The Girl Who Cannot Seem to Arrive to Class On Time

September 21, 2007
By Kate Wilsterman, Bethlehem, PA

Every day she sweeps into the room, always late. She walks as if she is barely touching the floor, yet she is still tethered to the world by airy strings that are barely visible. The petulant teacher purses thin lips, but she, the girl who’s name not only escapes the class, but also the teacher, just hides behind the hoodie and a smile creeps upon her face. As her soft lips, the same color as her skin, slide up to her cheeks, her silver lip ring glitters lightly, surrounded by an aura of forbidden fruit. This class is just a game to her, apparent from her silk excuses and oblivious smiles.

She miraculously appears in her seat, though you will never see her sit, and slouches in her chair, seated in the back of the classroom, and avoiding any participation. Under the crashing light, her skin is the color of cocoa powder; a light and aerated brown, leaving her to look half baked. She has cheeks sprinkled with freckles, deep brown spots dribbled across her nose which is too small for her facade.

She’s pretty though, bright eyes that slip between gray and green. Her heavy black hair is always restrained by an elastic tie, hidden beneath a disengaged hoodie. But then, at a second glance, maybe pretty was not the right word. The sleepless bruises beneath her eyes and the chipped nail polish are not those of a pretty girl. Instead, she is the essence of pretty, the idea, barely filtering through her sandpaper exterior because of the cigarettes and late nights she indulges in. She has no reason to care how she looks, her friends cannot see her through eyes clouded by smoke.

In class, she will only look at you out of the corner of her kohl-covered eyes, through heavy eyelashes, and never speaks except in a soft, raspy voice to explain her lateness. She doesn’t smile except for at her own private jokes and she doesn’t blink when you are looking at her. She sleeps during movies and she opens her eyes like the sun rising: slowly, but with such deliberation, it is apparent she knows someone is watching her, somewhere.

Her disinterest emanates in a glowing orb about her, the ragged notebook placed on her desk only to avoid further confrontation. When the teacher calls on her, she shrugs her shoulders and mutters an ambiguous answer that the teacher swallows with her ears, but her eyes remain placidly and contemptuously fixed on the nameless girl. Brushing the gaze from her shoulder, along with a strand of misplaced hair, the girl glances at the tables around the room casually and with an eerie omniscience.

The superiority of her condescending demeanor portrays the utmost dissatisfaction as her eyes slip into gray and glaze over again, falling into obscurity until the teacher pulls her back, telling her that if she does not want to participate, she should change classes. The girl just replies with a curt, yet understanding nod. As if to prove her point, or if only for her own enjoyment, she reaches under her seat and pulls a tired book from her backpack. A black cover and ripped pages emerges between slender fingers. The teacher condemns the angst material with her eyes, but does not object. The girl who’s name is unknown lets a smile dress her face for a second and she opens the book slowly and carefully, a page falling out from age or just constant use. The title is a flicker of gold in the light as she bends the spine of Pride and Prejudice and begins where she has left off, a shock to the teacher, from the girl who can be seen smoking cigarettes on the corner between third and fourth blocks.

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