The dinning-hall at St Peters High School, reminds me of feeding time for the animals in Africa. The pop-jock-kids are the lions, they devour whatever is placed upon their plates; malevolently scoping out their next gazelle to pounce as they digest and bask in the sun of the football field, after they rip apart their burgers and hotdogs. We shall leave these beasts alone.
The beautiful make-up-girls, they would be the leopards, majestic to look at but they will eat your very soul in front of everyone if you get too close, sometimes just for kicks; unfeeling and unflinching to every other animal that roams these hallways. They eat their healthy pasta and salads but do divulge in the fatty luxuries we have come to know as the first basic food group, chocolate. Their attack choice on other animals, manipulate, bitch and backstab; their beauty is just a smokescreen, under it they have their taste for virgin blood and paranoid friendships between each other.
And then there’s me and mine, the chimps, day-dreamers and star-gazers. Popularity food for the pop-kids, we are meant for one purpose and one purpose only, to make others look good. Mediocre looks means a mediocre school-life, we do not stand out in any crowd except the classroom. This is where we come alive and also write our social-subconscious-suicide notes because in the teacher’s eyes we are looked upon as the hopeful but in the cross-eyes of our teenage equals we are deemed hopeless.
And as a chimp we certainly can never have a love with a beautiful girl, one like Alison Stook. If I were a chimp she would still be a Goddess. Here is the kicker of my stance in this place. I am a geek; I look and keep up the act like one as well. A thin exterior and shabby hair, what will I have to offer her, except from love.
“You’re doing that thing again, Chris. Hello, earth to Chris!” Mark snaps his fingers.
I drive my head into my chilidog and chow down.
“Sorry guys, it’s just so hard not to stare at something so… beautiful and perfect and everything I want and need to be with… I’m in trouble, ain’t I?” I tear myself from the dream which could lead to an ass-whoopin’ by friends.
“I mean this seriously mate, just go over and talk to her, she is just a lass at the end of the day.” Danson interjects as he slams down his dinner-tray and taking a seat.
“Well mate, you have no idea what it is like to daydream about the girl of your dreams and would except every detail about her, it’s not that you can’t dream, it’s because you’re English.” I copy his British accent.
Mark and Danson start blowing kisses at one another; I grab my carton of milk and stand.
“Screw you guys, I’m going to the library to do some research on my next project.” I stomp away from their jeering.
“Bye Bye lover boy!” Mark has one last poke of embarrassment to throw.
I sit there looking at a webpage on how electricity’s metamorphosis on a magnetic field will either dissipate it or make it increase.
“Hi there, it’s Chris, isn’t it? Your friends said you’d probably be here.” A quiet voice takes my attention.
“Hi… Alison…” She is standing in front of me, keep calm; keep calm. “Just working out; I mean I’m doing some working out.” I stunningly stammer.
She sits down with the huge green eager eyes, giggle-some.
“Have you heard of the charity skydiving drive we are holding at the weekend?” She leans closer inwards, I can smell her perfume.
“Vaguely; why?” I keep my answers small to not trip-up my cool composure, not that I had any before.
“Well we are filming it live and we need it to be streamed over the internet to watchers who are funding it but couldn’t be there and also to raise more money online. So I was wondering…”
I jump into her words. “No – No. I can’t jump; I’d be too scared of messing up in the sky.”
She squint’s her eyes and puts on a side smile, brushing her red hair behind her ear. “No, I was wondering if you would come up in the plane with us and take care of the video feeds from all of our cameras and make sure they broadcast properly. “ She brood’s her bottom lip and places her hands in a praying action. All I can do is gawk at her mouth which is outlined with incarnadine lipstick; she is a kaleidoscope to me, all the pretty colours I wish to surround myself with.
“So there’s no jumping for me?” I relieve. A shake of her head and a bite of her lip say it all. Stop staring – stop staring – stop staring. “Sure thing, I’d happily do it for you.” Finally I acquiesce.
“Great!” With a clap of her hands she leans over to me and kisses me on the cheek. “People always said that you were weird, I don’t really see it.” She ended.
There I sit; the vile view of society has rested upon me, all my nightmares shown to me by the girl of my dreams.
I manage to open the door to Granddad Wilsons house. He is a hoarder of the old world; the interior to the huge house is the colours of browns and greys, it’s as if I walked into a noir film and I am trapped in rainbow shading clothing.
“Granddad – Granddad, I’m here for my weekly visit.” I lower my tone. “To be bored out of my mind for the next two hours.”
Slipper scuffles shift from the kitchen. I turn and in toddles the oldest guy I know. An aged frown is directed at the floor, through his fickle-rimmed glasses that hang on for life at the end of his nose. A bold moustache he keeps as a statement and high-rising pants that lip his belly.
“I told your mom she did not have to keep sending you every week to look after me, I’m fine. I tell you, if your Grandmother was still alive she’d make sure you never came back around, with her tricks and antics.” He barks as he rests in peace in his chair with a huff of chest infection.
The room is filled with books of ancient history, myths and legends and superhumans; the top book on the pile upon the coffee table is a book about Sumerian tribe links with aliens.
“Yeah, well I’m here now. What’s with all the books?”
He fixes up his glasses. “It’s only taken you almost two decades to ask me. It’s been a hobby of mine since I was about your age. Mostly about people being more than they are. Powers that not even a God could muster-up only within you.”
“Like superheroes?” I advise, readjusting myself in this cardboard chair.
“You kids and your damn superheroes; I will tell you something, being a superhuman doesn’t come from outer-space or radioactive ants or whatnots. It all comes from within you.” He grumbles as he taps his finger on my chest plate.
“What do you mean, Grandpa?” I confusingly beam.
“Think of yourself as a battery operated machine, son; your emotions produce enough energy to muscle your power of choice; if you feel love or anger to an extreme, your level will rise, a lot like a pulse, whoosh – whoosh – whoosh. Back before man was recorded I believe we had the knowledge of our potential and we used it to shape the world we live in today, but like everything, we got lazy and forgot. We are all superhuman; all we need to know is how to channel ourselves through the obstacles that keep us grounded.” He slurps his syrup styled motioned coffee.
“That’s a nice theory, Granddad. I know I don’t listen to you a lot, but it’s not every day you hear a hypothesis about being super and it actually making sense.” Ponderingly I scope-out a new day-dream in the cobwebbed crevices of the ceiling.
“I mean it has never found me, but you should focus on your feelings in front of mirror to see if anything happens.” He hints as he picks-up the TV guide.
So here I am, my bedroom door barricaded with my straight-bar weight. My shameful body is shown as my T-shirt is thrown on the floor.
“Okay, focus on my feelings and becoming a superhuman.” I psych myself up as I try and look buff in the mirror, lacking the muscle mass.
What could she ever see within me?
I think about why no one had ever crossed their own path before in this instance. If they gained strength, they would probably rob banks or take on the army for fun. If they gained speed, the Olympics could be their golden run to glory. It would probably be best for everyone if they didn’t cross that path.
The want for better overruns all that had been done-wrong upon this place, someone with only pure of heart, someone who believed in right before themselves, could harness this power.
I close my eyes and I can only think of her and soon realise that thinking of such magic could never exist within our world.
As I lay myself down to sleep for the night, I feel let down by my own being; my belief for a better me to have all I want, it’s never that simple. A total apocalypse of the heart.
I get off the bus to a fresh sky of azure. A slight nudge towards the airport hanger by the wind and the alacrity of my fellow student jumpers knocks my thoughts out of sync.
“Sup’ dude! Can you believe this? Finally here, I am shitting my pants but weirdly in a good-way.” Derek chortles.
“So glad I am not jumping.” I shuffle into myself.
“Yeah, we all know why you are doing this and let’s just say we all know that it’s not to do the right thing, unless the right thing has red hair and has a nice rack.” He jeers as we both look over at Alison who is surrounded by her female followers.
From a joined office at the side of the hanger a middle aged but grey haired man enters. This must be the skydiving teacher, Clark; the female faculty have a thing for.
“Okay, gather round, guys. This is what you have been training for, the time is finally here. Now for those who are jumping today you have to remember the temperature up there is going to be gelid, so precaution is advised at all times. You know what is needed and expected of you all up there; each other’s wellbeing at all times.” He claps his hands. “Let’s do this!”
She and I create a succinct eye contact, smiles attached; I don’t know what to make of it. Does she fancy me the way I fancy her or is she being polite the way she usually is? Who knows?
Sitting in my corner of the plane, scared out of my wits, I do not know what to make of all the turbulence and jilts. I have a laptop screen, secured down; on screen there are windows of live-feeds from the cameras located on the helmets of each jumper. It is my job to monitor and link up.
Derek scoots over to my side.
“Wear this.” He hands me a bandana to cover the bottom part of my face. “When those doors open it is going to get really cold in here, dude.”
“Thanks, man.” I flick through the screens.
“A little woman advice for you, you have to take a risk if you want to know anything, take a leap of faith for your own good.” He punches my upper arm and shifts back over to his position.
Clark comes through from the cockpit, putting on his helmet.
“Two minutes! Check and recheck your pulls and restraints help the person next to you if they need. A horde of twelve people wobble from side-to-side, tugging and pulling on straps, at this angle they remind me of fawns on an icy lake. I make a beeline for her, taking my words and forming them into lascivious manner.
“Hi Chris, thanks for doing this again; will you fasten up my chin strap.” I fiddle around with it. “With this helmet and all the wind, my hair is gonna’ frizz like a bitch.” Alison whinges.
“Perhaps, but I do guarantee, you will still be beautiful within my eyes, Alison.” Her eyes drift down to mine; flutters, this must be the energy my granddad was talking about.
“Okay, everyone in to position!” Clark Crows.
I back up and find my seat and belt, strapping myself in. A line of leapers form to face a formidable monster, Mother Nature. Alison is behind Derek, second to last. She looks down her body, going over all of her straps one more time in her head. She arches her head back up and turns to look at me, a look of love for erstwhile. Rather ironic, I have falling in love; she shows love before she falls.
The door is automatically opened; one by one they hurtle themselves from the aircraft. They fall as cascading teardrops which reflect magnified within deaths eyes. For a brief second I do not believe she will do it, confusing burns a fuse of feeling in her heart. I wrap and tie the bandana around my face.
The rush of wind is conducted through the speakers; I focus in with a click on her camera-feed. Aerodynamically the divers chase away birds.
Camera 11 has some interference, the white noisy lines stretch across the screen. I check the list, the camera is Derek’s; I watch closely on the screen. The camera is pulled from Derek’s helmet by the winds evil fingertips, it’s is catapulted into Alison’s direction, she collides with it and is sent unconsciously into a furious freefalling spiral. My heart within my chest is on the edge of its seat. In the clouds my worst fears come to me in the shape of a frisson.
I cannot just sit here and watch love fall away from me, shall I cry into my hands and give death the satisfaction or shall I take charge of my feelings? A warm rush of blood tsunami’s through my veins, when it has hit a curved end it backtracks. Is this it? Chris, undo your straps!
I vease my feet forward into the openness of a sky-shot without a parachute. The wind causes brouhaha to the ear, my eyes squint and my heart shudders behind my ribcage. I only make out the jumpers as they have formed a handheld circle within their fall. Two flyers have broken away from the pack, one must be Derek and the other is definitely Alison. Remember what Granddad said. I close my eyes to regain courage.
“Think of yourself as a battery operated machine, son; your emotions produce enough energy to muscle your power of choice; if you feel love or anger to an extreme, your level will rise; a lot like a pulse, whoosh – whoosh – whoosh. ~ We are all superhuman; all we need to know is how to channel ourselves through the obstacles that keep us grounded.”
I plunge myself into an arrow position and let gravity do the rest. I soar straight through the handheld-sky diver’s circle, with the speed I have now attained; they all disburse away from one another and pull their shoots. Derek is still trying to reach Alison, nowhere near and thinks of his own life and gives his parachute a lease of life.
She is within my sights and we are within deaths. She is falling back first, her arms and legs wafting around as if she was trying to break-dance.
I chrysalis around her, my right hand becomes a search party for her shoot-strap, it is wrapped around her jackets zip; I yank and yank…. I can’t get it free.
I drill my face into her neck; I do not wish to watch either. Only in death can we be together, rather ironic. Our first and last hug; No… It cannot end like this.
“I love you, Alison!” I scream over the wind.
“Love you, too.” A sleeping beauty replies.
I lock my eyes and focus on the feeling of love, 100 meters to go. Love is my key.
We are both shot through some weedy-twigs and brush, eventually landing in a marshland area.
“What the… I am alive?”
Alison, sleeps on a heap in the mud, we have caused a path of destruction for our landing, but how?
I stand slowly and peel the mud from my hair and face.
What is this new found power? And why do I have it? I guess we will find out…