A bell rings.
Lunch causes children to pour out rooms like dams opening floodgates. He walks with the tide, slipping between bodies. He is quiet. A lone droplet swept up in a river.
He passes the other boys he had grown up with, or has known of. He walks by the girls he has known of, but never grew up with. They all slip by each other unnoticed.
Well, that's not actually true.
They do not notice him. But he does. He has taken note of every tic and every twitch.
The way Enzo brushes back his soft black hair. The way Dan predictably does his subtle muscle-flexing to impress Sasha, his fourth girlfriend this month. The way Sasha keeps her eyes up, hiding her appreciation of Dan's muscles. How Kat walks like she's afraid of the world but dares it to try her.
And as he sits at his table at the cafeteria, away from the mass but just enough to blend in, he does not miss Maya's eyes as she sits in the middle of her table, surrounded by friends. Staring at him. As if she knows how he has watched them all their lives.
He meets those dark, dark eyes. Those that, instead of being windows, held back her intentions like foggy car tints or curtained lit windows with the barest of shadows flickering behind.
They stare at each other. And stare some more.
I know you, her eyes seem to say. I know.
Do you? He challenges back. Do you really?
He reminds himself just looking is enough.
She breaks away first, replying to a friend, perhaps talking about that upcoming school event he knew he would be attending alone. Unnoticed. A droplet in a river.
He watches her for a moment, contemplating. What exactly, even I do not know. He watches and watches. Looks around. Then finally, he stands and leaves.