Pilot Lights

Chapter 1

Fresh out of high school, the world had not hesitated to take a serious shit on my life so I learnt early on to keep my head down and blend in as a means of getting by. I figured that a 4.0 GPA would help me escape my dead end hometown and hopefully act as a ticket to a more liberal environment. Teenagers weren’t exactly accepting of somebody who was unwilling to be a sheep. I understood them to a degree; there was comfort in the masses, a group mentality that lulled one into a false sense of security. I just wish that they would realise the reality of being a loner in this world before it slapped them in the face. For now though, their utopia remained unmarred and I envied them for that, their innocence had not yet been tainted.
I suppose my childhood could qualify as the average sob story. An absentee alcoholic father and emotionally abusive mother should have planted the seeds of sociopathic tendencies in me but I guess they never took. Instead, it was motivation to get out of the shit hole I called home. When my mother hung herself in my bedroom on my 15th birthday, I shut out any emotion that involved depending on somebody. I wasn’t really surprised; I had seen it coming from the time I was five and she used to yell at me and tell me I was a failed abortion.
But like any kid with a shitty relationship with their parents, I’d always harboured the hope that one day she’d pull out of the fog that made her the nasty person she was and finally act like a real mother. But as usual, she had copped out in the dramatic selfish style she had perfected. So I studied hard, got a full ride to Harvard and thought everything was finally falling into place. Maybe I’d finally find somebody who’d convince me to let down my barriers. Apparently the world wasn’t quite yet done taking a dump on me. And it came in the form of Alexis.

She was a sophomore at Harvard majoring in social intoxication with a minor in Gender Studies and I was entirely too serious for a freshman. We met at an off-campus kegger that my roommate had dragged me to after declaring that my books needed a break from me. I figured I would just stick around until she got high enough not to notice me leaving. She must have read my mind though because for the first two hours she stuck to light beer and made sure I participated in every conversation she had. The loud music was giving me a headache and the four shots my roommate had practically forced down my throat were taking effect. I needed air before my stomach contents decided to make a new home on somebody’s shoes. Pushing my way through the sweaty mass of bodies, my progress was impeded by a firm grip on my wrist. I looked back to see my roommate with a questioning look on her face. ‘I’m not going anywhere Kate, just need some air!’ I shouted to be heard above the music. She scrutinized my expression and deemed I was telling the truth and let me go. I made my way towards the back patio which was surprisingly deserted and stood at the edge of the pool. The blue pilot lights at the bottom captured my attention and held me in some sort of a trance. My mind was blissfully blank for the first time in months and I wanted to hold onto this state for as long as possible. Instead, I found myself plummeting to the bottom of the pool as a body collided with mine from behind with full force.

I surfaced at the same time as my mystery attacker. I called them attacker because who the hell in their right mind would push a total stranger into a pool? Wiping the water off my face, I opened my mouth to deliver a scathing dress down when I was stopped by a loud feminine cackle. What the hell? This neurotic idiot was laughing at me after nearly drowning me? I swam over to her and poked her shoulder aggressively.
‘What the hell is wrong with you fucktard?! You nearly killed me!’ I fumed. Finally she stopped laughing and opened her eyes to look at me. Whoa, never knew that grey existed in that shade, I thought. Shaking off the errant thought, I resumed glaring at my unknown female assailant.
‘Jeez. Take a chill pill, will ya? You looked like the weight of the world was on your shoulders and I thought I’d lighten it,’ she drawled.
‘By drowning me?’ I spat out
‘Whoa, whoa, somebody has got a huge stick up their ass,’ she taunted.
How dare she…the audacity of… ‘I have got nothing up my ass,’ I retorted indignantly.
‘That could change,’ she waggled her eyebrows suggestively at me.
What. The Fuck. My mouth hung open at the innuendo.
‘Okay, so maybe anal is not your thing?’ She ventured out while trying to suppress her laughter.
My mouth snapped shut. ‘No, stupidity isn’t my thing,’ I said in clipped tones while giving her a pointed glare.
‘So that’s a yes on anal?’ she asked with a smirk
I turned and swam towards the ladder without replying. As I climbed out of the pool, I heard her shout, I’m Alexis by the way!’
I gave her the finger in response.

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