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Boy Meets Girl
It was raining when the Boy set off for home. He'd had to stay after in detention, a fight had broken out in the hall and he'd tried to split the two up, but wound up taking the blame for it instead. His friends hadn't done anything to try and back him up, and the halls had been empty when said fight had broke out. As the Boy walked, he saw a girl sitting on a bench, alone, in the rain. He’d seen her around school, she didn't really talk to anyone and she was always waiting there on the bench when he walked home.
Wonder who’s shes waiting on.
School had been out for two hours, why was she still there? He pulled the hood of his jacket up against the rain, and ran to the Girl’s bench, his shoes squeaking on the wet sidewalk.
“What’re you still doing here?” He inquired, keeping his voice light and airy.
“Waiting on Mother.” He couldn’t see her face as she talked; the rain had slicked her long hair across it. She sounded close to crying.
“School’s been out for two hours. Why didn’t you ask for a ride from one of the teachers?”
“What would be the point behind it?"When mother will be mad when she comes to pick me up and I’m not here?” She looked up at him with sad eyes and a pale face.
This Girl doesn’t get very many chances to be happy and sorrow is weighing her down.
“Here.” He took his jacket off and handed it to her, “You’ll get sick out here in the rain without a cover.”
She wrapped it around her slim shoulders, “Thank you.”
He took a seat beside her, “How far do you live from here?”
She pointed to a path that ran through the woods alongside the school, “It’s straight through there.”
He tilted his head slightly and looked at her, “Then why didn’t you walk?”
“Mother will be mad if I’m not here when she gets here.”
The Girl sounded resolute in her decision of not leaving, but the Boy couldn’t leave her there in the rain, who knew how long it’d be until her mom came for her.
“Come on, let me walk you home. You can’t stay here in the rain an if your mom gets mad, I’ll take the heat for it.”
The Girl pushed her hair behind her ear, “Alright.”
The Boy stood up and held his hand out to her, she took it and he pulled her up off the soaking wet bench. She slipped on the sidewalk and fell against him, after a quick apology and an alright they started on their way.
Small twigs and leaves crumpled under foot as they walked, rain slid off the leaves and dripped on them occasionally. The Girl walked in silence, the Boy wracked his brain trying to think of something to talk to her about. A small squirrel ran up a tree a little to their left, the Boy tapped her shoulder, wanting to point it out to her. She jumped and let out a small yelp of surprise.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you, I just wanted to show you a squirrel.”
The Girl didn’t turn around to answer him, “It’s alright, I’m used to things like that. Now where’s this squirrel?”
He pointed at the tree and his finger followed the squirrel as it climbed. The Girl watched it through half closed eyes. And then continued walking. The trees around them lessened the down pour a little but not by much. Leaves rustled as small animals ran to get out of the rain. A family of bunnies watched the teens as they walked by. These two didn’t belong in the woods; they didn’t have fur for the rain to roll off of, our a burrow to hide in. these two were very unusual and very strange.
The Girl walked slowly, dread seeping into her every step they took away from the school. Mother wouldn’t be happy is she discovered the Girl hadn’t waited on her. She looked sideways at the Boy. Why had she let him drag her into this? Why hadn’t she waited on Mother?
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you smile.”
The Boys’ statement startled the Girl. He’d been so abrupt, so random. She stood in a kind of stunned silence for a second or two before continuing on. She gave his statement a mental chewing, trying to find some sign as to why he would say something like that.
“Why would it matter if you’ve seen me smile or not?” She was trying not to sound snooty and failed.
“Because I like to see people smile. I like to know that people are happy.” He moved aside a tree limb, only slightly bigger than her thumb, and let her pass under it before following, releasing it behind him.
“ It’s hard to smile when there isn’t a whole lot to smile about.” The Girl’s vice was as cold as the rain around them.
The Boy was taken back slightly by how her voice had changed, “There’s plenty to smile about, there’s so much beauty in the world, it’s hard not to.”
“What do you mean?”
The Boy mulled that over, looking at his surroundings. There was a slight rustling of the trees, the smell of damp earth filled his nostrils, the colors around him were so rich and dark. He looked through a gap in the trees; the white and gray clouds swirled in an elaborate design against a pale blue sky. They reminded him of Vincent Van Gogh’s A Starry Night. The world around him was beautiful and amazing.
“Look up at the sky,” he prompted, “Can’t you see the clouds as they swirl and change, making an elaborate puzzle of beauty? Can’t you see the rich hues of the trees around us; can’t you smell the earth you walk on? There are a million beautiful things around us, and a million reasons to smile.” One crept across his own face.
The Girl looked up at the sky, and saw the dark clouds swirling the lighter ones, trapping them and swallowing them, like a spider does a fly, soon all the light clouds would be gone and the sky would be full of darkness. She looked at the trees around them an only saw the shadows along with the millions of things hiding in those shadows, and she was afraid. She breathed in the air around her, thick, humid, and only smelled the death and decay of a nearby tree ready to fall.
“The clouds do swirl and make patterns, but if you watch the lighter clouds will vanish and give way to the darker ones. I see the shadows in these amazing hues you talk about, shadows and all the horrible things hiding there. I breathe the same air you do but it’s thick and hard to inhale, I only smell a decaying tree ready to drop.” She blinked slowly and watched the expression on the Boy’s face. The girl continued on, seeing her house through the trees. The Boy followed in silence. They reached her front porch and she handed him his jacket back.
“You’d better go before Mother returns, she’ll be upset that I was here with a boy. Thank you for walking me home.”
The Boy silently accepted it, “Will I see you again tomorrow?”
“Yes, yes you will.” She watched as the Boy took the path back through the woods and saw the world the way he did for a split second. All her fear was gone, the air was clearer, the trees beautifully blowing in the breeze, and a sky where the light clouds chased away the dark ones. A small smile played across her face, and for the first time in a long time, she was happy. She wasn’t worried about Mother not finding her at school; she wasn’t worried about the shadows or anything. Grief had lifted its way off her shoulders, leaving her the time to be free.
The Girl turned and walked into the house, counting the seconds until the next day when she could see the Boy again.