I crept slowly up to the long sophomore table, a scared, silent, stranger in this world of upper-classmen. My new black sneakers squeaked, but were inaudible over the dull roar that was conversation in the cafeteria. The dolled-up older girls of the table regarded me with deep suspicion; they must have been contemplating the possibility of my having stolen an old boyfriend. Sweeping my short, blonde hair from my blushing face, I stood, awkwardly waiting for the sophomores to either condemn me or welcome me. And then he turned around, the one sophomore I knew, and carelessly flicked his long, dark hair from his smooth, pale face. His half-full lips, always quick to smile, flashed open and I knew he had, incredibly, managed to remember me. Our quick chats about drawing two years ago, which I had found boring, suddenly burst like a flower into my mind, and I remembered the way he had always laughed at what I said, dismissing me as a young child. He now led me to the blue seat next to him, told me the names of his female friends, then continued with the previous conversation. The way he talked and laughed reminded me of my first real crush, and I was again lost in his memory. After a moment, he cast his dark, kind eyes back in my direction, and I felt the flush of excitement and pleasure at being under his gaze. The pretty girls at the table no longer glared, having been told that I was a naïve freshman and therefore no threat to their boyfriends, and gave me ruby-glossed smiles of sweet acceptance. He asked me what I’d been up to during the year we had been apart, and I, no longer able to contain my childish glee, pulled out my sketch book with all enthusiasm and showed him the cover of my current comic book. His clear amazement at my quick progress left me breathless, and his undivided attention gave my crushing heart complete hope. The bell rang all too soon, and I rushed crazily to replace the book in my over-crowded bag. He laughed his wonderful waterfall laugh; I was still a funny young child to him, despite my being just a year younger. As I quickened my embarrassed, retreating pace, he fell into step beside me; I sucked in a surprised breath as he smiled a pure white smile. My heart throbbed with a secret longing, one that had me hoping that he’d ask me to the homecoming dance. Then he took his leave, shaking his head sadly as he walked back to his class, which he had passed for my young benefit. I was in utter ecstasy and quickly lost my attempted path within the new school that no longer held secrets from my observant, hazel eyes, lost within the drumming of my poor, poor heart.
April 15, 2013