one last first time

December 30, 2015
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Stupid love. That’s what I told myself while I was trying not to stare at her across the cafeteria. I’d been in love with Claire since I met her in eighth grade, but to her I was always just that Carl kid who ate lunch alone and played the cello. We met in math class when she was failing and I was the class show off. But don’t get me wrong, Claire wasn’t stupid. She knew random facts about anything and everything. Like how pandas get their coloring or what year those awful horror movies she loved came out in. Claire was beautiful in every definition of the word. Today she wore a navy blue dress with long, billowy sleeves and a tangled mess of long necklaces. Her hair hadn’t changed once since the first time I met her. It was light brown streaked with faded light blues, purples, and pinks that were the result of dozens of failed at home dye jobs. The ends of her hair curled slightly, making the whole mop look like it bled together. She was always walking around with headphones in, listening to the electronic music that she tried to get me into once. It didn’t work. In my mind, music was something that made you feel like you could do the impossible. The hazy thump of computer generated noise was not considered music. I hated her music, but I was crazy for her. Now, we were seniors and I was running out of chances to tell Claire I loved her. I always imagined being at graduation when suddenly, she turned around in the middle of the parking lot and realized she was making the biggest mistake of her life by running off without me. Of course, it always ended like one of those awful romance movies my mom loved. The strong, brave, hero (me in this case) whisked off the girl of his dreams on a white horse, riding into the blazing pink sunset. But that would never happen so for now, I sat alone, staring at the love of my life across a crowded cafeteria.  I swallowed the breath I didn’t know I was holding and walked up to her. My feet acting on their own. One step, two steps, three steps, four. I closed my eyes as I walked, the cafeteria a set of worn blueprints in the back of my mind. I pictured myself on a tightrope, swaying as I gazed at Claire’s sparkling blue eyes across the room. The rope swung lazily, pulling me closer to the beauty that surrounded Claire.  Five steps, six steps, seven steps, eight. I opened my eyes and listened to the clunk of my converse on the fading tile floor. Nine steps, ten steps, eleven steps, twelve. I looked up into the face of the only person who’s every mattered to me and offer the world’s lamest wave.
“Hey Claire, it’s me, Carl” I said, almost out of breath from excitement. She matched her blue eyes with my murky brown ones and let out a radiant smile. I swore I could see the pale, glistening moon in her bubbly stare. This was it, the moment where I was Claire’s knight in shining armor.
“I’m sorry” she laughed lightly, “who are you?”






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