When 7th grade began, I still had no friends at the new school I was attending. I hung out with no one besides my step-brother. There was no one else to hang out with.
Within the middle of the year, I was desperate for a friend. Every single day at lunch I’d skip the eating part because of how depressed I grew, and walked straight to the red, scratched up bench I sat at.
Down at my shoes in the same slumped over position, I couldn’t stand not having friends, or anyone to talk to. My step-brother was like his father, not the most mature of men. Mom was very depressed during this period. She was skinny, to the point where you could see her chest bone. And she was more angry as well, so it was hard to talk to her.
I kept my mouth closed. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. A year of this was too much for me to handle, and I didn’t want to end up this way through middle school. In desperation, I summoned somebody that I could talk to within my imagination. And when my eyes were open, I could see him clearly sitting next to me. His slouched position was shockingly similar to mine. He wore a similar coat as me, but slate gray, with tan skinny jeans that looked baggy around the ankles.
In desperation, I summoned somebody that I could talk to within my imagination.
I never really had a real name for him, so when I couldn’t think of one, I called him No-Name. He looked just like me; he was skinny, 120 pounds, same as me. His hair was a few inches shorter than mine: oak brown that cut off just below his earlobes, and our faces were the same too: ebony eyes, round cheeks, chin of a stuffed animal. Looking at No-Name was like looking into a mirror.
Just like that we were friends. The best part about having him as my friend was that he was always with me. He was there when I really needed someone to talk to. Then again, since I am the one who made him, No-Name was pretty much glued to me.
He wore a similar coat as me, but slate gray, with tan skinny jeans that looked baggy around the ankles.
People thought I was strange because they’d see my lips moving, see me talking, but no one was there. They just saw an empty space beside me, a space was filled with No-Name sitting next to me. I never cared what people thought. Why would I care what they think if they didn’t care about me ? I let them think I was strange, because I thought the same against them.
One week, there was a rumor spreading around the school that I was gay. Nobody would talk to me, and whenever anyone looked at me, it was out of disgust. Students at that school were very stereotypical, so they stayed within their own cliques.
No-Name taught me not to absorb the lies that the people spread about me because those lies were not tied with me. He said that people always judge others for the dumbest things, like hair, clothes, how they act, and that I shouldn’t take in those judgements, because that’s what those people assume of me, and that those thoughts and assumptions about me aren’t who I really am, because I’m the only person who knows who I really am.
People thought I was strange because they’d see my lips moving, see me talking, but no one was there.
He taught me many lessons that not a lot of people taught me before. Of course, my mother raised me to have manners and to treat other people with respect; the key aspects of being a child and a human. But, he was always there to lift my spirits. One day, I sat on that bench and cried. My tears dripped off my face, and they soaked my hands when I held them up against my skin.
In need of help, No-Name came to my rescue. I could hear his footsteps slap the ground as he’d came near me. I’d peek through my fingers, to see him walking towards the red bench that I sat at. When he planted his figure next to mine, I could hear the sound of his breath in and out through his nose. With my head in my hands I didn’t know what the look on his face was, but I could tell he was curious by the sound of his voice.
“Something on your mind?” He’d asked me. My sadness and tears absorbed the words I wanted to say. I began waterfalling through my eyes and into my hands. I was speechless for a few minutes, but when I stopped taking those quick breaths in between sobs, I found the words I needed to say.
“I can’t stand that everyone here at this school hates me. I never did anything to deserve this, I don’t understand why.” I exclaimed to him through my sobs. The tension in my gut did this terrible twist in my abdomen. The tears wouldn’t stop falling from my eyes and they began to itch because I couldn’t stop churning my knuckles against them. I couldn’t even tell if he was there or not because my eyes were too buried in tears, my skin and my coat fabric. I felt him scoot over as the bench kind of rocked a little to the right. When he got closer, he said, “I know how hard it is, that’s why I’m here for you.”
I agreed with him. I needed him the most because of my loneliness; my dread; my coming-home-and-going-straight-to-my-room crying. It all revolved around the purpose of developing him. He was the person that I could rely on the most if there was anything wrong. He was my real, true friend throughout these emotionally scarring years, and I’m glad he was the someone by my side.
“I can’t stand that everyone here at this school hates me. I never did anything to deserve this, I don’t understand why.”
When my crying calmed down again, I pulled back from my pruny hands and really looked at him. He wore this skullcap that looked like he’d worn for three years straight. Stitching sprung out, little curlicues poking out of it. His complexion revealed a little scar below his bottom lip that stood out from his face when you looked at it close enough; it almost seemed like it was a deep knife-slash. He then said “ There are going to be hard times in the world. Everyone here is young and they don’t understand what happens when they do wrong. They’re going to learn from their mistakes and they’ll be regretful, it’ll itch ‘em in time. Don’t let these people get to you. They won’t even matter to you later on in life.”
I never knew that No-Name could teach me these life lessons because he resided within my imagination and thoughts. I always reflected so negatively throughout middle school, I didn’t even know that the things No-Name was saying were on the very edge of my thoughts. I guess, when I conjured him, he took those thoughts with him in hopes that he could build me into a new person rather than just be there to listen and understand. In a way, I taught myself these things. If it wasn’t for my own imagination, I don’t think I would be here to this day.
In a way, I taught myself these things. If it wasn’t for my own imagination, I don’t think I would be here to this day.
Near the end of 7th grade, I didn’t see No-Name that often. At first, I’d see him only a few days out of the week, but by the time 8th grade began, I wouldn’t see him for months. I wrote about him every now and then, wondering where he is and what he’s thinking, like if he was human. Sometimes I’d look up from my paper and pen to see nothing, but sometimes when I did, he’d be leaning on something. It’d be either a wall, or a corner, or sitting down, leaning next to a short statue or a plant. When he’d walk away, he’d look at me with a crack of a smile and a thumbs up, praising me, almost like he was saying ‘good job’.