The Next-door Neighbor Pt. 2 - Gifted and Talented

Submitted into Contest #103 in response to: Write a story about someone who starts noticing the same object or phrase wherever they go.... view prompt



(Authors Note: So I know that my writing may be a bit odd/unique but, especially with first person stories like this, I try to mimic people's speech patterns, like they're talking instead of me just writing it out. That's why you'll find a lot of apostrophes and quotation marks and stuff, enjoy!)

Conner's POV:

'You're so gifted and talented!'

'Gifted and talented eh?'

'Our gifted and talented Conner!'

'Gifted and talented,'

'Gifted and talented?'

'Gifted and talented.'

It didn't matter the tone, the spelling, the person who said it, those three words seemed to follow me everywhere I went. It was just a class, just a special announcement that was extremely embarrassing, a thing that people labeled and defined me as. Because for some reason synesthesia and being good at drawing has the works of genius or 'gifts and talent'. I wasn't my fault that whenever I heard songs images and colors came to mind, or when I heard names or phrases other things came to mind. For instance, 'gifted and talented' made me see a black canvas with bright red, angry streaks slashing through the darkness. A symbol of my frustration.

The root of my problem was possibly my mom. Or Dad, I guess I can blame both of them. Dad for dying when I was twelve and leaving me, for passing synesthesia down to me, for starting this 'gifted and talented' thing in earnest. Mom for being an extrovert and having to tell everyone everything, for making such a big deal out of it in the first place after Dad died. That's why, in some ways, I was glad that we were moving. The whole 'gifted and talented' thing would still follow me though, it didn't help that my new school was involved in the program that my last one was. The program that was supposed to help 'kids like me' who had 'artistic genius'. Come on people! It wasn't like anyone (or me for that matter) was going to be the next Picasso or Van Gogh.

I hated the spotlight. I was a recluse at heart. In love with the shadows and walking around late at night in dark rooms, being by myself. To some it made me 'depressed', to some it was disturbing, most people didn't care. My mom fell into the first category. She tried making the house (expensive condo that was constantly full of her millionaire guests) more cheerful, giving me expensive gifts of art supplies, asking about school and girls. But eventually she just sent me to a therapist, assumed that that would make everything better, and went on with her life.

It wasn't my fault that I didn't have any friends, that I liked sitting in a mostly dark room and watch the moonlight stream in through windows, that I had this synesthesia genius thing, that 'gifted and talented' were the words that constantly followed me. This move was probably my fault. I didn't dislike my house (it never felt like home) but one complaint about how I could never breathe in the house and the next thing I know Mom's telling me that we're moving to a house 'where you can breath to your heart's content' to use her sarcastic words. One glance at the house that was soon to be 'home' and I knew that I'd definitely be able to breathe in it.

It was a giant work of art that made my synesthesia go crazy. White, peeling paint, green ivy, dark windows. It made me want to start sketching immediately, get my paints out and ruin my favorite shirt. But then, a moment happened that I'm sure changed my life. I was leaning against one of these pillars in front of the huge front doors when I noticed a girl standing outside the gates, watching me. She was beautiful, sun-kissed skin, hair like a waterfall of dark chocolate, and electric blue eyes that pinned me down with their intensity. I couldn't help it, my jaw dropped. I quickly looked away though, I could not be caught staring at a pretty girl around my mom. I didn't need her thinking that her 'gifted and talented Conner' would be 'gifted' with a crush on a girl. Or a girlfriend for that matter.

The first day of school was a few days later. My homeroom teacher was a walrus of a man with a wheezy, nasal voice named Mr. Polson. He introduced me to the class and I kept my eyes on the floor. He directed me to seat in the back next to the girl with the electric blue eyes! She pretended not to notice me and I responded in kind, not looking her way once. Besides, I was making a fresh start in this school. I would focus on my writing talents and musical ones (though those were hardly genius) instead of the ones I wielded with a pencil. 'Gifted and talented' would not follow me here.

The first few months went well. I was average in the Art classrooms (I made myself tone it down considerably), good in English and Music, and again average in everything else. I avoided the 'gifted and talented' class like the plague (bubonic or not I couldn't decide) and didn't care how many detentions or meetings with the principal it got me. This year, this school, I was nobody, no one, just a face that was easily forgotten, not 'gifted and talented' Conner, not 'special ed' as the jerks called me, a shadow.

I had almost no interactions with the girl with the electric blue eyes, except for once when I bumped into her walking into History. It was a few days later, I was in the library, studying for a Social Studies exam (when in reality I was sketching in the margins of my notebook) when someone tapped my shoulder hesitantly. I turned to see who it was and why they needed me, but my eyes widened in shock. The girl with the electric blue eyes stood there, a shy smile on her face.

July 21, 2021 01:16

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