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I don't know her name
Tom was....different, as his family put it. He was never ambitious, never outgoing, and antisocial. Even at a young age he had maybe one or two friends, and they were more of aquaintences. It wasn't his parents' fault. They encouraged him to be outgoing and social. But even around them he'd choose to seclude himself in his room, or if out in public, his mind.
He wasn't what people would call "emo". They couldn't find the proper label for him. He wore t-shirts and jeans most of the time, switching it up to cargo shorts on days when it was slightly too hot for pants. You couldn't tell him apart from any other kid his age if you just looked at him.
He was normal, in a sense. He played video games, he enjoyed the same music as other people, he went out in public and saw movies. The only way you could tell he was different was because he was always alone. Even if he was out with his parents for whatever reason, he'd distance himself from them.
By the time he was a junior in high school he knew what he wanted to do in life. He never told his parents because of what they'd become accustomed to as a son, they'd think he was joking. He couldn't take the hurt and embarrassment of them laughing at what he truly wanted in life.
What Tom wanted was a girlfriend. He didn't care if it wasn't some true love, "we're gonna be together forever" crap, he just wanted to feel what it was like to care about someone, and to have someone care about him. He knew his parents did, despite his isolation from them, but that was different. He knew they had to care, he was still their son after all. He wanted someone to care for him because they wanted to.
This is where the story begins.
When Tom was a freshman he'd familiarized himself with the layout of the school during his lunch for the first few months. He'd decided on a spot that was always secluded, one that no one went for whatever reason they had. He spent every lunch period there. By himself, the way he liked. He couldn't stand the other people around him. He could never place his finger on why though, it wasn't like they'd shunned him from their world. He did that himself.
As time passed Tom grew accustomed to his lunch spot. It was just behind the school gym, close enough to hear the bell ring when lunch was over, but far enough so that the noise of the student body couldn't be heard unless you really tried. He never ate, just read books. It wasn't some anime manga stuff as people assumed he read. He read books. Literature, things others his age wouldn't touch. And he loved them.
One day, during his junior year, he noticed something odd while walking into class.
Someone was sitting in his seat.
But it wasn't just someone. It was a girl. He immediately recognized the beauty in her face. He'd never seen her before. But he saw the beauty in her eyes, in the way her hair was done. He wanted her. Not in a dirty way. He wanted to tell her she was pretty but couldn't work up the courage as he walked past.
He sat at the back of the room, unable to focus on his work, trying to remember in his mind every little detail he could of her face.
Class ended 50 minutes later, and he watched from the back of the room as she got up and walked out into the hallway, becoming lost in a sea of people. He looked forward to coming back to class tomorrow if it meant that he could see her face once more, even if only for a second.
Little did he know, it wouldn't be the last time he saw her that day.
He sat through the next four classes, still unable to concentrate, still trying to piece together the puzzle of her face in his mind. When finally he heard the lunch bell ring. He got up, and thought to himself about how reading his book would surely cause him to forget about her for the rest of the day, even if he didn't want to.
He reached his usual spot behind the gym and unzipped his bag to pull out his book. He opened it to where he'd last left off. He was in the middle of Stephen King's "Cell". He was at the part where Alice, a character in the book, is hit by a chunk of concrete. He'd read it before, and he knew what was going to happen, so he figured he'd take a break and watch the ground for a while.
After a few minutes something unusual happened. Something that in the two and a half years of his time in that spot, had never happened once.
Someone walked out behind the gym with him, and sat down on the short walk way wall.
Tom couldn't believe who it was. It was the girl who had sat in his seat in the morning. The girl he considered the definition of beautiful.
What he couldn't believe further, was that she was crying.
She didn't even take notice of Tom as she sat there. She sat there and sobbed, to what she believed was herself. Despite not knowing who she was, or why she was crying, Tom wanted to go and comfort her. He couldn't explain why. He tried working up the courage to move over next to her and ask what was wrong, but he couldn't bring himself to do it.
So he sat there, holding his tongue, as she cried unbeknownst to his presence.
This went on for the next ten minutes or so until the bell rang, signaling the end of lunch. Tom sat there as this mystery woman stopped herself from crying further, wiped away her tears, and pulled out a mirror to check and see if there was any hint that she'd been crying on her face.
This was when it happened.
She stood up, still looking in the mirror, and as she began to walk away she saw him sitting there, watching her. She turned around and saw him. He was maybe twenty or so feet away from where she'd been crying. Obviously embarrassed Tom watched as she walked hurriedly walked away. He could sense her embarrassment, and wanted to tell her he was sorry if she felt that he'd invaded her privacy in any way. But he found himself choked in the throat at the very idea of even talking to her. So he sluggishly got up and walked to class.
The rest of the day seemed to take longer than usual, as Tom's thoughts were running wild about what had happened. About what would happen tomorrow. He wondered if she'd say something to him in the only class he had with her. He wondered if she'd still go out back behind the gym.
Most of all though, he wondered if she had a boyfriend.
The next day came, and for once, Tom was excited to go to school. He knew the chances of her going back behind the gym again were slim. And he knew the chances of her even talking to him or even acknowledging him in any way were small and next to none.
But Tom didn't care. He felt as though if he saw her face just one more time, he'd be satisfied. So that's what he looked forward. On his walk to school, on his walk to class. But just before he opened the door the thought hit him.
What if she isn't there today?
He didn't know how to feel. He had no clue who this girl was, why she was crying, or if she even remembered him from the ten second stare down they had the day before. But Tom couldn't find himself to be able to think of anything else but her for the last day.
He opened the door and walked in. Much to his relief, there she was. Again sitting in his seat. He looked at her face. He admired her beauty in the few seconds he could. But something happened.
She must have noticed someone walking by and decided to look up. It happened in a second, but Tom could see it. As she looked up they locked eyes. She must've recognized him from yesterday, as he saw her eyes go from a calm pleasant look to panicked and embarrassed. Then he continued on to the back of the room, wondering what she could be thinking.
He could only speculate. So that's what he did. For the next four of his classes. He speculated at what she could've been thinking. At what she could even possibly do to help the situation. But most of all, he speculated as to whether she'd show up behind the gym again. This thought excited him the most. Even if neither of them talked, the thought of being that close to her, with no one else around, was what drove him to finish the day.
Finally the lunch bell rang. Tom couldn't believe how fast his heart was beating. He finally reached his destination. He sat down in his usual spot. Today he didn't even bother to take out his book. He knew he was dumb to think she'd go back there again. But just the thought of it alone made him want it to happen.
Time seemed slow as he sat there. It felt like hours to him, just wondering if she'd show up. In reality it must've been maybe ten minutes. But it finally happened.
She turned the corner and as soon as Tom saw her his heart skipped a beat. He couldn't explain why. He just felt immediately happy that they were in the same area. In view of each other. If his life had ended then, he'd of died a happy man.
But, fortunately for him,MIT didn't end their. She didn't sit down twenty feet away. She kept walking towards him, a look of embarrassment and curiosity on her face. Tom didn't know what to do. He felt as though if he tried speaking to her he'd choke and sound like an idiot. But he also felt that if she sat next to him, and he didn't say anything at all, he'd never be able to shake the "what ifs" from his mind.
Then it happened. She sat down next to him. Close enough so they could talk quietly, but far enough to slip her bag in between the two so she'd have some sort of barrier between them. He knew that, because that is specifically what she did.
Then she spoke. To him she sounded like an angel. He was an atheist, but her voice made him believe god existed.
"Hi," was all she said.
"Hey," was all Tom could manage after a few seconds.
It was about a minute of silence before she, yet again, broke it.
"You saw me crying yesterday, didn't you?"
"Yeah." that was all he could manage. He felt like an idiot for it.
"I had a reason. It's not like I'm crazy or anything..." she trailed off.
It was obvious she was nervous, Tom knew that much. But in her last words it showed how timid and shy she was. He found it adorable.
"I understand. I come back here and cry almost daily." he said with a small chuckle. Yet again, he felt like an idiot.
She only smiled. It was obvious to Tom that it was a courtesy smile. She had also found the joke dumb, at least that's what he thought. They sat there for a few minutes, neither saying anything. Both taking the occasional glance at the other.
Finally Tom found what little courage he had and spoke.
"So why we're you crying yesterday?" he wasn't sure if that's the question he wanted to ask, as he felt it'd make things more uncomfortable than they already were.
"You'll probably think it dumb." he wasn't sure before, but this confirmed to Tom how shy she was. It wasn't that others would immediately pour their hearts out to him, but it was the way she'd said it. There was a tone in it that he couldn't describe, but it was there.
"Try me." was all he said, as he gave her a reassuring smile.
She saw his smile, and for reasons Tom would never understand, she told him what had caused her the trouble that made her cry. She explained that she had just moved across the state, and how she had a girlfriend at her old high school. They had agreed that despite the move, they'd try and make a long distance thing work. The very next day though, she had dumped her through a text message while she was in class. This had made her cry, and seek out a solitary place to be alone with her thoughts. Obviously this was not the case, as the place she picked was Tom's private sanctuary.
This story made Tom feel for her. It told Tom three important things though:
1) she was either a lesbian, or bisexual.
2) she probably wouldn't want to be in a relationship so soon after a breakup.
And 3) the only thing Tom wanted right then and there was to be in a relationship with her.
Of course, being the loner that he was, he had no experience with asking a girl out. This, in fact, was the most he'd talked to anyone at school in two years.
The recounting of her tale had brought her to the verge of tears.
"I'm sorry." was all Tom could say, because he had nothing better. But, at this simple phrase, this girl who he'd known for ten minutes leaned across her bag and hugged him as she began to cry again.
Tom was in utter disbelief. She wrapped her arms around him, and he figured he should do the same. So he did. And to him, it was the best feeling in the world. To him time seemed to stand still, if just for that moment. He appreciated everything about that moment as well. The way she felt against him, the warmth she gave off, the smell of her hair, the smell of her as a whole, even how beautiful of a day it was.
Although that moment came to an end as he remembered what brought him to this situation. Here in his arms, was a heartbroken girl, crying, looking to him for some comfort. And he didn't even know her name.
He didn't want to ruin the feeling of her against him. So he sat there silent, as he held on to her while she cried.
After what seemed like an almost perfect eternity for Tom, she sat up and wiped away her tears. Tom was saddened to let her go. He wanted that moment to last forever, but sadly it came to an end.
"I'm sorry," she said, there voice heavy with sadness.
"I didn't mean to do that. It just that..." she trailed off again. Tom knew she was close to crying again. So before she could speak, he did.
"it's alright. I completely understand." he said.
It was another minute before she spoke again.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get your shirt wet." he hadn't noticed until then, but there was a noticeable wet mark from where her tears had hit his shirt.
"it's alright, little bit of water never hurt anybody." with that she smiled and chuckled a little. He didn't care if it was out of courtesy, or for whatever reason she did smile. All he cared was that he got to see the most beautiful smile he'd ever seen.
She suddenly moved her bag out from between them.
"Would you mind holding me again? I understand if you don't want-"
He didn't let her finish before he reached his arms around her and pulled her in to a hug. She seemed slightly surprised by his actions, but none the less she accepted the embrace she wanted and stayed like that.
To Tom it felt....right. That's the only way he could describe it. He never felt like he belonged anywhere, but right then and there, he felt as though he was made for her. He knew it was crazy. He knew he was an idiot for believing that. But he didn't care. It felt right to him. And he knew he didn't want that feeling to end, so he pushed the other thoughts aside and sat there enjoying her presence.
They sat like that for the rest of the lunch period. Once the bell rang, Tom felt a pain in his stomach because he knew this feeling of.......bliss......and belonging....was very shortly coming to an end.
"mmm" she moaned, as she sat up and stretched. She looked at him and smiled. The sudden feeling of emptiness he felt was replaced by joy when he saw her smile. She began to get her bag and get up to leave when he realized he still didn't know her name.
"Hey, umm," said Tom, feeling yet again like an idiot despite the 20 minutes that he held her. "what's your name?"
She turned around and flashed him a smile before speaking.
"You'll find out tomorrow." and with that she continued to walk away.
Tom's mind was yet again racing. He was slightly disappointed he didn't get her name and that he hadn't given his. But he was more excited than ever that he would definitely be seeing her tomorrow.
Still not sure of what her name was, or whether she was a lesbian or bisexual, or even if she had the same feelings for Tom that he had for her, he knew he didn't want a day to go by without at least seeing her gorgeous face.