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Micheal Walker, I love you
Most students at Middleton High are good magicians. They like to make other kids disappear.
Micheal Walker, is different. Micheal Walker is the type of kid that makes you feel like you’re the only girl in the world when in reality, you’re one in 4,000 at Middleton. He’s the kind of boy that makes you feel warm, like you’re sitting at a fireplace after playing outside in the snow for hours.
Micheal Walker is just, Micheal Walker.
Have I said his name too many times? I haven’t even said my name yet.
My name is Cora Chardonnay, yes like the wine. I am a freshman at Middleton High, and no, I’m not getting a very warm welcome here. I moved to Middleton in the middle of March last year and because my rich-snitch of a step-mom didn’t want me to “fall behind” I was homeschooled. Until now.
It’s been one month since the start of school and I’m already loving it. Did I say loving it? Pardon me, I meant absolutely despising it. Most of my teachers barely say two words the whole period. The only way I get through the day is knowing I can look forward to seeing my friends.
Ah yes, the friends that pretend I don’t exist. The friends that are too consumed in the world of boys and lip gloss. These are the so called “bighead barbies”, name courtesy of Frankie Weathers. Angie Baker, Katie Summers, and Carly Welch. The holy trinity of high school plastic people.
The only reason they were ever nice to me in the first place was to show everyone they’re not actually mean girls. It didn’t work, obviously, because they still pants Jenna Swanson to show off her grandma panties every day.
Now, they don’t even bat an eyelash at me. I try to make conversation at lunch.
“Hey Guys, don’t you think Micheal Walker is kinda cute?”
As his name dances and lingers around my tongue I feel butterflies in my stomach.
“Who?” Answered Carly, unbothered while fixing her mascara.
“Yea, sure, Cora,” replied Katie and Angie in unison.
None of them really think for themselves. I’m starting to actually believe they get all their vocabulary from Seventeen Magazine.
I drift into my own daydreams until I see him.
He walks closer to our table. Out of all the seats in this colossal lunchroom and he chose the one next to me. See, I told you he notices me.
“Cora, we have to go makeup a test in French that we missed.”
“C’mon hurry up before the periods over!”
I finally catch on and decide to play along. “Bye guys,” I say to them. I get a grunt and a nod, which is more than usual. They must be off their periods.
“Thanks for saving me back there, I don’t think I could’ve stood them much longer,”
His eyes are dark brown and soft, like he’s forgiving me for all the things I have yet to do. I can see all my dreams inside his eyes, and I could look at them until time stops. After I feel like I’ve looked at his eyes for too long, I’m drawn to his sharp, protruding nose.
I always look at people’s noses because I like to draw them. But Micheal’s is different. His nostrils flare ever so slightly and it makes me ecstatic just thinking about it.
His lips are the window to his soul. Beautiful words come out of a mouth that looks like it was carved by Michelangelo himself.
But the thing I love the most about his face is how it’s not perfect. The bumps and bruises on his face show his flaws. These flaws are the things I yearn to touch. There is nothing I want more than to tell him they’re beautiful, even if he thinks otherwise.
Sometimes, when he’s talking to me, I just zone out and lose myself in the depth of his features. Like now.
“What? Sorry...” I say, shocked out of my state of unawareness.
“What were you thinking about?” He asks.
“Oh, nothing, nothing at all,” I reply, fully aware that I’m lying because I’m really, actually, truthfully, thinking about everything.
“Let’s go somewhere.”
“Where? It’s the middle of the school day.” Micheal is the most erratic person I know. You never know what he’s going to say, or what he’s going to do. He has no pattern for anyone to follow. I hope that one day we’ll both flow in the same body of water, going wherever we want, doing whatever we want to do.
“True, it’s the middle of the school day, but it’s also the middle of the school day at a school you hate that contains people you hate.”
“Very true, although recent studies show that Cora Chardonnay only likes a whopping 1 person out of the 4,000 at Middleton. That person is rumored to be Micheal Walker.” We go on talking like this in stupid accents as we walk out of the school and into the beautifully ugly city known as Miami. We talk for so long, that when we end up in front of my favorite coffee shop, we accidentally walk past it. Twice.
“Ah, the ol Java Juicer. What an ugly name for such a cute cafe.”
“Shutup, I think it’s rustic,” I shoot back, slightly offended.
I open the door and the jingle of the bells makes everyone turn around and look at us. 14 year olds at a coffee shop at one o’clock on a Tuesday seems pretty unusual, but no one says anything to us.
I scan the menu for a quick second, and then start to walk to the back.
“Wait!” Micheal yells. “Aren’t you going to get anything?” He asks, now a little quieter.
“Nah, I hate coffee.”
“Who has their favorite place be a coffee shop and not even like coffee?”
I make my way towards the back again, this time a little faster. For once in his life, Micheal Walker follows someone instead of leading. I lead him to a door that appears to open up to the back alley. It doesn’t.
“Just be quiet and follow me.”It feels good to be in control for once.
I push the cold metal door and it creaks open. What’s beyond it is a dark hallway with a long staircase.
I take his hand.
He lets me.
I lead him down the stairs and try not to let him sense my nervousness.
I am holding Micheal Walker’s hand.
I am holding Micheal Walker’s hand.
After 2 minutes that feel like two hours, we reach the room that I love the most. Inside, there are five bookshelves stuffed with old and new books, one black, tattered couch, and three red beanbags that can suck you in like a black hole.
We sit and talk for a while and then he asks me, “Why is this your favorite place?”
I think for a while, not really knowing what to say. “It’s like my little art studio. No one ever comes down here, even the owners seem to forget about it. I just found it one day when I was trying to get outside. Every day after school I come here, and draw. I draw people. People I love, people I hate, even people I barely know. It’s really relaxing especially since my house isn’t. Plus, there’s no cell service, so my step-monster can’t reach me. Not like she notices I’m gone.”
“Wow,” he says. I can tell he’s trying to take it all in.
“Have you ever drawn me?”
“Only all the time.” I reach into my backpack and pull out my sketchbook. I flip through the pages and show him different people, but the majority of the faces are him.
“Wow. I look good. Let me draw you.”
I give him my best pencil and graphite and he starts. His drawing isn’t the best, but it’s still beautiful. I watch him drag his hand around the paper, making curves, straight lines, and complete circles. I study his rhythm and his concentration. As I do this, I realize that this is the first real thing of mine that he’s a part of. I can only pray it won’t be the last.
“I’m done,” he says, holding up the pad.
“It looks amazing.”
“What can I say, I had a beautiful girl to use as reference.”
We sit in silence for a couple seconds, but it feels like time has been stretched drastically. The next thing I know, his lips are on mine and my eyes are closed. And just like that, my whole world imploded. There was nothing but us and space. After what seems like a whole month, he pulls away.
More quiet. I can feel my face getting red.
Finally breaking the silence, Micheal says,”I have to go. My mom will be looking for me.”
I check the time on my phone. 5:23 P.M. It really was forever.
“Yes?” He looks like he’s waiting for something important.
Say it Cora. You know you want to. You know you mean it.
“See you tomorrow.”
He looks disappointed. “Yea, see you then.”
After he leaves and closes the door, I can tell he hasn’t left. One more minute goes by until I hear the footsteps going up the stairs.
I feel absolutely amazing, but at the same time, absolutely horrible, because I never told him. Well, there’s always tomorrow.
I wake up happy, oblivious to what is about to happen.
At school he’s not there. I’m not surprised. He’s sick a lot. But again, he’s not there the next day. Or the next. He isn’t answering any of my calls. I’m starting to get nervous.
A weekend goes by. On Monday, before I even have a chance to look for him, an announcement comes on.
“Attention students of Middleton High, we’re very sorry to announce that one of our freshman, Micheal Walker,has passed away Wednesday morning of last week from natural causes.”
No. Nothing natural could have caused this. I don’t understand. He’s not dead.
There’s nothing I can do but run. I run out of the school, and to the only place I know. I run down the stairs and bury my tears in a beanbag.
Now I can never tell him.
I love you, Micheal Walker.