She talked to me today.
It wasn’t even my plan either. I wasn’t trying to be noticed by her, I wasn’t being extra loud or shuffling around a lot to make her look at me like I sometimes do.
I was ahead in my class, so I was reading a book. I had twenty minutes left of class and didn’t feel like ruining it with schoolwork when I had this perfectly good book in front of me.
So I sat, hunched over, for only what seemed like five minutes or so. I was completely absorbed in this book, this book of magic and witches and people who are ruining their life, just like how I’m ruining mine.
And then, out of nowhere, a voice. Small, soft, and beautiful. A tinkling noise, like how you would imagine a sparkle on a fresh drop of morning dew would sound, if it could speak.
I may have jumped a little, I don’t remember. I was shocked that anyone was speaking at all; nobody speaks in that class. We all just focus on our computer program and don’t communicate with the people around us in real life.
I looked around me, as if I felt like in no way it could be who I thought it was.
And then, finally, I held my breath and looked at the person to my immediate left. She was looking at me, expectant, a small smile on her face. Her smile reminded me of a word, that I couldn’t place at the moment. Her head was tilted slightly so that her soft brown hair hung loosely over her shoulder. (I remember braiding her hair for her, when we were best friends, but she couldn’t return the favor because she didn’t know how to braid. I remember her tiny hands drawing on my arm, and how we used to laugh and sing at my house and paint our nails. We did things best friends should do, until we did things they shouldn’t. She chose others over me, and I pushed her away. Then our relationship fell apart, and it hurt both of us so badly. But we were too prideful and too depressed to try to work it out. I offered to try again a few weeks back and she said she wasn’t ready, and I crawled into my lonely hole of despair and rejection.)
“W-what?” I stammered quietly, eyes wide.
“I said how’s your knee?”
And there it was. The first words she had spoken to me in person in over a month. I didn’t think she had paid attention, had cared.
“Oh, it’s good, you know. F-fine. I have to have laser therapy now and surgery later but you know. It’s good. Fine.” I couldn’t get my words to come out right. I was in shock, not expecting this from her, and my brain couldn’t keep up.
“Yeah, I heard….” she kept talking, but between my incoherent mumbling and our facilitator, Mrs. Mitchell, telling us to hush, I didn’t catch what she said. I didn’t bother to try to figure it out, either. I hung my head down immediately, opening my book again, and quickly, desperately, looked at the time. It was time to go, and I didn’t even know where the time had gone. As I stood to leave, I noticed my face was hot, so hot. My hand was shaking and I had this weird feeling in my chest. I got out of there as fast as I could.
And as I headed to my next class, I started to think maybe things were going to start to get better, that maybe she wanted things to work out just as badly as I wanted them to.
In that moment, it hit me. The word that her small, knowing smile had portrayed. I couldn’t think of it in the moment, but now it was so clear, I felt silly for not have recognizing it sooner.
It was hope.
And now it is my lifeline, because that hope is all I have.