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I try to keep my head down as I move through the crowd. I cannot, under any conditions, let him see me. I dash through the halls, my heart beating so loudly I’m sure the rest of the people around me could probably hear it. Blood pounds in my ears, and I hold my breath as I try to get away from this chaos. I can’t seem to stand the noise that everything makes at the end of a school day. I’m almost there, I tell myself, and then I can go home. I seem to be doing this every day – running away from my life.
When I finally get through without being noticed at all, I let out a breath of relief. I notice that I seem to be shivering with paranoia. I can’t let him see me, I repeat in my head. I can’t let him see me. I can’t let him see him. My fingers fumble with the lock as I glance around every few seconds. I don’t want it to happen, even though I know in my heart that it will. I’ve been avoiding him for almost two weeks, and I know I’ll have to face him sooner or later. My heart fills with dread at the very thought of it.
Finally – my locker clicks. I wrench it open, and start shuffling my things together in my backpack. My algebra book? Do I need it today?
I don’t know what I’m doing now. I’m losing focus, putting books in my backpack while taking them right out again. I suddenly hear a voice that’s behind me, though it sounds like it’s coming from a whole different world. I quickly realize who it is, and start to panic. I stand up slowly, and start fumbling again with my stuff, and then I drop everything, and to me, it sounds like a crash so loud in my ears.
“Rachel.” It was a statement; not a question. He waited for me to reply, but after a minute, he said again, this time more urgently, “Rachel.”
I know that after weeks of avoiding him, I should give in, and tell him everything that’s been bothering me, but something holds me back. Doubts cross my mind as they have so many times every day. I don’t know what to do, and what to tell him.
“Rachel will you please just look at me?” he says, like a voice away from my own private mind.
I close my eyes, and take a deep breath. In my mind, I can almost hear my mental debate of what to do. Most people would consider me lucky to have a chance like this, but all I see is a chance to ruin everything I worked so hard to maintain. But…something makes me reconsider my almost-hastily made decision. I don’t know what it was. Something terrifyingly strange and mysterious, yet I knew that it was my answer.
I slowly breathed in, and as I breathed out, I opened my eyes, and turned to face Daniel, my best friend since childhood. His eyes met mine, questioningly.
I slowly nodded my head at him, and his eyes rejoiced with happiness. It was so obvious that he was filled with relief, even though he tried not to show it to me.
I thought I was almost going to break down in tears, not because I was afraid I had made the wrong decision, but because I knew in my heart that I had made the right one. I threw my arms around him, and he told me to never be afraid of something I don’t know.
I told him I never would.