Mental Insight: Chapter 2.

     Spencer’s first class of the day is photography. As always photography is Spencer’s most relaxing class. The lights are dim and everyone in the room is focusing on their own work. They’re completely unaware of Spencer’s existence. Which was better for everyone. Being invisible to others was something Spencer cherished. She could easily slip in and out of  her conscious surroundings with no one even noticing her blank, empty expressions. Spencer did have friends, not many, but enough. Enough to fill her social requirement. If she shows that she has friends, authority figures don’t question her mental stability… more often than they already do. Spencer has two people who she considers her “best friends”, Lucy and Michael. Michael shares 4 of Spencer’s 5 classes. Which works out perfectly for Spencer. She won’t have to go through the awkward process of waiting for everyone else to pair up while she eventually joins a late straggler by default. Michael always saves a seat whenever Spencer is running late. A nice gesture that is always appreciated, even though she can only express her gratitude through a small smile. She’s always grateful when it comes to Lucy and Michael. They don’t judge her, in fact, they actually like her. They find her to be friendly and supportive. Spencer is always supportive of other people because she knows how harsh life can be, and she would do anything to help her friends to avoid suffering as she suffers.

Most people assume that Spencer is a depressed freak. Maybe she is, but why should they care? It’s not like they would acknowledge her for anything else. She’s a drifter, a plain, covered nomad. She makes it a habit to never stay in the same place for too long. When she’s alone she moves around to stay unnoticed. She moves in patterns that only she knows. She makes it look random and sporadic to onlookers. She has a pattern though. An intense, hard to track pattern. 

Every second day she moves 3 spots to the left and 2 rows back. On the other days it’s one spot forward and 4 seats to the right. Repeat. No one’s seemed to catch on to it yet. They probably never will. Who would bother to track it? No one. It’s not a normal thing to do. Others don’t even register that she’s there. She’s under their social radar. Not even a blip on the monitor.

                              ***                                          
Michael didn’t finish the English homework. He tried to, he just didn’t have the time. Michael is involved in numerous school activities, mostly sports. However, he does find time to be apart of the the school’s debate team. The team basically consists of him and three other people. He tried to nudge Spencer into joining once. She courteously declined. Debate has too many confrontations for her taste. 

Michael was also one of the best football players in the school. Thankfully, he opted out of the stereotypical jock role. He was intelligent, caring, and extremely nerdy. Not the nerdy that is all about school. The nerdy that has comic books, action figures, and DVD box sets. Not to mention he knew how to make Spencer laugh. A task easier said than done. 

Michael didn’t really look like the jocks either. Don’t get me wrong the boy was built like a Greek god. There was just something about him. It’s probably the way he carried himself. It was different from the jocks. He was confident without being cocky. Standing tall, Shoulders back, chin up, and his most important feature that separated him from them, his slightly crooked smile spread wider than the crescent of the moon. He was strong yet gentle. The best combination.

 He had two pools of frozen ice eyes that always peaked through his curly black hair. His eyes spoke louder than his words. They were honest, trustworthy eyes. They explained who he was and what he was feeling more perfectly than he could ever verbally express. Michael looked up from the homework he was frantically scribbling down and leaned over to glance at Spencer’s paper. Spencer didn’t even notice. She was mindlessly drawing a portrait of their teacher, Mr. Lewis.

“Looks good.” Michael commented.

“Huh?” Spencer uttered. It was more of a noise than a word. She looked dazed, Michael had just broke her trance of mindless concentration. 

“Oh.” Spencer said with a surprised tone.

 ” I didn’t even realize I was drawing him, I guess I did this without thinking.” Spencer observed.

“Well regardless, it looks pretty accurate.” Michael complimented.

“Um, thanks.” Spencer said. She felt a twinge of flattery in her gut.

“Where did you learn to draw like that?” Michael asked.

Spencer thought it over for a bit. Where did she learn to draw? She had taken all the art classes offered by the school, but she never paid attention. She could just create images, without thinking about it.

“I don’t think I did learn how to draw, from what I can tell, I just draw whatever comes to mind.” She replied. It just occurred to Spencer that she had never shown her friends any of her artwork. It was a hobby she thought no one would be interested in. Telling people would be like sharing a part of her. A part that she never revealed to the public. But, Spencer never had to worry about opening up to Michael. She’d known him her whole life. She actually liked sharing things with him. From what she could tell, Michael loved hearing them. 

“Wow, you have a gift, I wish I had half as much talent as you.” Michael confessed.

 “All I’m good at is doing funny dances to lighten moods.” he joked.

Spencer smiled. A small confession was about to break through her lips.

 “I love when you do that.” 

“Well, the pleasure is all mine.” Michael said in a fake overly gentlemen voice. He smiled and chuckled at her.

Spencer blushed. Her cheeks were a now a burning bright scarlet. She hated when she blushed, it was a display of emotion that everyone could see. An emotion everyone could judge. It made her feel exposed. 

She quickly put her head down on her desk to cover her face. Hoping, praying the colour would leave her cheeks. Sadly her face was still beaming with colour, running on sheer embarrassment alone. She’ll have to wait it out. 

“Are you okay?” Michael asked. A spark of concern lit his eyes, and his voice had a shadowing tone of worry. 

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Spencer assured.

 “I just got hit with a minor headache.” She lied.

She couldn’t tell him the truth that he had made her blush. That would be mortifying.

“Do you want me to get you some water, or something?” Michael whispered gently.

“No thank you, it’s fine, Really, I get them all the time.”

Which was true. Spencer had a tendency to get skull splitting headaches.

“I think I’m just going to wait it out.” Spencer claimed.

Michael gave a little nod that Spencer couldn’t see, and went back to his work. 

Spencer kept her head down for a long time. The blushing had passed quite quickly. She was now waiting the right amount of time it would take for her fake headache to go away.

Without meaning too, Spencer had kept her head down for the rest of the class. It wasn’t until Michel nudged her in the arm with his shoulder, that she finally looked up.

“Did you fall asleep?” Michael asked. He was smiling his perfect crooked smile.

“No.” Spencer answered. “I just got lost in my thoughts.”

“Oh I was gonna check to see if you were ok, but I figured you were probably asleep.” Michael said. “You know, to the untrained eye, you looked like you were dead, you were so still, I could barely tell if you were breathing.”

“Really?” Spencer said puzzled. “I didn’t even realize my head was down that long.”

“Seriously?” Michael said. His voice clearly conveyed shock.

“Your head was down for like forty minutes.”

“You’re joking right.” Spencer asked. She tried to think about how long it felt. She thought it was 5 minutes. 

“Did I miss anything important?” 

“No, we pretty much just worked in the textbook, You could copy my work, if you wanted.” He explained. “Oh, also we have a test on Tuesday.” 

Crap a test. Spencer hated tests, they stressed her out to the point where her brain would just shut down, which, believe it or not, is not the way to pass a test.

“Oh no,That’s not good.” Spencer said quietly.

“Hey, it’ll be fine… We can study together.” Michael said in an effort to cheer Spencer up.

“Okay, sure. That actually sounds nice.” She agreed. “We’ll work out the details later.” Spencer gave him a small grateful smile.

“Sounds good.” Michael said, looking a little proud that he managed to get Spencer out of a sullen mood.

                               ***                                                 
“It’s too hot out to be running!” Spencer muttered to herself. Her breathing was inconsistent and heavy. She loved the distractions it brought, but Running laps didn’t agree with her lungs. Last period gym was Spencer’s worst class. It’s no surprise that Spencer isn’t the most gifted when it comes to coordination and physical activities. Ok, there’s no sugar coating it, she’s downright clumsy. Couldn’t catch a ball to save her life. To top that off, she had a tendency to not pay constant attention to her surroundings. The combination was deadly. The only thing keeping her from failing the mandatory class, was running laps. Spencer’s mother had worked out a deal with Spencer’s gym teacher, Mr. Henley. Spencer would earn her credit by running laps while everyone else played group sports. 

Spencer loved the action of running. It cleared out her head. She could just loosen up and focus on her breathing, and her steps. All the dizzying self deprecating thoughts would be locked away, unable to torment her to the point of shattering like a vase hitting concrete. It was a clarity she desperately craved. Every bone, every muscle working together, pushing her to move forward. Pushing her to keep moving. To keep going. Most of the things in Spencer’s life only cluttered her mind. She was deeply grateful to running for giving her those few moments of peace.

“Spencer!” Lucy shouted from across the field. 

Lucy was a very petite girl with a soft high pitched voice. Michael calls her tink, after tinker bell. He also likes to playfully tease her by saying she’s a pixie subtly disguised as a human. Actually, it’s not too far fetched. Lucy truly was the embodiment of a pixie. She has naturally platinum blond hair that she keeps short. In a pixie cut. Don’t worry, the irony has been pointed out to her many times. Lucy’s skin was fair, like porcelain. The only blemishes on her face is the cluster of freckles on her cheeks. They were astonishing to look at. Each freckle sculpted her cheekbones and gave her complexion a sheen that would put a diamond to shame. Lucy’s eyes however, overshadowed every one of her features combined. They blazed a warm amber, with flares of effulgent gold. From a distance Lucy’s eyes could possibly pass for flames.

These faultless eyes could melt anyone’s anger or worry. Her eyes commanded adoration, and radiated sincerity. Lucy’s brilliantly bright eyes showcased her personality with one glance. Strong, pure, fierce, and unrelenting will.

“Spencer!” Lucy called out again. Lucy was running towards Spencer’s side of the track. Her face looked determined.

“Spencer I’ve been trying to get your attention for like, 5 minutes.” Lucy said.

“I swear when you run I might as well be shouting at a brick wall.” Lucy reached Spencer’s position on the track.

“I’m sorry, I was just focused on my heart rate.” Spencer explained. She had stopped running and was trying to steady her breathing. 

“It’s fine, I just wanted to know what you were up to tonight?” Lucy asked.

“Tonight?” Spencer replied. She made it look like she was trying to think. “Um, I’m not sure, Why do you ask?”

“Well a bunch of of us are going bowling-you know at the place below the burger joint- and we wanted to know if you would come too?” Lucy explained.

“We?” Spencer asked. She was partly trying to stall long enough to come up with a viable excuse. Also she’s slightly curious as to who she would have to interact with if she was going. 

“Well, there’s Michael, Jamie, Ash, Brian, Izzy…and a few more I think.” Lucy replied. “It’s just going to be a bunch of us hanging out and having fun.” She assured. Spencer could easily see that Lucy was trying to coax her into going by carefully selecting her words. Spencer will have to let her down easy.
“I don’t know, I’m not the best with large groups.” Spencer confessed. I tend to blend into the background.” 

“You won’t be in the background, I promise, It’ll be just like Brian’s party.” Lucy probably thought that the party she had convinced Spencer to go to was a shared happy memory. In reality it was a whole new level of hell for Spencer. She was pushed into dance circles and had multiple drinks spilled on her. It took a while to recover from that traumatic night.

“Umm, I…don’t know.” Spencer said quietly. 

“I understand, Why don’t you think it over for a bit, If you change your mind you can just call me.” Lucy offered. “I’ll be going at 8:30, so you can call me at 8-or before 8-and I could pick you up.

“Okay, thanks.” Spencer said. Spencer appreciates that Lucy never forces her to make an on the spot decision. It shows how much Lucy respects and understands what makes her uncomfortable.

After Lucy walked away Spencer was with a wave of self loathing thoughts. “Why do you always turn down her offers? Do you want people to hate you? You’re a lousy friend! Eventually they won’t want to invite you anywhere! You’re going to end up hated and alone!”

The only reply Spencer could muster up was a barely audible “I know.”

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