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He Hadn't Seen Her Since The Day They Left High School
He hadn’t seen her since the day they left high school.
She was still beautiful. Beautiful. Not pretty, not gorgeous. She had dark brown hair that shined fire in the sun. Her eyes were angled, black, intense. Her demeanor solid, intelligent, and haunting. He wondered if she missed him, as he had her. His eyes followed her as she glided through the crowd. He fiddled with his tuxedo nervously and accepted a glass of punch. Maybe he’d own up. Maybe—
No. No, he wouldn’t do it. Even if she was his best friend for years, even if he was sure his feelings were returned…
He thought about the years before. They had met in Junior High during one of their classes. She was shy, timid—they’d only met because her best friend had a crush on his friend. Friendships grew. He had liked another girl that year, another one of his friends…
The next year they became close friends. They talked, but mostly hung out with the rest of their friends in the morning before the bell rang. Then they’d walk to 1st hour together. That year she made friends with another boy, and he started to hate him. He noticed she was becoming unhappy towards the end of the year, but she wasn’t the type to open up. So he let her be. That was the year her parents allowed her an email. They stayed connected almost every day in the summer, when she visited her relatives on the other side of the world. He wouldn’t admit it, but he had missed her.
They ended up in different high schools, but still emailed every day. He would hint that he now, does in fact, like her, but she would retaliate or ignore. Or possibly she was ignorant. He didn’t know. His head was swimming, as it always did when he thought of her, which was often.
That year he knew life had changed. Yes, they met once a week at an extra class, but she never noticed him. She he acted in return. His heart ached and he grew angry. He stopped emailing, never talked to her. He did backyard work to take out his anger. Splitting wood and moving things around seemed to help. But underneath, he was frightened. Did she not care for him? Or worse, was there another?
The class met in December for a celebration. He talked to her, once, but it was like they’d never met. Maybe he had broken her heart too.
Furious, he resorted to other things to take out his anger. He withdrew, not talking to his friends, and when he did, it would always be a racist comment. He started making friends with the wrong crowd. He knew he shouldn’t have. But it numbed the pain.
May. A party. He was there. She was there. She seemed flushed. But sad, underneath. They spoke, a little. But it was fine. He defended her, once. She laughed good-naturedly at him, once. Something healed itself a little that day.
Summer, and he became very close friends with one of her friends. She did what she wouldn’t—visited his house, and visited often. And every Sunday, he would visit hers. He felt himself heal. But he was also empty. He still liked her. Missed her.
Emailing ensued. He wasn’t surer how to reply. She’d tease him. He wouldn’t. after one email, he asked her why she still sent him stuff. He knew she was reaching out. But he wasn’t sure. She apologized. And promised never to email him again, sure he hated her.
The weekly class started up again. She was the leader in her group; he was the third most important in his. They sat close, in assigned seats. He analyzed. She was more talkative, more social. But her cool, sarcastic, dry-humor personality never left. Seeing her after months made him…he didn’t know. She wasn’t ignoring him. But she wasn’t talking to him either.
During break, he’d watch her sometimes. He’d talk to his friends. Not many of them, because they had the same friends. But he refused to socialize in her circle. He missed her, so very much…
He came back to reality when someone asked if he would like olives. He declined and looked around. She was gone. He couldn’t find her.