I have an old habit of hurting myself. It started when I was 13. My mom's a newspaper journalist and dad's a casino manager. They're always out of the house and I rarely see them even on weekends. To compensate for that, I was showered with the latest gadgets and a big allowance. We live in a big house but it's almost always empty. Most of the time it's just me and the housekeeper Janet.
I grew up under her care. She has been our housekeeper since I was born. She never got married nor left the family and Indeed she was paid handsomely for her loyalty. But I did ask her why she didn't find a man and settled down, she said "I'm too old to get married, besides, who would go to your PTAs if I were to leave?" Which was right. She has been there for me all these years.
Still, I wanted my parents' attention. I buried my head studying since there wasn't much to do anyway. I was always top of the class and became quite popular but my parents don't seem to acknowledge my hard work. I joined the school paper because I know it would please my mom. I worked really really hard to get them to look at me. But I got tired. One day I just told my self enough.
Janet was on leave and I was alone at home. I woke up at noon and heated my meals Janet cooked yesterday. She knew it was my birthday so she prepared quite a feast for me; she even baked a cake. I reminded myself to thank her later. I spent the rest of my afternoon alone reading a book and browsing the web. Since I wasn't a very sociable person I have nobody to go out with or invite at home. Night came and I blew my candles and greeted myself.
"Happy 13th Birthday Alvin."
I couldn't help the tears flowing from my eyes. I celebrated my birthday alone too last year. This year was no different. I hated both of them. They could forget it's my birthday but it's Christmas, have they forgotten it too?
I know it was petty. Birthdays, Holidays or whatever it was could be celebrated at a later time but I hated it that my parents wouldn't even try to at least acknowledge my existence. They didn't even bothered calling or sending me a message or e-mail. A part of me also hated myself. My parents were working hard for my sake yet here I was complaining. I don't know what to think anymore.
I went to my room and found the butterfly knife on my desk. It has a black handle with silver blade that I bought to a bazaar a few weeks ago. I took a deep breath and cut through my wrist. I watched as my blanket turned red.
It's my blood.
Said the portion of my brain that's still active.
It's odd. My vision was starting to blur.
Am I dying? Why do I feel so alive?
I lay in my bed and waited.
Waited for what? Death? For someone to rescue me?
It hurts but the pain felt good. I cried my heart out till I couldn't feel anymore. My head felt heavy and the everything turned black. I woke up at a hospital the next day.
"Hey what happened to that?" asked Rick Fernandez. He's my classmate. He's tall, around 6ft and currently captain of the basketball team. I, on the other hand, stood 4 inches less than him and currently Editor in Chief of the Campus Newspaper.
Rick was pointing in at the scar on my wrist from 5 years ago.
I brushed him off and walked away.
"Nevermind, I think I know," he said, "Sorry."
He kept following me. "Hey, you're such a snob" he called.
I walked along the hallway as quickly as I could but Rick had no problem matching my pace.
"Hey wanna have lunch?" he asked while placing a hand on my shoulders.
I wasn't really trying to show my unease but I think he did notice. I don't like people getting too close, especially touchy people.
"Stop following me please." I said I weaved my way through the corridor towards the publication room. I noticed a few glances from girls from the junior class. Well, it's Rick walking beside me, so it's normal. He's tall plus he's really good looking. He has deep hazel eyes and black curls and his body well trimmed. He's perfect, physically, at least.
"Sorry." he said again for the second time.
"Just leave me alone OK?" I answered as coldly as I could and left him by the door.
I entered the LHigh Publication Office, also known as the PubRoom, which is my safe haven in this school. In here I could work and forget everything else. I liked being around people, the staff, who understands me well enough not to bother with my personal issues. Here at the PubRoom we're all business.
"Is that Rick?" Except for her - Jessica Martin, the associate editor, a senior like me, and probably the only person here at the Pub Room who doesn't mind their own business. "Didn't know you were close."
"We're not" I answered.
"You're too honest, Alvin."
I ignored her. "How's the articles going?"
Jessie sighed, she liked talking - a lot. She's lovely and smart but with a badmouth. She swears like a sailor which is contrary to her pretty face and sweet smile. Jessie's one of the popular girls in school. She's half Spanish, half Filipina so her beauty really stands out.
"It's effing good." She handed me a thick folder containing the articles due for the week. "I think we only have a few that hasn't been submitted."
I nodded to her. "Good."
"You know I'm worried about Rick." She suddenly said. It's common for Jessie to blurt out random thoughts when she feels like it. "He's a bit troubled at home but it doesn't really show, does it?"
Jessie and Rick were neighbors and childhood friends. They were inseparable since elementary school. They even dated for a short while.
"Troubled?" I asked. I don't normally care about other people's lives but I was curious. I've also known Rick since elementary school but we weren't close.
"Yea, his parents got separated, heard the annulment is almost settled. Then they'll have the custody hearing for his younger brother."
"Three months shy from graduation, huh?"
"Yea, although I don't think their parents would let him quit school now. Tragic."
" It is. " was all I managed to say.
I saw Rick again that afternoon, after class has ended. I was at the cafeteria drinking red iced tea and drafting an editorial. He sat beside me and smiled. He was eating a double cheeseburger and lasagna and large coke. I wondered where he put all those carbs? He looked so fit.
Shit. What was I thinking? Did I just thought of that?
I tried to ignore him and focus on my writing but I couldn't help watching him. He looked so .. Hungry? I couldn't find the right word, he just looked happy.
He noticed me and looked up, smiling.
"Wanna eat too? I'll buy you a lasagna if you want?"
I blushed, "no thanks, I'm not hungry."
He looked back at his plate. "Still won't eat with me huh?, you turned me down twice today."
I remember him asking me to have lunch earlier.
"Sorry, I'm really not hungry. Next time maybe?"
I stood up and fixed my bag. "I'll see you tomorrow."
Rick grabbed me by the wrist and looked up "really?"
"I'll see you tomorrow" he grinned and let me go.
I walked away wondering what was wrong with him.