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The first time he saw her, he almost gasped aloud from the pain of her presence. She stood haloed by the soft light that filtered through the library window, running her finger reverently along the spine of a book. Her golden hair tumbled loosely down her back. She wore yellow- his least favorite color, but he didn’t care. He vowed to start liking the color yellow. How could he dislike it when she wore it so beautifully?
It was only chance that he was there in the first place. He hated libraries. They were stuffy and dusty and old, and he would rather be outside in the sunlight, playing football with the guys. But Mr. Anders was insistent. ‘If you want to catch up on all of that work you’re missing, Darren, you better hightail it down to the library and get to work. I want those essays by Monday’. So he had reluctantly dragged his heavy feet down three flights of stairs to the library, turned the corner around G-J, and there she was, standing like an angel in the fading afternoon light.
He could do nothing but stand there watching, noticing the little things, like the smile that tugged at the corners of her mouth, and the way the light played against the curve of her jaw. He was sure later that if she had turned and seen him, he would have stopped breathing altogether. But she did not. She must have found a book that she liked, for she pulled one off the shelf, smiling brilliantly, and walked away from him, out the other end of the shelves, and back out of his life, as if she had never been.
It was a while before he could move again.
The second time he saw her, she sat in the café with three friends, sipping a cup of coffee. He spared only a slight look of disgust at the coffee before he was caught up again in her beauty. She wore a blue top, and her hair was bound up in a ponytail. He longed to see it tumbling free like it had the day before.
He stood by the soda machine, holding a medium sized cup that screamed PEPSI on the side, his friends completely forgotten. He stood immovable, staring; oblivious to the students that flowed angrily around him when he would not get out of the way.
Everything was her.
In fact, he was so attuned to her, to everything around her, that when one of her friends leaned over to whisper in her ear, he could distinctly hear her say, “Kara, I think that guy over there is staring at you.” Kara, he thought, her name is Kara.
He felt her surprise as she turned, felt her wonder; who would be staring at me? And then their eyes met, and suddenly they were tangled up together, as effective as being shackled at the wrist. Kara stood, as if to walk toward him, but he heard one of the girls say “I don’t like this. I think we should leave, Kara,” and suddenly they were all standing, rushing to grab their purses and drinks, pulling Kara with them out the door.
She was alone the next time he saw her, standing in the back row of the lecture hall. She was scanning the faces of the students; looking for him, he realized.
She was beautiful. Her hair was again free to tumble down her back, and she wore a scarf that dripped red like blood. For a moment he was concerned for her safety, before noticing that it was only fabric.
“Kara” he breathed, and though she could not have possibly heard him, her head snapped around to look straight at him, and again their eyes met.
For the first time, he realized that she had green eyes, and though he had never been fond of green eyes, hers must have been the prettiest eyes he had ever seen.
Suddenly they were moving toward each other, pushing through a sea of students. They were pulled together like north and south, like east and west, holding eye contact as if it was the only thing that could save them. They were blind to everything around them; the students that mingled and chatted, constantly blocking their path or their view, were nothing. They were obstacles, always in the way.
And then they reached each other, she reaching her hand out like a plea for help. He grasped it, and so they were forever, holding hands, until the world would break them part again.