Today, I learned that my friends are liars. The box was opened, and a dead cat lay inside. Nothing will ever be the same, and for that, I am at a loss for what to do. I’m holding my head in my hands, aware that I can’t go back, and I’m starting to cry.
I’ve spent the last four hours agonizing over every detail of our relationship. What could I have done differently? Was there a chance I could have lived in ignorance? Would I want to live knowing that I didn’t uncover such a horrible truth? Right now, I really don’t want that. I’d rather just unravel.
To think that the truth was learned by my friends being so damn careless. I knew Ken and Shane weren’t so bright, but I always found that as part of their charm. They knew I was smart, and they seemed in awe of my intelligence. But they really were too stupid today. So stupid that they never even considered that someone could have been behind that door. They had no idea I was there, listening to them.
“Man, it’s a good thing we befriended that loser. Our grades have never been better.”
“Yeah. That dumbass seriously thinks we like him? Why would he think that? Who wants to hear someone go on and on about some dumb book he’s reading or some stupid writing project he’s working on?”
“No wonder he never had any friends before this year. He’s so boring.”
I wanted to scream out. I wanted to open the door and confront them. I wanted to know why they were saying such things. I wanted to believe it was some prank. But it’s not. I’ve got enough evidence to know they were truly pretending to be my friends. A heavily marked calendar, a frequently updated diary, and a good enough memory to remember their exact words; these were the tools of their undoing.
“But man, Maya’s got it worse than any of us. Complain all you want, but she’s the one who is has to be all flirty with him.”
She was the first one to approach me. The first person who asked me what I was reading. I thought high school would be like middle school, but then she showed interest in me. Her bright smile, her long, black hair, that shine in her eyes. She was like an angel, who came down to tell me “You’re not a loser. You can be loved.”
And she was lying too?
I waited behind that stall door until Ken and Shane were gone. I spent enough time in denial, trying to convince myself that this was just an extreme prank. But how would they know I was in that bathroom? I was in the bathroom for a few seconds longer, and they couldn’t have seen me go inside. No one outside was in our class, so they wouldn’t have told the guys I was in there. There’s simply no way they could know I was there, and there was no chance that this could be a prank. This is what they honestly thought about me.
I ran home as soon as the last bell rang.
We were all supposed to meet up and study at Maya’s house. Today is our weekly study session, with me using my expertise in academics to tutor my less-than-academically-successful friends in how to succeed in high school. But I ran, all the way to my house, twenty minutes away. I needed proof that they were lying to me.
I poured myself over the pages of my diary. Before I met these three, my diary entries were just filled with basic information about my day and simple feelings. After I found my tribe, it became filled with logs about all the fun I was having. All the days we hung out after school. All the times I was alone with Maya. What I thought was a record of my youth was in actuality evidence of their deception.
I fell back onto my bed, staring at the ceiling. They were liars, and I had uncovered their scheme. There wasn’t a single honest moment with these three, and I felt so stupid. I just wanted to know that I could have friends, that people would like me. God, I was so wrong.
I felt a buzz from my pocket, pulling my phone out. I had rarely used it before I gained friends, and had gotten used to receiving calls and texts regularly. Maya had sent me a text. I opened the phone and read it.
“Hey, where did you go? We’re supposed to meet at my place, remember?”
I stared at the screen of the phone. My thumb hovered over the key. What was I going to say to her? Should I make an excuse? Should I confront her about the deception?
I laid on my bed, and stared at the phone. I could hear the tick of my wall clock as each second passed by.
What was I going to do?
Alex Carrigan is the staff film critic for Quail Bell Magazine and an editorial intern for the Cambridge Writers' Workshop. He resides in Virginia and is looking for a career in editing and publishing. His website is carriganak.wordpress.com