A SHADOW WORLD
I read once that you get deja vu when the two halves of your brain process things at different speeds: the right half a few seconds before the left or vice versa. Science is probably my worst subject, so I didn't understand the whole article, but that would explain the weird double feeling that it leaves you with, like the world is splitting in half- or you are. That's the way I feel, at least: like there's a real me and a reflection of me, and I have no way of telling which is which. The things about deja vu is that it has always passed really quickly- thirty seconds or a minute at most.
But this doesn't pass.
Everything is the same. Taylor squealing over her roses in first period and Samatha leaning over and crooning, "He must really love you." I pass the same people in the halls at the same time. Taylor York spills his coffee all over the hallway again, and Tiffany St. Clair starts screaming at him again for almost getting it on her shoes. Even her words are the same, "Were you dropped on your head one too many times or something?" I have to admit it's pretty funny, even the second time around. Even when I feel like I'm crazy, even when I feel like I could scream.
But even weirder are the little blips and wrinkles, the things that have shifted around. Sarah Grundel, for example. On my way to second period I see her standing against a bank of lockers, twirling her googles around her index finger and talking to Jenna Hale. AS I walk by I catch just a bit of their conversation.
"...so excited. I mean, Coach says my time could still go down by half a second-"
"We have two weeks before semis, you can do it."
I stop dead when I hear this. Sarah sees me staring at her and gets really uncomfortable. She smoothes her hair and tugs on her skirt which is riding up her waist.
"Hey Hayley," she says.
"Were you-" I take a deep breath to keep from stuttering like an idiot. "Were just talking about semi finals for swim team?"
"Yeah." Sarah's face lights up. "Are you going to come?"
Even though I'm freaking out, my heart is pounding and my palms begin to sweat, it still occurs to me that this is a really stupid question. I've never gone to a swim meet in my life and to be honest, the only sporting even I ever go to is homecoming and after four years I still don't understand any of the rules of football. Dakota usually brings a flask so that usually takes a part in why I never fully understand what is going on.
"I thought you weren't competing." I try hard to act casual but my voice is shaking and is begining to falter. "I heard some rumor... like maybe you were late and the coach freaked out..."
"You heard a rumor? About me?" Sarah's eyes go wide and she looks like I just handed her a winning lotto ticket.
"I guess I was wrong." I whispered and I see her car in the third-to-last spot and feel the heat flood to my cheeks. Sarah wasn't late today, of course she is competing. She didn't have to walk from the Upper Lot this morning. She was late yesterday. My head starts pounding and suddenly I feel the need to just run away and get out of there.
"Are you okay? You look really pale?" Sarah asked, taking in my blank expression.
"Yeah, fine. I just had some bad sushi late night." I whispered, placing one hand on the lockers next to me in attempt to steady myself. Sarah starts babbling about the time she got food posioning from the mall, but I'm already stumbling away, feeling like the hallways is rolling and buckling underneath my feet.
Deja vu, it's the only explanation.
I'm feeling so shaken up that I almost forget that Sarah's waiting for me in the bathroom by the science wing. I go into the stall and flip down the lid of the toliet and just sit there, only half listening as she tells me all about who is hooking up with who and she thinks she failed her Physics test. Instead I remember something Mrs. Harbor said on one of her crazy tangents in English; that Plato believed that the whole world- everything we can see- was just like shadows on a cave wall. We can't actually see the real thing, the things that's casting the shadow in the first place. I have that feeling now, of being surrounded by shadows, like I'm seeing the impression of the thing before the thing itself.
"Hello? Are you even listening to me?" Sarah laughs, placing her hands on her hips and shaking her head at me.
"You said pretty soon you'd have to shop for bras in the maternity section." I say automatically, of course I wasn't really listening, at least this time anyway.
I wonder, vaguely, why Dakota came all the way down here to write on the bathroom stall behind Sarah- why was it so important to her, I mean. She'd already written the same AC=WT in a dozen stalls across the cafeteria, and that's the bathroom everyone uses. I'm not even sure why she dislikes Anna and it reminds that I still don't know why she started hating Juliet either. It's weird how much you can know about someone without knowing everything. You'd think someday you'd come to the end of it.
I stand up and swing the door open, pointing to the graffitti. "When did Dakota do this?"
"She didn't." Sarah shrugged, brushing her bangs out of her eyes. "It's just a bunch of copycats."
"Yupp." Sarah nodded, chuckling lowly under her breath. "It's so stupid how everyone has to copy Dak.
"Lame." I mumbled, running my fingers over the words.
The bell rings and Sarah squeals loudly, making me jump.
"Ohh, we're going to be late." Sarah sighes, pulling on my arm and leading us out of the bathroom.
Again the pit opens in my stomach. A part of me is tempted to hide all day in the bathroom but I know I can't. I know you know what happens next. I get to chem late and then I take the last seat next to Lauren Lornet. Then Mr. Tierney passes out a quiz with three questions on it. The worst part about this is that I've seen the quiz before and I still don't know the answers. I ask to borrow a pen. Lauren starts whispering to me: she wants to know if it works and Mr. Tierney's book comes down with a band,
Everyone jumps but me.
Class. Bell. Class. Bell.
Crazy, I am going crazy.