FIFTEEN | A GAP IS FORMING

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I  had always known there was something spectacularly and psychologically wrong with Orson Calloway

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I  had always known there was something spectacularly and psychologically wrong with Orson Calloway.

Maybe it was the way how he registered things, how he approached predicaments or regular everyday situations with the same bland, slightly bored, vaguely amused expression he painted on, regardless of his audience. Whether it was his dearly beloved stepsister or a passing face in the high school hallway, Orson Calloway seemed to always look at things with an anaesthetized perspective and empty, growing cavity in his chest; the space where his heart was supposed to be. And maybe we had something in common- a growing numbness that we can't seem to stop or see or care about, desensitization of everything we should be invested in but can't find the heart to do so.

In sixth grade, we were forced to be lab partners. Mainly because he was failing the class and I was acing it so Mrs. Patel thought my influence would motivate him to perform better but I doubt it did anything special because he never spoke to me unless he really had to.

Once we had to dissect a dead frog in our biology and I remembered positioning the dead limbs outstretched on the white knife board as he sat in the back. Usually, he was flicking through his phone while I did most of the work but this time, it was different. As I hovered the knife over the frog's delicate waxy spotted skin, he spoke without inflexion, clearly and audibly for me to hear:

"Can I do it?"

At first, I was confused, thinking it wasn't meant for me until he rose from his seat and touched me on the small of my back. His touch was soft and light like he can melt me and I'll be like syrup all over his fingers. "Um," I was rather inarticulate. His blue-grey gaze spun me like candy floss. "Uh, sure."

I placed the knife down. I sat back down on the stool and watched him pensively as he rearranged the frog, its arms in an outstretched position like Jesus Christ pinned on a cross. He began to perform a small incision on each of its arms, then across the frog's protruding belly and slice through its waxy white flesh as if it's butter. Blood spilt out and that smell- a rancid, rotten scent- and I cringed, looking away immediately and trying to squash down the bile rising up my throat.

As I took my eyes off the frog being slaughtered and dissected by Orson, the sweet angelic passive calmness on Orson's face said he sort of enjoyed it.

-

Every week, there was something on and every day was something new. On Mondays, we drank during the Chapel assemblies, Tuesday afternoons were spent in Parker's house getting mani-pedis and sipping on cosmos, Wednesday's were Ladies Nights in most of the bars so we would join the boys and smoke shisha before heading downtown to dance on table tops, on Thursdays Luciana and I get drunk on Baileys on the rocks while Parker and Carmen had three hour ballet classes and on Fridays, it's either another night out or a party. The weekends are spent hungover and partying even more before an alcoholic Sunday brunch on Phineas Yeong's double-decker yacht. I don't think I even remember the last time I've spent time with Hadley or ate in with Veronica and my family. Every second is with them.

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