Ever since, in school, everybody always described me as weird. I'd like to think of myself as misunderstood.
So what if I enjoyed torturing captured rats by dousing them with alcohol and lighting them up. It's not as if they ever did humans any good. Was I not doing our neighborhood a favor by helping rid our block of filthy rodents? So what if I enjoyed flinging rocks at passing dogs. Those canines are the reason why our sidewalks stink. So what if I dissected frogs for fun. Nobody cared for them anyway. And its not like frogs are cute and cuddly. Most of them become road kill anyway. Not only was I misunderstood, I felt unappreciated.
Except by Maude. She was different.
I remember once in grade school I was eating ice cream. I had saved up on my allowance so I could buy me one. Back in those days, ice cream wasn't cheap, especially for me. As I started licking the creamy chocolate lump atop my sugar cone, it tipped over and fell on my lap. Everybody laughed at my clumsiness. Without hesitation, I quickly scooped the ice cream on my pant with my bare hand and shoved it back on my cone and finished it in record time. Everybody laughed and made fun of me while I silently finished my salvaged chocolate fudge. I ignored all of them. After I was done, I licked my sticky hands in front of them all and eyed them blankly. I'm sure they thought I was disgusting but I couldn't care less.
I still remember all their ugly faces, laughing at me as I licked each finger clean. Except Maude. She never laughed at me. She was my friend. Perhaps my only friend. She wasn't outwardly weird like me but I knew she had her quirks. She just knew how to hide it from the others. She even looked normal. We we're like long lost siblings. We understood each other.
Back then in grade school, I actually decided secretly that I loved her.
But Billy always ruined everything. He was our class bully. Every time he saw us together, he would always come after me with ugly remarks about my oversized glasses. He'd keep poking my rims. I always hated him doing that. Not because it made me feel bad but because it made me feel inferior in front of Maude. I would just toy with my pencil in my pocket while he'd keep poking my glasses. Everybody always seemed to laugh at me every time this occasional scene happened. If I didn't know better, I think Billy was just trying to impress Maude.
I remember all this like it happened yesterday. Twenty years hardly tarnished these ugly memories.
Billy: Are you listening bro?
Me: Sorry, I was just thinking about something else.
Billy: You haven't changed at all man! Hehe, you're still as weird as always.
I grunted something that he perceived as a nod. This conversation was dragging on for longer than I was comfortable with. I couldn't care at all to catch up on things between us when, to begin with, Billy was never a friend of mine. But to his mind, I was. Like the stereotypical bully, Billy was obtuse.
Billy: So, remember Maude?
Of course I did. How could I forget? I gave another half-grunt, half-nod.
Billy: She's a real babe now! Damn is she hot. I dated her for a year by the way.
I was stunned. I didn't know she could fall for Billy. Billy the bully who kept poking my glasses whenever I was with her. I thought she hated her!
Billy: I finally got her in the sack just last month! Was she sweet, I tell you. Best mama I've tried ever. Of course, I had to drug her. Isn't that hilarious! But I got her in the sack. You know how she is
And like twenty years ago, I found myself toying with my pencil in my pocket. This time, my grip got tighter every minute I endured with Billy.
playing hard to get like she's an immaculate virgin or something. I mean who is these days right? She was delicious man, absolutely delicious.
Me: What happened?
Billy: I don't know where she is now. I think she left for the province or maybe went abroad. I thought you knew. You and her were close right? She got pregnant so I left her. But damn was she sweet!
That was the last thing Billy uttered. I couldn't let him go on.
I wasn't fumbling with my pencil anymore. The thing was stuck halfway through Billy's brain. I had poked it cleanly through his left eye. I finally paid him back for all the times he'd poked me before. Now as I stand before his twitching body surrounded by a growing pool of blood, I can see all of my classmates looking at me and laughing, just like twenty years ago. I still don't care. I know they're not there but I see them.
I'm licking my sticky and bloodied hands in front of them all, cleaning my fingers one by one. They still think I'm disgusting but I couldn't care less. I'm doing this for Maude.
I'm not weird. Just misunderstood.