I sleep a lot.
I'm the kind of kid who doesn't have many friends, who doesn't stand out, the kid looking out the window during class. The kid who gets most of the answers wrong, but just enough are correct to be close to average. The kid who knows all the old music but nothing that came out recently. The kid who wears the same clothes everybody buys. That one kid who doesn't get picked last; to tell the truth, I don't get picked at all sometimes.
Maybe it's why I sleep. There's not a whole lot I really want to stay awake for. I guess I lied, too. It's not that I don't have many friends. I don't have any. Since I started high school, I haven't made the effort to connect with anyone. Whenever people talk to me, no matter how outgoing they are, they're a little put off because I don't speak. I never have anything to say, so I just smile and nod. It's not because I don't want to make friends, but I haven't found anyone to make friends with.
I doze off sometimes, during Math class. The classroom is warm and quiet, and I sit by the window in the sunniest spot. The teacher never notices; she's too busy helping people, scolding those who are talking, chastising people for not handing in work, and handing out new material. I'm okay with that. My desk is practically heated every day, so I open my Math book and put a pencil on my desk, then sleep. I have these really weird dreams when I sleep.
I guess they aren't what everyone would think is weird. It's just that I heard that most people dream about their friends, or other people they've met before. My dreams never have people I know. In fact, my dreams often consist of just one or two other people.
I call her Leah, because she won't tell me her name. When I doze off in class, sometimes, she's there. Not always. But she's there, and I've never really met her before, but I think I've known her for a while. She calls me by name and smiles like the sunshine, and she smells like oranges.
She wasn't sure when she had become so lazy. Lately, she didn't feel like playing sports or going out with her friends as often. Rather, the girl just wanted to sleep and dream.
Gradually, she had begun to see the true sides of her friends.
Hiding behind the layers of make-up (applied and reapplied between classes, at lunch, after school, in the bathroom at the mall, 10 times a day).
Hiding behind the clothes (bought at all the name-brand stores, didn't matter if it didn't fit, you had to wear it anyway).
Hiding behind the smiles (whitened artificially, filled with fake happiness and suggestive in a way a high schooler shouldn't be).
She knew it all, and she didn't want any part in it. One day, her eyes just opened. She smiled one last time and headed into the bathroom to wipe off her make-up, to undo the stupid hair that didn't really look good on her, to scowl for once. She didn't look back when she left.
There were whispers around the school. She glared at anybody and everybody who whispered and then dared to meet her eyes. They said she was crazy to throw it all away. She had been pretty, popular, perfect. She didn't care.
She had a few supporters in the shadows, those who agreed with her mindset but were scared to speak out. She regarded them with a sort of pitying contempt. Let them be sheep; she would make a statement and hope someone else saw it and followed her example.
And when she went home, she would sleep. Overcome with sudden exhaustion, she slipped into dreamland, sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for hours. She loved sleeping. She loved dreaming.
She wanted to dream of him. The boy she had never met, except she had been meeting him for a while. The boy with the haunting green eyes, with the shaggy brown hair and slight hunch to his shoulders. The boy who understood. She would see him again, although she had never seen him before.
Leah is my only true friend. The one I can tell everything to. It's a dream anyway, isn't it? It really doesn't matter what she knows about me.
She doesn't talk much, so I speak to her. Although I normally don't have anything to say, she seems to find my words interesting. I talk about anything and everything that crosses my mind, in a semi-desperate ploy to extend the dream. Is it sad that my dreamland is happier than my conscious world?
No, don't answer that. That's besides the point. She's the most wonderful creature I've ever seen. Sometimes, I wonder if maybe she's my guardian angel. Long, blond hair and the brightest shards of sapphire attracted me, but she also smiles widely and often. She has a dimple in her left cheek and covers her mouth when she laughs.
Oh God, I think I'm in love with a dream.
He was her solace. He soothed her quietly when she cried, finding the world a little too much to bear. That was on the days when people ganged up on her, sometimes hitting her, sometimes just spitting on her shoes.
He would hold her, sometimes. In strong, warm arms. He held her so close that she could barely breathe, listening to his heartbeat against her ear. Her tears would dry up and she would lean into him as if they always did that.
Those were the days when she woke up with tear tracks on her face. Not because she didn't want to deal with the coming day, but because she didn't want to leave her dreams in the first place. She would sit by the window in her room and wish upon the stars, the moon, the sun.
She wished that she really knew him, because then it wouldn't be a dream. Her reality would be as sweet at the images she conjured when she slept.
I want to find her.
This isn't one of those half-wishes most people make, and never follow through with. I try searching on the internet sometimes, but there are thousands of Leahs with blond hair, none of which look exactly like the one I want.
I watch TV sometimes in the hopes that maybe she's a famous star I've just forgotten about, someone I can research once I know her real name. I'd be happy just seeing her once, knowing she's real. A dream shouldn't feel this real if the person in it doesn't exist.
Today, on the news, there has been another death. This time, it was in my city. This girl died, hit by a car. They say she was going to kill herself anyway. She had an illness. Depression, they say. There was heavy bullying at her school, they say. She left a note for a boy her parents didn't know about. A secret boyfriend, maybe. There's no name on the note. They released a picture of it. Her handwriting was cute, rounded and bubbly. The kind of writing a girl who smiles a lot would have.
Her name is Terra Penny. She has long blond hair and deep blue eyes and-
She couldn't take it any longer. She hated every moment she was away from her dream. She wondered what was happening to her. Was she obsessed? She was sick of going to school and dealing with the scornful glances, sick of telling her parents she was okay, sick of fending off the questions about what she was doing because she didn't go out so much.
She sat down at the desk in her room and picked up a pen. The little rubber bunny rabbit on the top quivered as she wrote.
You know, I wish we never parted ways. I wish I saw you all the time. You have helped me make it this far, but I guess I just wasn't enough. I'm really sorry. I hope this doesn't cause you pain, wherever you are.
She didn't sign the note. Instead, she carefully inscribed a heart at the bottom of the paper, and then walked out the door. There was a bridge she could see out of the corner of her eye, and she walked towards it.
She didn't see the flashing lights, didn't hear the horn, didn't listen to the warning shout until it was too late.
All she could think was maybe I'll see him once I-