The Accursed "Solace"

MacAvity's picture

I usually think of him by his first and last name, or sometimes just his last name, but that would make him too traceable, or me too traceable to him, so I'll call him 'Solace' because that's the name he used when we were antagonistic correspondents (pen-enemies). It's short for 'All Solace Everywhere,' which is a very annoying name that sums him up pretty well.

Anyway, my relationship with Solace and feelings in regard to him are more complicated and uncertain (though not stronger) than with or in regard to any other person. Maybe not uncertain, just kind of conflicting. I think I can write it all out, honestly and all, it just may not make sense. I'll try to be chronological.

Two years ago I started high school. I started as a sophomore, having homeschooled my 9th grade year. I was fifteen years old, and I had no idea what to expect. But I had some friends at the school, so I wasn't too scared. I was a girl with a blond ponytail hanging down her back, a short-sleeved blue button-up shirt, an accent neither American nor foreign, and a nerdy Jedi braid.

It must have started in first period Precalculus. Solace wasn't even in that class, but it all ties together, you'll see how. In the middle of class, I glanced around the room, surveying my classmates. And that's when I saw her, the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Grey (her real first name fits better with the meter, alas). It was love at first sight. I had had crushes before, mild ones, even one on a girl, but I'd never even thought I was in love before. But I thought it then, and time would prove me right. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, not because of perfection of physical appearance (photographs do not do her justice, and she possesses none of the usual hallmarks of beauty such as straight teeth, lustrous hair, or long eyelashes) but because of something completely unidentifiable, some shining goodness visible even from across the room, a serenity, perhaps. A mind at peace with all below, a heart whose love is innocent!

Regardless. The distractions of starting new at a school did not allow me to dwell long on the fact that I had just met an angel, or that she had actually singled me out after class to introduce herself, sealing my fate, although neither of us knew it at the time. Other classes, other classmates, diverted my attention. Third period is when Solace came into the picture. Third period Latin. He sat right across from me, but I didn't even notice him at first. My female friend was in that class, too, so naturally that took all my attention. I'll have to get her permission to use her first name here, as it's not a particularly generic one. She's pretty much the only person of whom I think as truly just a friend (even though I can aesthetically appreciate that she's very attractive), so that's kind of nice. Anyway, Solace was a senior at the time, superior and bored in a class dominated by freshmen. He was a very good-looking guy, and so well-dressed! Kind of nerdy, but I found that appealing. For the longest time, I didn't even know his name - in that class, we were given Latin nicknames, so I only knew him as Polvereus ('dusty'). As the weeks wore on, I found myself staring at him more and more, and sometimes thinking about him outside of class. I couldn't keep my eyes off him, and it annoyed me the way he never acknowledged me at all, not even after my spectacular feats of intellectual Latin show-offery. I wanted him to respect me, and I knew I admired him. I found myself thinking that I could be like him in two years' time, maybe.

I remember thinking, at one point, 'Polvereus and [Grey], there would be a couple to break my heart.'

And then it actually happened. Polvereus - Solace - started dating the rare and radiant maiden. She was waiting outside the Latin classroom when I arrived one day. 'Is [Solace] in this class?' she asked. With a sense of horror that went unrecognised at the moment, I responded in the affirmative. I don't remember if that was the day I first saw them kiss. They met there in the passing period every day, driving me mad with their little displays of affection. It took me a while even to realize I was jealous. I had been denying that I felt anything more than aesthetic appreciation for Solace, and as for Grey, I was doing a pretty good job of not acknowledging to myself any interest in her. Attraction was for weaker mortals, not intellectuals such as me, so I was convinced or so I pretended.

'I'm just jealous of what they have,' I assured my female friend. 'See, they love each other. I'm just jealous of the love, not of her. He's handsome, is all, I don't like him or anything.' I was lying to her, and I was lying to myself, too. I had a crush on Solace, subconsciously I knew it, and sometimes I even admitted it in my conscious mind.

It all changed again when I noticed an unpleasant lack of conflict in my life. I needed an enemy, I decided. I don't know why. I needed an enemy. Who better to be my enemy than Grey, the girl who was always snogging the guy I liked? It seemed simple. I would hate her, we would be enemies. That plan lasted about until the next time I saw her. I melted, like I have done every time I have seen her, melted and tripped over my words and knew that I couldn't hate her, I could never hate her, I couldn't even envy her.

But I soon discovered that I could envy her boyfriend, and I could hate him, and even though I still found him kind of attractive I definitely did not like him at all. He pissed me off, in fact. The way he twirled his pencil so smoothly it became a blur, the way he squinted superciliously at anyone who even presumed to be his equal, the way he always had his arm around the girl of my dreams, everything about that guy irritated me. Because I simply wasn't as good as he was. Not in her eyes, and not in mine, either.

I had been stalking him for a while by then, first because he attracted and fascinated me, later because I wanted to get some sort of information I could use against him. I got information, all right, but my imagination failed me as to how I could use his birthdate or his license plate number or his class schedule against him. That was a fairly disgraceful period of my recent career, fairly embarrassing, so suffice to say that that was when I initiated the aforementioned antagonistic correspondence, all on paper, to keep my identity secret. I didn't want Grey to know that I had more than a friendly acquaintance's interest in either her or her beloved. I used the name MacAvity, the surname of a character who was once independent of myself but fused with me and became my pseudonym and assumed identity during this period.

Then Solace graduated, and I had a full year in which Grey was at school and he wasn't. In a carefully calculated long-term plan to become more like the accursed Solace, who was and is in some weird way my role model as well as my only enemy and former crush, I wore my hair short that year, switched from ordinary short-sleeved t-shirts to long-sleeved ones, and exchanged my old white shoes for black ones. Those were the visually apparent changes. I have also gradually adopted some of his mannerisms - the pencil-twirling, the ducking and dodging manner of navigating through a crowd, the particular way of descending stairs, and others. But anyway, I only saw Solace a couple of times that year, and it was always tense. He knew it was I who had stalked him by that point, and he acted like he knew exactly why I had done it, even though he probably didn't (nor did I).

June the eighteenth, 2010, was the last time I saw him. It was also the last time I saw her, but that's another story. Basically, I came to her graduation, told her I loved her, and sat crying. And there he was, sitting right next to me, with his hand on my back, sort of rubbing it, consoling like, and making it really hard to hate him outright, which naturally just makes me hate him all the more. 'She loves you,' I said. 'And I think you actually do have some idea how lucky you are' (sob, sob).

'I feel bad...' he said. 'You seem like a very intelligent and talented person.'

'What does that matter?' I wailed. It really didn't seem to matter too much then and still doesn't now, when I think about it, but it's all that I have, so I can't put too low a value on it or I'll just feel like crap.

'I feel like I've sort of taken all the luck,' was his reason. Like hell he had. Luck, or whatever it is. I didn't respond. 'You're still young,' he said. I guess that means the same as You'll find someone else.

'I know.' What a dumb answer.

'I'm glad.'

'Why?' I didn't want to be having this conversation. Just go, go now and take her, but direct thy feet where thou and I henceforth may never meet.

'Because you know you're still young.' Yeah, last I reckoned, seventeen was still young. Eighteen like he was didn't really seem old enough to tell me I was young. But of course I wasn't thinking that at the time. I was too distraught to be thinking much of anything. I didn't want to be talking at all. I didn't want to talk again for months, I wanted the last words I said to be 'I have always loved you.'

I don't remember how it ended. The next thing I remember is seeing, through the tear-blurred periphery of my vision, him and her walking sadly away together, arms around each other's waists, knowing that there was nothing more they could do for me.

But this wasn't supposed to be the story of my first love, this was supposed to be the explanation of who Solace is to me. That thought I had two years ago, that I could be like Solace in two years' time, has now come true. I dress like him, I walk like him, I squint superciliously like he does, et cetera et cetera et cetera. He still kind of pisses me off, in kind of a different way than before after that weird sort of reconciliation scene, but I also realise now that I have always held him in a deep (and somewhat incompatible with the pissing me off bit) admiration and respect. And that makes it all the more annoying, not being able to hate him properly. So there you have it. He's my enemy, and he's my role model. I had a crush on him, I envied him, I emulated him. And I'm still struggling to come to terms with all that. And I'm struggling even more to come up with a satisfactory sentence with which to close this entry, which, like the last, has been exceedingly long and self-absorbed.


elph's picture

So Thorough... So Moving!

I don't believe you could have described your evolution any more succinctly!

Your insight to your current circumstance appears flawless.

I only wish that I had useful advice to give. But I feel that you will do quite well by summoning your innate gifts and by building on these past experiences.

Wishing you well!