(This is a work in progress and as such, everything is bound to be edited at one point or another! Every chapter could be edited at one point or another after posting. Anyway, without further ado, enjoy! :])
"They say the universe is constantly expanding. They say the universe is constantly moving. They say the universe is constantly changing. It is dynamic and alive. In some way, I envy the universe. My reality... no... my personal universe is nothing like the universe around me. It is stale. It is unchanging. It is relentless. It is unforgiving. I wonder what it is like to have a dynamic world... and to stand out in a crowd.
Many of my friends, both from high school and my new friends here in college, are so lively and energetic. Their universes are so vibrant, just like the colors of the rainbow. I'm only here in shades of gray. That's all that my life is. No one would take notice of me; I would only blend into the crowd whether I wanted to or not. A faceless person in a sea of people, waves of conformity churning around me.
All my friends seem to go through relationships. Granted, most of them do not last, but once one has a taste of love, one keeps going back for more. I guess love is a bit like a drug. They need that needle, no matter how bad it really is for them. That's how I perceive them.
I never felt how they have for anyone... for there is no one to share it with. From what I see, love is a mutual feeling. You cannot truly love someone unless they love you as well.
Compared to the stories I hear all my friends tell me... compared to all the problems my friends have that I help try to advise them upon... compared to all their lives, mine seems so boring and static. They're so dynamic and vibrant and I'm so static and boring. I don't think of calling myself that is a lack of self-confidence; I see that more as a perception of reality from my eyes.
Then why do I write a journal if my life is so boring? It's probably the only thing that will listen to me and what I have to say whenever I need to talk. Unlike my friends, my journal here is the only thing that's with me all day and all night. It offers no judgment on my mistakes. It listens to me when no one else does. It won't ignore me. It can't... obviously.
I want to be in a relationship soon. I want to experience the joys that my friends feel when they are in love. I want to experience the heartbreak when they are dumped. I want to cry tears of joy when she says 'Yes' or tears of sorrow when she says 'We're through.' I want... to move through my life... to move into the future and to have a vibrant universe like my friends do.
But it won't happen. Nothing ever changes. Not in my static, gray universe."
The pen was put down on the table with a small tap. The journal was closed with a soft thumping sound. The clasp that held the journal shut clicked encouragingly, telling me that it would do its best to protect the thoughts I entrusted in its protection. I put my hand upon its leather exterior, taking a second to marvel at the intricate craftsmanship put into all the stitching and designs on the cover.
I put the journal down upon the table and reverted attention to eating my lunch. I was sitting alone in the cafeteria at one of the tables, finishing my chicken tenders and french fries. As I smothered my fry with ketchup, I realized that I was easily placated in my solitude by practicing my calligraphy. I started to rummage through a special pocket in my bag, searching for my set of pens. I always put my pens in this pocket to ensure the tips were kept upright. After all, no self-respecting calligrapher would ever think to leave their pens with the tips facing down.
Since the semester started two weeks ago, I already managed to make a few new friends. It was a weird feeling to have friends. I looked back to my social life in high school. I only had two friends when I graduated and only one of them came with me to this particular university.
However, the select few friends I have here in this university were all in class at the moment. As I found and pulled out the case containing my set of calligraphy pens, I glanced curiously around the cafeteria. As I opened the case, I noticed everything that was going on around me. As I started to practice my handwriting's speed, precision, and accuracy, a thought slowly came to existence in my mind.
Everyone was sitting with a friend in this cafeteria. Everyone was talking or interacting animatedly with each other. There was motion and movement everywhere in this place. Naturally a place of social gathering in a university would be busy, yet the hustle and bustle of the people around me never ceased to fascinate me.
In one corner of the cafeteria, two people were playing a weird board game. It reminded me of chess, although the pieces were in Japanese, as my friend Clair once informed me. According to her, the board game was known as Shogi. It seemed rather interesting to play, I had to admit, as I watched each of the two players deep in concentration as they planned their moves.
On the booth next to them, four people were playing in a tag team match of some trading card game that I was not able to recognize. I assumed I must have misheard one of them when I thought I faintly overheard their match. An axe made of lava made little to no sense to me to be honest. Then again, it did seem to be a fantasy based game so I suppose anything could happen.
In the booth on the other side of the two playing Shogi, I had noticed two people sitting together with their laptops out. The one sitting with their back to me was playing some real-time strategy game I recognized as being at least nine or ten yeras old. I can only assume from the comments they were making to each other that they were battling each other. I noticed a smug look coming from the one who was facing toward me, as if he was ensured a victory. Two tables further away, I could see two girls sitting at a table. One was talking nonstop, making motions with her hands and driving her points home with facial expressions. The other was checking her nails and nodding every so often. Perhaps it wasn't clear to the other girl, but it was clear to me that the one who was not talking was not interested either.
All these groups of people had one thing in common, though. They had friends already that they talked to. They were dynamic. They were vibrant. They were bright. I felt alone. I was the outcast color gray in a world full of bright colors.
I decided to pass my time writing my name in a gothic script. Of all the different styles I had learned over the years, the gothic style had always appealed and fascinated me the most. I began to carefully glide my pen across the paper, letting a stream of ink flow from the pen to the paper. It was beautiful in its regal lines and its fancy, ornate form. It was not colorful in any way like other types of art may be. Some may not consider calligraphy true art, but this form of ornamental writing is my art. It does lack a certain charm that vibrant colors can provide, but I feel it does justice to my artistic side.
T'was such a simple name that my parents had bestowed upon me. Yet, in my art, I managed to take something ordinary and transform it into something elegant. Worthy of as much appreciation just as if you had written "Gabriella Naomi Shostakovich" with the same style. When put side by side, the names lose their commonness—or lack of—and are judged on other qualities.
"That's pretty good."
Three words spoken to me by a person who would change my life for good. A tanned male with glasses was standing next to me, watching my art with true interest.
"Thank you," I replied cordially to him.
"Mind if I sit down?" he asked me carefully.
"Go ahead," I said to him, watching him carefully. He was wearing a black t-shirt which said "Bellaview High School Marching Band" on it. That must mean he was from the high school in the city next to mine. Bellaview students were generally considered rambunctious students by those who didn't live in that town. The drop-out rate from that school was an average of twenty percent in each class, a third of the students end up in either mobs or in jail. Roughly ten percent of the females in that school got pregnant; only ten percent of those children born know who their fathers are. It was a sad, depressing, and pitiful area to live in. For some reason, though, I did not get that impression of the person who had just sat across from me.
I sat there, just looking at what I had written. Should I talk to him or should I continue writing? There was an awkward silence for a few moments before he spoke up.
"You can continue. Don't mind me. I'm just really interested in art, ya know?" he said with a small smile. I nodded in reply and continued working. He was perceiving what I was doing with his own eyes, watching me as I made every stroke with precision and confidence.
Calligraphy is an art that is a lot more complicated than people give credit for. This refined, delicate art is not simply imitating the letters that is seen, but each stroke must be done in sequential order and in a specific direction. It is an often overlooked art in favor of "fonts" used by these graphic designers.
"You're really good at this, ya know?" he said encouragingly.
"Thank you," I replied. I finished writing my name one more time before I put my pen away. I decided to start a conversation with my new friend here.
"So, what's your name?" I asked him.
"I'm Mike. Well, I'm Michael Orialista, but just call me Mike," he said. "Yours?"
"Oh, I'm Noah Smith," I said with a nod.
"What's your major?"
"Accounting. What's yours?"
"I'm here for music education. My goal is to be a band director of some high school someday."
"That's pretty cool."
There was a few moments of silence as his attention span seemed to have ended and he seemed to have suddenly spaced out. He was staring out the window at nothing in particular. I was slightly perplexed by this recent development. Maybe it's normal for most people, but I found this as a bit odd.
"So, what do you do in your spare time?" he asked me.
"Well, I enjoy doing calligraphy. I also try to write some stories and poetry when I can."
"Well, video games are a plus."
"They don't catch my interest."
There was a small silence as he looked me over. Perhaps he was observing me. There wasn't much about me to observe. I was wearing a plain white t-shirt. My light brown hair was somewhat short and neatly brushed. I was wearing shorts and sneakers. There's nothing else to really observe about me. His observation only lasted for a few moments before he looked back out the window.
"Girlfriend?" he asked me. Simple question.
"No as in... not now or never in your life?"
"Never in my life."
"... I see."
"You're full of questions."
"You're a fellow artist. That makes you pretty cool in my book. Can you blame me for wanting to get to know you a bit better?" he asked. He had a very laid-back mannerism and attitude in how he spoke to me... although I noticed that his slang changed a lot. Little did I know at this point in time that his slang was the least of my worries in terms of how flighty and almost volatile he was in terms of personality.
"Hey, a few of my friends are having a get together this Saturday at my friend Antonio's house. If you're free, you should come over," he offered with a grin. Inviting me to a group get-together despite the fact we just met? This guy really is a little off his rocker.
"I guess I could come over."
"Cool! So, just call me and... oh, right... we don't have a way of keeping in touch," he faltered for a second. Wow, this guy really was something else.
"Do you have a cell phone?" I asked
"Can a dungeons and dragons cheater roll a perfect twenty with fixed dice?"
"What?" I asked him. His question made no sense to me at all. I gave him a perplexed look; he chuckled a little at my inquisitive look.
"'course I do! Here, give me your phone and I'll put my number in," he said to me.
I nodded and handed my phone over to him while still trying to fathom what he meant earlier. As I pondered his strange reaction, he dialed a phone number into my phone and pressed the call button. Within a few seconds, I could hear a ringer going off.
"Is your ringtone the victory theme from--"
"Yes, it is," he replied back to me.
As I started chatting with this newly found friend, I began to realize that my life just had a little bit more color thrown in. I was starting to fit in with all the other vibrant people in the cafeteria. I laughed at Mike's jokes. I debated with Mike as to who was the best character from a certain Japanese animation series. I explained calligraphy and he explained music. We may not have had many similar hobbies, but in that one day that I met Mike, I began to realize just how much fun this life could be.
In this gray canvas that is my life, I stood in front of it. My life wasn't gray because it was drab compared to others. It was gray because it was a plain canvas just waiting to be painted on... and with meeting Mike, I took a tube of ultramarine blue and added it to my artist's palette. It's time to paint on the canvas of life.