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It’s the third time it happened this week, Matisse Thompson opened her locker after eighth period and a carefully folded note dropped to her feet. Like the last time, her heart skipped a beat as her eyes landed on the piece of paper - the first time she was merely confused.
Her heart pounded in her chest and her hands shacked like leaves on a windy October day. Is he watching? She taught as she quickly glanced around. He must be. But no one was paying any special attention to her. None the less, she took a deep breath, closed her eyed for a couple of seconds and concentrated hard on retrieving the letter. Halfway to the floor a slap on her backside pulled her back to reality. “Hey sexy,” said a football players “showing of your blessings I see”. Matisse watched him walk away with a smirk on his face. “How rude!” she cried disgusted to the empty hallway. ‘I sincerely hope my secret admirer isn’t one of the football players’, secret admirer, she really liked the sound of that. How could he like that? His two previous notes were romantic, literate and flattering not obnoxious and rude. He must have some kind of culture.
She slid slowly down the row of lockers until she hit the floor. In a daze, she stared straight ahead as she brought the letter to her nose and smelled it. ‘Miss Dior Cherie’. He most definitely isn’t a jock. A Jock would’ve probably sprayed the notes with his own perfume, not her favorite woman’s one.
Her phone buzzed in her pocket startling her out of her reverie. It has become common for her to slip away and wonder what he was like. Having never been in love before, this – the butterflies and the daydreams – were all new to her. This secret admirer has captivated her attention like no other boy had yet to do, and she doesn’t even know him. She began to think that there might be hope for her and she might not end up an old maid after all.
“Mattie there you are! I’ve been waiting for you.” Her mom’s voice brought her back to reality which she’d escaped, once again. “Uh, hi ma”. She looked around her, lost. She didn’t even realize she made it to the front stairs.
Facing the school she looked right through the glass door with their inevitable “Crescenzo High School” Bulldog and straight to her locker. Then it hit her. It hit her like an apple on Newton’s head: he didn’t have to be in the school to make sure she got the notes. He could be standing right where she is, or in the driver’s seat of his car looking at her through the doors and she wouldn’t know any better!
Hopping in the car she fastened her seatbelt with unsteady hands. This realization didn’t give her any clue about who he was but somehow it made her feel closer to him.
The drive home was silent. On her part at least, her mom babbled on about her day without really asking for any kind response. She was grateful for that because she had no idea what her mom was saying. All she could think of is his letter burning through the back pocket of her jeans.
She had to hold her right wrist to her side to keep from ripping it out and reading it. She knew that doing this plus her reaction would cause her mother to ask questions. Questions to which she didn’t want to answer. Question to which she didn’t have the answers. But to be completely honest, she wanted to keep the suspense a little longer. Secrecy is sexy and exciting. Obviously someone was betting on that.
Soon enough they arrived home. Her mom hopped out anxious to go inside and cook dinner while she stayed behind and counted each step so she wouldn’t run to her room. “One, two, three …” It takes exactly three hundred and thirty-eight steps – big ones – to get from the garage to her room.
Once in her room she seated herself at her desk and pulled out the letter.
“I ne'er was struck before that hour
With love so sudden and so sweet.
Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower
And stole my heart away complete.
My face turned pale, a deadly pale.
My legs refused to walk away,
And when she looked what could I ail
My life and all seemed turned to clay.
And then my blood rushed to my face
And took my eyesight quite away.
The trees and bushes round the place
Seemed midnight at noonday.
I could not see a single thing,
Words from my eyes did start.
They spoke as chords do from the string,
And blood burnt round my heart.
Are flowers the winter's choice
Is love's bed always snow
She seemed to hear my silent voice
Not love appeals to know.
I never saw so sweet a face
As that I stood before.
My heart has left its dwelling place
And can return no more.
__Secretly your, X”
This was his longest note yet. She pulls out the other notes from a notebook in her bottom drawer. They still smelled faintly of Miss Dior Cherie. The first one was a quote from George Sand and read “George Sand said ‘There is only one happiness in life, to love and be love.’ Will you love me and complete the saying? __ Secretly yours, X”.
The second note was longer but still didn’t meet the length of this one. It was a small poem from an artist unknown to her, Joanna Fruchs.
Each thought of you fills me with sweet emotion;
I give to you my deep, complete devotion.
All my fondest wishes you fulfill;
I love you totally, and I always will.
As always it was signed ‘__Secretly yours, X’.
Sitting at her desk, staring at the notes and playing with a pencil, Matisse soon became agitated. The excitement she felt towards the unknown became frustration. Senior year was almost over and she needed to know who this was before leaving for college. He certainly wasn’t going to reveal himself without a little push and that is exactly what she intended to do, push him. Push him hard.
She stayed seated at her desk deep into the night, trying to find the perfect words. Crumbled pieces of paper littered the floor. She soon gave up on making her note sound poetic like his; after all she is no poet and someone who was going to love her forever should know that.
In a last frustrated attempt, Matisse let out a long breath and wrote:
“TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
I am very flatter by your notes. As you may know from watching me, reading them makes me smile. But however, love notes aren’t enough to build a relationship. In other words, I need to know who you are before making any decisions. If you aren’t willing to reveal yourself to me, please stop leaving me notes.
She read it again before going to bed and while getting ready for school the next day. She was proud to say the least. It was short, firm and full of confidence which she was lacking right now. And just for the heck if it, she sprayed it with her own perfume.
By the time she arrived to school Matisse had taught too much about the situation and wasn’t sure she wanted to know who it was anymore. Isn’t it better if he stayed perfect in her mind rather then being someone she couldn’t see herself with, like, a ninth grander? Oh my God! What if it was a ninth grader? She quickly cleared that possibility by reminding herself that the note were left on days were only seniors had class eighth period. That didn’t clear the possibility of them not getting along. He could still be a freak or a loser. She mentally kicked herself for that discriminating taught. Never the less she had to know. She just had to. And even if it was a ninth grader, it would become a great story to tell her college roommate about. She could already picture herself sitting on her bed in her small but glamorous dorm room talking about “the kid that had such a big crush on her he became her secret admirer”.
Walking down the halls she was confident. That morning she took extra care dressing up. Her clothes were carefully picked and her makeup just as carefully applied. Heading towards her locker she got a couple of whistles who, surprisingly, comforted her in her choice of clothing. If they liked it, he had to like it also, right? She didn’t put the note in her locker right away; she decided to wait till seventh period.
The day seemed long and the paper note felt like a heavy weight in her bag as she walked the halls between classes. Seventh period finally came. With her head hung high, she walked toward her locker. She was pretty sure he was watching so she made a show of getting her books, – dropping them for good measure- closing her locker and just as the hallways emptied she lightly taped the note on her locker and walked away to her last class of the day with a small smile on her face.
Matisse was out the classroom before the bell announcing the end of class rung. Power walking to her locker, she tried to act normal but failed miserably. A couple of strange looks were thrown her way but she couldn’t care less. They would act weird too if they had a secret admire. But they didn’t. Out of all the girls of Crescenzo high she, Matisse Thompson had a secret admire! She felt like screaming but manage to make it to her locker sans. Sure enough, when her locker door flew open, in a couple of seconds it was there, at her feet. The feeling of screaming was back and it took all of her will power not to.
She kneeled down; careful not to leave her behind exposed, and picked up the note.
“Love” it read, “I too am flattered. Flattered that you dressed so carefully for me. You are right; it is time that we met face to face.” And these last words made her jump up and down like a little girl: “Upstairs girl’s bathroom, 8th period”. If anyone had doubts about her senility they didn’t anymore. She definitely looked like a mad woman.
Only seniors didn’t have class eighth period today. Saying she was excited would be the understatement of the year..
Matisse arrived in the upstairs bathroom panting. She grabbed the side of the sinks staring at her reflection in the mirror, trying to calm her breathing. Her blue eyes were still perfectly made up - thank you, twenty-four hour lasting mascara and eye-liner! - But her long black hair was a mess. First she tied it in a neat high ponytail then she went for a messy bun, the first style being too strict. She checked her clothes, her black high heel shoes were spotless, and her black skinny jeans still fitted perfectly and the blue plaid blouse she wore wasn’t wrinkled.
Then she saw it, staring back at her in the mirror, stuck between the wall and the tampon dispenser, a note. A note written on the tell tale paper of her secret admirer. “Another note!” she said through her teeth.
“Close your eyes and count to ten,
I shall reveal myself then.”
Doing as was said, Matisse closed her eyes and started counting slowly to ten out loud. “One. Two. Three…” She heard the noise of one the stall doors opening, but she could’ve sworn there was nobody when she came in.
Electricity ran through her as she heard the footsteps getting closer. She continued counting even slower. “Six. Seven.”
A wisp of Miss Dior Cherie tickled her nose. As she counted, a thousand thoughts race her mind.
Is he like I wished?
Is he cute?
Will he kiss me?
Will I fall in love with him?
“Nine…” Before she could pronounce the last number a hand grabbed behind her neck and pulled her into a kiss. A soft kiss at first but it quickly became deeper, more passionate. Soft lips pressed against hers. Tongue touched tongue. Both pairs of eyes were closed.
Soon they became desperate for air and Matisse pulled away, her eyes shut tightly. Perfect, was all she taught.
She began to slowly open her eyes. Her sight was blurry at first but as soon as she was able to make out the person in front of her, her eyes widen with shock and her mouth held open. At that moment she realized how wrong all her questions were. While she was wondering if she’d fall in love with him, she really should’ve wondered if she’d fall in love with her.
As the shock weared down, a small timid smiled crept on both their faces, and they leaned in for another kiss.