someone to do her homework with, someone to make her feel safe.
She just didn’t have that.
She had a boyfriend. His name was Lawson, but he didn’t do chivalrous things for her like walk her to class, go to lunch with her, open the door for her. He was part of a band called A Giant’s Foot, or something of the sort. Which meant, he was never around much and when he was, it was only for his sake. Also, it didn’t help that he was pressuring her to do things like go to parties with him and consummating their love for one another.
Zoey knew she didn’t love Lawson. She was beginning to hate and resent him. She knew how pressuring he was starting to become, and that maybe It’d be best to just leave him. But she couldn’t.
Lawson was the only thing-or someone-that could make her hold onto her sanity; truthfully speaking. He was the only person that let her know she existed. Even if he just called to tell her he needed a ride home, or someone to go with him on a double date with his bandmate who had a girl, just so he wouldn’t feel like the third wheel.
Yes, her heart broke on the fact that he used her like that so many times, but it was all right with her. She just needed to feel grateful that she had a boyfriend…she thought.
When she walked to her car in the parking lot, a popular guy and his girl were leaning against it, making out with each other. What the heck?
Zoey sighed miserably rolling her eyes. She didn’t really want to speak, but she had to; in order to go home for the day.
“Um, excuse me. Could you guys move, so I, uh can open the door and get inside my car?”
They continued to play tonsil hockey, and Zoey became even more flustered.
“Uh, can you guys please move out the way?”
Eventually the pair had to break for air, and the popular girl noticed. “Oh, sorry,” the brunette said insincerely, “We didn’t see you there.”
Zoey swore that was what triggered something to crack inside of her, but not break her. It was another bit of heartbreak she felt, which was being told you didn’t matter or stand out. You’re not important. You’re not cool.
She nodded meekly, and replied to the girl, “Yeah, it’s cool…just ready to go home, ya know?”
Zoey then glanced at the popular girl’s make out partner. Isaac Stints.
She thought he was cute with his black hair and brown eyes, and the crooked smile she always saw him donning in the classroom and when he walked in the hallway with swagger.
He never noticed her, even now. His eyes were only focused on the pretty brunette beside him, who was scowling at her. Why the scowl? Did Zoey say anything wrong?
Hell if she knew. Everyone’s thoughts about her nowadays were jumbled and apathetic.
“C’mon Justice,” Isaac said to the brunette. “Just leave the girl alone, and let’s, ya know, go somewhere else.”
He didn’t take one glance at Zoey. And for some reason that hurt. Maybe, it’s because she was being reminded again, that no one knew she existed.
Justice looked at Zoey, and then chuckled. “Yeah. The loser isn’t worth any of our damn time, is she?”
Isaac shook his head. “Nah. Maybe your parents won’t be home after practice…”
They spoke as if Zoey wasn’t standing there in front of them, waiting patiently for them to move out the way. She wanted to scream.
After a little while the popular pair left, and she got inside her car starting the ignition. What the fuck’s wrong with me? She asked herself, Am I not there? So…people just do not give a shit nowadays? Is that it?
She backed out of the parking lot before she could even just sit there and cry.
She was going to wait until she got home.
After much procrastination, and isolation…she decided to call Lawson. She hadn’t spoke to him that day at school because he seemed preoccupied. Besides, She knew when he wanted to be left alone, or when he didn’t want to hang out with her. It was totally cool for her. Zoey understood when people needed their space.
The phone rang on the other end. She waited patiently for him to pick up.
He didn’t answer on the first call. She tried phoning him again. But eventually she realized after the fifth try he wouldn’t answer. Ever.
So, Zoey tried distracting herself the best she could. She did a little bit of her homework, but still hadn’t touched Geometry.
Her mom had phoned her a couple minutes ago telling her she’d be home late, and that she could heat up some frozen ziti that was in the freezer. Yum.
As she ate the the pasta that was warm in some areas as well as crunchy, she wondered if she could face another day of prison – school that is. Maybe not. Couldn’t she cower and play sick?
It’s not like her mom would give two rat’s about her missing school. She had the perfect attendance anyway, so it was fine.
But Zoey knew She’d eventually have to go back and face the persecution she’s always met with. It’s not even the physical or verbal bullying. It was the silent bullying.
She swore someone could have been telling anyone, anybody, that she was stupid, bratty, or mute.
A girl like Justice could be telling people those lies.
Or maybe, Zoey was thinking, she could’ve been thinking too much of it. It could just be simply that no one wanted to be her friend.
She still had Lawson, and his band mates. Even if he sometimes forgot about her, and they acted as though she weren’t there.
She threw away the ziti in the small trashcan next to the island counter and sauntered off to her bedroom.
The time read: 8:30pm when she woke up. She’d dozed off when she was reading a bit of Jane Eyre for English. Her mom still wasn’t home, but her boyfriend had sent her a text though. Yet, that was weird. Why didn’t he call her back?
She then thought, he might’ve been performing at a show with his band.
When she touched the message icon on her phone she read the text message Lawson had sent her. She continued to read it over and over.
The more times she read the message, the more she began to crack.
You know that feeling when you want to cry? But nothing at all comes out? You’re kinda just sucking in air and holding in your breath for some sort of relief.
we’re breaking up. things don’t seem to be working. we don’t exactly click.
What did she do wrong?
Zoey thought that She and Lawson clicked just fine. What the hell wasn’t clicking?
Was it the fact that she wouldn’t sleep with him? Is that it?
Maybe he’d gotten together with that one girl that always seemed to hang around the band. She was a fan of the band’s music, and considered herself their number one fan.
What had her name been? The girl introduced herself to Zoey once.
Zoey didn’t overlook the way Larissa stared at Lawson. It was a look of admiration and infatuation.
They’re probably fucking each other right now, She thought.
Yet, Zoey was possibly being too insecure. Maybe Lawson broke up with her because there simply wasn’t anything there. Not because she wouldn’t sleep with him, nor had He been seduced by Larissa.
He didn’t like Zoey, the way She loved him.
Zoey just wanted an excuse. It was better than the truth, even if she was familiar with it.
She decided to face the facts right then and there. She would never be a girlfriend to a guy she truly cared for. She would never be accepted for who she was. And no one would care if she disappeared. It would be another normal day at school. Her mother would continue to work late, and her dad would continue to be absent from her life; obsessed with money and other things.
Now that she accepted those things, as tears streamed down her face slowly. She walked to the bathroom, and took one good look at herself.
Zoey Graves. 17. Dead. She will be missed and remembered by few. She never had participated in extra curricular activities at school. She doesn’t have a grieving boyfriend, nor does She have the friends who will try their best to commemorate her death. There, sitting in the bathtub, was only herself, the pieces of glass, and her bleeding wrist. Her mom found her.
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Copyright © 2016 by Meia and Yuna Reid
The wonderful cover to this story was made by anthem
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