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“This is so embarrassing,” said Allen in his mind. He had just won third out of the whole United States in wrestling! He was standing on the podium on the 3rd place position hiding his face in shame.
“I came here to take first not third. Come on, I want to get off this stage, all these people are watching me,” he told himself.
After the tournament was over Allen went for a run. He left the school and just started running, he ran for hours trying to get his anger out. It was late when he got home, he was calm and quiet, everybody was asleep so he went to his bedroom, which he shared with his two older brothers: Derek and Ricky. They had their own twin-sized beds, but not Allen, he had to sleep on the floor with his sleeping bag and pillow.
It was six the next morning when he awoke. Allen went and made pancakes. He would have made eggs to go with it but they needed food for lunch. Then he did the dishes and went outside to watch the birds. It was a Sunday morning, which meant going to church with his aunt and the rest of the family. They were a religious family. Allen couldn’t talk to anyone else besides the people who went to his church. So he didn’t have many friends, but that didn’t bother him, he doesn’t like talking to people anyways. It scares him.
“Allen! Come and get ready for church!” yelled his aunt from the door. She had them all go to church since they moved in with her. She insisted on Allen most though because he listens and the other boys don’t take it seriously. Disturbed form his quiet time outside, he got up and went to get ready to go to church.
“Hey Allen! What were you doing out there huh? Talking to the birds again?” asked Ricky sarcastically, “Hurry up and get ready, you’re going to be late for church.”
“I wasn’t doing anything out there, and don’t tell me to hurry up when you’re not even dressed,” he replied. Then they went on with their business.
After church was done everybody went back home to chill. The two boys were finishing their homework after a long weekend while Allen cleaned the house. He had already done it on Friday so he was free to do whatever he wanted. Nobody in his family had finished high school except his dad who went to Harvard but lost his job so he had to send them away to live with his sister. Allen was an A student, but was an extremely slow learner. He took forever to get what the teacher was trying to say, but once he got it, he got it. There was nothing and no one to take away what he learned.
On Allen’s free time he would run, watch the birds, or clean the house. That’s all he ever does after he finishes his homework. Allen likes to be alone, he was always sick as a child so he was left out most of the time, then he got used to it. His brothers and the neighborhood would pick on him because he was so weak and sick all the time. Now he doesn’t like being around other people or evenProxy-Connection: keep-alive
alking to them at that.
So after a long time of cleaning, Allen finished. The house was clean so he got ready for a run. He put his trunks and T-shirt on and headed out the door, ran down the driveway and went on his way. Before they moved he and his dad used to run together. He could never keep up with his dad though so he taught him ways and techniques to running faster. He remembered everything and practiced them each time he ran. He runs twelve miles a day, on school days he runs to and from school which is six miles from his house.
“Why do they have to be such jerks?” he thought to himself as he ran down the road, “I never do anything to them, I clean the house and sometimes cook dinner. Never mind them. I have to think about what I’m going to say when I come up to her.” Allen has known her since last year, the ninth grade. Her name is Tamica and now is in the eleventh grade.
“C’mon Allen, she said hi once last year and that’s all she knows about you,” he thought running harder now. “You have to talk to her or at least say hi every once in a while.” Tamica was almost like him, quiet, kind, and always happy. They past each other in the hallway last year and said hi to each other, looked each other in the eye and smiled. He kept a close watch on her every since then.
“In health class I can start saying hi. That’s what I’ll do and eventually start talking to her.” Now that he solved his problem, he continued on with his run having a good time.
At school the next day the usual came along, kids asked questions about him and his life and why he doesn’t talk at all. And in reply, he would answer a short little “I don’t know,” and walk away. Despite all the questions, Allen had been focused on one thing, saying “Hi” to Tamica. Health was his next class, he had been thinking of how to say it all day.
“I could pretend to accidentally bump her and say sorry. Then tomorrow dropping my pencil by her would lead her to picking it up for me. After that she’ll notice me and start saying hi. But I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to talk to her, maybe I shouldn’t even try.” All this was going on in his head while sitting at his desk in his class just before health.
Then the bell rang, health was next. Either he would do it today, or bug himself later on about failing to talk to her, just like all the months that he failed before.
“Okay just do it, just do it. Just walk in as she does and accidentally bump her, that’s all there is to it.” She was coming down towards him, towards the class and wasn’t aware that she was about to meet the one kid in high school who never talks. She came and went into their classroom, no greeting, no contact with anyone, just a regular walk into the classroom.
“She’s not going to ever notice you if you don’t say anything to her,” thought Allen, “You got to do it tomorrow. You’ve done this how many times already, it’s time to do something. Tomorrow is the day that I, Allen Poe, will talk to Tamica, the most amazing girl out of the whole eleventh grade! And I don’t even know her.”
The day went by like a snail’s journey up a tree after health class. Nothing was on his mind except for the fact that he had failed again about meeting Tamica. He is a very focused kid and never fails to do anything, but when it comes to talking to other people he can’t do it, it’s just too scary for him.
The next day he still didn’t have the guts to talk to her, or the next, then a week past, then a month, then it was the end of the year. Allen would be in eleventh grade and Tamica would be a senior. He almost gave up trying to talk to her, when at the beginning of eleventh grade, he was walking head down in the hall, totally thoughtless about anybody special, when he turned the corner and bumped into her, right there was where they met.
“Hi. Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there,” she said. “Hey I remember you, we met two years ago right?”
“Yeah,” he replied, surprised to have “accidentally” bumped into her. Meeting her was what he wanted since last year and when he does, all he could say was yeah. So they went on with what they were doing before this all happened.
“You could have done better than that! She tried to talk and all you could say was yeah,” he thought while walking to his locker. “Maybe she’ll start recognizing me more now. We do have the same sixth hour together.” His hopes were high now, he had finally met her, or had some sort of connection with her now.
“She had remembered me, that means she thought about me some time after that.”
After that day they started saying hi to each other, Tamica always starting it out then Allen replies. Then he started talking to her, asking her questions about homework and other things, and eventually they started hanging out.
“We’re having a tournament this weekend if you want to come watch me,” he said to her during lunch.
“Ok, yeah I’ll go. When is it?” she asked.
“The team has to be there at noon on Saturday,” he said, “but the race doesn’t start until one o’clock.” It was their first time meeting outside of school. Allen was planning to ask her out that weekend, after the race. He would dress nice after the race then ask her. He had never had a girlfriend before, so he didn’t know how to act. He really liked her though and couldn’t wait any longer to ask her. This weekend was he chance and he wouldn’t miss it.
The week went by and they hung out some more, talked about the following weekend and what they are going to do afterwards. Then it was Saturday morning, Allen woke up at six a.m. just like the day before to get ready for the day.
“Those boys just make dishes on purpose so I have more to wash. Well one day they’re going to have to wash their own dishes and their own house to clean, if they can even afford one,” he said to himself washing the morning dishes. He usually did them when everybody slept, they didn’t get up until eleven on weekends.
“Forget them, I should be concentrating on the race. I had a close one with that Mac boy, we almost tide last year. Not this year, I’ve been running all year long, I even beat my last years’ time. And when that’s all done, Tamica’s going to come up to me and be all excited because I took first.” He continued washing until he finished, after that he got ready to leave the house.
“Whoo!” Allen cheered, “Twenty seconds faster this year!” He had just crossed the finish line with Mac Tiffer thirty feet behind him.
“Wow! I never know you could run so fast!” said Tamica, cheering him on like he said earlier.
“There’s a lot of things we don’t know about each other,” he told her.
“I guess that’s true, we got to get to know each other more than huh?” she said in return. They walked toward his warm up’s to get dressed.
“That’s why I would like you to be my girlfriend.” There was a pause.
“Really?” she asked after looking at him for a couple seconds. His heart was pounding and he didn’t know what to say. Another pause.
“If that’s okay with you. I’ve never had a girlfriend before so sorry if it came out from nowhere. It took me almost two years to ask you that, every since we met that one time in the hall. So I wanted to ask you,” he said as they were walking. She smiled at him hugged him, he returned the hug and they stood there until the moment was gone.
That day they went for a walk in the park. They talked about their past lives and everything about themselves. Tamica said she was originally from Maine but moved to Philli after her parents died in a house fire.
“I’m sorry,” he told her. “I had to move away when I was five. We lived in Hawaii with my parents before that, they were too poor to raise us so they sent us to live with our aunt.” They came to a stop to sit down on a sidewalk bench. The sun was setting in front of them the trees were rustling in the wind and all was calm and quiet, the kids in the park had gone home and it was just the two of them.
“Hey, I just notice that we have something in common,” he said.
She looked at him and said, “What’s that?”
“That we both had a hard time in the past, but if all those tough times didn’t happen, we would have never met each other.”
“Well I’m glad it did,” she replied, leaning towards him, closer and closer. Then he leaned over and kissed her, ever so happy that his parents had done what they did.