It was Sally who had called him.
"Cheryl! I need someone to talk to!" she had said, her knuckles white from grasping the phone. And Bob had said, "Cheryl? There is no Cheryl here." That was how their relationship started.
There were no moonlit walks on the beach. There was no sipping sodas at the local five and ten. But there were phone calls. Many phone calls. And that was all. Sally always talked to him lying face up on her bed, legs crossed. That was the way she had first spoken to him, and the conversation had been so special that from then on she wanted nothing to be different about it. As for Bob, he liked Sally.
"How was school today?"
"It was o.k."
"How is the poem that you're writing coming along?"
"Sally...that's what I want to talk to you about. You know, when I write poetry, I like to go slowly. I like to look up each word, to make sure it is right, to make sure the meaning is correct. I like to plan the title, the form, the verse, the rhyme scheme so perfectly that in the end, though it took a long time, nothing can go wrong."
"Oh," said Sally. She uncrossed her legs. It had been a year, after all. "But don't you ever wonder what I look like? Don't you ever wonder what my last name is? Don't you ever wonder where I live? Where I go to school?"
"No," Bob said. "No, I don't."
A month later Bob called Sally. He read her his poem.
"That is a nice poem," Sally said. Then she hung up. An hour later Sally called Bob back.
"I'm ready," she said. Bob was a good friend; she was ready.
So it was decided. They would meet each other in front of the elm at the park.
"Fine," said Bob.
"Great," Sally said.
Sally got there early. An hour early, to be exact. Bob got there early. Forty-five minutes early, to be exact. Sally was sitting on the bench across from the tree. Bob was leaning against the elm. They both saw each other at once. Their eyes met. There was no connection between them. Bob lowered his eyes, said "Hi," and turned around. Sally started to cry. There was nothing special about it anymore. She wasn't sitting on her bed.
Bob walked, head down, to catch the next bus back home. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.