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More Than That
You slide into your seat, and I hurriedly glance down at my book. I feel your gaze burning a hole in my cheek, and when I glance up, tucking a stray chocolate brown curl behind my ear, I see a small, puzzled smile on your beautiful face.
“Don’t you ever stop reading?” you ask me incredulously. I just blush and look down at my book. It was a good book. But I wasn’t paying the least bit of attention to it.
The lesson starts. Part of my mind is paying attention. The other part is just wandering along its way, thinking of you…
You’re a mystery. I never can tell what’s going on behind those deep brown eyes of yours.
To others, you’re the hot, athletic kid who’s very weird and unabashed, not afraid to say or do anything. Once as we sat waiting for class to begin, you rolled your shirt up ‘til it was tied above your ribs and asked me if it made you look hot. I said no. I lied.
I think I’m the only one who can tell that there’s more to you than that. Our teacher partnered us for a project, and I remembered internally groaning and celebrating, suspecting that I’d have to do most of the heavy-lifting, but over-joyed at the prospect of spending more time with you.
But you were different. You didn’t slack of like you usually do. You deferred to me, treating me as the leader, respecting my intelligence, but still pulling your own weight. You did work. Did a lot of the work that our autistic group member was unable to. You were quiet, polite, and business-like. I loved that.
But then it was over. Some days, you’d laugh with me, and we’d act like friends—albeit somewhat tense ones. Like the one day when we were going over homework that was going to be graded, and you changed your one answer to match mine, thinking I was right—I was wrong. I burst into hysterical giggles and, to my surprise, you followed, taking it with good humor. We laughed, and as we continued writing our elbows bumped into each other. I remember feeling your warmth against my skin, and missing it when it was gone.
Then you started to ignore me. We watched videos in class almost every day, and every time you would go to the back to sit next to your strange friend, leaving the seat beside me empty and desolate.
In the yearbooks, if you were close to someone you put more than just “Have a good summer.” You could say something meaningful. When I worked up the nerve to ask you to sign mine, you agreed—I figured the worst you could sign would be H.A.G.S—that would mean you couldn’t even bother spelling it out. I got something slightly better. I got “Have a great summer.” Not without you I won’t. Not that I’d say that.
I haven’t seen you since then, and this whole time, I’ve felt a whole in me, an empty, gaping abyss that was left wide open, and only you can fill. For now, I can only sit here and pray that I’ll be in your class next year. That once again I’ll feel the warmth of your skin against mine. That I’ll be proven right—there’s more to you than they know.