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She was a small town girl with full, green eyes hidden from her large, thick rimmed glasses and had bright blonde hair that fell on her face, like curtains restricting the sun’s beams from revealing itself to the Earth. She was without a question, a reclusive nerd, with social flaws, and a preference to keep to herself. It was a crisp fall night, and she had placed a lit spice candle on her desk, which was releasing a warm and cozy scent.
From the window seat where she was studying, she could very well extend her arm from her window, and be able to touch her neighbors. In fact, her neighbor was her age, and was a strongly built football player with olive skin, dark hair, and bright blue eyes. From her window, she could see he was pacing back and forth in his bedroom talking on the phone. From the forceful indicated hand gestures he made and the tenseness of his jaw, she knew it was his girlfriend he was speaking with, upset and dissatisfied with something that had happened between them. She stopped what she was doing and took hold of her dry erase marker and board.
She then wrote the words, “You okay?” and flipped it so he could see what she had written.
After reading her board, he shrugged, wrote something, and held up his board which read, “I’m fine, just drama.”
She drew a sad face on her board, depicting how bad she felt for him. He nodded and managed to produce a meek smile before drawing his shades for the night.
The next morning, while waiting for the bus, she heard the opening and closing of his front door and his steps that followed. As he walked her way, she couldn’t help but squeal inside as she noticed the coolness in his step and the smile he flashed her. She looked down on her striped, knit sweater, chin tucked in. It was cold out, and steam began to appear on the lenses of her glasses. After fiddling nervously with her buttons, she looked up and there he was a blur. He then let out a small laugh and took a seat. She instantly took off her fogged-up glasses, rubbed them against the wool of her sweater, and rested them back on her nose. She then turned the other way facing the street, where the bus would soon be coming from in apparent embarrassment. ?
“Hey,” he said. She glanced over at him and let out a weak, “Hey,” hoping that he’d assume her blushing cheeks was from the cold weather rather than her humiliation.
“Whatchya got there,” he said nudging his head towards the load of AP books she had on her lap.
“Oh these? They’re just my uh, homework. Yeah, homework,” she replied looking down on her books thinking to herself, “I’m such a geek, I’m such a geek.”?
“Well, I liked you’re board comment last night. You know, I thought about it and I’m not okay,” he said looking down at his sneakers. “I can’t deal with her anymore, but homecoming’s tomorrow and I guess I’ll just have to,” he said in annoyance and paused.
And the whole time he was talking, she kept thinking to herself, “Hey, isn’t this easy talking to him like this.”
“You should talk to her. Maybe letting her know how you feel will help,” she piped up.
His eyes lit up, “Yeah? Okay, maybe I will,” he said, “Thanks.”
And immediately after thanking her, using both hands, he took off her glasses, analyzed where they used to rest on her nose, and then put them back on her.
He then whispered into her ear, “I like you better with them on,” got up, looked back, gave her a wink, and entered the bus.
Her day rolled by slowly from that point on. The wink he gave her played itself over and over again, like a broken tape in her mind. This was all so weird coming from an innocent girl like herself. That day, half of herself wanted her feelings for him to stop because she knew he was taken, but the other half convinced her to not forget the feelings he gave her. And it hit her during chemistry, their board exchanges would have to continue because it was official, she really did like him.
It was the night of homecoming, and she had decided upon not going, mostly because she’d be dateless and had assured herself it would be no fun. But when she saw him from her window, dressed in a white ironed collared shirt and fuchsia tie, a feeling of curiosity overcame her to know if the drama between him and his girlfriend had settled.
But before she could ask him, he had already written, “You going tonight?” and had his board facing her window.
“No, studying,” she wrote back, tilting her head and folding her bottom lip forward.
“Wish you were,” he wrote back in disappointment.
And as she started to write I love you, she looked up to see that he had already walked over to his desk chair, picked up his suit, threw it over his shoulder, and walked out the door with his hands in his pockets.
When he left, a sense of regret flooded her body for not following what she had suggested to him in the first place, which was to be straightforward and honest when it comes to revealing ones feelings for the other. Maybe it wasn’t too late to spill to him what she was feeling. She pushed herself to accept what needed to be done. She would go to the prom, fashionably late.
She pulled up to the parking lot of her high school and quickly double-checked her hair in the rearview mirror, while still grasping the steering wheel. She could feel the sweat generated from her palms rubbing off onto its leathery material. She finally pulled on the car door handle and stepped into the bitter open-air. She lifted the silky white skirt of her dress and looked down on her black patent leather pumps. The light cast by the moon made them shine more than ever. She then gently touched the lobes of her ears to make sure her pearls were still in. And finally, she hoisted up the sweetheart top of her dress, decorated with hundreds of little crystal gems before walking towards the front of the school.
Before she even stepped through the main entrance, she could hear the pounding of pop music and the screaming of overly exhilarated teenagers. She swung open the main door and made her way to the cafeteria with her dry-erase board in hand. Once she reached the double doors, she took a deep breath and used both hands to push them open.
When she entered, it was as if every single pair of eyes was laid on her and her stunning, unexpected figure. She was slowly started to swerve in-between people, desperately searching for him, when suddenly she felt a firm hand from behind her rest on her bare shoulder. She spun around and came face to face with him, cutely beaming. She then pulled her board out from behind her and showed it to him. He stared at the board, then at her, and then once again at the board, bit the corner of his lip, and to one’s disbelief, he pulled out his board that read “I Love You” as well.
He then drew her in for a kiss and in that moment, every element around them seemed to stop and watch as the two shared the mutual feelings they’d been hiding from each other all along.
And just like she had, I felt the intrigued eyes of my peers on me after I finished reading my parents love story to my ninth grade English class. I stood at the front podium waiting for my teacher’s approval to return to my seat.
“Good, and before you sit down, please clarify one thing with us, how exactly does this apply to your life,” my teacher asked me.
“Well,” I said, starting to run my fingers through my dark hair, “Let’s just say that without this story, I wouldn’t have been able to start mine.”