If you manage to make it through my story, or if you feel like commenting on however much you do read, please drop me a line afterward telling me how you liked it or didn't. I wrote it when I was a bit younger so please tell me if I did something wrong or something right. I'm still writing, and still learning, so any criticisms will be appreciated, even complete and total slams. Thanks for reading!
Lastly, I know I took a stab at Stephanie Meyers in my story description. I know she has many avid fans out there and honestly, I've read the books and enjoyed them somewhat so please don't downgrade my story because of an attention-grabbing description.
Her Lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The Night-mare life-in-death was she,
Who thicks man's blood with cold.
- Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
"I walk the streets alone. I scan my watch but 3:30 means nothing to me. The night is black and heavy and gives me the only sense of time that I need. It is dark, and that fact alone gives me courage to face the oncoming hours with any sense of pleasure. When the sun breaks, all these marvelous little thoughts of mine will shatter, and the huddled, shivering mass of rich mens' sons and daughters will issue out into these streets, my streets, and talk about money, sex, and football, the only things of importance. But I have the now, the current, and these cold empty hours walking alone in the dark are like heaven to me, compared to the horrid pale face of the sun beating upon my smoked-out, tired, sleepless skull. College can be such a lonely place."
"It seems that the last two years can be strung together as a series of regrets. Missing this party here, skipping that dinner there, not asking this girl or that girl out; these occurrences are the only ones that taint my memory. I'm sure that some joy was had by me during those months and years but the good times sure don't stick around like the bad. But even the bad memories served the purpose of telling me what was happening to me. Now, either because of alcohol or other intoxicants, even remembering the events of the past day can be a chore. I used to have ambition, but now it is gone. I used to feel like there was something special about me, but now I see this "special something" as a raging gap between me and the rest of the world. As privileged as I pretend to feel at being something apart from the generally happy, stuck-up, grown-up youth of this institution, there is something that separation cannot bring you and it is that thing that I long for more than anything. It is not the thing that I expected to find that cold November night, walking the vacant campus paths, but now I realize that it was a matter of it finding me and not the other way around."
"Some men are thrust into greatness and others have greatness thrust upon them. I don't know which truly happened to me that night, but my greatness can no longer be disputed. It almost feels like a dream, a nightmare, but it can only scare me if I wake up. As long as I stay trapped in this reality, this delusion, my separation from everything that I care for will never be fully apparent. All that scares me now is the thought that everything with a beginning undoubtedly has an end."
It's amazing what a pack a day can do to your lungs in two short months. I was an athlete in high school, a football player, but my current state is but a shadow of my former self. I wake up wheezing but relish that time around noon when I feel well and healthy once more, able to renew my body with toxins and make sure that healthy will never again define me at all. It is the night when I inflict the real damage. I get stoned quickly so I can savor every little piece of my sanity as it crumbles from me. How does one reach the point when life is no longer fun, unless seen through the eyes of someone not aware of even what he sees? When masturbation is not what it once was, what then can you turn to for solace? It was this question in particular that I pondered that cold November night, when she came into my life.
I had just settled onto a stone rock on campus, overlooking a small, nonfunctional, fountain and lit up a cigarette, when she stepped out of the shadows and into some more. I saw her frame move onto a rock across from mine and only the blood-red hue of her lips could be discerned from under her hood. I took a drag from my cigarette, wondering what the hell some little rich girl was doing out this late, when she first spoke to me.
"Pondering the intricacies of life?" she asked.
"What intricacies?" I replied. I had hoped that my somber tone would have moved her to leave, but instead I saw those red lips twist into a smile.
"What's come already, what comes next, why does it matter?" she said. I sucked in a deep breath of death while staring at those lips. Fine, I'll bite.
"That's the thing," I said, releasing the cloud of smoke, made even more pronounced by the chattering cold of deep winter, "It doesn't matter. None of it does. Fretting over the past is as equally useless as trying to predict the future. What happens happens, and that's that." As the words came out of my mouth, I became supremely aware of how depressed I sounded. The girl didn't move or speak but sat still and foreboding. There were no movements or reactions to read, but something told me that she was analyzing my words. I peered into that dark hood of hers trying to make out any identifiable "thing" but all I could see were those blood-red lips, emotionless and cold.
"Then what's worth living for?" she replied, her voice startling me. I took another quick puff. If she asked me during the day, I probably would have given here the proper Christian answer that my upbringing had brought me to believe but the dark had its icy grip on me and everything seemed to be black and dead.
"I don't know. Everything seems skewed at night, somehow different."
"Better or worse?" she asked.
"Different." I repeated, starting to become curious, "Who are you?" Then she gave me one last fleeting glance, a twist of her lips into a smile, and then she was gone. I saw her black coat come up over her face as she stood up and then there was nothing. I peered into the darkness, trying to find the girl, and even stood up, as if to follow the nothing I had to lead me, when the smoldering remains of my cigarette bit into my finger.
"Shit," I muttered, tossing the fluorescent orange tip to the ground. I looked up one more time but there was as little there as there was before. How strange...
The next day in class, I could think of little else. While whoever spoke about whatever around me, I scribbled pictures in my notebook of the mysterious woman with crimson lips. I jotted down a little blurb about her even, thinking that she might make an interesting character in one of my many short stories, before class finally ended. Within a few hours, my business on campus was over and I left for home. The sky was overcast that day and I vividly remember the overcast feeling that enveloped me. Some people I knew stopped me for idle talk, but even they noticed that I was gloomier than usual. They kept asking me if I was "OK," trying to be nice, trying to make me think that they would actually remember what they were talking to me about ten minutes from now, but their formalities were wasted on me. I told them "yes," regardless, and continued on my way.
After a sandwich, I immediately felt a surge of weariness wash over me. Within minutes I was out cold, unconscious on my couch. It was a big thing for me, finally being able to sleep, and I slept like the dead. It was after dark before I even woke up. The faint glow of the moon gave my room an eerie luminescent pigment that made my pupils widen. I glanced out at the night before me and my heart started to beat harder. I thought of the poet Rilke that instant and his words that I had once read.
"Only the individual who is solitary is like a thing subject to profound laws, and if he goes out into the morning that is just beginning, or looks out into the evening that is full of things happening, and if he feels what is going on there, then his whole situation drops from him as from a dead man, although he stands in the very midst of life."
The truth of that paragraph had always astounded me but also made me realize yet another difference that I had with everyone else. I liked my solitary situation and felt uneasy without it. Whenever I went to class or walked among others, it's true that my situation fell from me, but walking about at 3AM, wandering the black empty streets, entertaining my endless search for nothing: these things helped me regain my solitude, and returned to me my unique view of things.
A quick dinner, a shower, and a cigarette later I was again stepping quietly through the night and within minutes, I found myself standing near the same broken fountain where I had met the mysterious woman the night before. I had not realized that I was walking there and was strangely surprised to find myself in the same situation as before, sucking on a cigarette, breathing silently in the cold lamplight. Psychology tells us that sometimes the unconscious can make us do things that are unexpected from time to time but looking back at it now, I realize that the reason that I had walked there had nothing to do with me at all.
.... There is more of this story ...