Before this story can begin I should introduce myself—
—my name is Rose and I am a music box dancer. I live in a dystopian world where individuality and rebellion are forbidden. All forms of creative expression are silenced, and education is purely practical. Every day is the same—get up, go to school, get home, sleep, repeat. I dream of leaving this desolate place but I don't think it will ever happen. It’s not like I have many friends here either. Most of the people that claim to be my “friends” act all nice for a few days, then stab me in the back. I just wish there was someone in my corner, you know? My dad works long hours at the factory and then comes home drunk and my mom passed away when I was six. She taught me how to dance in secret before she died.
Fast forward to present day. I’m still stuck in the same old school in the same old town.
BEEP BEEP BEEP...
...my alarm jolts me awake to get ready for the annoyance more commonly known as school. I quickly get up and throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt with my old combat boots. Most days I don’t even bother grabbing a breakfast bar on my way out the door and today is no different. I make my way to the bus being mindful of trying not to slip when I suddenly collide with someone headfirst. “Oh, I’m so sorry! I wasn’t looking where I was going,” I blurted. The stranger chuckled, “it’s completely fine, I wasn’t looking where I was going either.” Do you want help up?” he asked kindly. I accepted his hand gratefully; as I looked more closely at his face the realization of who he was hit me like a ton of bricks. “Oh, I thought I recognized you! You’re in my history class right?” I quipped. The boy nodded, having recognized me as well, “I’m Matthew, what’s your name?” “I’m Rose, I sit two rows behind you.” After a few moments Matthew spoke up, “can I have your number?” he asked nervously. I thought for a moment “sure” I wrote the number down on a piece of paper and handed it to him feeling a bit nervous. As we got near the end of our little encounter, the bus pulled up to our stop. Trying to shelter each other from the rain we clambered onto the bus. School passed by as it did any average day. Teachers droning on and on about topics we will probably never use in real life.
Finally, the last bell rang and so I began the long solitary trek to the bus. When the bus finally screeched to a stop, I clambered down the stairs into the cold, ceaseless rain. I carefully dried off and turned on music from my iPhone. A few hours later someone’s keys jangle downstairs and a door opens. Immediately I rush to my phone and turn off the music just before my father angrily bursts into the room. “What are you doing?” he bellows. I turn around to face him, “Just doing some homework for history,” I replied coolly. After a few minutes of studying my face, he slams the door and stomps away, yelling over his shoulder for me to make dinner and get him another beer. “That was a close one,” I whisper with relief and decide to text Matthew to see what he’s up to. He doesn’t text back for a while so I eventually fall asleep peacefully for the first time in a long time.
RCQ Anne is a writer and contributor at reel cultured.com.