Safety Goggles

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“Leah, will you go around and pick up all the safety goggles?” Ms. Brown screeched into the talkative class of 8th graders.

A small girl with petite lips and hair pushed back with a green headband stood up from her chair in the back of the classroom and started doing the teachers request. Her mocha- colored hands quickly grabbed the goggles from the tops of the lab desks. She slid them through her arms so she could hold more without pausing to put them down. Gathering the last of the goggles, she shuffled to the front table by the glasses’ cabinet and plopped them down with a noisy clang. A short breath of relief escaped her mouth as the weight was lifted from her skinny arms. Leah then took a few at a time and began to stack them on their racks.

Shane, a gangly boy with high cheekbones and bug eyes rushed up to help her. He stood behind her reaching his arms around her small frame to get to the shelf. Shane was speedy to help and even more ready to impress the small girl he had a noticeable crush on. In his hurry, he commonly placed the goggles backwards and sideways so his partner had to straighten them constantly. Leah’s face was stony and bored with the task and her helper, but her eyes shone with laughter and admiration. A minuscule giggle was heard between the two, but it was quickly covered by Leah taking more glasses.

Shane-

My eyes are so glazed over with boredom I can barely see. They often do that in this class. The drone of Ms. Brown lets all thoughts flutter into the wind.

“Leah, will you go around and pick up all the safety goggles?” Ms. Brown yelled into my ear.

Ignoring the ringing sound this created, I sat up a little straighter looking for Leah. This was more interesting, I thought, well; at least it is something to keep me preoccupied until the bell rings for social studies.

The first thing I noticed was her shoulder-length hair. It was the color of the night sky shining by moonlight, and it was illuminated by her green headband. Leah’s delicate feet pattered around the lab as she picked up the goggles from the table tops. Pink lips moved and a string of words danced out of her petite mouth in the perfect pitch. Her eyes shown with knowledge, and the simple brown was bright and full of exuberant life. She is just beautiful; there is no other way to put it, I concluded.

Oh, no. She is coming this way. Looking right at me with those wide eyes, I said to myself. I looked toward the board and faked like I was copying the mess of element titles and electronic energy levels, though it isn’t like I even understand it all. As I picked up my pencil, I could feel her eyes on the back of my neck. Good thing I decided to look away or that would have been really awkward, I thought. I mellow-dramatically wiped by forehead like I just escaped a life or death situation.
Leah wasn’t even making a dent in the 26 goggles she had to shelf. I sprang out of my chair and became set on helping her. I could see right above her head, so I did the top shelf first. Carefully, I positioned myself so my long arms reached to each side of her without brushing against her soft skin. I looked straight down most of the time and watched her hands move fast and with purpose to finish the job. My hands stumbled over the clunky goggles clumsily. I hope she didn’t see that, I moaned. I discreetly checked her face for signs of annoyance; luckily, there were none, since a trance of a smile shone there instead. This, in turn, made me grin. She suppressed a giggle, but it was still heard by those closest to her, which was me. An adorable laugh for an adorable girl, I smiled wider. It’s good she doesn’t know that I secretly cherished these moments of pure bliss I got to spend with Leah, but of course I could never tell anyone, not my friends, family, and definitely not her.

Leah-

“Leah, will you go around and pick up all the safety goggles?” Ms. Brown screeched at my unknowing ear. This snapped me out of my thoughts. I was trying hopelessly to figure out a way to look over at Shane, without being too obvious. It had not been working out well. I signed and hopped out of my chair to start on the first of the many goggles. At least this gives me something to do, I thought.

Frequently, I glanced over at Shane. He had dark skin with a skinny face and small arms, but he was on the football team. Therefore, it was okay that he was as skinny as a toothpick. Right? I tried to justify my reasoning to myself, but looks weren’t what caused him to catch my eyes. He was always very sweet to me and hilarious during class. Who doesn’t love a sense of humor? Dang! I tripped yet again. I silently pleaded that he didn’t see that. I just wish that I wasn’t so clumsy; he probably thinks that I have two left feet. Gradually, I wandered over to his table. This was the moment I have been dreading and hoping to avoid.

Oh no, the goggles are slipping off my arms, I wailed, but in my head, of course. I had to hustle to his table and after a lifetime, I dropped them onto the desk. Now it’s time for the insipid task of putting them in the cabinets and on the racks, I rolled my eyes. Then, I grabbed two at a time and tried to be quick, but 26 safety glasses takes longer than you think. Shane sprang up out of his chair. What is he doing? I glanced at him. He’s coming closer. Closer. Now he’s much too close. He picked up some goggles and started on the top shelf with me in between his long arms. Nervousness spread through my whole body. I attempted not to show it through the mask of blankness I plastered over my face. He started putting the glasses in crooked and upside-down. I fought a smile and set them in the right spots. As this continued, my will power crumbled and I showed my emotions with a grin. A small giggle escaped my lips. Whoops. He probably heard that, and now he thinks I’m crazy. Oh, well Shane would think I’m more senile if he knew I secretly cherished these moments of pure bliss I got to spend with him. Of course I wouldn’t tell him or anyone, not even my friends, this piece of information.





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