Circled Distraction

July 7, 2008
By Sarah Rood, Grosse Ile, MI

She sits in her written on, grey desk in AP English, ignoring the comments of others, seemingly staring off into space. Her eyes wander, taking in the now familiar letters stenciled obscurely around the room, spelling out a message it took her four years to decode. Her eyes finally come to rest on the desk directly across the circle from her own. It’s not the desk that catches her attention; but rather who is sitting in the desk.

For three months now this has been her habit-admiring him from afar. She loves the way his hair is stylishly messy, and is constantly falling in his golden green eyes. She admires his tattoo-not gaudy but displaying his Irish heritage, and his piercings –both ears and labret-unique but strangely attractive. She catches herself staring and quickly averts her eyes before anyone notices.

She turns her attention back to the lecture, her mind still clouded with thoughts of him. She wonders what he thinks about her. It is then she realizes she has fallen, and fallen hard. The surprising break-up of four months earlier no longer tears her apart the way it used to. This was all part of her plan, a way to get over the pain of the break-up. She had decided she needed a distraction and he had fallen into the role perfectly.
Her daily habit has been altered-but only temporarily. The bold, black font of the question stands out against the crisp white paper lying obscurely on the desk in front of her. The room is silent, except for the sound of pencil scratches. Her test is still blank, her mind on things other than the answer. He’s distracting her, once again, his jacket falling over the back of his chair and resting on her feet. She’s most distracted by his smell- the sensual mix of smoke and cologne. She turns her attention back to the test, easily jotting down the answer.

While waiting for the rest of the class to finish she becomes lost in thought, arguing with herself: to ask him to hang out or not? She weighs the consequences, trying to decide what to do. She decides to go for it, taking a chance, risking rejection, trying to push her past record out of her mind.

All day she waits for the perfect opportunity. It comes just before sixth hour, near her locker. Heart pounding she takes a deep breath, approaches him and then asks him, her voice sounding awkward to her own ears, cheeks burning.
“Do you want to get coffee or something tonight?”
He looks thoughtful then replies “Sure,” writing down his number for her.

Breathlessly she walks away, dazed and floating on air. She wanders into her last class, thoughts of the night to come rushing through her head, expectations high.

Her hopes were high, awaiting his call. She was eager to get to know him better, and learn more about the boy in her English class. He said he was busy until seven, but would give her a call later. Seven came and went, and there was still no call. Discouraged she decided to stop waiting and enjoy her Friday night, hoping he just lost track of time. He finally called around ten, too late to hang out, telling her to give him a call the next night. She called and called (three times, not wanting to seem too eager or desperate but enough to show she did care) but no one picked up. She decided if he called then it was alright to hang out but if not, well, she’d just have to see what happened Monday.

Monday was awkward, and she wondered why he didn’t acknowledge that their plans for the weekend had fallen through, since he had previously seemed eager. After a day of silence, she decided she should just give up and that he had no interest in trying to make things work. Her hypothesis was proven when she overheard him telling his friends that she called him a lot that weekend and he was frankly rather scared. She was immediately overwhelmed with emotion: sadness that her expectations were crushed and fury that he was lying about her calls.

A few days passed, the lines of a popular country song stuck in her head:
“So go and tell your friends that I'm obsessive and crazy
That's fine; I'll tell mine you're gay
There's no time for tears,
I'm just sitting here planning my revenge”

Once again, she walks into AP English, trying to lose herself in the discussion of Anglo-Saxon poetry. Instead she watches him sitting there in front of her, head tilted slightly, teasing his hair out, enticing her. She thinks back to what happened, the incident-just another black spot on her list of guys. But yet, even remembering the rumor she heard, she can’t help being attracted to him. His looks and style-the person he is in class but not outside.
Second Semester: A new start, new classes with new people. Or so she hoped. She settled into her desk, gazing around observing her “new” classmates. Then he walks in, nonchalantly, settling into a desk three away from her own. No, this can’t be happening. She wanted a new start, free from him and the mistakes of first semester.

Two months have passed. He is no longer in her class; having switched out the fourth day. Without him there as her distraction her mind is finally clear. Their only contact has been awkward passings in the hall and a run-in in the most unlikely of places-detention. The detention episode: her, a stereotypical good girl and him, a by-the-book-bad-boy. So, girl meets boy in detention. Girl and boy talk, girl gets additional detentions to spend time with boy, boy and girl fall in love. Right? Wrong. Girl walks awkwardly into detention, trying not to look as out of place as she feels. Boy makes mean comments to his friends about “little Miss Perfect” being in detention. Girl survives the hour in hell, feeling like a piece of meat in a lion cage only to realize he means nothing to her. That fact is confirmed when she sees him in the library three days later, sitting in his usual corner which she dubs the corner of faded dreams. That’s all he is to her: a faded dream, turned into a nightmare and forgotten about.

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