Thursday, March 09, 2006
It was the first day of grade ten science class. My first day of high school. There was a shortage of classrooms so ours was being held in the home economics room. We sat in tables of three and four. There was a nervous quiet in the room as we waited for the class to begin.
The door opened and he walked in. A wallet chain hanging from his pocket jangled with every step. He wore a jean jacket over a plaid shirt, and and old pair of combat boots. His hair was sharp spikes of orange. I knew of him from the neighborhood, but not well. He was older than I was.
He dropped his bag on the floor in the space next to me. "Stiff Little Fingers" was written across the front of the bag in thick black marker. He looked at me and smiled. My heart picked up.
“Hey. How’s it going?”, he asked, all eyes in the room on our exchange.
“Good, thanks. And you?”
He shrugged and sat down, still smiling at me. He seemed amused. He tapped the table with his hands. After a moment he turned away and scanned the room, back toward the classroom kitchens. When he spotted the fridge he got up, walked over and opened it up as if he was at home. Next he looked in the cupboards. He pulled out a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter, started opening and closing drawers until he found a knife, and then he opened the fridge again and took out a jar of jam. He made himself a sandwich, oblivious to the surprised onlookers. He returned to the table and was about to take the first bite when he caught me staring. He held the sandwich out to me.
“Ah…no, no thanks. But thanks anyway”, I stammered, feeling my face get warm. I hadn’t realized I was watching so closely.
Just then the teacher walked in and class began.
I could hear him next to me as he ate his sandwich, enjoying every bite. I don’t think I looked at him again the whole class.
I also don’t think I missed another science class that semester...until we started to miss them together.
Posted by Rachel at 10:06 PM