-March 23rd -
Laurybell sat peacefully on the outside stone steps, allowing her hair to flow with the wind and block a part of her vision. She enjoyed the calmness of it all, but it was time to enter the large school behind her. It was like yesterday when she entered the large wooden doors. In her first year as a freshman, she remembered being so fond of her surrenderings, but now it's all familiar. Her hands pulled her brown hair in order, tied it, and let it rest on her aching shoulder. Once she entered the lobby, she went to the cafeteria and placed her heavy book bag on the table.
Her shoulders sagged, giving small pints of relief at first. After a few seconds, the aching was slowly fading. Satisfied, her arms swept up, locking her hands together with a twist, and pulled upwards. Once the discomfort faded away completely, she checked the time. 8:02. Class doesn't start until 8:15, and quite frankly, she hoped time would stop then and there. She let out a mumbled noise of annoyance at the thought of spending two hours on a history course, all while having a heavy textbook. She laid her head down, tucking it into her arms, and shut her eyes lightly.
For a few moments, she stayed like that in silence. She listened to the light backgrounds of faint conversations, and the smell of breakfast made her mouth water. Only for it to be broken by an overly dramatic movement of a wooden chair in front of her. She lifted her head to see a man. His figure was average, but he had beautiful brown eyes reading a book silently to himself. His eyes glazed over at hers before returning to his reading. She stared at him for a brief moment, instead checking the time afterward. 8:10. She stretched her arms, preparing her for the pain of carrying her bag again. She then fixed the stray hairs that had fallen out of place when resting and swung her book bag on her shoulders. The swing almost made her trip sideways. She left the area in the cafeteria after noticing the man had been watching her struggle with her bag. She quickly shrugs it off.
She entered the classroom, a large room that fits at least a hundred students. At the far back, her dearest friend since high school, Thomas, was lazily sitting down. He was barely sitting straight on the chair. It looked like he could fall off if he dipped any further down. Besides that, she could see the replacement of appropriate clothes to clothes you should keep at home. He had his usual sneakers he wore last year substituted with soft fluffy slippers that covered everything but his white high socks. The rest of the outfit had baggy pants and a plus-sized stained shirt with an unknown substance. Hidden beneath his entire mess was a clean-cut face and hair perfectly done. It was impressive how he walked out like this and still seemed clean. She sat down near him, relieved again that her back was no longer carrying a heavy textbook.
"How cute, the second year of college, and you're still dressing to impress," Thomas says with an amused smile. His body sat straighter on the chair.
"I have standards." She moves her eyes up and down to signal his outfit. A soft giggle escapes her lips afterward. Thomas folds his arms and pouts. He playfully complains about her being a secret bully.
"It's not my fault you walked out of the house dressed like that. I bet you did it to get kicked out on the first day of school."
"Don't spread my plans around. I have you know I could be a model in these clothes."
"Not likely when you look like you came from a terrible hungover."
He gave a grin and tucked himself underneath the desk. Laurybell watched as he got a mirror from his bag and sat back down dramatically.
"Mirror, mirror, who floats so high." He lifts his arms higher up to prove a point. "Who is the fairest of them all?" He points to the reflection of himself, and I shake my head in playful disapproval.
The professor enters with a clipboard in hand. He gives Thomas a death stare to put the mirror down. Thomas slightly flinches in response before obeying. The teacher then clears his throat and begins. "Ahem, welcome to classroom 203. Many of you had me last year, and some are new. However, we have a transfer student named Henry, who will be joining us. You will be adults and treat him with respect."
Henry enters the room. Laurybell realizes he is the same man sitting in the cafeteria with her for a brief moment. Henry gave a tiny shake hello and sat down next to her. His eyes had almost glued to her direction until Thomas gave him a look.
"Hey, Laurybell. Do you have a pen? I forgot my pens at home." Thomas says in a whisper. Laurybell nodded and bent down to her bag. Thomas' crystal gray eyes send signals to Henry. He gives an arrogant smile in response to Thomas but quickly changes it with a nod of understanding. The history course had begun.
After two hours of sitting still, I felt sweaty, and my body ached for movement. Stretching seemed to act as a habit but didn't help all that much anymore. The professor had given us pages to read, so I annoyingly dropped my textbook on the desk. I received a bunch of death stares from students who were annoyed themselves at the teacher. The professor sighed and told me not to do it again.
"Class is dismissed. Please do your homework. You will have a quiz on it. "
Thomas gives a loud yawn and begins packing his belongings. He gave me back my pen, and we both left the room. I walked stiffly, my pants felt uncomfortably wet, and I wanted to end this moment of embarrassment.
"Are you alright?" Thomas pauses. He narrows his eyes in search of deep legitimacy.
"Yes, but sitting for that long does no favors. I feel like a sweatshop, and it's not even hot." I frown, allowing my displeasure to be displayed. Thomas nods in understanding of my displeasure. He must be feeling it too. He takes hold of my arm, wrapping it around his, and leads me outside. The feel of cool fresh air passionately allows my aching body relief and comfort. I let my hair go loose and glide across my face. Thomas chuckles at my response to being outside before pushing back his imaginary long hair. He copies my head movement of not letting strays get into my eyes. I wanted to push him lightly, but it was too hilarious to stop watching. In the distance was a blurred figure of Henry. He stared with an absent expression before looking down in a deep, complex train of thought. I looked back at Thomas, who was no longer playing around. His smile faded into a stern, serious look. I gently pushed his arm, and he sprung back to life.
"Your feeling better. That's good. Do you have a class in the afternoon?" Thomas says, washing away all evidence of earlier emotions.
"No, having no class would be great, but I have work soon." I sighed.
"Alright. I have to go now. I got a class in room 209. Try not to break your back." Thomas giggles, on purpose, at a higher pitch before running off. I happily watch as he does so and to add the final touch. Thomas dramatically trips on an invisible object and continues going. I gave my shoulders one last hope of a stretch before making my way down the stone steps. Henry suddenly appears, blocking my path. His face shows a hint of guilt hidden behind his puppy eyes. Like he was begging me for something.
"Hey, I wanted to say sorry," he says in a low, monotone voice. His face loses all source of emotion or complexity. It was like a robot who rehearsed lines that could never come close to a human. Instead, sources of sweat drops build and soon drip down his neck. His nervousness consumed him completely.
"Sorry?" I cocked my head to the side in innocence and confusion. His once bright puppy eyes had become dull.
"I-I wanted to say sorry. If you haven't noticed, I was staring a lot." He rubs the back of his neck. "I thought you were beautiful, so don't get the wrong idea." His voice was gentle and soft. His frozen state of a robot pretending to be human, was pulverized by a sweet confession that lit his body like fireworks.
"O-Oh. It's ok." I mumbled, barely audible. I felt hot, like my cheeks were burning and my chest was heavy. The last time I got a confession was in second grade. A boy I forgot the name of had given me a ring pop. He promised to stay with me forever until he had to move away. My young heart was fractured but then repaired after a tube of ice cream and two seasons of my favorite cartoon.
Suddenly, my book bag was missing from my shoulders. I look up at Henry shyly, placing on his left shoulder. He didn't seem bothered by the weight. "To make it up to you. Can I help carry this?" I didn't refuse his offer. My back could lose suffering for a few minutes. We walked together to my rental car in awkward silence. I opened the passenger door, and Henry placed my bag on the seat. The door slammed close, and my body winced a bit in response but recovered.
"If it's not too much. Let's have lunch tomorrow. I want to get to know you." His eyes brighten with sparks of hope and faith. Fireworks, I will forever compare them too. He had confidence, a confidence I didn't want to fracture for an invalid reason.
"Sure," I said, making myself sound confident to match his. "I would like to know you better too." His lips form a deep smile. He was happy and waved me goodbye once I drove off. I had no regrets and wanted a clear conscience if I said no to him. Tomorrow was going to be a fascinating day.