"It's my favorite spot in the school," |Autumn|
“Hey! I’m Cherry,” She said, standing in front of me and smiling brightly, holding out her hand to me. I walk past her, not slowing down.
“Yeah, I know,” I respond.
She sighs and turns around, walking faster to catch up with me. “I just wanted to say thank you for the other day.” She says, sweetly. Her slightly curly, dark auburn hair bounces against her back as she speed-walks next to me.
“Wait!” She runs up and grabs my arm, her grip light, and I turn to face her. “Um, thank you for the muffin. I don’t know how I would have survived class otherwise,” she chuckles, lightly. She waits a beat before asking: “Did you make it yourself?”
“Yeah,” I respond, turning and walking away again. The bell will ring soon. I don’t know why she’s even still talking to me.
“Really? You’re a great baker! Thank you for giving it to me,” She exclaims. I like cooking and baking. It’s easy, I look up instructions and do what they say. Cooking is science, follow the lab directions and get an end result.
I shrug. “I was going to throw it away anyway.”
“Really? Why?” Why is she still following me?
“Wasn’t hungry,” I say, simply. I try to speed up and hope she takes the hint, but she just quickens her pace, too.
“Did you eat anything?”
“No, I wasn’t hungry.”
She furrowed her eyebrows in what I assumed was worry and confusion. She just met me and she doesn’t even know me, why does she care if I eat or not?
She walks faster and stands in front of me, blocking my path, so I stop walking. “Eat lunch with me tomorrow.”
Now it’s my turn to be confused. “What?”
“Eat lunch with me tomorrow,” she repeats, looking more sure this time. “Don’t bring your lunch, I’ll make you something.” I meet her eyes and try to search her blue hues for some sign of why she would possibly want to do that. I get it, she’s the nice girl and wants to help people. But why would she go through the trouble for someone she doesn’t even know?
She turns and walks away, her dark auburn hair bouncing with her as she heads to class.
What just happened?
The lock clicks and I open the door, closing it behind me. “I’m home!” I call, mostly just to fill the silence. I hate silence.
I sit my bag down by the small couch and pull out my binder, grabbing a few pieces of paper and my pencil. I grab my phone and type into the youtube search bar “music for homework,” and clicked the first one. It was relaxing lofi music, but I wasn’t paying much attention to the sound, anyway. Anything to fill the blaring silence. Silence can be the loudest noise, given the circumstances.
I check my phone and see that it’s already 7 p.m. I stand up and set my homework down on the coffee table, stretching my arms before walking over and opening the fridge. I search the shelves, trying to find something to eat. Even though I live alone, I don’t want to live off of junk food.
After a few moments of searching, I decide on spaghetti since it doesn’t take long, and I don’t like meatballs much so all I would have to do is make the sauce and cook the noodles. But I notice a container of leftover soup and change my mind about the spaghetti.
The microwave makes a light, humming noise as the plate turns with the bowl resting on top. I put the rest of the container in my mostly empty fridge and wait for it to finish heating up.
My house is small- just an average apartment. But I don’t mind much. I don’t need a big house for just me. My brother sends me money every couple of months, too. I think he does it because he feels bad for leaving me, or maybe it’s just out of pity, I don’t know. I don’t need the money since my uncle still updates my account regularly, so I can just withdraw some anytime, but I guess it’s the thought that counts.
Not having much to do, I take a shower and go to bed early. My mind drifts back to Cherry as I lay awake in my bed, staring at my ceiling. I wonder, why would she go through the trouble of making lunch for a person she doesn’t even know? She’s quite strange.
Cherry’s face seems more excited than usual as she skips up to me, and I notice that her bag seems to be a little larger than usual. There were dark circles under her eyes, but they were light enough that people wouldn’t normally notice them. Her hair looked as though she worked harder on it today than usual, so I assume she woke up early today to make the lunches, rather than staying up late.
“Hey..” She says cheerfully, but pauses.
“Autumn,” I tell her.
“Right. Hey Autumn!”
She laughs and grabs her bag, gesturing for me to follow her. I hesitate before grabbing mine, too, and following her out of the room. We headed down to where the cafeteria was, but before we get there, she suddenly turned and goes through a different door.
“Where are we going-” I start, but she interrupts me.
“Don’t worry, just follow me.” She gives me a small, secretive smile.
I furrow my eyebrows but follow her, anyway. We walk up a set of stairs and I realize where we are going, but I don’t say anything and just follow her. Her dark auburn hair looks more brown now, with barely any red in the dim lighting. Finally, we emerged through another door and she lets it swing shut behind us.
The wind was blowing lightly, just enough for a cool breeze but not enough to blow anything away. It was a bright and sunny day, and there were only a few wispy cirrus clouds in the sky, my favorite type of clouds.
The air smells fresher up here, and I feel more relaxed. I follow her over to the few benches over by the chain fence on the edge of the roof.
“Here,” she said, looking around with a slight smile playing on her lips. “It’s my favorite spot in the school,” she gives me a bright smile before sitting on the bench, waving me over. I take a seat next to her and she pulls out the two lunches, handing me one. I murmured a “thanks” and took it. We each had a clear container that was divided up, like a bento box. Mine had rice, a salad with dressing on the side in a small plastic container, a cut-up kiwi, a few sliced strawberries with a couple of grapes, and a biscuit. I looked over and saw hers was similar except she had just poured the dressing on the salad and she had tomatoes instead of a kiwi. She hands me a plastic fork and I take it, stabbing a strawberry.
“Thank you. You didn’t have to go through the trouble of doing that,” I tell her. I could feel her eyes on me, and I look away, leaning back on my hands and watching the clouds. The breeze blew a strand of my blonde hair in my face and I brushed it aside, sighing. She’s right, this is a nice spot.
“It’s fine, I like cooking for other people. Besides, you gave me a muffin the other day. I’m paying you back.”
“This is a lot more food than a muffin, but whatever,” I say. I put the lid back on and clicked it shut, setting it on the bench next to me.
“Can I make you lunch again tomorrow?” She asks, suddenly.
“Why?” I tilt my head over to look at her, confused. Why would she want to go through that work again? I didn't make her anything, so she doesn't have to pay me back.
She shrugs. “Just because.”
“Because what?” I furrow my eyebrows. She had a playful glint in her eye that confused me.
She chuckled. ”Because I want to.”
“Okay.” I heard the faint sound of chatter and talking and checked my phone. “Lunch is almost over, we should head back.” She nods in agreement and puts my mostly empty container and hers in the lunch box, grabbing her bag and standing up. That was more food than I’ve eaten in a long time, it feels weird eating so much in one setting.
Before we went through the door, though, she turned back and looked at me again. She smiles brightly at me, her bright aqua eyes sparkling in the sun. The breeze blew her dark auburn hair back some, the sun making it look more red than brown now.
“Thanks for eating with me, Autumn.”