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*(Previous Statement May Not Be True)


- It burns. This feeling inside. It burns, and it's getting hotter all the time.

I wonder if this is what it's like for Dr. Banner in the beginning stages of turning into the Hulk.

I totally messed up on two of my tests today. A 'C-' and a 'D'. I think I've been trying to do so much that it's hard to concentrate on school that much. It's coming up to the end of the school year. Only a month and a half left. And if my grades are too low my mom will send me to Summer School to make up the credits. I just know she will. I need to concentrate. My drama is making it hard to do any good work in that place.

I actually ate in the cafeteria today. It almost felt like 'home'.

I saw Simon at one of the tables, and he looked like he was about to fall asleep any second. Like, face down in his lunch. He doesn't even have lunch during this period. But they don't allow sleeping in the library, so maybe he decided to sneak away for a bit.

I gave him a gentle shake, and he recovered from his momentary daze with a bit of a twitch. He's like, "Oh...oh man, what time is it?"

I giggled, like, "It's about 12:30. Dude, are you ok?"

Simon stretched, and lifted his glasses to rub his eyes. He says, "Yeah. I guess so. I'm just tired. Sooooo tired."

I'm like, "What's going on? Burning the midnight oil a bit late last night?"

He said, "That's an understatement. My midnight oil is more like 2 AM oil, unfortunately. Plus I'm tutoring a few other students, and trying to do my own homework, and I'm trying to get ahead in my books so I'll have time to study for finals once they start..." He looked exhausted just talking about it. He sighed, like, "Melanie wants me to spend quality time with her, my mom thinks I'm stressed out and need a break, so now SHE wants me to spend quality time with her, which takes me away from what I need to do, which stresses me out even more...I wish I could just lock myself in a room with no phone and no windows, and just take a week to do everything that I need to get done so I could live a normal life. You know?"

I felt bad. I mean, Simon's always been a smart and motivated person, but today he just looked so 'defeated'. I said, "Well, why don't you just lay off for a bit? Have some fun for a day or two, and then come back with a little more energy. I mean, I trashed two tests today myself. It's not the end of the world."

He's like, "I wish I could, Billy."

I said, "You can. Just stop. What's the worst that can happen?"

He told me, "You don't understand, Billy. I have to make all A's. ALL the time. My parents just...." He paused for a second and lowered his eyes. "...Sometimes people hold you to such a high standard that it's hard to do much of anything at all. At this point, there's nothing that I can do to impress them...I can only disappoint them. I don't even get praise for my accomplishments anymore...just criticism when I fall short of perfection. It can just be really disheartening sometimes. Nothing I do has meaning when no one is paying attention. I don't think I'm even proud of me anymore."

I gave him a look, but that was all I could do. I said, "Wow...I'm sorry dude. I don't know what to say."

He started getting his stuff together to leave. He said, "It's ok. It's just...sometimes the standard is so high, nothing I ever do is good enough. I'll just be glad when Summer comes around. If I can just make it that long...if I can just hold on...I'll be alright." He stood up from the table. He said that he had to run to the teacher's lounge and drop off a term paper before his next class. I wished him luck, and he says, "Hey, when you get a chance, tell your friend, Trace, that I said congrats for acing his last three exams. He's kicking butt these days."


I had a short run in with him today too.

Usually, seeing that cute smile being pointed in my direction is one of the highlights of my day. But today? Not so much. I don't know...maybe the resent has been growing for some time now. But I felt like I needed to say something today. And I don't feel bad for it. Not at all.

He slides up beside me in the hallway with a grin and bumps me lightly with his shoulder to say hello. Deep down, I know that Trace is just happy to have a bit of luck on his side and all...but for some reason, that smile looks more and more smug to me every day.

We were talking about little stuff, and I told him what Simon said to me at lunch. As always, it led to him telling me how 'awesome' my dad is. Just like everything else does. Trace was like, "He sat me down and helped me work out the problems on paper. So I got it. I really understood it. It was like magic."

I was trying not to get into it (again!), so I just said, "Yeah? Cool." And was hoping that he'd change the subject. But he wanted to keep going on and on about it until I reached my locker. Then he stood there and CONTINUED to yap on about how great my father is. I think I was seriously frustrated at the time, because I suddenly asked him, "SO...has my dad found a way to get you and Mikey back home yet, or what?"

I know that it was a snide remark and a bit of a low blow, but Trace hardly seemed to notice. He was just like, "We've been talking a lot about that this week. To be honest, I half expected your dad to kick me out on the street on Monday morning. But he didn't. He even talked to my dad once or twice this week. I never had anyone to talk to like that before. It's really therapeutic." I was beginning to tune Trace out, rushing to get my stuff so I could run off to my next class and cut this conversation short. But then, Trace said, "He talked to me about my parents divorce and them not getting along and all. He seems to really understand. He said that sometimes relationships just...fall apart. They stop communicating, they hold in their feelings, they fail to connect. Like things with him and your mom, I guess. He said that they just stopped sharing things at one point, and the connection got broken somehow...."

I cut him off right there. I said, "What? What did you just say to me?"

He's like, "Well, he doesn't think it was anybody's fault. Sometimes people can't balance out the whole 'give and take' part of their relationship. That's how he said it. And he..."

I'm like, "Wait a minute...what the fuck are you saying? Huh? What are you doing?"

Trace was confused. He's like, "What do you mean? What did I say?"

I'm like, "Dude...don't fucking talk about my family. What's the matter with you?"

Trace's eyes widened. He said, "Whoah...Billy, you got me all wrong, man..."

But I said, "Whatever. I don't like you discussing me and my life behind my back. You keep my mom and dad's relationship out of your head. It doesn't belong there. Got it?" He was speechless for a moment, and to be totally honest, Trace has probably been in a lot more fights than I have. So he could probably wipe the floor with me if he wanted to. But there was something in my eyes that made him put his hands up and back off today. I know that my attitude was caused by more than just that comment, but he was crossing the line as far as I was concerned. I don't want him and my dad talking about the complete destruction of my family. That's just fucked up. And I'm glad that I let him know that.

Trace did apologize and said that he didn't mean anything by it, but I only accepted his apology because I didn't want to talk about it anymore. I'm already under enough pressure as it is these days without having to factor in yet another insecurity problem. Sighhhh....I jus want a break. I'll be just as worn out as Simon is soon. And nobody will notice. Nobody.

I sent Randall another email tonight. Just to ask him to talk to me. I hope he doesn't look at me as though I'm some kind of creep or something. I just....I want to spend a little more time with him. I know that I haven't broken up with Lee yet, and that situation is still lingering like the pain of a freshly pulled tooth...but I think Randall and I had a nice, casual, thing happening between us. I have a big empty spot in my life, and for a little while, Randall had filled it up nicely. I crave that again.

I thought Lee would be the one to fill that void, but he's....lacking. I need more. Randall? He seems like more. I just want someone to get together and have fun with on the weekends or something. Some hot times, a few laughs...and if it grows into something more, then great. If not...what did I lose? I just want him to talk to me. Just a little bit. I think we have a lot to discuss.

Anyway, I'm gonna go. I'm washing the dishes for my mom again tonight. You wasn't such a big deal yesterday, but now that I'm doing it again...washing dishes is actually a pretty shitty job to have. My mom's been doing it every night for YEARS now! Isn't she sick of it? This is my second consecutive day, and it already sucks for me. Ugh!

I'll write more later. See ya...

- Billy (Going back to his homework soon)

Thanks soooo much for reading, and for all of your feedback and support! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! And be sure to grab a copy of the eBook versions at the COMICALITY KINDLE STORIES link!!! More ebooks being posted every month! So keep an eye out!