1 Monotone

The repetitive sound of my phone alarm brought me back from the same light sleep as usual. In truth, I was just waiting for it to go off. I started to wriggle and stretch under the covers. As parts of my body were gradually turning on, I realized today was going to be just as uneventful as any other day--the way I chose to keep it, sort of... I leaned over and tapped the 'stop' button, reminding myself 'snooze' would just annoy me again a few minutes later. Why'd I keep that alarm again, I wondered briefly. Strangely motivated, my body's systems seemed to catch up with my mind. I stood up and paced over to my dresser where I absentmindedly put on a grey shirt and some black leggings. I tucked my chained pocket watch in my pocket, feeling comfortable with it by my side. It was a mere matter of habit by now. I unplugged my laptop, which had been charging throughout the night. I walked over to the bathroom across the hall, nearly tripping on a bin of who knows what--once again reminded of how reliant I was on my contacts. Staring in the mirror with the same expressionless face as the day before, I brushed through my relatively long teal hair which went far past my shoulders when straightened. I washed my hands thoroughly before dipping my fingers in the pool of contact solution and bringing the small, translucent lens to my eye. After blinking a bit, I could see clearly. Gah, it's bright. 'What am I, a vampire?' I sighed, giving myself a minute to adjust. 'I'm a mess.' I realize as I note how I parted my hair wrong. Oh wait, I don't care. I wash my face, brush my teeth, and head for the stairs.

I was never hungry in the mornings, instead, brewing the same herbal tea with a few drops of honey. Setting the kettle on the stove, I sat down at the counter and opened my laptop, waiting for the water to boil. Opening my browser, I returned to the same XHTML file I'd been staring at until 5 am the night, or rather morning prior. With a new day came a 'refreshed' mind and I quickly spotted the error as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Quickly getting over the moment of shame, I reviewed the contents and shifted my attention to the styling in the linked css file.

"You're sure up early." A familiar, deep voice chimed in, interrupting my focus. Dad.

"Good morning," I replied, providing the expected response to such a greeting.

"Working on your code?" He glanced at my screen.

I nodded, "Just a bit of tweaking."

"Good. Are you caught up?" He asked, absentmindedly. Just goes to show where my autopilot mode came from. Still, he's almost always supported whatever interests I had and encouraged learning, as any decent father should, I suppose. I get things pushed onto me sometimes but it's fine, it's better than not caring at all.

"Pretty much." I replied. That was an appropriate enough response too. Hah, I have to question myself every time I speak as if the relationship is glass and could break at any moment. Such a strong bond, I mock. He gives me a suspicious look but I ignore it.

"Mother still sleeping?" I presumed, knowing full well we both understood the implications of such a question.

"...Yeah." He responded hints of hesitance. Ignoring the signs, I continued.

"Drinking again?" I asked, already feeling my irritation building.

He sighed. "I know…"

Perhaps sighs are contagious as I let one out too. I glanced towards the stove and sat up, feeling a bit sluggish--my mood having been put off already. I poured the steamy liquid into a mug and stirred in a bit of milk--changing the color to be more creamy.

I sighed again--I do that often. The reason isn't always clear--sometimes you just feel so 'meh' it becomes a habit. Life isn't perfect but it's not bad. It could be worse. Don't let it bother you, I say, knowing better than most those words are utterly worthless. I rubbed my temples like some old man, even though I was only 12. Ah, I turned 13 last week, didn't I? 13 then...makes no real difference, to be honest.

"Mind if I have some?" Dad asked, gesturing to the tea kettle.

"Go ahead." I responded. It might be a bit too sweet for your tastes though, I thought. You'd like it more with a squeeze of lemon. Actually, you'd probably enjoy the new tea leaves. I keep that part to myself.

No matter who it was I interacted with, it was always tense. This didn't particularly bother me, people backed off fairly quickly the more distant and standoffish I was.

"So...how's school?" He asked, also opening up his laptop. Perhaps looking at polls, the latest political news or contacting people to begin his own workday, I mused. I almost asked what kind of question that was but reminded myself that was too rude. It was a casual question that meant no harm. Then I thought about it, how is school going today? I opened a new tab and checked my to-do list.

"It's fine, I have an Algebra Unit test, a lesson on genetic engineering and some other... stuff." I trailed off. That, compared to my usual, 'The same.' or 'Good.' was a rather insightful answer.

I already knew he didn't actually care, it was just a mindless question to create interaction. That's all it ever was. It meant no harm, the tone and words were just never 'interested'. I didn't mind, of course. If someone's not interested, they don't need to pretend. I opened the journal I used for notes and took out a few sheets of lined paper. I opened the timed-test, which then closed off other tabs and began solving the equations, explaining my process and creating real-world scenarios.

I was homeschooled--or rather, I did online school--for a few reasons...we move around and travel quite a bit so it just makes things easier on everyone... It works out fine, I mean, I'm not exactly the most sociable person out there anyway, am I?

It's for the self-motivated and independent. Which, I could probably be considered.

"See ya." Dad said and I heard the door shut. 'Sure. I wonder how the renovation is coming along.' I replied in my head, returning my attention to the paper with neatly written problems one after another.

I'm a boring person, I know, but compared to other problems, that's nothing. I have better things to worry about than my personality.

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