One Breath - Chapter Two
I pull the binder over my head and squeeze my body into the tight fabric. I pull a ‘Marvel’ t-shirt over the top, then complete the ‘look’ with my black skinny jeans and leather converse.
A fashion God, I know.
I look at myself in the mirror, pushing my hair around until it resembles some sense of order and looking good. It’s currently purple, a deep amethyst colour. I dye my hair like most people change clothes. Jordan swears it’s a new colour every week. I’m not denying it.
I grab my backpack from the ground where I threw it yesterday in preparation for today. I like to prepare for school the day before. It makes the morning go more smoothly.
I run down the stairs and grab the coffee I prepared earlier from the kitchen table; it’s now lukewarm and slightly gross-tasting, but lukewarm coffee won’t stop my caffeine addiction and I consuming it.
I nod to my Mother as I pass the living room – she’s sitting and reading the newspaper as she does every morning, making sure that Duke and I leave the house on time.
Duke runs down the stairs behind me, stuffing their mouth with toast slathered in butter. I raise an eyebrow at them, gesturing lazily to my mouth to signal to them that they have butter all over their face. They reach their left arm up and lazily wipe away the butter residue, smiling at me once they’ve completed the action.
I roll my eyes lazily and gesture for them to follow me as we walk towards school.
Our school is around 20 minutes walking distance from home. The campus, whilst not as large as the private schools that surround the suburb, is surrounded by greenery and looks quite picturesque. If I could draw for s–t I’m sure it would be the target of many of my pieces.
Duke skips for the entire journey, making their happiness that they possess at all times be known to everyone that we pass. Usually when we pass people, they smile and say, ‘Awww, aren’t they cute?’ and gush over Duke and their infinite energy levels. I guess thats a given when you’re 9 years old.
What I wouldn’t give to be 9 years old again.
Actually, after some reconsideration, being 9 again would suck because I’d have to go through the whole ‘puberty thing again’, and whilst it wasn’t kind to me and I wish I had a do-over, I wouldn’t want to go through it again.
Puberty can suck Satan’s d–k.
We arrive at the main campus and I wave goodbye to Duke. They skip merrily off into the other direction, heading towards the Junior School campus. I usually stand here and wait for them to enter their building, but today I end up walking inside without giving them much of an afterthought.
I make my way to the library, the air-conditioned room is calling to me and my stupid choice of clothing today. I should have worn shorts. That would’ve been the more practical choice if I had actually planned out my clothes for today with some knowledge of the weather.
Jordan sends me a message alerting me to their presence in the building, most likely hiding in one of the art classrooms. Sure enough, they’re in Art Room 4, the Fine Arts room, home of the painters and sketchers. Jordan belongs to the painting tribe, their skills making them one of the top artists in the school. They have a talent like no other, and they can just bring scenes to life with a brush and a palette. It’s incredible.
I admire Jordan.
I walk up the staircase towards the Arts building. The school put it on the fourth floor, somehow thinking that it would make sense. Like of course, all the artists want to walk 4 flights of stairs to get to class everyday. Like of course artists want to do exercise.
That was sarcasm.
And a stereotype.
Jordan hates the stairs, particularly for the fact of their chunky boots. Nevertheless, they trek up to the art rooms every morning to get some work done before they head to class. They’re doing an Un-scored form of assessment for their final grading, as they don’t need a ‘final score’ to get into the course that they want, so if they don’t show up to classes the teachers just assume they’re still painting and really don’t care.
Jordan sends me updates of their paintings constantly. I asked them to.
My head is spinning slightly and I take a break at the top of flight 3. I should’ve had more water before I left the house, it’s probably the reason I’m dizzy. It also explains the minor headache I feel coming on.
I continue walking and enter the classroom, Jordan standing in front of a canvas and adding delicate brushstrokes to a detailed painting of a cherry blossom tree. As they aren’t very tall, only standing at 5″3, they’re currently on top of a stool to make them level with their canvas. They think the school is mocking them by only giving them a stool instead of letting them get an adjustable canvas stand.
Jordan thinks a lot of things are mocking them.
“Parks and recreation,” Jordan calls out as I enter the room, allowing the rest of the people to know that I’m in the room without looking up from their work. It’s a good system. Jordan always knows it’s me. Apparently they know how I walk. I find that to be quite weird.
“Heya, Parker,” Riley calls out from behind one of the stands of paints..
They’re the single most gorgeous human in the whole world. In my eyes, that is. I don’t understand how they were formed, is it physically possible to put that much perfection into one entity? It’s not just their looks that make them the single most gorgeous human in the world, but their personality. They’re intricate, their soul shines through in all of their work, and their smile.
Oh, God. Their smile.
I want to one day be able to feel that smile pressed against my lips as I pepper feather-light kisses across their jawline. I want to feel their thick eyelashes fluttering as they drift in and out of sleep, as they lie on my chest, arms wrapped around my torso, holding me tightly as their breathing evens out and they fall asleep next to me.
I think about Riley too much.
I notice my trance that I’ve fallen into, one of those trances that Mother always catches me in. “Heya, Riles,” I return, shooting a warm smile in their direction. I refuse to allow myself to make eye-contact with them. That would be weird. Especially after one of my ‘moments’.
F–k, I’m creepy.