The Wrong Idea

26th June 2013 – One day until the wedding

She couldn’t believe in one day she’d be married. It had felt like she’d been waiting her whole life. Jessica read back on her wedding notes which were all crammed into a bulky, red journal. She smiled to herself and sighed. The journal was overflowing. There were photos of various wedding dresses from tight to wispy, from glistening white to ivory and cream. Jessica stood up with the journal in her arms and danced around the kitchen laughing to herself. She sat down on her bed and continued to flick through the masterpiece she had been creating since she was a little girl.

Claire, who had been friends with Jessica since they were teenagers was always a little concerned about Jessica’s’ obsession with weddings and marriage and often told her to calm down but now that the wedding was only a single day away, Claire allowed Jessica to let her over-excitement loose. The only thing keeping Claire quiet was the fact she knew the truth.

“It’s going to be the best day of my life” Jessica thought to herself as she lay down holding the journal to her chest. She thought about the beautiful dresses her bridesmaids would wear, she had decided on duck egg blue and gold with white roses and sparkling table decorations. James, the lucky man would be wearing a stunning white tuxedo with a duck egg blue tie, his teeth would be perfectly white as he smiles at her down the aisle and his hair perfectly groomed for their special day. Jessica felt herself warming up and getting excited so she took a couple of deep breaths and opened her journal up, she flicked through it over and over again until eventually she drifted off into a deep sleep.

***

A few days before the wedding

Claire had arrived at Jessica’s house and let herself in and wandered up to her bedroom to talk about transport for the big day. She opened the door and Jessica was snoring her head off and her journal laid face down under her bed. Claire had never been allowed to look inside the journal because she had never met James and Jessica always said ‘I want it to be a surprise when you see how gorgeous he is at the wedding!’ all Claire knew was that they met in a bar one night and hit it off and he engaged after the second date because they both believed it was love at first. Claire wanted to meet James but respected her friends’ decision and understood that love does happen in strange ways sometimes. Claire couldn’t control herself, she had to look in that journal whilst Jessica was fast asleep. She slowly tip-toed over to the floor where the book was peacefully sat and bent down and picked it up… She felt like she had picked up a secret recipe that nobody in the world knew about. She took a deep breath and opened the first page. It all looked like a standard wedding planner until she reached the last few pages… At the back of the journal were hundreds of photos of James. Some were photos he had taken of himself and others were of him and a big scribble next to him. There was also a brunette lock of hair stuck to the page with red love hearts drawn all around it. Claire thought it was so strange to have that in the back of a wedding organiser so she turned the page and couldn’t help but gasp. Stuck in the back of the journal was a letter from court which read.

 

Dear Miss Jessica Carter,

This letter is to inform you that Mr James Harrison and Mrs Elise Harrison are taking you to court for harassment. They feel as though you are stalking them and it is affecting their home life and their relationship. A court hearing will be held on June 27th 2013. Until then, I advise you not to be within the same area as Mr and Mrs Harrison as a possible sentence may be given.

Regards.

Claire dropped the letter on the floor and stood there in silence. She had a sudden moment of realisation. That’s why she had never met James, that is why the journal was so private and that is why Jessica was so obsessive. She had been stalking a married couple and potentially causing harm. Claire put the journal back where it came from and went home, she understood that Jessica was ill and that she would be going to the court hearing with her dressed in a bridesmaid dress. The thought of it made her heart skip ten times faster but Jessica was her best friend and she had to do what she wanted to keep her happy.

***

June 27th 2013 – The day of ‘the wedding’

Jessica stood up straight and stared at herself in the mirror. “I look beautiful” she said to herself out loud and began to giggle. Claire sat on the bed trying her best to put on a smile for Jessica. Claire knew today wasn’t going to end well but she tried her best to pretend like she was going to a wedding. Jessica started to fiddle with Claire’s hair and told her she looked stunning. A car beeped its horn outside and the two girls headed out of the door as if it was going to be a great day for all. Claire watched her best friend’s facial expressions the whole journey and she could see right through her fake smile. Jessica suddenly jumped up and shouted ‘WE’RE HERE! We’re at the church!’ Claire looked out of the car window and no surprise to her, they were parked outside court.

Jessica skipped up to the big wooden door in her beautiful, white, slimming dress. Her hair looked incredible, her make-up had been done to perfection and the smile she was braving looked so real that you would think it truly was her wedding day. Claire stood back for a second and took in everything that was about to happen, she took a deep breath and followed Jessica up the stairs and through the door dressed in an amazing duck egg blue dress holding a small bunch of white roses.

The two girls headed to the front of the court room and everyone looked at them in what can only be described as embarrassment. They reached the front and sat down with who Claire assumed was Jessica’s lawyer. Claire looked across the table and saw James and his wife, they both looked exhausted and drained. She then glimpsed at Jessica who still had a giant grin on her face, she was staring at James and her eyes were glowing. It looked like she genuinely did love this man but it certainly wasn’t the same for him.

Hours passed and Jessica’s mascara was now smudged all over her face as she had cried throughout the whole hearing. As Claire listened to James and Elise tell the situation to the judge she wondered what had happened to her precious best friend. She had changed from a little girl ballet dancing with her in a hall to a crazy lady who had stalked an innocent couple and committed horrible acts such as trespassing and violence.  Claire wanted to leave, but as she was about to stand up, the judge announced that Jessica was sentenced to five years in jail for the seriousness of what she had done and the physical and emotional damage she has done to the couple.

Jessica let out a harrowing wail and Claire sat there in silence. James and Elise sighed with relief and two big built men dragged Claire’s best friend away. She stared as Jessica was taken down some stairs as she screamed and ripped her dress ‘IT WILL ALWAYS BE ME JAMES AND YOU KNOW IT WILL!’ Jessica screamed up the staircase. The whole room dissolved into a loud muttering mess and Claire sat there looking into blank space as a single tear slowly rolled down her cheek.

Change

As I sat in the sun, embracing the rays as they gently kissed the surface of my skin, I longingly stared at the sky, it was so blue, a beautiful shade of blue with not a cloud in sight. I laid back in an old deck chair of ours whilst my music flooded my ears, right through me making me feel like nothing or nobody was around, I knew they were though and I knew it was probably best if I acknowledged them but I felt so relaxed and lost in the moment that I quite frankly wasn’t bothered if anyone considered me rude or antisocial. I felt happy, genuinely happy and the existence of other people wasn’t going to get me down, not today. Not ever again.

I wasn’t the best at dealing with social situations, in fact, I was the worst. I would panic at the smallest of things for example if my mum left me at a till in the supermarket to get some milk when it was nearly our turn to pay or if I had to order food in a restaurant. My hands would clam up, I would shake my legs, my voice would keep crackling and sweat would drip from my forehead. I was indescribably pathetic so at each and every moment that I felt relaxed and happy, I had to take advantage of it and make the very most of it.

I had been an awkward person for as long as I could remember, my siblings were forever making fun of me for it but I just didn’t let it bother me. It wasn’t until high school where it got really bad, I couldn’t put my hand up in class because I feared of answering questions wrong, I refused to eat school dinners to avoid conversation with dinner ladies who are usually friendly, I was just an embarrassment, when people began to notice this, they didn’t even pause for a second, I got called so many names such as a ‘pathetic bitch’ that’s the one that stuck with me the longest and made me realise I had to change my ways. After so many people called me names and talked about me behind my back, it was difficult to make friends and I became even more awkward. I couldn’t look anyone in the eye, I couldn’t stand still if someone was talking to me, I would mumble and it made me feel like an imbecile. For a few years I just coped with it but I just remember one day as I was trying to get to sleep, I was feeling something strange, it wasn’t sadness though, it felt worse than that. I let my mind wonder about that until I eventually drifted off but I decided to ask my mum about it the next day. I remember the exact look she gave me and the exact words that left her mouth… ‘You are lonely sweetheart’ as soon as she said that, I couldn’t stop thinking and I just knew I had to get out there and make a friend. And it could have been anyone.

I remember it so clearly because it is one of the most significant days of my life, my mum had asked me to go to the supermarket for a few groceries, I was nervous but I felt a rush of determination, determination to change and to be confident.  I was walking down the road and there was a boy sat on a bench, he looked a similar age to me and straight away I could see that something was wrong with him, he had a strange look on his face, as if something bad had happened seconds ago. I panicked but my instinct was to talk to him, console him. I wiped my clammy hands down my legs and slowly approached the bench where the boy was sitting. I sat down next to him and stared at his face, remembering this moment makes me feel so embarrassed, it was like I had never seen a human before, I just stared at him, observing everything about him, I didn’t even know whether he had noticed me but still, I continued to stare.

“Can I help you?” He asked rather quietly.

I recall thinking ‘oh Christ’, I had no idea what to reply and it felt like hours that I sat there thinking about what to say but eventually the words crawled out of my mouth with an embarrassing little stutter.

“Hi, I’m Emily, you look upset”

Had I said the right thing? Did I sound like a fool? Oh my god he was going to stand up and walk away and my confidence was going to go back to zero. I just stared at him, I am laughing thinking about this, I must have looked so silly. I thought I had gone above my standards by talking to someone highly attractive when I have issues talking to any old person. But he was gorgeous, anyone would think so. I felt so stupid because he was now staring at me, no words leaving his mouth. It was an awkward situation but it didn’t feel awkward and that confused me. After a good 5 minutes he finally replied to me.

“Hi Emily, I’m Dan, and nope that’s just my face”

The way he said that made me smile, and I let out a little giggle. He smiled back at me and I could feel my cheeks turning pink, I was blushing like a little bitch. He asked me to walk with him, I completely forgot about what I was initially out for and followed him, we walked for hours but neither of us really saying a word. He led me up to a giant hill and he sat down, so I did the same. He then began to talk, he talked, and talked, and talked. I was amazed, happy, relieved all at once, only god knows what my facial expression must have been when he finished speaking. He was exactly like me, literally the male version of me and I knew in that moment that we would get along perfectly.

Dan and I met almost every day that week, and the week after that and every other week until now, in fact, he’s sat right beside me as I write this, reminiscing how we met and how perfectly we clicked is making us both smile like idiots. I had finally met someone who understood how I had felt all of those years because he had been through the same and we wanted to help each other so very badly and we knew that we could. We shared a whole summer together, going to restaurants and ordering food, it took a while but we did it, we ran errands for our parents and visited museums and art galleries and by the end of summer we felt like normal people. We hadn’t made any other friends but it didn’t feel like we needed to, we had each other and we knew if it came to a time where we had to interact with other people, there would be no problem. He really is the most amazing friend I have ever had.

I never really knew whether Dan had feelings for me, I knew I was always attracted to him but never really expected anything from it because we were friends. But one day, we decided to visit this fancy restaurant, we were going a little bit out of our comfort zone but still, we would be fine. We sat down and were having a laugh, talking about our days and as we were waiting to order our food, Dan stood up in front of a full restaurant and denied his love for me. It was such an amazing moment because it was a giant step for him to talk publicly like that and especially to admit something as big as love. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, it was the single most adorable thing anyone had ever done for me, ever. And ever will do. I will never forget it, it was so lovely and heartfelt and I have never felt so special. He’s cringing whilst we reminisce this but he knows it’s in my top five memories that we’ve shared.

He was perfect, my family loved him, I loved him and he had made me a better person, I was no longer a caterpillar waiting to leave its cocoon, I was a butterfly ready to explore the world and meet amazing people and so was Dan, we both applied for university and we attend the same one, we have been together almost 6 years now, time really flies when you meet the perfect person. We have an amazing group of friends who know all about us both and we’ve been told so many times how confident, loud and easy to get along with we are. You would never expect that we struggled to order food in a restaurant before we met each other.

Dan and I’s story proves that once you meet the right person, your life can change for the best and you will become a different person, everyone is so proud of me and I am proud of myself. I would never survive in the world if I was still as awkward as I was in high school, I can only tolerate certain people and when I feel happy, I really take it in because I know I truly deserve it, everyone deserves to be happy, you just have to fight for it but I promise you it is more than worth it.