Falling Forwards

February 8, 2010
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I wasn’t paying attention.

The elderly Irish priest rambled on, speaking about something along the lines of a mother’s love for her children. I caught about half of his heavily accented words as my mind swung from daydreams to reality. The monotony of the ceremony quickly tired me and my eyelids fell like petals during a cold winter. It was after I forced myself to straighten up and pay attention that I saw her.

She was crying. No matter how hard she tried to hide it, I could tell. Her face remained hard as stone as she stared without blinking at the speaker. Her shoulders trembled ever so slightly. She then turned away discretely to hide her pained expression from the neighboring elderly man, and I saw a tear roll down her sharp cheekbone. She made no effort to wipe it away before she faced forward again. The priest paused for a moment and suddenly, a deafening silence rang in my ears. I watched her quietly excuse herself from the church pew and walk quickly to the bathroom, locking her stony gaze on the hard stone floor. Her tears dropped in fierce black lines from her eyes to her chin. My heartbeat sounded like drums in my ears.

That was the first time I saw Alexandra, or Lexie, Shea. I didn’t recognize her from my sixth grade class, but then again, I didn’t know most of the people in my grade. At that moment I was drawn to her like a magnet for reasons I still can’t name. On that dull, ordinary Sunday, I was immediately overwhelmed by an irrational urge to hold her, to comfort her, as if I was born to do so. This pull- this unearthly innate desire burned like a flame. I disregarded common sense, stood up, and followed her. My footsteps seemed to thunder as I caught her wrist before her other hand could grab the bathroom's door knob. Spinning around, she gasped and yanked away.

"What are you doing?" She snapped. Her hushed whisper was near hysteria. The priest must have finished his monologue; the organ’s strong, echoing tones began to fill the cathedral with music.

I stood there like an idiot for a few seconds before collecting my thoughts. "Are you okay?"

She stared at me. I stared right back. It was suddenly quiet in the church and my words seemed to echo loudly, hanging eerily in the air. The black streaks remained on her tan, freckled face, and her dark hair hung in waves down to the small of her back. Her grey dress accentuated her slim figure and the matching necklace she wore was the color of her piercing eyes, though they were currently tinted with red from the tears.

After a few more tense moments, she replied, "No. I'm most definitely not okay."

"Oh. Do you want to talk about it?" I asked casually, leaning against the wall and looking at her skeptically. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

She regarded me with suspicion. Her brow furrowed, and I could almost feel her mind consider my request. Her eyes evaluated me. Her gaze ran lazily over my tousled hair, my thrown-together-at-the-last-minute wrinkled clothes, down to my shoes, then back up to my eyes.

"Okay," she whispered, and we walked out of the church together.

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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

goofbuggy said...
Feb. 17, 2010 at 8:18 am
Really good
MariahMundi said...
Feb. 13, 2010 at 1:31 pm
i agree with billydee, but i think it makes a pretty brilliant piece by itself, too. just saying. i don't know how great it'd work in a story... but this is good.
billydee22ny said...
Feb. 12, 2010 at 1:57 pm
i really liked this... i feel like a good story can be built off of this short little excerpt. good writing! I hope you post some more :)
Annabelle7614 replied...
Feb. 15, 2010 at 10:22 am
Very good description and voice, something I'm not too good at. I think a good story could be built off of it. 5 stars!
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