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He sits there, in the corner, looking like the world has already ended and is now reforming. The eyes that stare out a raindrop covered window are made of a mixture of colors I can’t even name. His long sleeved shirt, tugged up to his elbows, hangs softly around his arms, like the dark washed jeans that sleep on the tongues of his shoes. He contains his own atmosphere, his own rhythm, his own breath. Breaths like this morning’s cold, November dew, where the ice on the grass slips like tears on a crystal.
My fingers don’t know where to start. I attempted an outline of an eye, but my sketchpad and pencil aren’t working as one today. Nothing has felt right since I’ve seen him, which, has only been five minutes ago. I had come into homeroom feeling lazy on a Monday, reviewing types of boundaries for my science test. My weekend was lousy, it rained all day every day, and though there was nothing to do, I dreaded getting up this morning to the nasally sound of my alarm.
Now I feel dreamy. My senses are awakened, but my head is still swollen from the warmth of my pillow. I wish I could crawl under my covers, shake off the tingling shivers that run up and down my back. But I also can’t tear away from my sketch pad. My hand’s in position, ready to slice the eerie white with a blink of black. There’s something about him, though, that I can’t draw. Even if I were to master the dark lines under his eyes, or his bed-head autumn brown hair, I’d still be missing something.
“What’s with him?”
I break from my sleepy daze and put away my blank sketch, frustrated I couldn’t at least outline his soft, pale façade. Amy sits on my desk, lollipop in mouth, dressed in tight leggings and boyfriend t-shirt. She twirls her ponytail, giving the new kid a second glance.
“I don’t know,” I say, and surprise myself at the way my words tremble.
She gives me a look. “You okay?”
I shove my books to the side and rest my chin on the cold desk. “Fine.”
“If this is about me not being around this weekend…”
“No it’s not that,” I say. Amy had her first date with Parker, a back-up quarterback on the school football team, on Saturday, then she and her family went to celebrate a cousin’s wedding up in New York. I was lonely the whole weekend. “How’d that go, by the way?”
Her eyes reach the ceiling with wonder. “A-mazing. Where do I even begin?”
She starts rambling off about the restaurant they went to, some Mexican outdoorsy thing, and I’m again, in a daze. Corner Boy has shifted in his seat, ever so slightly, so that the rest of his head is showing. His lashes whisper against the air like a heartbeat in water. His lips are a frozen red, which are wetted every now and then.
And then he looks at me.
Just for a second, his pupils scatter across my face. Just for a second, my breath is caught. Just for a second, the room closes in.
And then it’s gone.
Amy takes hold of my face, which as officially lost all its nerves, and turns it towards her. “Did you hear anything I just said?”
“I um..” I can’t hold myself back from looking his way, but the incoming of late students block my view. “I’m just tired.”
“Tired?” She crosses her arms. “I think you look a little crazy, to be honest. Is this whole Parker thing okay with you?”
“What?” I return my attention back towards her. “No, not at all. I think you guys are great. It’s just, you know…Monday.”
Amy looks like she doesn’t believe me, even when I give her a reassuring nod, but heads to her seat when Mr. Bolton settles everyone down for announcements.
My eyes immediately snap to where Corner Boy was last, only to find his desk empty.