My brother. A blond-haired, blue-eyed, tall-but-not-too-tall boy with a heart of gold and a brain as heavy as gold. Though he looks like a perfect target for bullying, the whole school loves his cheerful vibe and sacrificial attitude, albeit many feast on and abuse his kindness. Our mom just adores his dedication to her teachings, pampering and heroifying him.... and with every good hero comes a villain.
Black hair, black eyes, just under that stereotypical height of girls getting on their tiptoes to kiss you, with an empty heart and a brain filled with useless facts about Halo 3. Rather than a target for bullying, I am a bully, according to the whole school. Our mom hates my guts, to top it off.
While he has an army of friends, I sustain meager mutualistic relationships with a few people. I struggle where he exceeds, and where I exceed nobody could care less. Why bother supporting myself in this shadow when I could go make my own?
The band’s forceful tune rang about the field, bouncing between the two half-filled bleachers. All stood to attention, their hands pressed dutifully to their hearts and their eyes on the black and yellow outfits of the large group on the field, dazzling in the light of the four stands gazing down at the field. Each member of the band stood just as rigidly, their shining instrument of various structure and sound held proudly. The song had just reached a small featuring of the woodwinds when I arrived.
This scenario made it too simple to sneak in. I casually strolled over while nobody was around to catch me and climbed the stairs to the bleachers, just in time for the anthem to reach its final note. I took a seat far away from anyone else, waiting with utmost patience, though my empty stomach made it an ordeal. I had carefully examined the first few football games and noticed that the band would be given free food at half time. Soon, they crowded around a table, huddling together like penguins as they scrambled for snacks. I entered the crowd casually, flowing about with the movements like a leaf in water, following the currents, until I circled to the front, grabbing a bag of chips and a bottle of water gleefully. Then I darted off, sat down in the stands with my snack, and eagerly scarfed the food down.
Once it was all gone, and so soon it was, I settled back and watched the game go on, not particularly interested, but it was something to do. All these exuberant people, some my age, living much more fortunate lives. If only I had the means to go to school again, but I couldn’t even afford a proper tarp at the moment. Although, this life was definitely above the alternative.
“Touchdooown, Bumblebees!” the announcer roared with excitement. Seeing the minimal difference between the two team’s scores and the limited remaining time, tensions were obviously pretty lofty. The band, who had since returned to their seats, blared an excited tune to ramp the crowd and players. With the intoxicatingly electrified atmosphere, one couldn’t help but grin as one of the bee-striped players cleanly kicked the ball through the uprights.
Out of nowhere, a figure flew by me and collapsed on the stairs with a grunt. It was a girl, her hair bunched in a blonde ponytail and her dark blue eyes swirling with embarrassment. Hearing some snickering from above, I dutifully stood and helped the girl up, who accepted my arm quickly.
“Are you okay?” I gave her the most sincere smile I could manage, and she looked up at me with her shining blue eyes and said,
“Hey, you smell like shit! Don’t touch me, good grief. You think a fall’s gonna kill me? You just trying to get some? Ugh."
She quickly hopped down the rest of the stairs two steps at a time, although there was no need to rush. Her unexpected words were such a bombshell I stood motionlessly for thirty full seconds before sitting back down, my face growing hot in anger and degradation. I should have dropped her down the rest of the metal stairs. I squeezed the hem of my shirt. No accusation was new to me, but for a total stranger to treat me like trash in a place I'd found freedom from assholes pissed me off. And what motivated her to yell at me in the first place after I’d helped her up? It wasn't my fault I smelled.
I rested my head on my hand and focused on the game, which had but thirty seconds left. The teams had hardly given way to each other for the remainder, sealing the victory for the home team, the Westwood Bumblebees. Around me the the crowd swarmed with cheers. I felt apathetic now, standing and shambling back towards home. Each metal stair rung dispassionately as I descended, and the concrete was just as unmoved by my irritated shuffling. I began a run and punted a rock far out of sight, as viciously as the players on the field.
Once I’d crossed from the open clearing of the school grounds to the dried riverbed in the woods, I began whistling passionately, mourning my dead radio. If I ever saved up some money to buy batteries for it, I’d no doubt get a tarp instead. I eventually diverged from the path, my feet guiding me to the nearby tent. To anyone else, it might look dirty and worn, but it was home sweet home for me. I removed my shoes and collapsed inside atop the thick blanket, wrapping it around me with glee. It took very little to tire me those days, and after watching that game I was completely exhausted.