I’m sixteen. For the past year or two, my classmates have been discovering numerous talents and passions that will undoubtedly shape their luxurious and profitable careers. I have a friend who’s a genius at public speaking and debating. Another of my friends is a scientific mastermind, and several other friends are proficient in music, art, sculpture, and… pretty much everything.
The only thing I’ve discovered about myself lately is that I want to be a zombie.
Point is, I was getting kind of annoyed at having to make it sound like I was accomplishing things in order to compete with all the awesome stuff my friends were doing. “I helped to fight against the growing problem of child hunger” translates to “A little kid stole my French fries at the food court.” “I spent my weekend discussing the supposed extent of personal freedom with other intellectuals” means “I argued with my parents for two days straight about why sixteen hours of horror movies can be defined as ‘the pursuit of happiness.’” Meanwhile, my friends’ résumés were continuing to grow. Going to nationals for every sport in existence, winning state championships singlehandedly, earning every award under the sun… I couldn’t keep up.
So when a pediatric rheumatologist told me that I had one of the worst cases of Hypermobility Syndrome she’d ever seen, it felt like an accomplishment. I don’t know why. It’s basically like saying, “So you’re a singing prodigy with six record deals? Well, my life is about a zillion times worse than yours will ever be! In your FACE!”
Logically, it doesn’t make sense. You are, however, required to remember that I am the person who wants to be a zombie. Logic isn’t exactly my strong point.
So the next day, I went to school and I started dropping hints. I started small. In the beginning, I was wearing my There-Might-Be-Something-Seriously-Wrong-With-Me face. Which, honestly, was a load of bullshit. HMS is treatable. But at this point, I was running out of options. I could either let people know that there was finally something about me worth noticing, or I could slip into invisibility forever.
The There-Might-Be-Something-Seriously-Wrong-With-Me face went unnoticed. So I moved into Phase Two: I would say “Hey, look at this!” and twist my fingers into some three-dimensional, biologically impossible shape.
People said “Ew” and left. Nobody asked the million-dollar question: “How can you do that?”
About that time, I hurt myself. I’d tripped and twisted my ankle around, and it hurt to walk.
I milked that ankle for all it was worth. I would limp around the school like I was dying, face contorted in a mask of pain. Whenever someone looked at me, I would quickly do my patented Quadruple-Stacked-Fingers-With-Thumbs-Behind-The-Knuckles stunt. And I would wave at them.
It worked, to some extent. I no longer had friends who were more noticeable than I was. Unfortunately, I also no longer had friends.
Luckily, it was the end of the year. Summer vacation saved my ass, and everyone forgot how weird I was. Unluckily, I was fully aware of how stupid I had actually been; and I was becoming increasingly paranoid that everyone was mocking me behind my back and secretly plotting my destruction.
Interestingly enough, I went from believing nobody paid attention to me to believing everyone did. It just wasn’t the kind of attention I’d wanted. Logically, I realized that it wasn’t realistic to think everyone I knew secretly hated me. However, I also knew it wasn’t realistic to hope for an alien invasion. Yet I still did.
Logic has never been a part of my skill set.
In the long run, this paranoia made me more than happy to hide in the shadows of my friends. I still am. It’s nice and cool, and I never have to use sunscreen. And I’m basically left to my own devices.
Meaning that I can initiate the zombie apocalypse without needing to be too careful about covering my tracks.
Yeah. Shadows are awesome.