The silence is what tells me somethings wrong. She’s typically blasting music through her shitty headphones (sometimes I wonder if she’s half-deaf or something) or talking to herself for no goddamn reason. But when I walk into our room her headphones are nowhere in sight and the only noise I can hear is the turning of pages.
Ophelia doesn’t even look at me when I loudly drop my backpack to the floor. That typically gets a rise out of her. She can’t stand it. Says I’m gonna damage my shit. Bold of her to assume I care. Not everyone wants to pretend to be perfect like her.
“Aye,” I crane my neck at her (I either look pretentious or idiotic). (I’m still not sure which one I’m aiming for). “Aren’t you gonna say hi?” She doesn’t even look up. I sigh dramatically and flop down onto my bed. “Well if you aren’t going to so much as greet me then I guess I’ll just… fill the void.” I’m improvising. She hates that too. She hates that I don’t think about anything I say or do.
A small glance. That’s all I get. What’s she even reading? What’s got her so out of this world. I flip onto my stomach and shove my chin out past the edge of my bed. It takes me a few seconds of squinting but I finally make out that it’s Emily Dickinson. Of fucking course it is. All part of her aesthetic, I’m sure. Even her fucking name is all dark academia.
“Emily Dickinson, eh? Wasn’t she like… a lesbian or something?” She stiffens. Back all straight and neck strained.
“Hmm… who told you that?” Ophelia doesn’t look up from the page even though I know she’s been on the same one for the past three minutes.
I flip onto my back again so I’m hanging off the bed upside-down. There’s a stray wisp of hair I blow out of my face (of course it comes right back down again but it was worth the effort). “Heard it in one of John Mulaney’s specials. Ya know that real lanky guy who used to write with SNL. Looks kinda gay… what’s the name for that? When straight guys look really ga--”
“I know who John Mulaney is,” she snaps and closes her book without marking the page.
I put my hands up (yes, upside-down). “Never doubted your capabilities for a second.” She’s looking at me now. One hundred percent attention. On me. I flash a huge grin. To be honest, I am just trying to get a rise out of her. All this gay talk has probably got her perfect brain in a tizzy. Proof is that blush all over her face working its way down her neck and chest.
Her face goes from flush to grimace real quick. “Also stop it with all this gay talk, you’re ruining the book for me.” Annnnd there it is. The plummy twat I’ve learned to love.
“What? Can’t believe something good came from a queer?” I don’t like using that word that way but I’ve become so desensitised to it over time. Also… I might be getting annoyed and when that happens all regard for words go out the window.
“Please stop talking.”
“Nah. You know, Shakespeare was allegedly queer and he created Ophelia. So I think you shouldn’t be so sour to the perfectly brilliant people of society just because they aren’t you, Ophelia.” I’ll feel like an idiot for all this later. I hate when my words come out in jumbled messes. I sound like an idiot.
“I don’t care.”
“Of course you don’t care. You only care about your perfect little self. Maybe since you’re named Ophelia means that a little bit of Shakespeare’s gay rubbed off--”
“Fucking shut up!”
Oh. She’s got tears in her eyes that I didn’t even notice. I don’t notice much.
“Just shut up,” she whispers. Then she stands up and quietly leaves the room.