The journey of self-discovery is always the hardest. Sometimes, all we need in life is a little spark to light the path for us. Alex’s puzzling resistance in masking her true personality, sparks Amanda’s desire to be set free from her own darkness.
Amanda: Whatcha writing there Alex?
I almost lay a punch on her face for interrupting me with her presence. That would leave a mark, I think to myself…Amanda’s bulging and pleading eyes are an unwelcoming sight, to say the least.
I feel uncomfortable around people like her. I tell her no, but to my surprise, she is still standing there….trying her best to strike a conversation with me. And so, I walk away from her, in search of a new quiet place to continue my writing.
Amanda: Where are you going Alex? Wanna head to math class together?
“None of your business”, I mutter under my breath. As I try to escape her once again, she grabs my hand and drags me with her to room 305.
Amanda: Whats’ with the attitude, Alex?
“What attitude?”, I ask her in a firm voice.
Amanda: You have got to stop wearing black clothes all the time! It gives off the impression as if you are attending someone’s funeral.
Alex: I happen to like the color black. I would also appreciate it if you could stop with your stupid remarks.
Amanda: Gosh, it’s impossible to talk to you.
Alex: You aren’t exactly the most pleasant person either, you know.
Amanda: Hmm… also, what’s up with the long sleeves and all? Trying to hide some marks or something?
Alex: Wh…what did you say?
Amanda: What are you deaf or something?
I don’t have the energy to argue back. I am tired and hungry. All, I want right now is to go home and eat a bowl of warm pasta.
3 hours later
While I am eating my pasta, I hear an aggressive knock on the door. Perhaps if I pretend that I am not at home… the person knocking on my door would leave me alone.
10 minutes later
Amanda: What took ya so god damn long to open the door? Ya doing something fishy, eh?
I roll my eyes, and defeatedly let her come into my home. She quickly rushes to the kitchen and helps herself to the remaining cake in my fridge; before plopping herself to the couch in the living room.
Amanda: So, are you finally ready to tell me what’s been bothering ya lately?
I stare at my notepad, unsure if I am ready to open up to her.
Amanda: What’s in the notepad?
Alex: Nothing… just some ideas I have been brainstorming for my English essay….
Amanda: Hmm…then I guess you wouldn’t mind if I take a look at it right?
Before I can answer her, she snatches the notebook from my hands and flips through the pages.
Amanda: I see. I can’t believe that even after three months you can’t still get over that stupid Ma…
Alex: I… tha…
Amanda: Ever since you came back from your camping trip, you have been acting odd.
I sigh. I know she is right..
Alex: Odd is one way to put it.
I say that, as I stare into her eyes.
Amanda: Jesus, why are you always so dramatic? *As she proceeds to stuff her face with the cake.*
I can’t help myself but ask her, “why do you care?”.
I won’t lie to you, I want validation from someone, even if it’s from a person like Amanda.
Amanda: Stop deflecting my question and answer ya?
It’s impossible to read Amanda. I have known her for three years, and I still can’t figure her out. Not that I have any intentions of establishing a connection with her, but it sure would help to know her motives.
Alex: Maybe I don’t wanna talk about it. Stop pestering me.
Amanda: Fine, suit yourself.
I didn’t expect Amanda’s response. She sure was peculiar. Nevertheless, I respected her.
Amanda: Well, that was a nice cake…. I better get going. Ma is gonna serve tuna casserole for dinner tonight. Would you like to join us for dinner?
Alex: No thanks. Tell your mom I said hi.
Amanda: By the way, how’s that mark of yours been healing?
Amanda: Are you ok? I didn’t even say anything nut head.
For the next few months, my routine consists of attending school, coming back home to an empty place, and going to sleep. I liked my routine. I wasn’t involved in any unnecessary relations with others and that made me happy.
Of course, the preppy and social, Amanda didn’t approve of my lifestyle. Amanda was certain that my change in behavior has something to do with last year’s incident at camp. And to some extent she’s right. But X is not to blame for that.
Amanda: How can you say you are fine when you clearly aren’t?!
November 4th, 2017 was the last time I talked to Amanda. We graduated shortly after. It’s hard being friends with me, I get it. I don’t blame her for distancing herself from me.
Sometime in October 2017, I find myself in a heated argument with Amanda.
Amanda: How long are you gonna be like this?
Alex: What do you mean? I am fine, no?
Amanda: You know what I mean! You haven’t been urself!
I can understand her frustration. But, it really doesn’t concern me.
Amanda: One day you are happy, and then the next few weeks, it’s like, like, you are on ghost mode or something!
Alex: I can assure you I am fine. Thank you for your concern.
Appearance-wise others might think that I am still bitter about the past, but that’s simply not true. I forgave X a long time ago for her betrayal. I am happy and at peace. I think what people fail to realize is that I am no longer masking my emotions. I am detached from fake people.
I am clearly not the same person I was three years ago. I have successfully transitioned from a caterpillar to a butterfly.
…I was like a toy in an attic, collecting dust. I would patiently wait for my owner to come back to find me. But as always, I am left behind. After a few repetitions of such incidents, a new ‘tradition’ bloomed….where I would be passed on from one owner to the next. After all, in the eyes of others, my purpose is to make others happy.
Present day 2020
To this day, I regret the way I ended things with Alex. I shouldn’t have snapped at her no matter how frustrated I was with her behaviour. I will perhaps never admit this out loud to others, but for a long time I was bitter with Alex. She left me when I was at my lowest. Before her incident at the camping trip, Alex and I were best friends. We did everything together. But after camp, when she returned home, it’s like she became a completely different person. She isolated herself from others but more importantly I was left behind…
…It’s only now in my twenties that I realize it’s not my job to make others happy. My happiness comes first. I found mine through painting.
As much as I hate to admit it, Alex changed for the better after the camping trip. She discovered herself. She ignited the spark within her. She was the last push I needed in my life to discover myself.
And as for my past… I have come to the conclusion that my past does not define me, rather it has refined me.
Alex and Amanda I wonder how she is now?
And I wonder if she ever figured it out…
that the camp never existed.
While the events of Alex’s camping trip and past are somewhat fabricated… her spiritual growth is not. Alex in some ways is a reflection of the author’s own behaviour.
Amanda’s search for her own happiness is not only applicable to the author of this story but to other people as well.
As for the imaginary camp… I am sure you have figured out by now that it’s just a symbol for Alex’s metamorphosis.
Some images are derived from Pexels Free Photo
The comic was created on Canva.