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Remember the Name
I walk to my new assigned seat, trying not to stare as I grab the seat next to you. You don’t remember me. Nobody remembers me. But I manage to give you a shy smile as you look at your new partner for the semester. You politely smile back. I can tell you recognize me, and knowing that makes my heart swell up. You don’t know my name though. Who knows my name in this class? I remember your name, i always remember your name.
“Chris, right?” I say, not wanting to be the girl you remember-if you even remember- who never talked.
You smile, oh how I love that smile of yours, and nod. “Yeah,” you say, your voice ringing out like a beautiful note on a piano, “and your...?”
I try not to show my disappointment as I fiddle with my hair, “Sara,” I say, you nod as if to say ‘oh yeah I knew that’ but I know you didn’t. I know you never remember my name.
The teacher starts the lesson and I pretend to be immersed in the discussion but I’m just covering up my screaming insides. I am the best actress, no one ever knows what I am feeling. Sometimes even I don’t know what I feel.
The bell rings and you jump from your seat too eagerly, I wonder if you couldn’t wait to get away from me. The girl who’s name you’ve already forgotten. I gather up my things slowly, still amazed at my lucky seat, and head out the door. I walk alone in the hallways, I always do. No one notices me, I notice every one. I see you walking with Jessica, and I wonder if you like her. I wonder if you like her the way I like you. I wonder if she likes you. I’ve never had anyone like me.
I walk out into the September air and head over to my car, walking as slow as I always do. Everyone likes to rush out of the parking lot after school, wanting to hurry home to eat or catch the latest TV show. Not me. I like to walk nice and slow and watch those hurrying past to get to their cars. No one stops to look at the sky anymore, or feel the last of summer weather on their cheeks. They just hurry to their cars and slam their doors and turn up the music nice and loud. It’s amazing listening to their music, music that engulfs them, shows you they are real human beings. I don’t listen to music in the car. I like my silence. I like silence so I can hear my own thoughts.
There you are. Sitting there, oh how beautiful you are. You see me and smile.
“Hi, Sara,” you say as I set my books down on the table. I blink a couple of times and then mumble a hello back. You remember my name. Nobody remembers my name.
“Did you do the homework?” you ask, “I was really stumped on the third discussion question.”
I try to keep my calm, act as if talking to you is not big deal, “Yeah it was hard, it took me a while to do but I think if you look at page 81, it helps a lot,” I say. That’s a lie, that question was the easiest of them all, so simple.
“Thanks,” you say, scrambling through the pages, trying to understand what I mean.
The teacher begins her lecture, and out of the corner of my eye I see you taking notes furiously. What the teacher is saying is of no importance, so I don’t take any notes. You ask why.
“I don’t know,” I explain, “I don’t think any of this will be on the test.” You give me a curious look and then realize you’ve missed what she has said and are back to writing down every word. I zone out the teacher and re-play every moment of this class in my head. Does he think I’m an idiot for not writing anything down? Does he think I have bad breath? But then I realize you’re probably not even thinking of me at all, so I start imagining what tomorrow’s class will be like. Will we talk at all? Will he speak my name again?
The bell rings and jerks me out of my thoughts. You pack up slower than yesterday and have time to say, “See you tomorrow, Sara” on your way out the door. I am blushing, I know I am and I am grateful most of the students are gone by now. I am in a daze packing up my things. As I walk through the halls I smile to myself, repeating your parting words to me. You said my name again. Oh, how your voice is such a beautiful song when you say my name! I wish you could whisper it to me all day long, I wish I could see your heavenly smile all day long. I wish you could think of me all day long.
I am in my car now and reality has struck me again as I see you driving away singing a song in your beat up oversized truck. You aren’t thinking of me. No one thinks of me. My heart brakes as I drive the long silent drive home. My thoughts only consumed with you and your beautiful voice saying my name. You may not think of me, but you remember me. The thought makes me smile again and I wear that smile until I go to bed and dream of nothing.
The next day in class you don’t speak at all. You don’t look at me. Am I that repulsive? I don’t think the rest of the day. I can’t think. You don’t even say my name. In the car home I fight back those salty tears. I am overreacting, i know. But I wonder if you are okay, or if you forgot my name again, or if you even think of me. I don’t need an answer to any of those questions. I know you don’t think of me. I know you don’t even care about me. I know you’ve already forgotten me.
The next couple of weeks go by, not once do we talk unless if is for a class activity. The silence is burning me alive, and you don’t even notice. You’ve gotten a girlfriend, I know. You’ve found someone who’s not me and you don’t see how terrible that makes me feel. I see you with her sometimes in the hallways. I see you with your protective hand on the small of her back, holding hands when you walk from class to class. I’ve seen you kiss her when you think no one is watching. I am watching. I am no one. You don’t see me anymore. Did you ever see me? You don’t answer that, you don’t need to. I know the answer. It’s the same for everyone.
You aren’t like the others, I know you aren’t. I see you volunteering around town, you pretend to be the guy who doesn’t care what happens next, but I know you’re worried about your future. You try to seem as if nothing bothers you, but I’ve seen you shed tears at the dog shelter. I know you. I know you. Please, try to know me.
I walk into class on a chilly December day, not expecting anything from you. I never expect anything from you, not since the beginning of the year. You don’t care about me. I understand that. But I still think of you. I still wonder what it would be like to have you talk to me like you did, as if i was really there.
I sit down and grab out my book, re-reading the chapter we needed done today. You tap me on the shoulder and I look up and blink a few times, trying to register that you are actually acknowledging my presence. There’s something in your eyes I can’t register, and I know you want to ask me something important. I brace myself for whatever is to come out of your mouth.
“Um, I don’t know how to say this...,” you say looking very uncomfortable.
“Yes?” I breathe. I try to calm myself down, pretend as if you aren’t the boy I’ve been thinking about for the past few months.
You shift around in your seat, “Um, you have ‘kick me’ sticky note on your back.”
You never said anything else to me the rest of the year.
There you are. I see you across the quad, talking to some strangers I have never seen. The sight of you brings me back to high school. How do I know you again? You turn and see me and smile. You are walking towards me. What is your name? How do I know you? I walk towards you and we meet in the middle of the quad. You smile and shake my hand, and awkward silence follows.
“I didn’t know you went to college here,” you say, letting go of my hand.
I laugh, noticing how your voice has a raspy tone to it, didn’t I think it was beautiful? “I didn’t know you went here either,” I say.
“Sara, right?” You ask. You remember my name. Didn’t I always worry you had forgotten it? Didn’t I think everyone forgot my name?
“Yeah... and you’re...,” Shoot. What is your name?
Your face falls a little, but only for a moment before you say, “Chris.”
Chris. Huh... doesn’t ring a bell.