I got out of class late. I was the only one; the teacher didn’t hold us back. My calculator said it was clear but I had a feeling it actually wasn’t. I clicked clear again to make sure. And then I did it again. It still didn’t feel clear. So I did it again. It still didn’t feel clear, so I did it again.
I arrived to my next class after the bell rang and got a tardy. She didn’t think going to the bathroom was a valid excuse. I couldn’t argue since it wasn’t true.
Daniel always sat next to me in physics. He always said his pencil and notebook needed to be exactly straight on his desk before he could focus. As soon as the teacher would start talking he would mess them up without knowing, and apparently not realize. He would go on in the class fine, crooked notebook, pencil being placed all around his desk. Daniel would use a 2B most days, but he had a drawing pencil that was a 6B he would sometimes use without realizing. He never noticed a difference in writing or stroke.
I usually went to bed around 11. Directly across from my bed was my closet. I kept it closed at all times so my dog wouldn’t get into my stuff or accidentally be locked in. I’d check the inside before going into bed just to make sure. I’d open the door, peak in, and close it. Open the door, peak in, and close it. Open the door, peak in, and close it.
Sydney wrote a lot. She got everyone to think she was really good and had really meaningful things to say. I read some of her stuff. It was a lot of big words that I would have to look up. I didn’t say anything about it being pretentious because I didn’t want to come off as rude. I tried to find a meaning behind what she said, but maybe it was just beyond me.
My friends and I sat on my roof a lot. We had a pretty flat roof and it was easy to get on. When anyone had nothing to do they would just show up and go up there, even when I wasn’t there. I didn’t mind and my parents didn’t either. We could look over the trees across the street and watch the sunset. It was my favorite thing to do over summers. No one could talk to you who you didn’t want to, and it was just us. We were above everything, looking down on our surroundings.
When I watched television I would focus in and out. I need to catch a show at the right time to get really into it. When a reporter or character or personality would say or do something I liked my body would tense up. It’s like I get excited. I can’t stop being tense until I realize I am, and then make myself stop. It’s not a big deal.
I slipped up once. I was good about checking myself when I felt it coming on, but I didn’t feel this one. Evan came over when I was on the roof. I said “Hey Evan.” It didn’t feel like how I wanted. “Hey Evan.” It didn’t feel right. “Hey Evan.” He started laughing thinking I was just being dumb.
He stopped laughing and told me to stop.
That one felt right. I laughed and played it off. He didn’t mention it after that.
I’m not any weirder than the next guy. Everyone has their odd personality traits. Daniel uses a drawing pencil to write. Sydney thinks big words make good stories. I would say I’m normal. My parents raised me well. I’m normal. We have a middle class house. I’m normal. I have just as many friends as anyone else, if not more. I’m normal.
more by TYLER CLIFTON
photograph by Greg Westfall
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