Here we are.
i. the girl with the notebook, east
I am sitting in the middle of a boisterous coffee shop,
vibrant with the warm encompassing feeling one feels
laying in the sun, or wrapped in blankets
fresh from the dryer.
Yet the question goes again:
who sits in a coffee shop in the middle of summer
especially if all one wanted was tea?
My hands rummage in my bag,
those fingertips surging a sense of ecstasy,
seeking the thick paperback copy of a book.
The two o' five flight scheduled to fly
to the other side of the country
served as a bookmark.
Funny, I think to myself,
how I wished to run away from my eastern roots
its morals, principles, suffocating me in my grasp,
only to find myself heading east within the other side
of another nation
that I have claimed to be my home.
Instead, all I find is a black-and-white composition book
similar to the ones used in primary school.
Leafing through the pages, I realize nothing inside interests me.
My glasses shift. I readjust them, then
take a sip from my cup of tea and
boy, did I choose the wrong flavor.
Vanilla chai is too strong, at the moment--
green tea or chamomile would be more suitable.
My eyes lift back up to the notebook's pages,
paying more attention to the entries
taking time to decipher the near illegible writing.
On each page was a piece of a crummy portfolio from years ago
revealing of who I'd become:
a slowly building artist stumbling across
project ideas too great to fully comprehend--
at the time, anyway.
But my past wasn't the only one revealed in the notebook.
Little did I know that my little "thoughts" and "observations"
allowing me to channel my inner Harriet--
the spy, of course, though I wish to be bold as Tubman--
would make way to little hints as to where and how
the three of you stand today.
ii. the boy with glasses, west
"What do you get a girl on Valentine's Day?" the boy with glasses-- my first remark of him the first time we met-- asked me in the middle of the hallway. He still wore the same pair of lenses that he did many years ago. They acted as a gateway to the past; I could almost see a glimpse of the wild, boyish inhabitant in memory. The glasses grew alongside him, the right side slightly contorted upwards at an odd angle in comparison to the left, the chipped color coating revealing the inner gray layer. His grip on my arm, something I hadn't noticed until now, was firm, but harmful. No wonder why he was chosen to be a flag holder during school assemblies. His palms never bore any sweat or calluses.
In that moment, we were in our own little world, pacing at a slower rate than reality. Even the multitude of students, whose faces were often visible despite their scrambles to their classrooms, became a blur. A circle, our small nurturing nucleus floating on a different plane than the busyness life offered, inhibited the feeling of safety and comfort we had felt many years ago, as a part of the "unconventional" quartet. Or so people called us. The fantasy-like novelty of the moment slowly fought against time. I distinguished a few faces from the fast-paced movement morphing into faces of annoyance and disgust, deciphering their thoughts.
Oh gosh. Fingertips lightly pried his fingers off my forearm. We weren't related in that way. "You've been dating your girlfriend for six months and you still don't know what to get her?"
"No. That's just it. I don't know what would make her happy." The math textbook in his left arm sagged downwards, and his stature drooped down to the floor, his back resting against the bottom of the art display. Now the covered whale mural behind showed its spout squirting water. His dejection made a pang of sympathy ring inside of me-- she, his girlfriend, was a sweet girl, after all. With no spite whatsoever, he had introduced me to her two weeks before their courtship and made sure that the two of us were friends, which we easily became. Eyes peered at the clock above us. Five minutes. Tap, tap, tap. My next class was in the library, on the complete opposite side of the school, and the enticing call of books was strong today.
But, helping out a close friend is more important than the fragrance of literature, after all.
"Well, I'm not sure what to tell you." I dropped my books down and joined him on the floor. Four minutes. A crowd gathered at the end of the hallway-- it turns out, a girl had regurgitated the remains of Tater Tot Tuesday. The boy with the glasses rolled his, and his reaction matched mine; the school really needs change up their lunch menu. Three janitors swept past us, cluttering buckets in one hand and a mop in the other, yelling at the students in an angry mixture of languages to move out of the way. "She never said anything to me about what she wanted."
Administration had now stepped foot onto the scene, observing the mess. They began to yell at the mass of students, flicking their wrists and signaling them to make it to their classrooms before the bell rings. I brought my knees closer to my chest as a small group of students formed a slow walking hall chain, causing the people behind them to grovel. "But, I am pretty sure she'll appreciate no matter what you get her. She's not the kind of girl to easily fret that you, say, didn't write her a sonnet set to music and serenade her in the middle of the cafeteria."
A small chuckle elicited from his lips before disappearing away. The boy with the glasses grimaced. "Are you sure?"
I shot at him directly through his lenses, shimmering from the window lights refracting on the frames. "You know I wouldn't lie to you."
There was no comment following those words, but that did not matter. We both truth and the weight behind them. He stood up. His arms stretched out over his head, pushing up his right arm, then the left. Administration panned out through the hallway and asked us to leave, which both of us agreed leaving in a few seconds. The book he had carried with him during the encounter was gently placed back into his hands. "Thanks. This is why you're the best. You know that, right?" He extended a hand out to me, and then I take it, hauling myself back up. I know I'm not the best, but it's not for reasons you think, my mind extolled, but the thought was shoved aside.
Externally, I proceeded to scowl. "You know how much I hate it when people give me flattery! You and, um, you know..." The smile on his face wiped clean, realizing the two people who were being referred to. He, along with the other two, had a rocky past, but what had negatively transpired between the three was something unforeseeable. "S-sorry, about that. I forgot that..."
"It's fine. And anyways, remember: if you have any trouble, guy related or not, which I bet that you will," he said, winking, "you know who to call." Irritation flared through my cheeks-- how dare he accuse me of entertaining myself by the likes of flirting! He knew how much I steer clear of any sort of involvement of any activity affiliated with that idea. I shove him onto the floor, and spat out, "You're an idiot!" He brought his heart up to his chest in mocking-shock. His glasses shifted slightly, more lopsided that usual, and stared me down. My perception saw a small twitch at the corner of his mouth, in a gloating matter, but our semblances could not have looked any more different then. We began to laugh, a combination of snorts and giggles. This time, I lent him a hand getting back up on his feet, right as administration caught sight of the two of us. Our laughter echoed through the hall from our teasing. All of this, of course, in good nature-- we did view each other having a sibling-like relationship, after all.
Little did I know that would be my last time talking to him.
Sorry for my absence, everyone! I'm involved Camp NaNoWriMo full swing!
Sorry for my absence, everyone! I'm involved Camp NaNoWriMo full swing!