TBT: Finding Heart- Chapter 4



There’s a very long silence as this stranger looks up into my eyes. He seems to be waiting for a reaction of some kind. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what expression my face is giving him. If only I could know whether I were scaring him away, confusing him, or worrying him yet again. It’s not until he finally breathes a heavy sigh and turns away that I know I must have upset him. “I’m sorry,” I mumble, more to the trees than to anyone else, “I don’t know who you are just by your name.” 
Slowly Angel-man turns back to me with the most confusing look I’ve ever seen in my life. He looks as though he is about ready to cry, about ready to do something he will regret forever. “Look, maybe other things were going on when you found out who I was, but you know who I am. I know you do.” 
“I’m sorry, I really don’t remember you. I’m trying though. Can’t you just explain some more?” Man, I must be a total idiot, my brain tells myself. 
“Brandon, my name is Brandon. I’m Brandon, as in new kid at school? Don’t you even remember what happened in the cafeteria?” he questions. 
“Yeah, I do. How could I forget what happened to me in their? I’m fairly sure I just lost everything I’ve ever known to be my life. There’s no easy way to forget that. There is no way to forget that,” I say certainly, “Oh…wait, you’re the Brandon? And the new kid today? Wow… I’m sorry. I didn’t put two and two together.” I’m now stumbling over my words as my body begins to take control again. I can’t control myself. As my mind races to realize that Melanie was telling the whole school I had a crush on Angel-man, my body remembers everything that happened this morning. The part of me that I can still control is really hoping that I don’t start puking again. I sure feel like I’m going to be soon. 
“Yeah, I’m so sorry about that,” he says sincerely, “If there were any way for me to stop it, any way to leave you out of this, I would have.” 
Now I can feel my forehead wrinkling as I go from interested to confused. How can he think that this was his fault? My mind is screaming so many questions right now. I wish I could get the answers to all of them. “But, wait, how are you blaming yourself for this? How is this in any way your fault?” 
“I’m the new kid, and if you even knew me from before today, you would know that I carry around a curse. Maybe it’s not really a curse, but it seriously feels like it. Sometimes I wonder why everyone is out to get me but then I realize maybe I’m just that unlucky.” 
“A curse? Wait, wait, this isn’t making any sense now,” I begin to almost scream, “How can you blame yourself for this? How can you care about me so much when you don’t even know me? How come you held back my hair, helped me up, held my hand? Why do I deserve anything you are doing for me right now? And from before, you said that you couldn’t stay away for long? Stay away from where? Brandon, I’m really not understanding any of this right now,” I stutter. 
“That’s a lot of questions. Let’s see, first, I blame myself because without me there no one would have ever looked at you as the target. Secondly, I care about you because I see your pain; I feel your pain. I know what you are feeling right now and I can’t help thinking that is partially my fault. Besides, I’m not like the rest of those lowlives in that school. Thirdly, I did all of those things because I care. I’m not sure why, but I feel attached to you now. Like I did something and I have to set it right. But not just that, it’s that I really think you and I are so alike; I can see it in your eyes. You deserve everything I am doing right now because you are a sincere person. I can just see it. If you don’t believe me, well there’s no way to prove that. And lastly, I can’t stay away from home for long, especially after school hours. That one is a long story that I might share with you another time. For now, I just want to know that you are all right. Are you?” 
Wow. “Um…yeah. I am now truthfully. You don’t have to care about me you know. You definitely don’t have to blame yourself for what happened in there. You’re definitely making it all better right now, and you would not be the only reason they pointed their fingers at me,” I say, trying to explain that he doesn’t need to feel so horrible about himself, “Honestly? I don’t like the look you have right now. I want to make it go away. I’m not sure why I care about anyone but myself right now, but I care about that face right there. Can’t you just smile or something? Your look is killing me.” 
Slowly a smile shows up on Brandon’s face. Even though he still has the worry lines creasing his forehead, I’m sure mine aren’t going away soon either. As the smile reappears, my lips seem to be trying to reach their peak before his can. We sit like this for a while, just smiling at each other. It seems as though we are both happy. Yet, I wonder if he really is. Deep down I know I’m not okay. I can’t help thinking maybe he still isn’t either. 
After we’re done smiling at each other and enjoying the silence, the mood changes. Suddenly it seems awkward, sitting here, staring at some random guy. At least I know his name now, but I still know nothing about him. His looks are still turning me on, and off too, depending on which part of him I’m focused on. 
Brandon still seems totally content with watching my face as the school bell rings for the end of the day. Suddenly his body shifts away from mine, off of the blanket. Sooner than I can think even the simplest thought, his feet are back underneath of him, and Brandon is standing up again. This time he doesn’t seem to be waiting for me to follow. Instead his facial features have drooped again, and he seems to be shaking. As I try to reach out for him, ask him what is wrong, he disappears. It’s not that he runs so fast that I can’t see him leave, but by the time my mind realizes he is leaving me alone in this place, the angel that I spent my afternoon with is already out of site. The feelings of dread and the thoughts from earlier in the cafeteria come running back to me. I hate the feeling that something is smacking me in the face. Before I have time to control my upcoming anxiety attack, my body takes over. The last thing I remember is curling over the edge of the stream and letting my body dispose of the last few remains the day’s lunch. 


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