Into the Dark
Author's note: I like music A LOT. When I listen to songs, I mainly enjoy listening to their lyrics, trying to... Show full author's note »
17,606 HOURS BEFORE THE END, December 18, 2010, 10:00 AMI’ve never witnessed a love story before, Mrs. Girji thinks as she watches the two college students flirt. Mrs. Girji smiles to herself, hoping for the best, and takes off her wool sweater. She knows it reeks of mothballs and old age, but her husband insists that she needs to stay warm. “Why? The world has more dangers than getting cold,” Mrs. Girji always asks him. “At least I can control one aspect of the world, so do as I say,” he always responds sternly, but with a twinkle in his eye.
Suddenly she hears a loud outburst. Her eyes fly to the young couple, but they are no longer flirting. She spots the cause of the shouting laughter: a dark haired boy with drooping, icy eyes staring amusedly at the pretty, giggling girl like she is his next prey. The boy with the twinkling glares at the frightening couple and then storms off. Feeling dread, she stands up and waddles over to them. Her back pounds. “Thomas, would you please keep it down?” She whispers, bringing her crooked finger to her lips. “We are in a library, for God’s sake.” The boy’s eyes wander down her wrecked body, and laughs.
“Whatever, Mrs. Girji,” Thomas sneers, his eyes freezing over. The girl’s face is alight in nervous gaiety, and she whips her blonde hair behind her neck with her dark red manicured fingers. Mrs. Girji catches a scent of perfume, something bitter, like the darkest chocolate and roses. She is immediately thankful that the girl is no longer talking to the boy studying in the corner of the library. The two students continue conferring in low voices, as if Mrs. Girji is not even present. She sighs softly and walks in her usual duck-like gait back to her small, wooden desk. The smell of rotting flowers is quickly replaced by mothballs and old paper, which she revels in.
She picks up a stack of heavy schoolbooks sitting under her computer. A sharp pain shoots through her spine, but as she places a chemistry text in its rightful place. Suddenly, hands dig into her throbbing back. Surprised, she falls forward into the shelf. She hears gasps, a girl shouting, and footsteps hurrying towards her. Her fingers clasp around the metal railings of the shelf; the entire science section teeters forward, threatening to crush her. “Mrs. Girji!” She hears a soft, deep voice shout. Mrs. Girji presses her hands to her eyes, and waits to feel what she has always depended on destroy her.
But Mrs. Girji’s pain doesn’t come. Two girls are struggling to hold the bookshelf up and the boy who was studying in the corner has grabbed Thomas and shoved him onto the floor. The boy is staring concernedly at Mrs. Girji, who realizes her luck and scuttles out of the way. The girls holding the bookshelf let go and jump backwards, and there is a crash that makes everyone, even the struggling Thomas, freeze in recognition of its loudness—everyone except for Mrs. Girji. “What is wrong with you? You think because I am an old woman that you can push me around? Well, you can’t. Security!” Her screeching voice emanates through the library, and several of the students badly suppress giggles. Now that the danger is gone, people see the comedy in the situation. The security guards drag the cursing boy out of the library and everyone bursts into applause.
The studying boy walks over the blonde girl, “Hey, are you OK?” he asks, hesitant to be kind.
“Your boyfriend’s a d***.”
“I know.” She begins to sob. The other girls snicker and walk away; he glares at their backs. She doesn’t reach out to him for comfort or anything, just silently crying, stick straight and alone.
“Go out with me.”
“Why?” She ponders this for a moment, wipes her eyes with her thin hands, and doesn’t move. She shouldn’t…yet, she still nods. He smiles brightly. “Great! I’ll pick you at seven tonight.”
She laughs, and he notices her breath smells like mint. He is slightly repulsed, flashing back to one summer in Kentucky, but decides he can get used to the scent. “What’s your name?” She asks before he can walk away to his next class.
“Jason, but call me Bixby. What’s yours?”
“Catherine, but you can call me Cath.”
“Pretty name,” he says, grinning even wider. He doesn’t admit, nor will he ever to anyone, that he likes the name Catherine better. “See you tonight, Catherine.”
“See you tonight, Jason.”