When he heard the others talk about him, he was able to hide his face in his scarf, at least in the fall and winter months.
They were always teasing him. Always talking about him behind his back. He was unpopular, socially awkward and people just didn’t seem to even want to try to see that he was a decent guy. Day in and day out he was treated as a social outcast. The last three years of school had been hell for him. People only really talked to him when they needed something.
Well, that is, until Amanda sat down with him at lunch one day. She wasn’t super popular either. However, she was well liked by people in all the different cliques there were in that stupid school. “Mind if I join you?” She had asked. Of course he obliged her.
As they ate their lunch, she looked across the table, inquiring about what he was doing for his essay in literature. They talked about this and that.
He felt good. His self-esteem rose quite a bit. She was taking an interest in him. She was only a freshman, but that didn’t matter. Most of her classes were advanced.
More and more she joined him for lunch.
He didn’t quite notice it at first, but as he would walk down the hall, people would say ‘hi’ to him. He probably didn’t notice because he walked with his head down, more often than not. Shuffling along, looking at his feet, avoiding all eye contact.
But when people started actually speaking to him, he felt a little better. He said ‘hi’ back. People didn’t seem to be talking about him now… they were talking to him.
Amanda always ate lunch with him, and sometimes when their classrooms were close, she would walk the halls with him.
It came out of the blue one afternoon, when she asked him if he would like to go out with her. He had wanted to ask her for so long, but feared rejection, and losing a friend.
Of course he said yes. Amanda told him there was a party she wanted to go to, but she had to sneak out to go. They devised a brilliant plan for her sneaking out of her house and meeting him a block away where he would have his old beater of a car waiting.
All went smoothly. It was a brisk fall evening, and some seniors had gotten older brothers or sisters to get some beer. There weren’t a lot of kids there, and they had all met at someone’s hunting cabin.
The night was going great until Amanda disappeared. Suddenly, he felt very uncomfortable. The other kids were looking at him strangely. Some whispers could be heard.
He didn’t like it. Something didn’t feel right. He searched the cabin for Amanda, finding her in a small bedroom in a compromising position with one of the football players.
The football player laughed outright, causing the others to crowd in the doorway.
It wasn’t Amanda they were laughing at.
It was him.
He panicked, running through the small crowd and out of the cabin. He had had a few beers, so everything was a little skewed. He made it to his car.
He sat there, nearly in tears.
He moved his car up the deserted road a ways and finally broke down.
There came a knocked at his passenger side window. He had hastily used his scarf to wipe at his face. The car door opened and Amanda got in. She had apologized profusely. All she wanted was to be in with the ‘cool kids’. She knew their mockery of him and his feelings for her was cruel, she just wanted acceptance so bad.
He argued with her. How could she be so shallow? Her? Of all people?
He had wrung his scarf in his hands in shame, embarrassment and anger.
And Amanda wouldn’t shut up. She tried to justify her cruelty with the others.
Before he knew it, he was standing outside the door of his car, his well-worn scarf fisted in both hands. Amanda wasn’t breathing. He had wrapped the scarf around her neck in anger, choking the life out of her. He had drug her body so forcefully, across the seat of the car into the driver’s seat.
He didn’t know what else to do.
A mist had gathered in those late night, early morning hours so thick in the forest.
None of those precious friends of Amanda’s had come looking for her. Maybe they had thought she left with him.
He drug her body deeper into the woods, finding a small creek. He pushed her body into it, leaving it there in the cold waters.
He didn’t know what to do after that.
He went back home, sneaking in quietly. He packed a bag, gathering all the money he had, which was quite a good bit. He also took the cash from both his mother and fathers wallets.
He left home.
He wondered, if he were ever caught, would he sit at the cool kids table in prison?