Through The Hands Of A Blind Man
Author: Jewel Heart

Chapter 2
Two♣

Trig was located on the third floor in a small room. Desks were clumped together and I had to squeeze through several desks and chairs to reach my assigned seat. Mrs. Keenan wrote equations on the board and I pulled out a blank sheet of paper. Happy that I was placed at the back of the crowded room, I began sketching the front cover of my text book.

Reviews don’t interest me whatsoever. If she didn’t pull equations from our homework, then I might be a little more attentive, but that isn’t the case. I opened the book in search for an actual challenge to draw. Nothing but triangles, I noted gloomily. Sighing, I fixated my attention back to the board.

My migraine was revealing again, making me nauseous and light headed. A band seemed to be squeezing my head, as if trying to extract something from it like juice from a lemon. Closing my eyes, I placed my hand over my forehead. Cool thoughts, I told myself. Rushing spring water, the snow outside, ice cream, ice… First period dragged on. With lack of interest I ignored tonight’s handout and proceeded to Biology.

There wasn’t much I could do for my headache, but try not to stumble on my way to class. I looked around the full room. There were several students I hadn’t met before, which thickened my breathing. Mr. Cline didn’t provide more than a glance at the paper I held before him. Instantly he assigned me to an empty chair next to a girl with long, dark hair and fair skin.

Stranger. My eyes widened at the realization. Alright, I lectured myself as I took a seat. Find something to talk about; make a new friend so that you don’t have to go through another quarter without speaking. I blinked, startled. The girl was beautiful: hip length black hair, piercing forest green eyes, skin whiter than the mountain’s snow, and a rebellious style.

Andromeda Delacroix, I realized. Andy, as many people referred to her, was dressed in a dark purple long sleeve with a thin black jacket that wrapped around her. The high collar hid her heart-shaped face, along with the long strands of hair covering almost every inch of skin on her face. One eye was peeking out between two strands which instantly reminded me of the poster for the movie, The Grudge. She brushed back most of the tresses, carefully making sure that the right side of her face remained covered.

I frowned and took a seat. Andromeda seemed indifferent to my sudden arrival. Why does she cover such a pretty face? I wondered. I’ve heard rumors about her and how she never gave anybody any attention—that the only reason why she attended school was because her wealthy parents assured her arrival and departure through a body guard. Relentless to the reasons why she sat here in class, it was clear that school was a bother to her.

“Um,” I hesitated. “Your hair is on the floor.” Andromeda followed my gaze to the floor, where her hair fell graciously. She pulled it forward and copied down Mr. Cline’s notes on the molecular genetics of plant life. Refusing to be defeated by my lack of social skills, I retrieved a hair tie from my bag and offered her it. “Here. You hair is still at risk,” I offered a smile. “I think you should put it up to prevent it from sliding back down to the ground.”

Andromeda gave me an odd look. “Does it matter?” she asked in a light voice.

“It’s usually an inconvenience to have your hair where people march around. Never mind that there’s probably gum around here somewhere.” I shrugged.

“I suppose…” Andromeda put up her hair in a high ponytail. It didn’t do much; it was still only inches above the ground. Though, she had assured that her face remained covered. Confusion left her features and cold eyes looked me over. “You were in my class last year, weren’t you?”

“Was I?” I frowned, struggling to remember. “My memory isn’t the best, sorry.”

“I believe so. Your name is Cherry, isn’t it?”

“Charlie,” I corrected her. “You’re Andy, right?”

Andromeda,” she emphasized with dryness in her voice. “That right is reserved.”

“What difference does it make if someone calls you Andy?” I realized how behind I was and scavenged through my bag for paper and a pen.

“Andy is a nickname. Nicknames are given to you by friends. I don’t want friends.”

“What do you call them then?” I yawned and lowered my head as Mr. Cline began speaking. “Those who are close to you?”

“People.”

Pondering her response, I stared forward. “Why are you talking to me then? You don’t care for us, yet you’re holding a conversation—the only one ever according to others.”

“I have conversations—usually quiet and subtle like this with people who seem to have the intellect for it. What makes you so special? Aren't you the one who said the first word? It’s rude not to respond, you know?”

“I—Yeah, but—I mean—sorry,” I stammered.

“Sorry? For what?”

It took me a moment before I managed to reply. “I don’t know.”

“What do you have to be sorry about? Sorry is when someone does something like this—” Andromeda dug her mechanical pencil into my hand, peeling off some skin. “—I’m sorry is appropriate now.”

Looking down at my hand, I ripped off the loose skin without wincing and began digging my own pencil into the wound. “This doesn’t hurt,” I demonstrated. “Pain to me is like people to you.”

Andromeda’s somber expression remained intact. “What do you mean by that analogy?”

“Do people bother you?” She hesitated but finally nodded. “Well, pain doesn’t affect me like it does to normal people. It’s just kinda there and unwilling to leave until it has to.” A drop of blood oozed out and I played with it. “Here,” I extended my arm. “Have at it; it won’t hurt.”

After a moment to process what I was asking of her, Andromeda picked her pencil again and impaled my wrist. A temporary sting came from each jab, but none of the pain was acknowledged. Blood began pouring out of one puncture that had been attacked repetitively. She froze, seeming to have stopped breathing all together, when she saw the dripping blood.

Calmly, I gazed up at her. “Blood just means you’ve done something right. That’s what you aim for in a fight, isn’t it?”

Her eyes were wide. “You felt nothing?” I nodded while consuming the spilt blood. “But—how?”

“Pain is a nuisance,” I removed my hand from my mouth. “It’s just there. I don’t acknowledge it because it doesn’t need to be. I don’t need special warnings from my body to know that it’s going into defense mode. I don’t need to have blood drawn to know that it was supposed to hurt—even though it doesn’t.”

“You’re inhuman,” gasped Andromeda. “That has to hurt.”

“No,” I repeated. “It does not have to. It just has to provide some sort of proof of its existence. I choose not to waste my time.” A glowing green light surrounded my hand, becoming denser as it closed into the wound. Soon the blood stopped flowing and in a few minutes, it was no more than bare flesh.

Next to me, I heard a soft gasp. Andromeda was staring wide-eyed at the healed skin. “Staggering,” she breathed. My eyebrow arched at her choice of words.

“Oh?” I eyed the nearing biology teacher. Collecting homework, I suppose, I thought as I searched for last night’s assignment.

“Your hand!” she stammered. “It healed! It was—bleeding so much and now it’s—that.” Despite her shock, Andromeda’s expression was yet to be changed even the slightest. Her eyes had returned to their critical, narrowed origin and her frown was gone.

“Yeah,” I blinked, taken aback. “I’m a quick healer.”

She muttered something I didn’t manage to catch. For a while we worked in silence, each keeping to ourselves with not as much as a glance in the other’s direction. Though, through my peripheral vision, I saw that instead of working, Andromeda was staring at a wall, entirely consumed by her own thoughts.

The following period provided nothing more than a few minutes of hard work. Nothing seemed to be able to soothe my headache throughout the day, not even the relief of lunch.

“Ugh,” I sighed as I stared at my fork.

“What?” Grayson asked, searching for his bottle of water. I handed him it before he could knock the bottle over.

“Food,” I threw away my untouched tray. “It makes me want to vomit.”

“Hey! Don’t throw it away!” he complained. “You need that.”

“So? I need it but don’t want it. I can eat at home.”

Eat,” he pushed some French fries over in my direction. “You’ll be starving in an hour. I don’t care if you don’t mind your hunger, I do.”

“Only because you can hear it,” I muttered dryly.

He snickered. “I suppose you’re right, Charlie.” I winced as watched him shove a handful of fries into his mouth. A wave of nausea struck my stomach and I had to look away. “I’m surprised that you aren’t underweight yet.”

“How do you know?” Looking down at my figure, I grimaced. From the day puberty had kicked in, I hated my body. I don’t understand why anyone would want to be curvy. I feel disgusting.

“You haven’t complained about it,” he said. “Typically if something is wrong with your health, you’ll tell me.”

“My mental health is the typical case. But, if my weight is something else you should be aware of, then it goes without saying that I’m not neither overweight nor underweight.”

Grayson nodded. “Thought so. You’re quite lightweight.”

I recalled his fetish with carrying me over his shoulder and sighed. “You’re so talented.” I rolled my eyes. “Please stop picking me up.”

“It’s fun though. You hang there as if you’re dead.” Grayson pressed his fingers to his closed eyes. “I wish I could see it. I never know if you’re enjoying yourself unless you laugh.”

“I should laugh more often then.”

“Is that so?”

“You’re fun to be around. Don’t doubt that.”

Grayson’s expression darkened. “Can you help me to class please?” Grayson asked as the lunch bell rang.

I hesitated at his sudden change of subject. “Alright…” I stammered, standing up. “What did you do over the break?”

“I believe we went to a ski resort. I think mom slid me down the mountain in a chair because I felt a lot of cold wind and needed some goggles.” He frowned, trying to hear for something. “You went to your Aunt Mindy’s house, right?” Grayson stopped and searched for my arm. “Charlie?” His expression turned to distress. “Charlie?”

I struggled to maintain an even breath as a chill swept through my entire body. Across the hall, past dozens of other rushing students, cool green eyes stared directly into mine. Andromeda, leaning against a locker with a distant expression, was watching me. Her eyes trailed over to Grayson and she seemed to chuckle.

“Gray,” my voice shook. “Let’s go.” I took his hand and rushed to class.

“Charlie—my locker—” Grayson attempted to stop me. “Why are you rushing? I thought that you had a headache from—” He stopped midsentence, considering.

I took my seat in chemistry without speaking. There had only ever been one thing that scared me as Andromeda just had. My hallucinations were the only thing that ever sent me screaming, but the look on her face put me on the verge of tears. A look of death, I concluded.  I began trembling and my tunnel vision wouldn’t cease.

What was her reason for scaring me like that? Nothing I had said earlier today had been bad, that I was aware. When she was away in her own world, had that actually meant I had done something wrong and she was plotting some way to repay me? This was one of the things I hated most about strangers: I never knew what I had done wrong. I scattered my brain throughout the entire period, trying to figure out what had just happened. No reasonable explanation came.

Grayson didn’t say a word, but instead concentrated on his assignment.  West Senior High provided special equipment for their challenged students, such as Grayson. The school admitted several blind teenagers to join their student body because they believed that everyone should have a chance at a normal life. So, every classroom had Braille books, directions and even lab activities. The only thing the school did seem to have trouble with was physical education. Grayson was required to participate in one of the school’s sports instead of joining class. That way, he wouldn’t risk crashing into any trees or poles due to his unfamiliarity with the grounds.

“What’s wrong with you?” Grayson finally asked. I opened my mouth, but was interrupted. “And don’t say it’s nothing. I know you better than that.”

“I have a headache,” I decided to lie. “I ran out of Tylenol, but I’m going to buy some today. Don’t worry.”

“You rode the bus today though.”

“How do you know everything?”

“I talked to Elliot.” He seemed annoyed. “Do you want me to take you home today? Mom has some stuff for you, too.”

Mrs. Bennett adored me for taking care of Grayson since we’d met. She wasn’t used to seeing girls around the house, despite the constant stares he received around the school, so every time she found me lurking around her home, she’d smile and hand me something to eat. Even though after spending thanksgiving and Christmas with them twice, she still didn’t understand my dislike of feasting.

“Well, alright,” I stammered. “Am I sleeping over or are you dropping me off home too?”

He shrugged. “I’m sure you’d want to go home come night. I’ll get Nancy to drive you around ten?”

I hesitated. Grayson’s sister wasn’t as fond of me as his mother, believing that I was out to take advantage of him like all his previous girlfriends, even though year after year I continued assuring her that I had no interest in Grayson other than as a friend. “I’d rather walk home,” I muttered dryly.

“Nancy isn’t as bad as you make her seem.”

“Not in front of you, maybe.”

Grayson sighed. “Well—” he stopped and looked around. “Who’s that?”

“Who?” I followed his gaze and jumped. “Why do you ask?”

“It’s a new smell,” he mumbled. “That heart…it resembles yours when you’re devoted to something.”

“It’ll be nice to see you in class,” Andromeda said, walking up to us. She looked over Grayson, raising an eyebrow. “Huh. I know you,” she smiled. “I’ll see you later today, Bennett.”

I looked up at Grayson. “You know her?”

Grayson frowned. His nose wrinkled and his eyebrows shot up. “Oh! Andy!” Andromeda’s eyes widened. “I have something to give you after school. I’ve been meaning to for a while, so please stop by at around six.”

“Okay then,” she walked away after sneaking in another sly smile.

 

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