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Braces-Clad Romeo

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James watches the clock--the first time he can ever remember watching the clock in his Mock Trial class (his favorite since September.) He feels Mr. Gleason’s hurt blue eyes on him (what has happened to his favorite student??), so James switches over to glancing at his wristwatch. He pushes it up against his polka-dotted pale bones where the watch has left a red tattoo. He gulps, taps his pencil, foot jittering, and finally BONG! A Chinese gong echoes in James’ mind as the clock’s hand meets 3:15. James stuffs papers into his bag, shovels it onto his back and leaps through the door, escaping before the hurricane of students washes him away.

He squeezes through walls of towering jocks and gaggles of girls in short skirts falling over from laughter, slipping out an inaudible “excuse me, pardon me” as he flits by, embarrassed to be alone. Finally, he sees her. The angel with Rumpelstiltskin’s silk falling down her back, as he wrote in his diary one day. Alone, but with her head held high. Unafraid to be alone, not like James. Her eyes crinkle when she sees him, and they embrace. She’s just an inch or two taller than him, and James always tries to stand a little straighter, tighten what muscles he has. They kiss like spring butterflies, and James can feel his brain evaporating all over again, his limbs collapsing. This is love, he thinks. While others stare and gag, raise eyebrows and make faces, James knows they are jealous. They want to be in love, just like him. They want someone as wonderful as her.

Braces-clad Romeo and Juliet bid goodbye at the line of yellow buses, but only for the day. James promises to call her--right when he gets home! He’ll even skip band practice, he promises her. He’ll even skip his Calculus homework! They’ll talk for hours and hours, and never run out of things to say. She holds his hand and kisses his cheek, and James smiles like a Golden retriever. He climbs onto his first-row bus seat, holds his legs in front of him. He’s sure her lips have made an imprint on his skin, cracked a permanent smile across his face as the bus rumbles home.





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