The Perfect Boy

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That boy. That one boy. That one perfect boy.

“He wasn’t always like this,” Ella whispered to me. “Then what was he like?” I asked, maybe a bit too eagerly. Ella had been my best friend for, well forever. But she was that girl in school who knew everything about everyone, but she wasn’t popular, she was just there.


It was my first year back in NSW and it was a whole new everything. New school, New friends, New people. I came back at the start of Year 9; people had their clicks and their enemy’s. I was the new girl. Everyone was different, not like I remember, but maybe it was better that way.


Ella was taking me around her school that she had been at for the past 2 years. We were passing the front gate to get to school when I spotted this white cloud of smoke coming from behind the gym. A boy came out from where the smoke was. He was too far away for me to see his face, but Ella noticed him. She started telling me about him. I tried to listen but only some bits came through, I was too distracted trying to make out his facial features.


She told me about how he used to be the top boy of the school. She told me how I had classes with him today and at that moment my heart sunk. His face had just become clear in the distance. He was perfect. His brown hair laid thick like a frame around his neck. His eyes as blue as the sea like you could get lost in them for hours. He looks so skinny like he doesn’t eat, almost like he’s starving. His body is a whole greeting card like he is just waiting to lure someone in and that is when I knew. I was hooked on this boy. I spent the whole day clinging to Ella like a lost puppy. I had no idea what anything was, so I needed a bit of help. The day seemed to go so fast that I couldn’t believe it was my last lesson of the day. My favourite lesson, history, learning about the history of our world lets me get a deeper understanding of how the world has been shaped to what it is today. And he was there, that boy. His head hung between his knees as his body enclosed itself on the floor. I thought he was just tired, maybe sad. But I knew his story would go deeper than that. The bell went for the end of the day, I packed up my stuff and started walking home. Everyday seemed to repeat the same way. Every house stands with four walls and a window, like everything was paper, a paper town, with paper people and paper houses. Nothing changed. The white cloud would still be there every day and that boy was still there every day.

One day in the middle of my second lesson this boy came over and sat with me and we started talking, and talking, and talking. We talked everyday about so many things, school, our friends, our homes, even our families. We became closer. He told me about the white clouds I see every day and why he was there. He didn’t know how to deal with everything, the stress on him, the pressure. He told me how his family and friends always expected him to be perfect and one day he snapped, and he started vaping, he told me how it was the only way he could escape. He felt so close to me and I failed him. I fell for him. He didn’t come to school for the last couple of weeks that we had left after I told him. We drifted further and further apart and everyday broke me a little more like he was taking a piece of me every day until he finally started answering my messages. He told me he was sorry and that he would not do it again. We started getting closer again, but something felt wrong. I let myself think he was the same person as before. When we got back to school the white cloud, I saw everyday had turned a shade of black. The blackness surrounded the whole building like a blanket from smoke, cigarette smoke, but that wasn’t like him so I asked him why? but he always changed the subject, he would distract me with talking about my family or school, anything that would get me off his back, but I could not let it go. The black smoke haunted me like a dark ghost. He was going through something and it was killing him slowly. He never told me what or why, but I thought, what about me? if I tell him that I like him maybe it will give him something to hold onto. I was going to tell him that I wanted to be with him, but as I walked into school that day it was too late, he had already slipped away. He laid there, foaming out of the mouth. He overdosed. He was gone. My life turned into clockwork, this revolving cycle that never changes. Wake up, school, Home, Sleep. My thoughts ate at me every day and I realised It’s always too late, I can never save them.

 

These stories were written in our Factory Feedback program, which was created with, and generously supported by, the Dusseldorp Forum.