A continuation of Weird-Ass Moth Story Part 1 and Weird-Ass Moth Story Part 2
Persephone's best friend Jessica, soon followed by everyone else at school, had decided that pronouncing her full name was simply too time consuming and so had settled on this shortened version. Persephone kind of hated it; it had none of the appeal of her actual name, and possessed a certain cutesy quality that she found inherently irritating. However, she had chosen not to mention this to anyone in the interest of preserving her hard-won reputation as a "normal girl". Said reputation was something that she had been diligently cultivating ever since the Moth Incident just over three years ago. It was still accepted as fact that she was "a little weird" but, beginning just after The Moth, her appearance had been changing for the better and it was now also accepted as fact that she was one of the prettiest girls in school. As long as she was careful to remain "a little weird" as opposed to "really weird" or (god forbid) "SO weird!" this alone was enough to afford her some measure of popularity.
As Persephone looked up, Jessica bounded toward her with an unnervingly large grin on her face (she also seemed to be sort of vibrating) and said "I have something really exciting to tell you!" Persephone asked "What is it!?" while trying her best to imitate Jessica's enthusiasm (though, honestly, she couldn't imagine anything Jessica might have to say that was worth that level of enthusiasm). "Toby just told me that Brandon likes you!" Persephone was fairly certain that Brandon Mills had been unanimously voted, by the eighth grade girls, as the cutest boy in school. She herself had always thought of him as a bit of an arrogant ass, but decided to go ahead and say that she liked him back. There were two reasons for this; 1- a "normal girl" would never turn down the cutest boy in school. 2- this was the last day of middle school and everyone had been talking about how important it was to be dating someone when you got to high school, to avoid having the older students think of you as a little kid. So, despite the fact that the entire process had always seemed utterly ridiculous to her, Persephone completed the complex and mysterious middle school dating ritual by telling her best friend, who would tell Brandon's best friend, who would tell Brandon himself, that he could call her.
There were two more classes before the end of the day, which passed with the uncanny slowness reserved exclusively for the last day of the school year. When the final bell rang, signifying their final day in this particular school, everyone but Persephone fled their classrooms with a level of joy and excitement that she found completely annoying and yet envied at the same time. She thought how nice it must be to be so happy about something so ultimately unimportant. As she stepped out onto the sidewalk, amidst the crowd of bouncing, chattering students; Jessica ran up to her, grabbed her hand and squealed "He's going to call you!" then made sort of and eeeeee noise and sprinted toward her bus. As always, Persephone walked home alone.
The Moth Incident probably should have made her somewhat wary of walking in the woods by herself but, in fact, it had done just the opposite. She actually spent more time there now than she ever had before. After that day she had developed a new connection to the forest. It was as if she could actually feel the energy of the trees and the animals running through her body, and it made her feel so incredibly alive! She did have one other motivation for spending so much extra time in the woods though; she was looking for another moth.
The day after she had encountered it, she had begun researching; trying to figure out what species it was. She knew that it was not something that was native to her area. It quickly became apparent though that it wasn't native to any area. She searched everywhere for information on it. She started looking online, then visited every library she could, and finally even contacted a couple of well-known (within their own field, anyway) entomologists. She found absolutely no evidence that there had ever existed any moth like the one she had seen.
After the initial frustration of her fruitless search wore off, she decided that, if she couldn't find out what it was, the next best thing would be to find another like it. So after that she had spent every free minute in the woods. She had sat for hours on end watching cocoons, to see what came out of them, to no avail. After an entire summer of this, she had finally convinced herself to let it go. That was when she had made the decision to try to be normal. She told herself that maybe that was the what the whole experience had really been about.
Despite the fact that it was a threat to her quest for normality, Persephone simply couldn't give up her excursions into the woods. And, while she may never have found the moth, she did find plenty of other fascinating things. A couple of weeks ago, she had noticed a pair of birds constructing the beginnings of a nest. She couldn't wait for the end of school each day, so she could check on their progress. On this day, she arrived to find the nest almost completed, and smiled genuinely for the first time all day.