The school bell rung out and Mrs. Jenkins first hour Advanced History class began. Similar to the other classes offered at the private high school for the academically inclined students, the class was designed to cover a simple topic - in this case, the history of America - but more in-depth and specific than any other school would have.
The Monday morning was somber and gray as an overcast greedily hoarded all of the sunlight to itself without sparing so much as a single ray. And yet it was loud. Like a parasite, the rain seemed to attack the school windows, shaking the glass panes as each drop ferociously slammed itself up against it, trying it’s best to draw attention to itself. While the weather outside seemingly threw a fit, trying to get the class to pay attention to it, the students paid no mind. But, what they were paying dutiful attention to was their teacher. Calling names off of her clipboard at the front of the class stood their teacher, and she was on a mission. Cross out all of the 20 sophomores names on her list, and she was done. It was simple. A simple task fit for a simple woman. She stood there with her eyes glued to the tip of her pencil as it made a rigid line through each name. Then, she called a name and waited for a response. A name, although she didn’t know it yet, that would come to haunt her.
She waited for a moment, her class so silent it seemed that everyone was holding their breath, before clearing her throat in annoyance. She called the name again.
No one moved a muscle.
Outside, the rain, hearing her call upon the girl, let out a bitter cry and began to berate itself against the windows even harder, demanding to be heard. After watching Mrs. Jenkins sigh and circle the girl’s name in disappointment before moving on, it retreated in utter disappointment. It had wanted to be heard. For once it had something to say - a whisper the wind had carried like a weight upon it’s back for days - and it was ignored.
Sitting in the back of the classroom, a girl stared out of the window, watching the rain retreat. As she watched it, she felt a sort of sorrow wash over her. She had always revered the rain - the way its cool droplets felt like wet kisses on her skin, the way it rolled smoothly down the pavement, the way it cut through the sharp air and gave it a soft, fresh feel. She felt the air leave her lungs as if being drawn towards the same magnet the rain was being drawn towards. Her mind spinning, she looked over at the empty seat beside her with reproach. What was so important to Misty that she was absent? And why, as Misty’s closest friend, was she not informed of it?
Looking down at the notebook on her desk, she squinted at the bottom corner, rereading the words that were surrounded by designs. ‘Property of Misty and Jessica’ it read. It was the notebook they shared, always alternating turns on who took notes one day so the other could sit comfortably and listen. Jessica gave it a last once-over before opening it to begin taking notes of off the whiteboard Mrs. Jenkins was writing on. So clean you could see you’re own reflection on it, the whiteboard was quickly being filled up with Mrs. Jenkins elegant penmanship, and Jessica found herself reminiscing about how jealous Misty always was over that. The teacher’s almost perfect handwriting was such a small detail but such a huge annoyance to Misty for some reason, Jessica would think to herself with an eyeroll as Misty complained about it to her after class. It was just a pet-peeve, she had guessed. She remembered how whenever Mrs. Jenkins would begin to write on the board Misty would glance over at her and give her the look, a brief glance full of annoyance that always made her laugh, and felt a small smile grow on her face. Looking over at the desk beside her with the smile on her face in preparation, it took her a moment to recall that Misty wasn’t there - and by the time she had remembered, she was already staring at the empty desk that sat beside her. Feeling a small tug at her heart, Jessica turned away from Misty’s desk with a feeling of longing so intense that it felt like Misty had taken all of her energy away from her and left her an empty.
It would be a very, very long time before that feeling would go away.
After first hour, a boy wandered through the halls, his eyes diligently searching for the girl with a brilliant smile. He was looking for a girl with her nose so far into a book she wouldn’t even notice his presence at first, a pencil tucked behind her ear, absentmindedly walking through the halls without a care as he’d come to expect.
She had been on his mind all weekend, her face so far etched into his brain that she had been his first thought when he’d woken up this morning. He had come close to kissing her last Friday, everything had been going perfectly. They had been sitting on a park bench talking for at least half an hour when he began to lean in, and when she leaned in in response he shut his eyes. It had been the perfect move at the perfect time, and his heart began to race. But after moments of just the air on his patient lips - moments that seemed to stretch into hours - he had opened his eyes to see her gone, walking down the path leading to her bike.
Ever since that moment he had felt devastated, humiliated, and most concerning to him, scared. Scared that he had made a move too soon and scared her off. Scared that she might not give him a second chance. He felt so stupid. Jesus, he thought with exasperation, I am such an idiot. He finally realized what his problem was when he had gotten home from school that day and ran to his room, locking the door right as the first tear fell. He was in love with her, with Misty. And he felt that he had ruined possibly the only shot to her heart. He had felt corny for thinking it at first, but the weekend away from her had only made him feel stronger the conclusion he had reached. Yes, he was in love with her.
He called her many times over the course of the weekend, leaving countless voicemails apologizing and asking for her simply to pick up the phone and call him back.
He had received no calls.
He left dozens of texts, asking if not for her heart, than for her forgiveness. He had seen the read receipts, evidence that she had indeed seen his texts, and yet he did not receive a single text back.
She had shut him out, treating him like a criminal for what he’d done. But somehow, this didn’t make him angry at her. It made him furious at himself, furious that he had rushed in too quickly and made a costly mistake.
He had hoped to see her in the hallway after first period and walk her to her next class like normal. He hoped that she would hear him out as he apologized, see how sorry he was, how head-over-heels for her he was, and forgive him. And if not, if she wouldn’t hear him out? He would talk to her, explain everything, and hope that she opened her ears and heart to him. He hoped things could go back to the normal that they had established, and that they would be able to move on from the little hiccup in the road that he had created.
But it was obvious at this point that that would not be the case.
She simply wasn’t there.
He stood on his toes and frantically looked up and down the hallway once more before giving up. Feeling the weight of his disappointment begin to come crashing down on him, he fell onto his heels, his shoulders falling, and he began his trek to his next hour class - pain forcing its way into his heart so strenuously that it made his headache.
He had messed up and she had cast him aside for his actions, never to be forgiven. She was done with him.
He felt a wave of grief wash over him, and to his absolute horror, tears began to well in his eyes. Blinking rapidly to try to avoid the tears from spilling down his face, he desperately tried to cover them up before he became humiliated. Boys weren’t supposed to cry, he had been taught that fact from a very young age. Boys were supposed to be manly, and men didn’t cry.
The thing was, he didn’t feel very manly right about then.
With his head hanging low, he let the crowd pull him away. He was surrounded by people who didn’t know what had happened between him and Misty, and who didn’t care that she was gone.
She was already fading away.