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Thebell rang and I sat for another lesson on calculus. The only thing I think aboutduring this class is
1) how I plan to be a photography major and thatcalculus will have virtually no relevance to the rest of my life, and 2) him. Hesits two seats ahead of me and one to the left, so I have the perfect view. Hegoes by Cal, which is short for his last name of Callahan. Cal is much easier toyell down the hall, or to scribble on a desk or chalkboard, or above his footballjersey number, which everyone knows is 28.
Mrs. Griffin starts talking.Before I know it, her voice has faded, and all I can hear is the clicking of thechalk against the old green board, topping off fives and crossing sevens. Beforelong, that's faded out. Retreating to the everyday routine, I fix my eyes on hisback. He's positioned just so that I can see his eyelashes against the air. Theyare very pretty, prettier than most boys'. At this angle you can see how huge hiseyes are. They sink into his head. They are so blue I want to jump in and swim.But they are a pair of eyes that never look directly into the eyes of anotherperson. They are a pair of eyes that make it seem he's hiding something. To me,his eyes betray a sense of insecurity; that he's searching for something. If youwatch him long enough you can see the weakness in his brow, but it's usually wellconcealed.
I study his lips. They are soft pink, and very full. Theysurround his straight white teeth when he smiles, always revealing just enoughgum to show the smile's not fake, but not so much that it's obnoxious. It's ahappy smile, so contagious that it spreads from one person to the next fasterthan Mrs. Griffin can spit out the basic formula for differential calculus. Thissmile is capable of throwing you off of the insecurity in his eyes.
Cal's skin always looks like he just got in from a brisk walk on a crisp Octobernight. It's flawless, so smooth. To the touch? I can't even imagine. Hischeekbones are prominent and sink into the sides of his face ever so slightly.They coordinate with the sinking of his eyes, making them stand out even more.His dirty-blond eyebrows match his hair, which is medium length and sort ofmessy. He usually favors a navy blue hat turned backwards, so you can only seewhat peeks out around the edges. His sideburns are long, but clean and well kept.You can tell he takes pride in them.
The class is long, but it seems tofly by when I'm thinking about Cal. Sometimes I dare myself to stare at him, withhopes that he'll sense it and turn around and look at me. I count his blinks; 26times in a minute. I don't know what I'd do if he really turned around. He'd knowI had been staring. But I stare anyway. I wish I had the power to make him turnaround. I wish I had the power to make him walk with me in the hall. Once hetripped me, and I stumbled a little. Then I playfully shoved him and pretended tobe mad. I laughed a little too loud to make sure other girls saw who I wastalking to, so I could see the envy in their eyes. I gave in to his apologies andwe parted, him telling me he'd see me at lunch, followed by a slow let go of thehands. You know, the let go that goes from a full hand-hold to looser until yourfingers find their way down the others, letting go only when you get to the tipof each others middle finger?
Yeah, that would be a nice memory to have.
But that really only happened in my head.
In reality I trippedhim and was too embarrassed to even admit to myself (forget to him) that it wasme, and kept walking.
The bell rang; calculus was finally over. Itstartled me, and apparently it startled my notebook, too, because it jumped offmy desk onto the floor. Damn. I bent over to pick it up and felt a presencebehind me. Cal.
"Excuse me," he said. I looked up and saw himlooking with those uncertain eyes somewhere else. Never direct.
"Oh,sorry," I managed. He squeezed by, but not impatiently, and smiled at me. Imelted. I watched him walk away and blend into the busy hallway. I stared evenafter he was gone. If he only knew.