How To Remember

buchanan

Introduction

Every day I am living a new life.

I wake up just as I normally do, on the left side of the bed which is my personal preference. I always put on socks first because I get abnormally cold feet, and there’s a constant annoyance in the back of my mind reminding me to go and check to see if I locked the door. It’s little abnormalities like these that remind me who I am: that my name is Seth Campbell and I’m a junior in North Carolina.

Like I said I live a new life every day. I’ll open my groggy eyes at 7.30am, rub my face repeatedly to wake myself up – but realise I’m not in my apartment anymore. I’m living in a four floor quarter-million dollar house in the suburbs and my newly recognised friends aren’t really my friends, they’re just after my money – ironically seeing as I’ll probably wake up in a dumpster the next day.

I don’t know why this happens, but my life can’t seem to stay still for more than 24 hours – no matter how great it is. I’m always me, that’s the same, but the world around me is different.

Different world leaders, different racial view points, and different solutions to climate change.

 

19th November 2012

 

I unravel myself from under the duvet cover and sit up to examine the new features of my room.

There’s an unholy stench of Marijuana intoxicating the air. I splutter through half open eyes and stumble to swing open the greasy window. I take deep breaths and make violent hand gestures to filter the smell before I can withdraw myself from winter’s icy attack on my clouded lungs.

I hated this one. The drugged up teenager who is too dazed to solve an equation in the lowest ranking class because I’m not sober enough to pass the exam and get higher qualifications.

I’d experienced other lifestyles like this, but it was clear how dry, and painfully slow the next 24 hours would be until I woke again.

Peeling myself from the windowsill and into the sad, musty bedroom I managed to find a pair of half clean jeans amongst the haze of unwashed and sweat stained shirts. A distinct taste of rolled paper balanced on my cracked lips. I licked them to rid the fine texture but swallowed a mouthful of dried plant instead. Pulling a jumper over my head, I dragged my limping body to the living room. Every part of me ached as I slumped into the couch and rolled flat out on my chest. There was a ticklish scrap of paper under my chin and I tugged at it to read the messy writing sprawled across it. I squinted as the ceiling light burned through my sensitive blood shot eyes.

‘Gone to work, feed yourself.’ it read in black sharpie. I smelled it so clearly and it sent a buzz through my empty system. Of course I didn’t feel like eating. There was only one thing I needed to keep myself awake, but I wasn’t going to do it, incase it led into my next day as a newly found addiction – because those I knew never changed.

I ruffled my clumped, sticky hair and readied myself as best I could for school.

 

* * * * *

 

Someone grabbed my wrist with their boney finger tips that bit into my skin like pincers.

“Seth, are you okay?”  It was a girl, with vibrant blonde hair tied tightly into skinny braids. Her smile was brighter than the sun and it blinded me the way she looked at me. “It’s Kate.” She seemed disapproving of my current condition, and I could tell what kind of friend she was.

I nodded slowly and shook my hand away. “Good,” I said trying to conceal my breath despite several teeth brushings.

She spoke quite loudly, but my ears were so fragile that I could hear the conversations of each student that brushed past me in the courtyard as if they were shouting on my ear. Suddenly a headache began to stir a nauseating feeling and I rubbed my forehead with a couple fingers. Kate patted my head sympathetically.

“You’ll get better,” she said in a belittling voice. “I promise.”

I wanted to get this day over with and sleep right through until tomorrow, maybe I’d get something good… like high school jock, or a member in a popular boyband.

Kate looked me right in my swollen eyes (that were only capable of opening so far) then she swung an arm over my shoulders – almost completely because I was so much taller than her – and  pulled me into the dauntingly busy corridor of our school.

My feet gained weight with every step until I felt like falling through the floor. I needed so badly to re submerge myself in the awful stench of my bedroom that I was regretting leaving the window open. Our Physics teacher, Mr Conner, tapped my shoulder with a ruler as we both attempted to enter his classroom. He always lurked by the door waiting for me to slip up and come into school covered in my own vomit.

“Straighten yourself out, Campbell,” he spat, as Kate dragged herself innocently off of me. “You’re looking worse every day.”

I nodded and limped to my seat with half a mind to learn. Perhaps this was my actual self surfacing – but I didn’t care because I needed to latch onto some sort of strength to pull myself through the day. I’d sprayed myself with several cans of deodorant to mask the smell of my unfortunate addiction, but now I had become the ‘Sweaty Kid’ in the back of the class.

Kate gave me a quick smile as more students packed themselves into their individual seats. I found the ability to give her a lethargic hand movement to say, ‘I notice you.’

Suddenly I felt inescapably sick. It overcame me like I had been hit by a fast-paced tsunami, or fifty trucks had rammed into my weak body – spilling guts and blood all over the classroom. I clutched the edge of my desk to restrain myself from spewing vomit onto my nearest classmate, but the harder I forced myself to hold back, the more lightheaded I became.

I just wanted to lay down on the floor and wait for it to pass, but it was too strong now that I didn’t care for Mr Conner’s lectures. I ran out of the class room and into the hallway, but I tripped myself up and hit my head on the ground – then everything faded out and Kate’s face was the last thing this life saw.

 

* * * * *

 

I woke up on the left side of the bed, silk pyjamas dressed my person which appeared to me as a statement of worth. I smelled good, as if summer were a type of bath soap. I sat up and rubbed my eyes, then the door to my spacious bedroom swung open and a woman wheeling a silver cart entered.

“Good morning, Seth.” she said, taking a silver pot of milk and pouring it delicately into a mug filled to the brim with a creamy substance. “How will you be spending today?” she handed me the cup and I sipped it delighted.

Her hands folded neatly together as she smiled warmly back at me.

I bit my lip, “Should I get ready for school?”

She looked at me all funny, her eyebrows knitted together in a concerned frown.

“What is, school?” she repeated, annunciating the word school.

I immediately handed her the empty cup and threw myself down into the wall of silk sheets and pillows, I knew today would be a good day.

{ buchanan } Bio

Writing allows me to escape, and I've been escaping for six years. I tend to write books not based on my personal life, but the life I think, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if someone lived like this?" and I just roll with it. Somethings can be more personal, but it's always vague enough that my name isn't clearly cut in stone. André Aciman's work has taken a big part of my inspiration, and I envy their development with words.