5 Years Ago
Lewis — Age: 18
High School — Senior Year
The Spring time brought along a nice breeze, cool enough to dispel the heat wave currently washing over the small, quiet beach town. The Summer was nowhere near the horizon, and yet April felt as if it were about to melt from the looming sun above, too hot for a Spring day, but not close enough to the days of August that were to come soon.
But like I said, the breeze was nice, and the cooling effect the close trees had was enough to relax me into a state of tranquil peace. Listlessly, I let my eyes close against the small rays of sunlight peeking in through the branches above, allowing me a moment of total calm amidst the hectic sounds of High School lunch life in the distance.
I was sitting beneath the small shade of the nearby classroom roof, outside, on the stairway that led to the front door. The portable class was one of many in a line to my right and left, but they all remained empty. Not a soul was in sight.
That was good. I relished in the moments I could be alone in High School. I liked the feeling of complete solitude, in a place that was known for being rather loud and rowdy. It almost felt like I was the only person left in the universe when I was alone there, with the sound of the far-off teenagers in the school quad being the remnants of the world that used to be. Unfortunately, the world was still occurring, though my imagination seemed to cast that all to the side.
It was nice and cool where I was sitting. I wanted to get away from my friends, and from my sister, who, had left me to speak with her counselor about college. I didn’t mind, honestly, at times during lunch I found that I enjoyed sitting outside of my next and last classroom for the day, History, until the bell rang.
That was what I was currently doing at that moment. Waiting for the bell to ring.
From where I sat, I could see the rest of the school, the buildings that loomed menacingly, reminding me of the classes I had to take, of the assignments still at the back of my mind and not on paper, as they should’ve been.
To my right, a large fence was planted, so that students could be caged in, not allowed to escape the horrors of sixth period History. Beyond the gates, I could witness the happenings of street life occur, and farther beyond that, I could see where my bus stop was located. Just the image of freedom, and the image of a way out, had me reeling. Why present to us freedom in this way, when in reality one could not attain it unless we climbed over it, breaking the rules to achieve it?
And I had no desire to break the rules, at least—not in this school.
I rubbed my temples, breathing in the soft scent of flowers in the air. The trees around me dispersed purple flowers upon the ground. I even found one that had landed on my head.
Carefully, I took it from my hair and gazed at it, twirling the beautiful plant in my hands. That was when I caught sight of him . . .
My breath hitched at the sudden arrival, and I had no idea what to do until I realized that there wasn’t anything I could’ve done to appear calm.
The flower I was once holding fell to the ground as I kept my face away from his approaching figure. It was strange because, no one had ever arrived early to History except for myself. Had class been announced earlier than usual? But I would’ve known if it had.
I dared to look again, watching as the tall boy in front of me held onto his one binder against his hips, striding confidently, coolly, to the History classroom we both frequented.
That was his name.
Often I wondered if he knew mine, but—that would’ve been impossible.
I turned my head away from him once more when I noticed I’d been staring for too long. He simply walked past me, placing his back to the window of the classroom, looking towards the gate I was gazing at previously, hands in his ripped jean pockets, appearing as nonchalant as he always did.
Why was he there?
Why was he just standing there?
And why was I still there and not running away?
I couldn’t help the red that bloomed across the tips of my ears and cheeks, knowing how close and alone my one and only high school crush was beside me.
Gosh, this was sad. I was hopeless. But I was not completely ready to give into my hormones and self doubts. I didn’t and would never have the courage to speak to him . . .
Timidly, I eyed the young man. He had rested his head on the window, neck stretched up, exposing his tanned skin hidden under his white T-shirt, revealing his Adam’s apple, his jaw, as he opened his dark eyes to stare at the roof and then down to the floor, Vans shuffling as he stood, waiting for the bell to ring.
I lifted my square glasses up my nose, distracting myself. It wasn’t any good to dwell on the fact that he was there, a few feet from me, looking like the typical bad boy of every teenage romance novel out there. What was this? Wattpad?
Frustrated with these thoughts, I began to play with my own binder, flipping through the pages of homework, essays half-written, and of flyers I desperately needed to throw out. I was beginning to grow more antsy, until I came across a sketch I’d been working on in class.
The bell was about to ring anyway. It was pointless to run, even with him there. And so I took a pencil from my school bag and began drawing once more. The simple act seemed to soothe my fastly beating heart. Damn, it was beating so rapidly, I could hardly breathe.
If my sister Koren knew what was occurring, she would’ve most likely just laughed in my face. I deserved this. After months of stealing glances at this boy, at watching him during events, during his swim competitions, in Art class and in assemblies—
I really was starting to sound like some stalker.
Internally, I cringed.
But this was what some high school crushes were like.
I stole a look at the time on my watch, and then discreetly took a glimpse at him again, but he’d moved. Panicking, I relaxed when I caught sight of him walking towards the gate of freedom.
My breath stayed in my throat as I watched him depart, skipping class, as he sometimes did on occasion more so as the school year deepened. It hurt slightly, because I hadn’t done anything to make him stay. And a small part of me knew that I needed to actually talk to him in order to fulfill that. Though at the same time, sometimes I wished my presence alone would be enough.
But he didn’t even know I existed!
I thought over all of this whilst I regarded the way he threw his binder over the gate, and then proceeded to grab the metal barrier with his hands, prominently strong. He swung a leg over the ledge, jumping off and landing on his two feet on the other side. The boy scooped down to grab his binder from the hot concrete, brushing his hair back as he disappeared behind a corner, leaving, free.
The pencil in my hand dropped onto the sketchbook below. I had no idea what was happening with my heart, but it was pounding like crazy.
Maybe if I hadn’t watched him go, I wouldn’t have felt so . . . melancholic? Though it was also a sight I couldn’t miss. He was so cool, much cooler than anyone I’d ever seen. And he had a car too, a vintage black one with silver rims and white seats. I’d seen it a few times when I arrived late to school.
I sighed, and looked down at my lap. I really was pathetic, and it was all my fault. But soon enough, I’d graduate, and I wouldn’t have to think about him ever again.
That was what kept me going. This was only a small high school crush, and it wouldn’t matter in a few years. This was nothing but teenage problems that would dispel once I became a college student.
This wasn’t love. I wasn’t in love. And he didn’t even know I existed. He didn’t. Not at all. That was why he left before class could begin.
I didn’t need this. And honestly, amid my moment of silence, while waiting for History class to start, I came to know that this wasn’t what I deserved. I shouldn’t have been all gaga for someone I barely knew, even if he was hot.
For the second time, I closed my eyes and let the breeze whisk away the rush of thoughts that had blossomed when he arrived. I wanted the early Spring heat to make me forget. I wanted to bask in the silence, in the peace that was this spot, beneath the flowery trees, in the shade, alone, with the sound of high school students far off and unreachable . . .
But then, the bell rang.