May 26, 2010
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It was all planned out. All I had to do was slip the note into Audrey's locker. It was number 68, at the end of the hallway. I didn't even have to look her in the eye when I did it! This was going to be a piece of cake, I reassured myself as I started towards it. I had to force myself to take deep, even breaths as I walked. Somewhere along the way my legs had started to shake; it was hard to keep my footing on the linoleum tile beneath my sneakers.

You see, I'd had a close on Audrey since I was in first grade. Yeah, yeah, I know. It was the whole 'I'll spit in your hair' thing that means that a little kid likes another little kid. I'm embarrassed to think about it. My mom thinks it was adorable. I was almost at her locker now. I was so close that I imagined I could smell the lotion she always used (mangos and a hint of something else that I could never quite pinpoint). It was the last day before Christmas Holidays. Last period. My last chance to ask Audrey out before the holiday started.

I had reached her locker at this point. With shaking hands, I pulled it open. I had ever notion to just put the letter I had written on top of her neat stack of books and run in the other direction. That was the plan. But, knowing me, I couldn't stick to the plan. No, I had to get distracted by a photo pinned up to the door. There was Audrey, grinning brightly at whoever was behind the camera, her cheeks dimpled in all the right spots, freckles dotting her face and her eyes glinting in what was obviously sunlight. Her dark hair was pulled up into a sloppy ponytail that was wet at the ends – she was at the beach. I didn't recognize the other girl in the picture, but I was already tripping over the first.


I froze where I was, my eyes slipping closed as I heard that familiar voice behind me. Swallowing hard, I turned around with a smile on my face, trying not to look like I'd just been caught doing something bad.

“Hey Audrey,” I said as I folded up the note and tucked it into the back pocket of my jeans. “What brings you here?”

“Um...” She looked confused. “It's my locker.”

“Oh! Right! It is, isn't it?” Stupid, stupid, stupid! I grinned at her sheepishly, growing increasingly flustered. I stepped away, managing to back right into the open locker door just as the bell rang dismissing everyone from class. Wonderful job, Matt! “I should – I mean it's... I've gotta go.” She just stood there, an indulgent smile on her face, her hand resting against the locker as she watched me back away.

When I was confident she'd stopped looking, I turned around and fled back to the other end of the hall, where my locker was. In frustration I kicked the wall , leaving a scuff-mark with the rubber on my shoe. I cursed and looked around to make sure no one had seen me, but they were all too busy with trying to get out of the 'prison' as soon as they possibly could. So, utterly defeated, I gathered my books and wandered outside where my mom would be waiting to pick me up, just as she always was every afternoon.

Once I was safely back inside my room, I tossed my bookbag into the corner where it would wait until the last few days of the break when I would suddenly remember all of the homework the teachers had assigned and cram to get it all finished. I found myself staring at my own reflection in the mirror above my sink in the bathroom. Little gawky me, with my ginger hair and thick-rimmed, square glasses. I snorted. The people like me never seemed to get the girls. In the movies it was always some dark-haired prince who flew to the damsel's rescue, slaying the dragon and sweeping the princess off her feet to ride away into the sunset. That would never be me.

I spent the remainder of the day playing video games, sitting on the floor of my bedroom, and thinking of Audrey. I threw the note into the trash can , frustrated with myself. I'd been so close, and I had just thrown away that chance. Now I would have to spend the rest of the holiday berating myself for it. I sat through dinner listening to my parents bicker about who had the tougher day at work, and was lying awake staring at the ceiling soon after. I couldn't figure out what was so amazing about this girl that could set my head to spinning. I fell asleep pondering that very question.

The rest of the holiday passed with little event, all of the days blending together in a mixture of soda and video-games. And suddenly, it was Christmas. I'd asked for a few things, even some from “Santa” because my parents were convinced that at sixteen, I still believed. I humored them. But really, I was still beating myself up over the Audrey thing, no matter how hard I tried to distract myself. Even Christmas dinner with my mom's crazy relatives didn't get my mind off of the subject.

So after an hour of Uncle Joe's “Back in my day we didn't have fancy...” stories, I excused myself to go for a walk. It was cold, but that wasn't anything new; it was always cold on Christmas. My boots left tracks in the thin layer of snow that had fallen earlier in the day. I could hear it crunching beneath my feet as I walked.

One thing I knew about Christmas-time was that it was 'magical'. Or at least that's what all those lame Holiday movies on T.V. always said. I never really believed them. Well, not until I rounded the corner and saw a true Christmas miracle.

Standing there, bathed in the light of a street-lamp was none other than Audrey. The light seemed to make her eyes sparkle even more, I noticed. She was smiling at me, lips parted perfectly to show off her equally perfect teeth. “Matt! I was coming to see you! I knew you lived around here somewhere.”

“You were coming to see me? Why?” Why, of all people, would Audrey be coming to see me on Christmas?

“I had to tell you something before I left.” Crunch. Crunch. She'd stepped closer, and I found myself rooted to the spot. The freckles on her cheeks stood out against her pale skin.

“You're leaving?” I questioned. I probably had some stupid, blank look on my face.

Crunch. “Yeah, tomorrow. We're headed out to California. My dad got a better job out there.”

California! That was all the way across the country! I felt my heart leap into my throat as I tried to think of something to say. Luckily, I was saved from having to think too hard; I was suddenly aware of the fact that she was much too close and I could almost taste her. There was a soft pressure on my lips, and just as quickly as this had started, it was over. Stunned, I touched a finger to my lips, my eyes following her movements as she backed away, a smile on her face.

“I've gotta go,” Audrey said softly, her breath coming out in a little white cloud.

By the time I had gotten enough feeling back in my brain to utter a response, I was only talking to air. My words were lost to the night. Audrey was gone. Her footprints disappeared into the darkness, and I was alone in the little halo of light from above. I was fairly sure I had gone into shock. But after a while, the cold started to eat its way up through my boots, into my legs, and I decided that it was time to go home.

So, gathering my bearings, I started the short walk back to my house. As I walked, I found myself smiling, despite the fact that the love of my life was going to be flying across the country tomorrow morning. I'd probably never see her again. In one day, I'd had my first kiss, and my heart broken. Actually within the span of five minutes. That had to be some kind of record. I had to laugh at the irony of it all; a Christmas miracle indeed. Sometimes, I supposed, you had to be careful what you wished for. It might not always come out like you planned.

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superallie1995 said...
Aug. 16, 2011 at 9:46 am
This story is really cute :)
alibi said...
Jun. 15, 2011 at 12:15 pm
I loved this.  It's so sweet.  You really made your main character, Matt, very believable.  Good job!  Also, I didn't see many of the flaws you said there were plenty of.  As for what I see?  I see a well-written story.  Be proud of it.  =)
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