School for me in the next few weeks were a genuine pleasure. I worked well in class and Lu Shen and I seemed to be growing closer. It wasn’t just the fact that we shared every single lesson with each other, but it was the fact that she seemed as interested in me as I was in her. One art lesson she handed me a fresh pencil and pad and asked me to draw her. After reading that note I was surprised and embarrassed.
My drawing skills were nowhere near her level, but she gave me the look that said it would really hurt her if I refused. So, biting back the anxious feeling that swelled up inside of me I took the pencil in hand and began sketching. At first, I thought I was butchering her image, but as the lesson drew on my picture grew better until at last the bell rang and the last stroke of the pencil. The picture was not bad, but I felt I could have done better.
Lu Shen stared at the picture I drew of her and I could tell from her expression that she liked it. She seemed to go red in the face which in turn made me do the same. Following her example in teachings, day-after-day we would draw anything and everything. We would compare our pictures and as always she had the better picture. She would insist that mine was better, but politeness can only go so far before we both admit I drew the pencil equivalent of a tumbleweed instead of a fish.
Still, our friendship seemed to stay strong and so was I throughout those days. Eventually, I could not contain myself one day and when we were in English class I confessed to her. I wrote her a note, something that I never did, and handed it to her. On that note I wrote my thoughts of her and asked her to be my girlfriend. When she read it her jaw tightened and she looked at me scared. For a moment I thought she was going to run away, but it was more as if I transformed into some kind of monster.
I turned away from her, hurt to my core, and continued to take down notes. The teacher went on to explain the experiment for the lesson and I decided that I should probably say something to her. She didn’t make the first move, of course, so as I was about to open up my mouth the teacher made an announcement.
“Okay, class, it seems you all have heard me explain it enough,” the old woman nodded. “How about we do something practical for this lesson?”
The class cheered a chorus of agreement and the teacher smiled.
“Okay, I will be dividing you all up into pairs and you will work with each other complete the experiment.”
The teacher made it seem as if she was going to take everyone from their desk partner, which terrified the students and their closest friends, but she simply assigned them with their desk partner and everyone got a laugh out of it. That is until she came to me.
“Bill and roger, good luck. Jesse and Marshall, you two try to control yourselves this lesson, we don’t need another fire gone wrong,” the teacher joked as she moved up my aisle. “Ah, Lucas, how about you do the experiment with me. Some may call in unfair since you are working for the teacher, but I call that an easy A.”
The class laughed once more.
“Um, what about Lu?” I asked her.
“Uh, pardon? Lu who?” the teacher asked confused as I rested my hand on Lu’s shoulder.
“Lu Shen, she has been in your class since the start of the year.”
To this the teacher broke out laughing while the other kids seemed confused.
“Oh, I get it. A-Lu-Shen, illusion, brilliant, Lucas,” the teacher laughed as she walked back to the front, gesturing for me to follow.
I didn’t know what she was getting at until I looked to my side to find my hand resting on nothing. It fell through the air and landed at my side. The girl I had sat next to had disappeared, the girl I confessed to was no more, the girl who was my best friend was gone. I knew then that she never existed.
I don’t remember much of that lesson. The teacher pulled me out of my desk in my confused state. When the class ended she tried speaking to me, but I couldn’t say anything. Truly, I found it difficult to talk. When I went to my desk to collected the pencil and pad I found that both mine and Lu’s drawing were over each other, as if we shared the page. It hurt deep inside to see that and I fell into my seat gagging on emotion.
The day ended early for me, I was take to the school offices where the principal tried speaking to me, then the nurse, then my parents. I was taken home, as silent as the grave. I wrote down what I experienced and showed it to my parents, explaining the whole story. The two looked at each other sadly and filled with concern. I could tell that I had scared them, but I was being honest with them.
I started therapy in the days to come, but that didn’t seem to help much. I couldn’t talk and my head was just clouded with thoughts that half the time were not my own. I felt like a balloon with too much air inside and I was stretching closer to the state of popping, but never did. I continued to draw, but every time I focused on the page it looked as if two people had been drawing on it. My life wasn’t split into two, but doubled somehow and I found it difficult to manage both sides. I am not healthy and W doubt we ever will be.
Be sure to follow!