An auditorium. Students streaming in through the doors, bringing with them excited noise and an air of anticipation. Me and my friend are sitting on a nearly empty bench, alone and exposed – an intentional position on my part. As the benches start to fill up, my friend murmurs observations about our returned school mates, but I’m barely listening. My eyes are trained on the door on the right, an unconscious exclusion of where it might happen. I am waiting. Waiting for the only thing I have looked forward to on this day.
As the time passes, I grow more and more frustrated. But it is a feeling muddled with fond amusement. Being late is so typical for him, and it’s a part of him I’ve grown to love. Seeing him enter quietly, pulling off his headphones with his eyes trained on the floor and the red hues of his hair glistening in the harsh fluorescents, bringing a warmth I didn’t know the lights could possess. Glancing up quickly to spot the seats that have remained vacant. I have from time to time made sure that the seat next to me is one of them. In the beginning of class, I live for those moments.
But not now. It might be okay for me to wait for you when I just saw you, less than an hour ago, but not when I’ve waited ten weeks. That is enough. Along with my frustration, I feel something else. Something I can’t really put my finger on. I feel the rate of my heart speed up and grow more frantic as I wait. What is it I am feeling? Anticipation? Nervosity? Anxiousness? Probably all of the above. But then it all dissipates.
He enters through the right door, and walks into the room, just like he always does, and I can’t keep myself from smiling. Gone is the feeling of crawling in my skin, and the rapid beating in my chest feels exactly right. I feel a soft fluttering in my stomach, and I finally understand what people mean when they talk about butterflies. I can very clearly feel the delicate flapping of a thousand wings, making me feel as light as a feather. When he takes his seat and is obscured from my view, I feel my face settle into a frown, and I try to comfort myself by thinking that I will see him again soon.
The events repeat themselves a while later when I sit in the classroom, waiting for him, once again, to make an entrance. When he does, I get the same feeling, but this time, my apparent happiness is caught by him. He smiles at me and I can feel the corners of my lips drawing further up my cheeks. I think: Oh, if you only knew how much you do with just a smile.
After the, incredibly dull, run-through of what our last high school year will entail, I go to the school office to wait for my friend, who went earlier to talk to the principal. When I get there, I see that there is a long line outside. I stop and think: “Great.” Then I remember that there are some seats just outside the door. I stand on the tip of my toes and stretch to see above the heads of the students. The seats are empty. Bingo. I squeeze my way past the line, looking down and practically chanting “excuse me”. On my way, I see a very familiar pair of Vans, but ignore that observation for the sake of my…well, sanity. I plop down on the sofa and let out a light sigh, looking up mindlessly. There he is.
He’s standing in line with a girl from class, one of the few people I actually think are pretty cool. Not in this moment though. “Uhm, we’re in line.” Excuse me? I mean, sure, she seems to genuinely want to let me know, but I have eyes that can see, Missy. I’m sure even the blind would notice the line forming, if nothing then by crashing into it on the way to…wherever. Without a thought, I reply: “Well, I’m not.” I say this with a little smirk, and feel my smugness grow as I see the embarrassed look on her face. She lets out a little laugh and I smile to let her know that it’s okay…just don’t try to make me look bad again. Her reaction doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me is the, very genuine and not embarrassed in the least, laugh that he lets out. He laughs and laughs and at first, I’m puzzled, but can’t help joining in. We share a little look before my friend comes out from the principal’s office and we leave.
Now I’m left wondering what exactly it was that he found so funny, and the big question – what will happen? I at least know that if nothing else, my thoughts of Phreckles will keep me occupied this year. I think we’re off to a decent start, don’t you?