Waiting Too Hard

July 2, 2008
By Meg Dowell, Homewood, IL

She spent the first nine years of her life watching Disney movies, and the next five years watching them all over again. Fairytales about princesses and true love stuck in her mind until the day she turned sixteen. She couldn’t help but hold onto the hope that she would be swept away by her Prince Charming one day. She sat in her room after school every day and wrote love songs while she waited for him to find her.

He spent most of his life looking for someone to love. He was charming and funny, but his family and friends didn’t seem to be enough to fill the void in the dark and dreary depths of his heart. It grew colder and colder every day, and there didn’t seem to be anything that could brighten his world. He longed for the mysterious and non-existent “girl of his dreams” to find him as soon as possible.

She rarely spoke to anyone in the hallways. She wove her way through clusters of high school students and kept a straight face as friends giggled to one another obnoxiously. She tried not to watch couples as they stood on the edges of the otherwise congested human traffic. They made no effort to tone down their public displays of affection, and she found herself scowling as she turned the corner.

He sat at a large round table in the middle of the cafeteria. There were so many of them that they had to steal chairs from surrounding tables in order to seat all of them around the table. He could not help but feel like the head of their large group as they all turned to him and asked him about his weekend. Unsure what to say, he told them what he always did. He had spent Saturday with his mother and Sunday with his father. And as soon as lunch ended, he managed to get away—just to escape the lies that he knew would catch up with him sooner or later.

She was alone in the hallway—or she thought she was. She was tired of eating by herself and had decided on wandering the hallways during lunch instead. She wasn’t hungry, anyway. The pains and sorrows of her morning sat upon her shoulders as she walked alone, wishing that there was someone she could vent to. But she didn’t expect to find anyone. No one ever bothered to talk to her during the school day. Instead, she chose to walk the halls with her head bowed shamefully. She did that now.

He had been told never to walk with his head down. He had also been told time and time again never to let a could-be perfect moment slip right by him, but he was dreadfully lackadaisical when it came to those sorts of things. Trying to care took too much effort. He’d tried to care before, and it had gotten him nowhere. Not caring got him into all sorts of trouble—trouble such as running right into passersby in the hallway.

Logic would have allowed her to say something like “sorry,” but nothing seemed right to say just then. Someone had actually looked at her—he was still looking at her. But she felt nothing, saw nothing, except an opportunity to escape from the awkward situation. But her feet were glued to the floor.

He smiled at her, and she smiled at him. For just a moment, hope sparked in both of their hearts like a long-forgotten match had been lit. But the flame vanished as soon as it had appeared, for the fact that she was too shy and he was too lost in his own world kept the words on both of their tongues from leaping out of their mouths.

And then, just as quickly those smiles had appeared on their faces, they were gone again. They turned awkwardly and began to walk away from one another, both of them failing to notice opportunity as it banged roughly on the closed door sitting in the space between them. The noise died away as they continued moving their separate ways, never looking back to see what they had missed.

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This article has 1 comment.

songbirdjo said...
on Sep. 13 2008 at 4:00 am
Ahhhh! I really like this! The concept is great, and the way it was written was amazing too.

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