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Chapter One of "The Connection"
"do you have any 0.5 lead?" i ask my best friend, Marianna. she looks up at me thru her dark red hair. "yeah, here you go," she replies and pretends to hand me something. neither of us ever use 0.5 lead, so we use it as a code for "meet me in the bathroom". the rule is that who asks for the "lead" has to go sign out second, so Marianna hands mr. pyne her hallpass for him to sign and winks at me on her way out the door.
i wait about 45 seconds until mr. pyne was back focusing on his papers to go and ask him to sign my hallpass. The thing about Shadow Middle School teachers is that they are too dumb to know when two students go to the restroom at the same time, especially when they're friends, its most likely to talk. i walk briskly out the door and hurry to the bathroom. i know that she doesnt like to wait. i love Marianna to bits, she's my best friend but she can be impatient and nosy sometimes. i step into the girls bathroom and she is giving me that look: that desperately-wanting-to-know-the-details look. i try to seem upset, just to throw her off that i'm actually bringing happy news. i look at the floor and lean against the wall. i guess it worked, because i could hear the worry in her voice when she said, "What? What's going on?" i sighed and said, "well i guess i should tell you now, before it happens." i looked up at her and my big blue eyes stared straight into her green cat-like ones. "What, Sami, what?" she was panicking now. i smiled real big and laughed at her. she playfully raised a fist like she was going to punch me and smiled in defeat. "okay. for real this time. what is going on?" she demanded. she hated when i did that, which is what made it so much fun.
"i think tomorrows the day. Rob's waiting to ask me out until tomorrow so we can go to the dance together on Friday!" she gasped and a huge smile spread across her face. I had this obsession with Rob since seventh grade when he first moved to Shadow School District. he was the new kid, a lost puppy in the middle of the crowded hallway. no one else stopped to help him, but i went up to him and smiled.
"do you need some help?" i asked him. i heard him sigh in relief.
"yeah. can you tell me where room 104 is?" i was surprised he was going to the same class as me.
"yup. i'm going there, too, follow me." i lead him through the sea of people and the buzzing of voices to 104, our art class. Mrs. Edwards told him to sit where he wanted, and he sat next to me. he told me i was the only person that talked to him all day that wasnt a teacher. so it turns out he's a really talented when it comes to drawing, and considering im not, he promised to repay with teaching me to draw. but that was last year, and despite his efforts, drawing is strictly limited to stick figures.
i came back to the tiled floors and mirror and chipped paint walls of the girls bathroom when Marianna impatiently snapped her fingers infront of my face. i blinked rapidly, backing my face away out of relflex and she stopped.
"welcome back. How was Mars?" she said sarcastically.
"yeah, yeah. heard it all before." i rolled my eyes. "anyway, what do you expect? i'm in love..." i added dramatically, staring off into the other direction, adding to the affect. we both laughed.
"well that would explain why he hasnt asked yet, even though we both know he wants to. and that look in his eyes when he stares at you when you're not watch--." she breaks off, clapping her hand over her mouth and i look at her, shocked. "oops," she says, looking at the floor, knowing she's guilty.
"What?" i demanded. i hadn't heard anything of this before.
"well, when you aren't paying attention, Rob looks-- no he stares at you, with this longing, dreamy look in his eyes like he wants to just jump up and kiss you right there and then," she explained. i was mad, shocked, and overjoyed all at the same time.
"why in the world didn't you tell me?" i demanded next.
"oh, sami... i guess i was waiting until you guys were already going out, or, i dont know... something in the back of my mind told me to wait. you're not mad at me, are you?" she gives me her best puppy-dog look. she knows i can get mad at the strangest things, but i can never stay mad at that face-- but the puppy-dog face only works on me with Marianna, and she uses that against me.
"oh you know i can't stay mad at you," i said as a simle crept up onto my face. i tried to contain myself from laughing, screaming, i dont know what it was, but it made me feel like i was going to explode any second.
"we should get back to English. mr. pyne will start to wonder things... for instance why we're taking so long." i said to her. she nodded her head in agreement and picked up her purse. we walked out into the hallway, and i saw Rob at his locker which is two doors down from our English class. I knew it was ridiculous, but i wanted to believe he knew we would be out here which is exactly why he chose to come to his locker. stupid, i know. Marianna tried to contain her giggles as she noticed he was looking straight at me.
"hey sami," he said casually. everytime i hear his voice i go into my own world.
"Whats up Rob?" i said as casually as i could manage
"ah not a lot. You?" how does he manage to be so cool about this?
"same old boring story."
"anyway, can i talk to you alone a minute?" he looked over my shoulder at Marianna. i was nervous, excited, and utterly confused all at the same time, so i said to Marianna, "uh, i'll meet you back in English." she smiled and left us alone. i can perfectly imagine her desperately-wanting-to-know-the-details look.
"yeah?" i asked, trying desperately to contain myself
"I wanted to talk to you about the dance. Will you meet me at the rose bush outside the artroom after school?" he asked. my heart was pounding. funny how he chose to meet outside the room we practically met in, and a rose was what he was drawing when i relized his amazing artistic ability. i tried not to make it obvious that i was trying to wipe the sweat off my hands on my jeans.
"okay i'll meet you there," i thought i was going to scream any second, but somehow managed to keep my cool. it felt like a miracle not only that he was finally asking me, but also that i wasnt flipping yet. did he notice my eagerness though? i smiled back and nodded my head ok. i tried to seem casual as i walked back to the calssroom. i took my seat in the back next to Marianna and she gave me that desperately-wanting-to-know-the-details look again. i tore a peice of paper from my notebook with a shaky hand and tried to make my handwriting legible. i wrote down the whole conversation and explained how it was ironic about the rose bush and the art room. i folded it up and gave it to her. She eagerly opened it and a smile slowly spread across her face as she read it. by the time she got to the end, her chin was practically hitting the desk and she stared at me with excitment in her eyes. she wrote something back on the paper and passed it back to me. it said: "Good job Sami! You were right but i guess your wish came true a day early! We HAVE to go shopping for something to wear!" i rolled me eyes and smiled as i folded the paper up and put it in my bag. we never throw our notes away incase for some strange reason a creeper goes to read it. Marianna and i are parnoid at the absolutely oddest things.the bell rings just as i glance at clock. Marianna and i rush to the door.
Marianna, Rob, and i are in the same History class, which is next, so this should be interesting.
Marianna and I were the first in the class, which is a phenomenom because we're usually late. Rob showed up a few moments later, and sat down right next to me. i looked up from my open book at him and smiled, and he smiled back. i thought to myself, how could this be any better? i nearly got hypnotized with his longish brown hair that almost covered his beautiful hazel eyes. i had to drag myself back down to earth against my will to hide my blushing. Mariannas words echoed in my head, 'welcome back. how was Mars?' but i knew this time she would be smiling when she rolled her eyes. i looked down at the desk and let my hair fall in a blonde curtain infront of my face. Marianna was on the desk on the right side of me, smiling. i looked at her and her smile got wider. One of the reason i absolutely LOVE Marianna is because of how understanding she is to my emotions, like now, i am happy because Rob and I are going to the dance together, and she is happy for me. Also considering when we were both seven i was mad at Christina in our second grade class because she told everyone i had cooties on the playground, so the next day, Marianna tripped her when she was on her way back to her seat from sharpening a pencil. Marianna got in trouble, but took the heat for me. We have been next door neighbors since we were five, and friends since then.
Mr. Denson started class. i tried to act like i was paying attention while he droned on about something to do with the Civil War, but i couldnt control thinking about what in the world Rob wanted to "discuss". I gave up and decided to begin taking notes, but only ended up doodling all over my notebook. mainly hearts and stars, an ocassional attempt at flower. in bubble letters i would write 'R + S' or some childish thing like that. i had covered the front and back of one page and was going for a second when the bell announced the end of class. relieved to be out of History, i rush to gather up all my books. apparently, i was so anxious to get to last period and finish the day, that i dropped a folder. trying to grab it before it fell, the rest of my books fell onto the floor as well. i hadnt realized i was shaking that bad. to my surprise, Rob was suddenly by my side, helping me collect the books off the floor. i looked up at him just as he looked at me. we exchanged smiles and he handed me my books. "thank you," i said, trying to keep it simple.
"no problem," he replied and gave a warm smile. we walked out the door, and i remembered that Rob and I were in the same math class, which was exactly where we were headed next. Mrs. Simmons is not only my favorite teacher, but Robs as well. shes probably the nicest teacher in the whole 8th grade. we continued down the hall and i could feel eyes on me. Rob is considered one of the popular guys at Shadow, and i'm not surprised. he has this gorgeous face and amazing brown hair, not to mention his eyes. his eyes are incredible. they're calm like the sea on a clear night. they're a beatiful color of what many would call gray, but gray is dull and boring, very unlike his magnificent eyes. he has skin that's been kissed by the sun and a smile that makes the outshines the very sun itself. its pretty pathetic how much i like him, and how much i want him to know, and ESPECIALLY how much he doesn't know. he can make anyone having the most miserable day laugh, see the bright side of life. hes done that for me plenty of times. what can i say? Rob is incredible.
seeing a boy like that with a girl like me is pretty uncommon. Rob is such a good looking guy, and then you have me. i am a girl with plain blue eyes, a pale complexion, and a crooked smile. my hair is equally boring. straight and blonde. people say girls with blonde hair and blue eyes are beautiful, but there's an exception for every rule. my laugh is awkward, pretty much like the rest of me. to be honest, i dont know why Rob, or why anyone really, would ever see anything in me.
"what did you want to 'discuss' with me?" i looked at him with curious eyes. he surprisingly seemed uneasy at the subject. there was a strange tone of embarassment in his voice. " well, why don't we discuss that after school, when there's less, uh, people around." he offered an awkward smile and we stepped into Mrs. Simmons math class. i can't tell you how confused i was at that point. why would he be embarassed to tell me something unless it was either really bad or really wierd? normally when he tells me wierd stuff it's to be funny and he doesn't care who's around. considering that, i decided it's probably something bad, and i tried not to let it bother me. i was very unsuccessful at this. so then i tried to push it out of my mind until after class. that didn't work either. so i just sat in the back of the room fidgeting all thru math. i'm telling you, i could NOT sit still. i tapped my pencil on the desk, squirmed in my seat, wrung my hands, tapped my feet, cracked my knuckles (which my mother HATES) and bit my fingernails the whole 45 minutes of class. math was our last period of the day, much to my relief. i obviously couldn't pay attention to Mrs. Simmons. i was looking at the clock every ten seconds, only to be disappointed that class wasn't over yet. finally, the bell rang and i sprang from my seat and tried my very best not to seem nervous. i have no idea if i appeared as anxious as i felt. i waited for Rob outside the calssroom door as everyone filed out, excited to go home. Rob was the last one out the door and we walked down the hall. His locker is one classroom away from mine, so we were headed in the same direction. he didn't say anything, which made me even more nervous, and i didn't know what to say that wouldn't make me sound like an idiot, so we continued down the hall in a dreadful silence. my heart was pounding against my ribs and my hands were shaking slightly. i prepared for the worst, though i wasn't sure what that would be. i knew so little about what was about to happen, it might be a good thing for all i know, but it wasn't likely. i had just found date, and not just a date, but the guy i had loved since last year, Rob Greene. the faces around me became a blur as we stopped at our lockers to get the neccessary books for homework and continued down the hall. we exited through the glass doors of the school and made our way to the budding rose bush. my heart was pounding and my palms were sweating even more. i forced a smile and turned to face him when we arrived at the bush. i waited for him to say something, which he didn't for a moment that felt like an eternity. i was about to open my mouth to ask him, when he started to say something.
"Sami, i know that you like me," he said. if i wasn't confused before, i sure am now.
"Well, yeah, we're going to the dance together. You must like me too, you asked me didn't you?" as the words came out of my mouth, i came to a sick conclusion in my head. the look on his face didn't help much. he took a deep breath.
"That's the thing Sami. I was hoping you could hook me up with Marianna, but i figured out that you really did like me. I thought you and i were only friends, so i wanted you to help me get Marianna. i've liked her for a long time, and i thought she liked me too." he waited for my reply, but i was still trying to put together what he just said. i tried desperately to fight back tears as words came to meaning in my head. when Marianna said he was looking at me, he was looking at her. and next thing i know, i'm walking away from Rob, my supposed-to-be date to the dance, to my dream guy. "sure, i'll tell her" i call over my shoulder. i almost stepped on the wrong bus, but then realized my regular bus was next to it.
i boarded the bus and took a seat in the middle of the row. Marianna was never on the bus on Wednesday afternoons because of her drama class (a perfect fit for her), so i sat in silence for a while, still trying to make sense of what just happened. i kept telling myself "Rob likes Marianna, Rob likes Marianna, Rob likes Marianna," trying to get used to it. i found tears rolling down my face. i was extremely thankful that i wasn't making noises, like i normally do when i cry. i was even more thankful to see my house out the bus window. i jumped off the seat and ran down the steps, almost tripped on the sidewalk, and slammed the door behind me. i didn't know why, but i was suddenly absolutely furious. i was mad at Rob, at myself, mad at everything. i ran to my room and slammed that door aswell. thank goodness my mom wasn't home, because i wouldn't have gotten away with slamming doors, she doesn't tolerate that. she doesn't tolerate a lot of things. i flopped down on my bed and screamed into my pillow. before i knew it, i was crying again, curled up into a ball. i clutched Red, my stuffed, old, tattered dog that my father had given me on my third birthday.