Tessa watched the street rush by. The window was a misty shadow before her eyes, stained and scratched, painting the world into a house of moving rooms. She could not remember a time before that she had felt so at ease with her decision to go. It was not the way that her best friend had not tried to talk her out of that. He had pointed waveringly to the cutted holes in her blouse. Or more, he had counted their number and stopped with reaching 50. „You know that you are quite obviously – and strikingly – a very present person. If you run away, they will find you within minutes. And where do you want to go? This vague idea of living in the wild? I love you. And you are crazy.“ His voice changed between annoyance and respect. She admired that a lot. His ability to keep a distance, to get everything to the point. Give him a spoon and he would be able to tell you facts about how many people has ever tried to eat with the wrong side or why using a spoon has dismantled the fine motor functions of whole generations including their sense of touch. He would then end with the conclusion that this is the cause of his own unhappiness. Always. On the other side he watched the lights of the city every third Sunday of the month on a hill and counted the frequence of light appearances in the time of one hour. The old notebook kept rows of numbers and curves. Romantic, she called it. He said that it kept him steady – others were smoking, he got his obsessions. She accompanied him from time to time but instead of counting she just layed down, her arms stretched out and her hands on the ground. Sometimes she was so silently listening, she seemed to hear the world move under her body as if she was floating in the air. Then all the looks, all the staring around her vanished to a distanced other world. In one of these moments, Ben had muttered numbers and numbers, her thoughts had arrived in a center point of expanding circles and everything had made sense. That had clearly been the moment she had decided to go away and to search. For what, she was not very clear.
Still the houses moved before her eyes, ghostly grey and ill. The pictures slowed down and her school grounds won against her wish to be somewhere else and stay in this seat for good. Sliding out of the bus, she pulled the sun down onto the silver stoney pavement. Ben would be waiting for her on the bench, as every day. There was suddenly a wobbly ball in her chest. It would be the last time and he would not know. She would not dare to tell him. The numbers would be against her.
He sat there, like the first time she had recognized him at school. Feet on the seat, his head rested against the wall and his eyes focused on the sky. „Have you known that the blue of the sky is caused by a distraction of the light because of the layers of gas around the earth? A distraction. That’s why you love blue so much. You are a distraction of normality.“ – „Ha! You know how to light my day, you.“ Her voice was not steady enough. She tried to breathe slow and steady and without too much noise to cover the vibrance in her throat.
History has never been her favourite lesson. Tessa expected a dull hour of dates and happenings so far away from her and her own problems that falling asleep would still be a honouring. Her gaze was caught by a very different pair of shoes entering the class room. Her mind had been busy ticking off her imaginery list of things to get out of her secret „Camp Captive“. Ben had spent hours with getting weird ideas for naming the little shed in the woods behind the park. At last they stayed with the most obvious. She was sure, her mother would have stopped being silent around her and given her another speach of „You cannot… You are not allowed… You are crazy… You are beyond understanding.“ Fun that would have been. These shoes. Something about them puzzled her. They were black and, well — used. Above them the jeans had to have fought several long wars with scissors and razor blades.