Wrote this a while ago as a sort of brainstorm of a novel that was taking root in my mind, so here it is...
Our parents were best-friends so we were basically forced together since birth. But that didn’t mean that we were friends. You think we would be with as much time that we spent together when we were growing up, but it just never happened. There were an endless number of nights with dinners shared, the grownups talking noisily in the dining room while Sam and I sat in awkward silence eating our dinner on stools along the kitchen counter.
We didn’t talk. And when we did the conversation was mundane at best.
"How are you?"
*Cue awkward silence.*
The two of us literally grew up together but you would be hard-pressed to tell. It was like we were two entirely different species who couldn’t speak the same language. We couldn’t have been more different.
Sam was popular. Sam had dark, wavy locks and eyes the color of hazelnut and a smile that made all the girls melt, cooing as they did so. His parents, like mine, were well… stacked, I guess is the more acceptable thing to say these days. If you say you’re rich – or that your parents are – you’re basically viewed as an arrogant snob, according to Chelsea Winters, basically the most popular girl in school. Stacked or loaded are instead what everyone says.
I’m not friends with Chelsea Winters – I don’t think she has ever even spoken to me – but everyone does what she says, regardless of whether they’re her friends or not. She basically rules the school. We all part for her like drops of water in the Red Sea. We’re spineless, brainless, when she is in our vicinity.
But not only does the entire student body do everything she says, all the faculty do as well, and her parents. She just has that naturally ability to lead. I’ve always thought that she’s like one of those people who could talk an entire town into believing in some crazy cult and then further convince them to commit mass suicide. I hope she never has that thought, because she could do it, and I would be drinking the poison right alongside everyone else.
Back to the point, our family’s friendship – Sam’s and mine, that is - and the fact that both sets of our parents are loaded are the only things that Sam and I have in common. Sam is technically a jock because he plays basically every sport, but he’s not defined by that one genre. He is also popular – a given – and intelligent – surprisingly – and he is on the yearbook staff and class president.
I, on the other hand, am not any of those things.
I am a solid “B” student. I would probably get straights A’s if I cared enough to study, but I prefer to settle on sliding by and not spending my free time trying to trap information that I don’t find useful and am just going to forget once the semester ends, into my brain. I run track, but that’s just so that I have an extracurricular activity to boost up my college applications. I’m not a particularly good runner, nor do I like running. I have asthma and am allergic to basically everything. Even with my medications and inhalers, I’m usually already a wheezing, sniffling mess, and by the time I step out onto the track I’m nearly doubled over.
Sam does track, and he’s magnificent. He glides through the air so gracefully that it makes me hate him a little. Whenever I think about him running – which isn’t often at all if you don’t consider every day often, and they are completely unwelcomed thoughts – it’s always in slow motion, his head whipping to the side to get his hair out of his face, drenched in sweat, muscles straining, his tongue just barely sticking out between pinched lips.
I wish I looked that beautiful when I ran. Not that I want to look like a guy or anything, but I would settle for looking like him rather than like me. When I run I turn red and splotchy, and not just on my face, on my neck and chest and arms follow suit. And I can never control my arms correctly – maybe because I’m focusing so much on breathing – so they kind of just flap like those blowup creatures that fly outside of used-car-sale lots. And my hair definitely does not look wind-swept when it falls out of my ponytail and into my face. Instead, it sticks to my sweat drenched skin and dries there so that it’s hard and crusty.
Besides track, I am on the school paper. It’s not much of a paper. It’s mostly just frivolous stuff – like covering a basketball game or interviewing a teacher – and no one ever reads it. I don’t even think our principal reads it and the teacher who is supposed to oversee it no longer even edits it before it’s posted to make sure the content isn’t explicit. We’ve actually stopped printing the paper completely – in an effort to conserve paper since no one actually read it anyway – and have now gone digital.
Basically what you need to know about me is that I’m wealthy – or my parents are – but that doesn’t make me inherently popular, because I have zero style - it doesn’t matter that my mom has filled my drawers and closet with all the newest clothes; I still can’t put together a coordinated outfit. And I’m so quiet that half of our school doesn’t even think I can speak at all.
I am average in terms of size and beauty. I’m just about average in everything. So, according to the law of averages, I’m doing alright. I’ve got a decent life – it’s not like I’m depressed or anything, not like I’m being abused or neglected. I have a roof over my head and parents that love me.
It’s just that I am average. And that would be alright. I could live with that. If I weren’t in love with a guy that is anything but average. He is the sun and the moon and everything in between. And I’m just me. We’ve known each other our whole lives and he is hardly aware of my existence.
In the law of averages everything supposedly evens out in the end. Take all the people in the world and put us together, as a whole we would neither be beautiful or ugly, just average. But that’s long-term, big picture. Right here, right now, I’m in love with a guy who might as well have been written as the main hunk in a romance novel.
How does the law of averages help me now?