Serendipity | Teen Ink


February 20, 2011
By donniebeforedarko, Pennsville, New Jersey
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donniebeforedarko, Pennsville, New Jersey
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Favorite Quote:
"Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?"
"Why do you wear that stupid man suit?"
-Frank and Donnie, Donnie Darko

Author's note: I was watching my best friend sitting on her counter smoking a cigarette. All of a sudden she turned to me and said, "Write a book. It'll do you good." And I said, "Okay."

“I sometimes wondered if there was anyone else in the world who felt like I did. If there was anyone else my age who felt just as alone. If anyone else in the world was feeling like people just waited for their turn to talk and never really listened to them. I wondered about just how alone I was most of the time. I wondered while I was crying. I wondered while I was quiet. I wondered while I was laughing. And I wondered while I was smiling.

It became a sort of an obsession for me to look at complete strangers and think, “Does he feel just like me?” and then try to guess what their life was like. I compiled stories about every single person I never got the chance to meet. Every person I wrote about I made just as alone as me. Because by the time I hit my Freshman year of High School I had decided that everyone in the world was just an incredibly alone person surrounded by people who don’t really care.” I began to tell the tidy looking woman who sat next to me with a clipboard in hand. I didn’t know her by first name and yet she was the closest thing to a friend I felt I ever had. Staring at the blank ceiling of her office I kept talking,

“I mean I always really felt like that deep down. When you get to the bottom of everything I think everyone feels that way at some point in their life. Like everyone is just completely on their own and no one is real but at the same time we all feel like we’re lonelier than the rest and everyone is doing us a disservice. I just feel like that all the time. When I’m in a classroom full of people. When I’m surrounded by my friends. When I’m sitting against a wall during a dance I didn’t even want to go to. It doesn’t matter what the occasion, alone is all I ever feel.”

She must not have even processed all that I had just said because there wasn’t a second’s hesitation before she asked me in a very monotone way, “Do you know why you feel like this?”

I stared at the ceiling some more and let the cogs of my brain turn as fast as they could. I let them find their way into the deepest parts of my heart so they could figure out just what the hell was wrong with me. I let my whole body process her simple question. I let every memory that could have caused all this leak into the front most part of my brain. I thought long and hard before I answered. “No.”

“You don’t have any idea at all? Could it be you crave attention?” She wasn’t looking at me. She was paying attention to that clipboard of hers. If I slipped up I’m sure she’d write me down for some anti-depressant right quick. Nothing that I really wanted so I chose my next words carefully.

“No. It’s not that. I guess I just want to be heard. Not by a lot of people or anything. I don’t really want the world staring at me. I just want someone, anyone really, to hear me. Just this once. Just one person would be fine.” I told her hoping that I was making sense. The hardest part about having your parents pay a stranger $200 an hour to listen to your thoughts was making your thoughts make sense. It’s really scary just how little things that fit together in your head don’t work at all coming out of your mouth.

Despite the fact that hour by hour I was making my ‘friend’ rich she looked at her watch like she did every Tuesday, looked at me and said “Time’s up. We’ll pick back up on this next time, okay?” I had to wonder if maybe the reason I wasn’t getting anywhere is because my psychiatrist was really a robot who knew when I was milliseconds from an epiphany.

Walking out of Dr.Suzanne’s office I always liked to look at the faces of those waiting to enter. They were always different and that sometimes made me think I was her only patient so messed up that I needed to come more than once. That or I was her only patient who didn’t get mad when she stopped me from figuring my whole life out with her stupid monotone “time’s up”. Either way, I was glad the patients were always different. It meant I always left the office with at least seven new stories to write down in my notebook when I got home.

Every Tuesday at exactly 6 o’clock I would walk three blocks from Dr.Suzanne’s office to my house. The walk home was the real reason I loved my visits to Dr.Suzanne’s office. The walk home was always when I ran into him. A boy who was in only one of my classes at school because he was two grades ahead of me. A boy who I’d never actually talked to, but always liked seeing anyway.

He was always on the same street with a skateboard in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I didn’t skateboard, I didn’t smoke, and I wasn’t one to judge people on looks alone but there was something about him that just seemed…Cool. He was surrounded by a group of boys his age who all really seemed like the same person copied again and again to me. There was nothing special about them. They were just as insignificant as the gravel they skated on.

Whenever I past him though, standing there with a grin on his face for whatever reason it was, I wanted to say something. I wanted to strike up a conversation more than anything in the world for those few seconds I would see him. But I could never do that because ‘Hi’ just wasn’t cool enough for people like him.

So I would just have to settle for telling Dr.Suzanne about him again tomorrow. And how maybe, just maybe, he’s going to throw me right back on track to my epiphany one day.

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