Jace has never been normal. Normal in the way boys should be. Boys hooking up with girls every now and then, boys doing alcohol just for fun, boys fighting over girls every now and then, I mean once in a while. Jace is never talkative. Has ever had a friend either. Jace is 16 years old. Jace is not normal. He doesn't even know himself. Jace is a zombie.
Over a month ago Jace and his mother had to move to a new place and start after the parents got divorced. Moved to a new neighborhood, not very far from the city where they'd been living, but far enough from the father and a good enough place for them to start afresh.
The neighborhood is less crowded, less noisy, got a serene environment, better looking and the ideal home Jace has always wanted. A place no-one knows him. He has transferred to a new school, although he really hates school. He loves writing at his own time , he's good at writing love letters, he's good at being the Jace that he's been all his life.
The mum, a teacher, will be the new princpal at his new school. After she got transferred, for the then principal retired a few days earlier.
" Mum, please, just be a principal and not my mum at school. I don't want the kids getting on my nerves like the last school. Please. I'll ride my bike to school. " He says.
" Okay then, I guess I'll just be 'mum' at home. But am not promising that, should anyone bully you I will do what I have to do. " she says.
" Don't worry about me, this ain't the city. People around here are much nicer or so have heard. " He says as he picks his back and walks out.
His first day was kinda like all his days. Nobody talked to him.
He amazed his literature teacher like he had the rest.
Sat alone at lunch break and rode home on his bike all by himself.
His second day was not the same though. His teacher read our his writing from the previous day to the whole class leaving everyone in awe. His heart beat went up by a couple of beats, his head was literally on fire on realising how many eyes were staring at him, his eyes almost popped out when they started clapping for him.
He couldn't concentrate for the rest of the session. Every now and then, he'd receive a note saying " congratulations " or " you are good .".
Lunch break was not as usual either. On his table were a couple of his classmates, majority of them being girls he didn't know, three boys who looked kinda weird to him.
" Word is that your story will be featured in our school magazine . It's already been pinned on most of the notice boards by now. The teacher is even considering having the principal read it and then attend one of the classes later this week, " one weird boy says. " Am Martin by the way, and you are Jace. The whole school already knows you by now ,"he adds .
. Jace looks around the cafeteria and nobody actually looking at him, nobody's is actually talking of him either.
He doesn't say a word. He finishes his lunch and walks to his classroom.
" Martin, why do you always have so many words in your mouth. You should just have said ' hi '. I bet that would have made him say a word or two, " Frank says.
" You are such a weirdo, " Shanice says as they all get up, leaving Martin alone on the table.
Class was boring again for the rest of the afternoon. Jace rode home alone.
At home that night, even the mum, Sharon, couldn't help it.
" I read your story today. One of your best stories so far. And I liked it. And before I approve of it going to the school magazine, I have to confirm it with you. So what do you say Jace...? " she asks.
" I think it's cool. But you don't have to come to class. Please. I already have a good feeling about this place, like I'd hoped." Jace replies.
A couple of days flew by and Martin and Jace were friends. His first friend. Not like he had a choice. He couldn't avoid him no matter how much he tried. Because he was his sat next to him in class and they lived on the same neighborhood, and because he was the first person to figure out that he was the principal's son.
" I think it's cool to a principal mom. My mom is a bar tender down the street. " he says.
" just don't tell anyone about it, okay." Jace says.
" okay. I promise. But they'll find out either way ,like I did. "Martin says.
" not if you shut you mouth about it. "
Week after week, the whole class was looking forward to the bit where the teacher would read out his writings
. The whole school was, even the seniors.
His writings had to be printed and distributed to avoid congestion in the walk ways near the notice boards. His friend cycle grew big in a short while. He was everyone's friend in school.
He got over his fear of talking to new kids. A new club was started so he could help other students with writing.
And then met Shanice.
They had met several times only that he didn't realise it. They'd talked several times but he didn't understand what was happening. And today his eyes met hers. .
" I think she likes you! " Martin wisphers.
" so? " he asks.
" Go say 'hello ' or something. " he says.
" There is no way she likes me. Maybe she wasn't even staring at me , " he says.
" just go say hi and stop being a looser. " .
Their talk was pretty long, longer than he expected. He returned a changed Jace. A different Jace. A glowing Jace. Martin didn't wanna know what happened. Or what they even talked about.
He walked home, pushing his bike. Shanice next to him. . .
.after all they turned out to be the school's most talked about couple.
They'd spend much time at his place. Shanice reading the many love letters he'd be writing on behalf of his friends, and a couple more he'd written for her.
Half the school already knew that he was the principal's son, thanks to Martin, but they didn't seem to care about it. Because he himself didn't talk about it that much. The principal was pretty easy to deal with according to them, unlike the previous one. And the students liked her.
His first semester was his best ever. Like a dream come true, with even much more on add on's. .
The first year was good to. And so was the second and his last year.
After school, he didn't struggle much finding a job. He got a job a job at a newspaper center. Shanice flew out for further studies.
Martin worked on a production firm in town, but they'd meet up on weekends and share a beer or two.
. Madam principal was still madam principal at school for a couple more years. With the school performing better than it had ever performed.
. When she came back, Shanice, after three years of absence, they had so much to talk about. She'd even grown more beautiful than when they had first met.
And Shanice wasn't Shanice anymore. She was engaged to someone else. Somebody else who was not Jace.
Hard to swallow that fact, Jace was broken. Lost in a thought he'd hoped was just but a nightmare that would eventually just go away after some time. But it didn't .
" I flew all this way to say am sorry Jace. I knew a phone call wouldn't be enough, not after what we've been through together. And I understand if you don't wanna see me again . I get it if you don't wanna hear from me again. But I just wanted to let you know that I loved you and am sorry. " she said.
Jace didn't go to work for a week. He didn't say a word. Not even to his own mom. He didn't write , didn't even talk to Martin about it.
A few days later after Shanice's visit. Jace was back to himself. Active like nothing had happened . He wrote many articles that made him get several awards. He even had a new library named after him by the county governor.
He worked on his first book without telling nobody about it. Day in day out. Nobody noticed anything peculiar in his behavior.
Shanice eventually got married .
And received a book from Jace. " MY LOVE IS DEAD " was its title.
With a letter on its front page.
" Hello. If you are reading this, most likely I didn't make it to your wedding . Or am dead. I honestly can't tell if it's from a broken heart or I'd it's from my decision not to move on. I wasnt sure I was going to love someone that much. I was never sure I was in fact going to find someone to love because I was never normal. I grew up having to relocate every time my mom had to move on from one relationship to another. I had a difficult choice having to leave my dad and siblings to stay with my mom. I regret it sometimes, I must admit . And sometimes I don't .
I don't hold nothing against you. It's okay you get married to someone else.
Am probably the worst guy at saying good byes. You are the only person I think deserved to know.
This book is about me. My best chapter is when I first met you.
My worst chapter, is when I can't even say good bye to your beautiful face.
. I hope you'll understand.
I hope you know I'll always love you.
Let the world read about me.
I hope I won't die in your heart.
And indeed Jace stubbed himself in the heart.
When his book was published, his home town wept at his tale.
Shanice couldn't take it anymore. She overdosed and died just a couple of weeks after her wedding..
. Martin couldn't believe it .
He visits their graves once in a month to let them know they broke his heart .
© 2019 Amani Utembu