Search Unorthodox Youth

Wednesday, 3 December 2014


There was a boy that lived across from me.


I could tell he wasn't like the others. He laughed with them and involved himself in hobbies which were fit for boys with more stamina than he had. He drank more than he wanted too and he got into trouble because he was associated in activities which he thought were the socially correct 'cool' things to do. I caught him reading on the bus home, it wasn't porn or a comic and it didn't provide any information containing football or surfing. Brown pages with fine print and a musty spine. He read real literature and the furrow in his brow showed that he was interested in what this book contained. 
At school he would throw paper aeroplanes to the front of the class and swing on the back legs of his chair, but on weekends I saw him laying under big maple trees and writing in a hidden notebook that he kept private.

He wanted to be like the others and he had most people fooled. He had a chiselled jaw line and rolled cigarettes between his index finger and his thumb. He laughed when the others would taunt boys in the younger grades and he would throw his lunch rubbish on the floor because it would of wrecked his image of trying to fit in.

I saw him play with his younger brother near a lake where i lived and tackled his brother to the ground only to dust the dirt of his knees. He thought no one was watching but i saw him pick up litter from the gutter when he was walking home and i noticed when he would take his recycling out in the morning.


I was listening to the stones when we first made eye contact. I was sitting under a gazebo near the lake where we lived. I liked being alone, but i also liked to think i was invisible. I forgot that all the times i was watching him, that at any moment, he could of seen me as well. I wasn't what anyone wanted, let alone fit for someone of his calibre. I was boring. I didn't have big boobs, and i wasn't overly intelligent. My outfits weren't trendy and my hobbies didn't receive any recognition in the schools newsletter. I kept to myself most of the time, but i also allowed myself the pleasure of recognising beauty when it was around.

He was beautiful. I enjoyed admiring his unique qualities, the ones which weren't high fived in locker rooms.
He saw me at the lake and i saw him. He didn't smile and i didn't wave but we just stared. I don't know if he knew me or even knew what he was looking at. But that minute we met eyes before it started to rain, felt like it went for hours. I looked away as it it started to drizzle and i grabbed my bag and made a run for it.
He turned around to grab his brother from the sand around the lake and we turned our back on each other.

It was warm rain. The sun was behind the clouds and the bitumen sizzled under my feet as the rain cooled it down. I tugged at my headphones and stashed my ipod into my bag. As i jogged up the stairs to my house i turned around to see if he had made it back to his house before it began to pour. 
Again, our eyes met.

This time it was different. It wasn't by coincidence but maybe it was fate. He smiled and with his hair dripping down his face he began to walk out into the middle of the road. I hesitated, was he coming towards me? I didn't move just incase he was going somewhere else and was cautious of embarrassing myself. He stood halfway. I looked down at him, our eyes hadn't left each other yet and I began to walk towards him. Why? I don't know. The rain was now cold and my shirt became transparent. What was i thinking? 
This was so weird. Why was I so nervous. I had been watching him for years as we grew up living across from each other, but as soon as it came to actually meeting him, butterflies flew around my ribcage.

"Pretty wet huh?"
It wasn't the best first line i ever imagined him saying but it was better than nothing at all.
"Yeah, i guess so".
I sounded so rude. I didn't laugh but i felt my mouth thin out into a sheer smile.
"Charlie, right"?
He knew my name, that was a start. 
"Yeah, and you're Isaac".
Again, blunt tones and harsh sentences only came from in between my teeth.
"It's great to finally meet you, unfortunately i never pictured it being in this sort of circumstance but there is never a right place or right time for anything these days".
It had never occurred to me why we had never met before. We lived literally ten metres away from each other and we have gone to the same school for nearly three years now. 
"Yeah, you too".
I was so short with him. It wasn't intentional, but talking wasn't my best trait.
"Well charlie, before we drown out here, I just wanted to say hey, so i better go back inside. You're more than welcome to join me if you'd like"?
"Ah, okay"?
I questioned his invitation, but accepted it at the same time.

We spent the afternoon together talking awkwardly whilst our hair dried out. His parents weren't home which made it easier to get to know him without it being too intense. His brother danced upstairs, whilst we talked about high school and whispered little secrets about ourselves.


His house was always a shadow to me now and his brother never danced around the lake. In fact I barely saw his little brother outdoors anymore. When the recycling truck came by in the mornings, it picked up piles of old books from the side of the road instead of the usual bottles in yellow bins. I stared at the back of bus seats and thought about what life would of been like if Isaac was still around.

The gazebo seemed haunting and the middle of the road where we first met, sent shivers down my spine. The boys from school were never upset about his absence, however i never saw anymore paper planes fly pass my head in class. 

Isaac was someone who i can only consider myself lucky to encounter. He was a beauty that was taken too soon. The boys at school weren't sorry nor afraid that it could happen to them. Isaac wanted to be liked and admired for everything he wasn't and he let that get the best of him.
We weren't friends for long, but i loved him for longer than i can remember. I adored him for who he truly was and that was never going to be enough to save him.

We spent nights around the lake tasting each others lips and drinking stale wine. He read lines from books that he loved but always made me promise that no one would ever find out. I hated that about him. He always kept the best things about him hidden, and one of those things was me. He loved me like he loved his collection of old novels. I knew that much, but i was collecting dust on most days while he was out pretending like he didn't care about life, love and stupid things like fine literature.

I don't like to think he was ashamed of me, i like to think i was a prized possession of his, just like one of his novels. He didn't like sharing intimate pieces of him with others and maybe thats what made me fall in love with him.

High school and parties and being popular was something that Isaac made a priority in life. He wanted to get through high school with ease and he couldn't see it being 'easy' if he was a nerd or a wallflower. 
He wanted to be known for being 'careless' and a 'wild child'. He wanted to be the person that he thought everyone else wanted to be. I wanted him to live. But that was too much to ask for.

I was never selfish and always loved him in the hours where we were invisible. I was always going to be on his shelf, but i always imagined a world where he would pick me up, dust me off and read me over again and again until the sun went down.

I was hoping for that day to come when we both graduated school. His eyes rolled into the back of his head two weeks before graduation. It was the final party before we commenced exam week. It was the pinnacle of all parties and it was the perfect moment for Isaac to show everyone what he was made of.

I knew he was too weak and I knew that it would only end badly. But there was something about being up on his shelf that prevented me from saving him. I loved him too much and he would of resented me for destroying his image that he had built for the past twelve years. 

I will resent myself now for the rest of my years, for thinking that a life without Isaac was worth risking.

The sun sets and the sun will continue to rise, but whenever I walk out my front door, tears inevitably will build in my throat and life ceases to be beautiful. The lake is cold and as i write this, i will only ever think of myself as this book whose pages will stiffen and its spine will flake.  

I was his book, and we created a novel which would never be read.


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