Written When I Couldn't Sleep
“It’s okay,” I said as the crippled gate squeaked to a close. “Go.”
I have this bad habit of chewing on my lips. It started when I was around 12. I let them dry out some and then nibble off the dry skin on the surface. Sometimes I pull too thick a piece and it bleeds. It’s not the most attractive of traits. I guess I should stop sometime.
I won’t tell you my name. I use multiple ones and don’t go by any certain one. Nobody knows my given name, not even me. They didn’t bother to record it before they died.
I don’t know my exact birthday, either. I just know it’s in the autumn season.
But now that you know so very much about me, let’s move on.
I may not be able to tell you when I was born or what I was named, but I can tell you where I live.
Or…I could just a second ago. Hang on. Uh…
Damn, I lost it. The great thing about me, knowledge disappears at random. I didn’t forget my name and birthday, however, those are really unknown.
It’ll come back to me. And we’ll come back to that later.
Well, I guess one rather important detail you are secretly asking yourself about it my gender. Or my age.
Forgive me, I was never good with introductions. One detail leads to another and I get off topics without finishing them.
I’m female. And I’m not yet 16. I do not know my parents, and I live with a distant aunt. Her name is Lucy. It’s coming back now. 1450 Sanctuary Lane, Charwood, and the state is still missing. I won’t remember it for a while.
Lucy has this dog. She named him Tacky, God only knows why. He’s got light yellow fur, a feathery tail, and mismatched ears. One perks up, the other flops down. And his puppy-eyes will get him anything he wants from you.
Lucy, on the other hand, is of the older state. In her 60’s. Not very tall, not too pretty (you can tell from her eyes that she’ll beat you with her rolling pin if she has to), but a healthier amount of late-age weight than most at that point in life. And, I guess, she has a gently soul, and you would put it. Loves the lovable, disciplines the reckless, compromises with the controversial. I was glad to move in with her. It ended a most unfortunate chapter of my life.
But back to the gate. I was outside the front of my house, a rather large, rather isolate house that was probably almost Lucy’s age. We have this large iron gate out by the road, which winds through a forest.
Anyway, it was the middle of the night, maybe almost morning, and my friend Ian had snuck out to see me, to make sure I was okay. But if Lucy found out he was there, or that I was even out of the house, I probably wouldn’t leave that house again for the next few weeks.
But as to why he was worried, there was something I wouldn’t tell him. I probably wouldn’t even talk about it at all for a while.
So I won’t tell you either. At least, not yet. You only just met me two pages ago. Just know that I’ll come to it when the need arises.
So after convincing him that yes, something was wrong, but no, I can’t tell you, I told him he should leave before Tacky woke up and found me gone.
So he hugged my goodbye and walked away down the paved road into the trees.
He knows me as Ivory. Lucy calls me Amy. Tacky calls me Woof. I don’t know many other people.
At school they call me Lorraine. Lorraine Hutchkins. They needed something official to put on my ID. So there I go by Lori. I probably like that name the least, however.
So back to the front gate. I watched Ian’s silhouette fade into the depth of the trees, then turned and made my way back up the cobblestone path to the house a hundred yards up. I managed not to wake anyone upon my re-entry, and grabbed a few hours’ sleep before school as well. My dreams, however, were henceforth twisted and incoherent.
September came and went. Then October. Early November it was decided I could officially say I was 16.
I spent a lot of time with Ian. I had other friends, but we were pretty close. There was an amusement park nearby we would go to. We would sometimes bring other friends with us, too.
There were other places, too. An art and science museum, a mall a few miles away, strip malls with things like ice cream stores, restaurants, and nail and hair salons. It was all remotely within walking distance, once you made your way through the half-mile of trees in front of my house. There was a movie theater, a little bit father away, where Ian’s friend Jude had a job. He’d let us in for free sometimes.
But some nights, when the sky was clear enough, we’d go out to a clearing in the forest around my house and just sit and watch the stars. Occasionally talking, sometimes falling asleep out there until Lucy showed up with a flashlight to come retrieve us, eying me (though not suspiciously) to make sure my clothes were still on.
Though, as close as Ian and I were, there was noting…attractive between us. At least, not to my knowledge. He was more just a best friend to me. Though I can’t speak completely for him, since I am, in fact, not him, I am almost positive it was the same both ways, unless he was just a good liar.
So I spent a majority of my time with Ian and our friends. If I wasn’t home, I was with them. Hell, I was with them when I was home half the time. Yeah, me? Very social. Easily lonely when in solitude.