January 12, 2013
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It started with a book, MCAT: A Complete Review. The worn blue cover, the fragile binding and dusty pages, the harsh black font streaming across every page with no cease, it’s a book I’ll remember for the rest of my life. High school and the first two years of college to me were a blur; nothing very exciting or monumental happened because first and foremost, I was eagerly waiting for the day people would address me as Doctor Nathan Parker. “Doctor Parker,” I thought to myself, “it has a nice ring to it.” With the MCAT only months away, my goal was almost in reach; a few more years of hard work and perseverance and my lifelong goal would finally be accomplished.

On April 29th, I was running to the library. One of my best friends accidently spilled soda all over my MCAT review book, leaving it wet and exceedingly sticky. My next class’s professor required me to have that book every day for class and I knew the library on campus had a copy. Praying it was not checked out, I ran inside, already knowing exactly where to look for the book. This portion of the library was usually uninhibited; most of the students at University of Chicago were not involved in the medical school and tended to stray away all medical-related books. I was surprised to see someone sitting on the floor of medical section, her face deep inside one of the books with her hand moving so fast across the paper I was surprised her hand didn’t break. She was so involved in her own work that she didn’t even notice my presence. Quickly forgetting her, I returned to my quest to find the book. I scanned the shelves for the familiar worn blue cover, but found nothing. Glancing at my watch, I discovered that I only had fifteen minutes until my class started; I was desperate to find that damn book.
“Excuse me,” I said a bit loudly to the girl on the floor. She still didn’t look up, but I knew she heard me. “I’m really sorry to bother you, but do you happen to know where a copy of MCAT: A Complete Review is? My friend spilled soda all over mine and I need it next period.”
She slowly looked up from her book, her emerald eyes displaying a bit of annoyance at my interruption. She lifted the book that was resting in her lap, displaying the title to me. “Sorry,” she said as she saw the realization fly across my face. “I have Professor Hobbes next period and he insisted we use this book for our homework. I can give it to you when I’m done though.”
“Awesome. Thanks.” I didn’t really know what else to do besides wait for her to be done. After a few minutes of writing, she looked up at me smiling.
“Are you going to keep standing there until I’m done? It would be less awkward if you actually sat down.” I laughed and went to go sit down next to her. We talked for close to ten minutes about classes as she finished up her homework. She told me she was struggling in Molecular Biology, so I offered to tutor her on Saturday. After she completed her work, she handed me the book and began to pack up the rest of her things. She was about to leave the library when I remembered I forgot to ask her name. I chased after her and met her at the entrance of the library.
A little winded, I asked, “What’s your name?”
“Ella,” she said simply. With a smile, she added, “You look like a Mitch to me.”
I shook my head. “Nate, actually, but my brother’s name is Mitch. Anyway, I have to go to class, but I’ll see you here Saturday?” She smiled and nodded. I began full out sprinting to my next class and though I ended up being a few minutes late, it was worth it.

For the next few weeks, Ella and I were inseparable. Studying into the early hours of the morning, getting coffee at 2 a.m., even deciding to take similar classes next year. We ate lunch together everyday and told one another everything. One May afternoon, we were walking nonchalantly outside when it suddenly started to rain heavily. We ran as quickly as we could to cover, laughing the entire way. We were closest to the library and ran under the covers of the doorway. She was laughing so hard, her eyes glistening from the rain, her hair completely soaked. We walked inside, still laughing from the previous events. Sitting down at one of the long oak tables, we pulled out our soaked books and began to study, which quickly turned into procrastinating. She had started going out with James, a tall kid from my biochemistry class, who also happen to be on the basketball team, about a month ago. Though he had the appearance of a hard worker, I knew he constantly copied homework from other students and cheated on every test. He often studied with Ella and helped her with her homework, involving her in his cheating cycle. If he got caught, she would be blamed too; I knew it was necessary to tell her.
“Hey…um…can I tell you something? And can you promise not to get mad when I do?”
“Yeah, I promise. What’s going on?”
“Well,” I began, not really knowing how I should tell her. “I think your boyfriend isn’t telling you the truth about something.” She looked confused, so I continued. “I’ve heard he’s been cheating on every test for the past two years and if he gets caught, I don’t want you to go down with him.”
I noticed two things at once. The first was a strong feeling of pain and numbness across the left side of my face and the second was Ella standing above me, anger blatantly across her face.
“I cannot believe you would say that! He is on the Dean’s List for academic achievement and got practically a full scholarship here…”
“For basketball and basketball only,” I said quietly to myself.
Her face got redder and redder until she let out a scream of frustration. “You know what Nate,” she said, grabbing all of her books off the table as she spoke. “I never want to see or talk you ever again! You’re a selfish, good-for-nothing friend. I wish I never met you!” She quickly left the library, making it clear she did not want to be followed out. I saw her running away from me; knowing there was nothing I could do made me feel useless. Watching her go, I felt something break inside me. I wanted to go after her and make everything all right, but I knew trying to make things better now would only make things worse. Depression began to seep in when I realize I probably wouldn’t be able to see or talk to her for a while; I knew she had to calm down before we could talk again. Waiting would be worth it if I could talk to her again; she was my best friend and I refused to let her go.
After a week of silence, Ella and I were on speaking terms again. When she confronted James about the cheating, he made it obvious he wasn’t going stop, so she ended it. Not two days after that did we begin talking again. With only two weeks until the MCAT, social interactions had become very slim and infrequent. I walked into the small campus café where she always studied. She was sitting alone, the table completely covered in various medical textbooks, including the new MCAT: A Complete Review book I gave her for her birthday last month. I sat in the chair next to her, but she didn’t look up, muttering a, “Hey Nate, this isn’t the best time,” while still typing ferociously on her keyboard.
“I need someone to talk to,” I said seriously to her. I waited for her to look up at me, her glorious eyes piercing mine when she looked at me. My heart faltered momentarily.
“I'm always here for you.”
“I know that,” I said dramatically, rolling my eyes at her obvious statement. She laughed at my reaction. “I just don’t know what to do…”
She was instantly concerned, all joking wiped from her face. “What's wrong?”
“I just…I like this girl so much. It’s my first time ever feeling like this before.”?
The liquid green color of her eyes hardened slightly. “Nate, all you need to do is just talk to her.”?
“I don't know,” I said, averting my eyes away from her. “She won't like me,” I said, staring at the ground, too embarrassed to look her in the eyes.
“Don't say that,” she said, wrapping her arm around my shoulder. “You're an amazing guy and a great friend. Plus, you kind of rock at Chemistry.”
I chuckled. “I just want her to know how I feel.”
Ella rolled her eyes at me, as if what I should do was obvious. “Then tell her. Come on Nate, I thought you were the smart one.”
I smiled, but my smile quickly fell as I said, “She won't like me.”
“How do you know that? You can never be sure until you tell her.”?
I flung my hands in the air in defeat. “I can’t just tell her,” I said, exasperated. I paused for a moment. “Well, hypothetically, if I were to talk to her, what should I say?”
She smiled after realizing she got her way. “Tell her how much you like her.”
“I tell her constantly. I’m always with her.” I paused, preparing myself to say the next part out loud. “I love her.”
She looked surprised, but the compassion never left her voice. “I know how you feel. I had the same problem.” It was my turn to be in shock now. “...But it didn’t work out,” she quickly finished. “It was just some boy, don’t worry about it.”
I could tell she was beginning to feel uncomfortable, so I shifted the focus back to me to save her from embarrassment. “Oh,” I said simply. “She won't like me either.”
“I’m sure she does,” Ella sad confidently.
“How do you know?”
Redness began to sweep across her face as she decided what to say. “Because…I mean…who wouldn't like you?”
“You,” I said, remembering her harsh words in the library that hurt more than the bruise on my face after she slapped me.
She shook her head. “You're wrong,” she said simply. “You know I love you.”
“I love you too,” I said with gusto.
There was a pause; neither of us really knew what to say. There was a slight blush in her cheeks as she pretended to look at something fascinating in her textbook. “So,” she asked, still not looking up at me. “Are you going to talk to her?”
I cleared my throat, causing her to finally look up at me. “I just did.”

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

AliceTheZombie said...
Jan. 17, 2013 at 4:56 pm
Honestly, I'm not one for romance, but I liked it :) It was sweet, pretty stnadard, but sweet. I liked how it wasn't, "Wow, I like this girl. I'm gonna suck on her face with no warning!" :D Nevertheless, happy writing.   Cheers.
daily123 replied...
Jan. 29, 2013 at 5:37 pm
Thanks! I was trying not to be cliche about their relationship :)
In_Love_with_Writing said...
Jan. 17, 2013 at 2:37 pm
Awww sooo sweet! That was adorable :) :) Can you comment and rate some of my work? It would mean a lot to me if you did both.
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