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Grade
9

His eyes were the most gorgeous shade of blue.

They were this pale, icy color that words couldn't even begin to describe. I'd never been aware that somebody with hair as dark as his could have such blue eyes. He was probably perfect in every way – tall and built, with chiseled features and a sexy voice and incredible intelligence and equally amazing athletic skills - but it was his eyes that drew me in. But those eyes were never for someone like me, who couldn't even get the courage to speak to him. We had one class together. An elective, because he was a year above me. I think we might have had the same lunch too, because I caught glimpses of him, here and there. Before long, I found myself searching, hoping for a glimpse of those pale eyes. Maybe even a glimpse of them looking back.

Bravery was not my forte. I knew – not knew, but I'd seen them around - girls who would've waltzed right on up and asked someone like him out. Unfortunately, I also knew girls who had tens times my appeal in both appearance and intelligence. I was plain; chin length, messy, bland brown hair that wasn't rough but wasn't soft either and dull brown eyes that were sunken in from a lack of sleep. Too pale skin because I didn't spend enough time outside and no sort of curves or even a little bit of muscle to speak of – it didn't help that I wore baggy clothing and was constantly mistaken as a boy. Too tall and overly awkward and incredibly clumsy and not at all athletic; I couldn't just duck my head and hide from watching eyes, and I'd probably break my leg as easily as I'd break a stick. I was antisocial and really not that intelligent either, barely scraping along with low Cs and sleeping in class and using my music to get me through the days. Didn't really have any friends, so I spent my lunch period nestled in a corner of the library with my headphones on and my hood pulled up and maybe a book or a comic or manga to speak of, even though I didn't really like reading.

I spent my days on the internet, wasting my life away on an electronic screen with people who didn't really know me, and probably didn't care to anyways. After all, I was just me. My daydreams – which had often become about him, as creepy as it sounds – kept me occupied, my music – those rock bands that the “modern” kid didn't care about – kept me sane. And my life was just a one way ticket straight to hell, and I knew that no one could stop me. Including myself. I mean, I wasn't depressed or anything like that, I just happened to know where I stood. I was a realist, despite my daydreams. I knew what was reality and what was not. Even if my head did drift into the clouds, my feet always remained firmly rooted to the ground.

Even now, I dreamt only of a simple life. Little hassle, hopefully, maybe something I was relatively good at. I wasn't particularly good at anything, actually, or even mediocre when it came down to it, but there was stuff I liked. I'd like to think I was an okay writer, I think, and maybe I'd be able to play an instrument if I put my mind to it. But nothing that required a lot of air, because I wasn't fortunate enough to carry a lot of that. I didn't really have asthma, but running definitely wasn't something I did very often, if ever. I spent all my time at home locked in my room, probably wasting some more time sleeping or on a computer. Time tended to be dreadfully slow, otherwise, and I didn't like to think a lot. Overthinking things wasn't exactly the most uncommon thing, after all. But as contradictory as it was, I liked to be alone. I liked to sit alone, late at night, with my music blasting in my ears and my head empty of any sort of thoughts for the morning. People seemed to think that being alone makes you lonely, but to me, that hadn't ever been the case. I always thought that being surrounded by the wrong people would be so much lonelier – because you're staring through fake smiles and lying eyes constantly, with no one to confide in despite all the people around you.

I didn't like waking up in the morning and dragging myself out of bed and to school every day. I didn't like having to take my earbuds out in some classes, although I usually spent those sleeping, even if it meant I'd end up in detention for the third time that week. But I liked the rhythm of people tapping their foot or the scratching sounds of a pen. Especially those black gel pens I'd saved up to buy when the school year had started. They were both running out by now since I doodled a lot, but they made the best scratching sound and I could always buy more. Getting money wasn't the easiest, but I'd eventually find a way. I always found a way to get things done, of which rarely involved other people.

I just kind of went through the motions, but those blue eyes of his had added a little bit of color to my graying life. Even if it didn't hide me at all, I kept my head down and carried on. Most of the time, my only concern was getting through the day, the month, the year, because I was far from perfect, and only perfect people got anywhere in this kind of place. And the days passed by with no events. I had an old habit of skipping classes, if only because I didn't care enough and neither did my parents, who hardly paid attention to anything but partying and alcohol and gambling anyways. I spent my time during those moments wandering the halls, flattening myself against walls and ducking into halls and nooks to hide from patrolling teachers. Not that most of them cared anyways – they usually turned a blind eye to skipping students unless they didn't like them.

Since I wasn't the best student, I didn't often get along with a lot of teachers, so hiding was my best bet one way or another. It proved to be hard and sometimes I got caught, but I had slowly come to learn all the best places to hide in the areas I tended to wander the most. When this habit had first began, I typically ended up in detention, but now I was rarely caught. I didn't usually have my earbuds in at these times, if only so I could hear other footsteps. But due to what I assumed was a meeting or something, the halls lacked teachers today. Feeling bold, I'd gone ahead and put them in and turned my music up full blast – if a teacher was around, that would probably be what ended up getting me caught. My hair was down today – I usually just clipped it back or pulled it up in a ratty ponytail – and I tucked my hands into the front pocket of my too large, black hoodie with the obnoxious yellow Nirvana smiley printed across the front. I dragged my feet when I walked, because I found it pointless to lift them when I'd end up eventually tripping over them one way or another.

The previously white sneakers were covered in multiple colors now from doodles I've done over the course of having them – band names, song lyrics, story lines. Random thoughts and pictures that came to mind and whatever else happened to end up on them. Most of it couldn't be read anymore. I guess I probably should have paid more attention to where I was going, but my feet tended to move subconsciously, whether I wanted them to or not. Maybe I wasn't as reality oriented as I liked to think I was. But I finally looked up from my shoes and the dirt scuffed floor, and immediately halted.

Blue.

He was right there. Not looking at me – he hadn't noticed me yet, it seemed, despite my loud music. I'd seen him just two classes ago during third period, but seeing him here felt like I was seeing him for the first time again. His dark hair was slightly disheveled and his expression hooded. He was leaning against the lockers with a slightly slouched posture and his head tilted back and his hands tucked into the pockets of his blue and white letterman jacket. And those eyes, those beautiful eyes, looked absolutely crushed. Even from here, I could see the skin around his eyes was slightly red, as though he'd been crying. I couldn't imagine that, though, and as insensitive as it was, I wasn't sure I wanted to try to find out. It wasn't my business and I didn't want to ruin my already nonexistent chances at maybe even befriending him, because I'd be okay with that at the least. Surprisingly, he still hadn't noticed me and so I concluded that he was most definitely out of it. But it wasn't my business, so I moved to sneak away before I was spotted and probably avoided forever.

My luck never had been particularly good, though, and I stumbled over my own foot. The apathy that tended to linger in my chest was replaced with a blazing sense of panic. All at once, my phone slipped out of my hand and my earbuds tore free from my ears and all three clattered loudly to the ground. His head snapped around and those pale orbs widened, and I probably would've laughed bitterly if it was anyone but him. I was that sarcastic, bitter, quiet, rude person, all wrapped up in one, who constantly muttered about people behind their backs – but he was a very different case. And I froze, only for a second, before my body mechanically reacted and moved to pick up my things, feeling his gaze burn into me. Inwardly, I was probably a nervous wreck. He was looking at me, but not in the way I've always wanted. I was terrified to look back, because I didn't want to see the dreaded hate in those beautiful eyes. I wanted to live on with those few impossible dreams that I never would have even considered if it wasn't him. But outwardly, my face remained the mask of calm it always tended to be, because I was terrible at expressing my emotions. So I settled for not expressing them at all.

I only murmured a quiet apology before retreating with my phone in hand and earbuds tangled around my arm. The rest of that period was spent hiding in the bathroom with my feet pulled up on the toilet seat and my hood pulled on. I wasn't feeling fifth period or lunch, but I ended up going to the former anyways and knew I'd go to the latter, if only because I tended to get sick when I skipped meals like that.

Fifth period was purely sleep. It was an elective anyways, so it didn't matter much, and the teacher actually liked me in there – at least, he seemed to – and never said anything to me when I slept. Earbuds back in and music full blast, I drifted in and out of sleep, only faintly aware of other people moving around me, but never quite reacting to them. I couldn't hear their voices over the beat of the rock music in my ears, the familiar voice of Benjamin Burnley swirling through my head. And I was okay with that, like I always was. It wasn't anything new. I was the outcast, even here where I might have fit in, if only slightly. People around me surged up and I raised my head to watch them filter out the door like sheep, one after the other. They were smiling, talking about something I couldn't hear. Something I wouldn't understand. Without a word, I exited the room.

The cafeteria was just down the hall, not a long walk. I'd probably just sit alone again and eat and then retreat to the library like I always did. There, I'd listen to music or sleep some more. And the line was quick because even here, people steered clear of me. Nothing new. I sat alone at the end of a table on the side of the cafeteria closest to the library. Head down, left earbud in because it was the seats on my left that were empty and I didn't want to hear the conversations of the people that would sit multiple seats away, like they always did. I ate in that silence that always seemed to linger around me, looking down and never even glancing up when someone walked by. Someone sat directly in front of me. Only then did my dull, detached eyes raise.

Blue.

Piercing, beautiful blue. He was staring back at me, looking me dead in the eye and for some reason it absolutely terrified me, so I looked away. But there was confusion there, flitting among my own ridiculous terror. Why was he here? I knew, even without looking, that I wasn't the only one confused by these turn of events. I could feel the eyes of others around us boring into my back and sides, and it made me shrink down a fraction in my seat. I never had been one for a lot of attention, and this was honestly just absurd. My hair fell over my eyes and I didn't move it, frowning for once.

“...What do you want?”

He looked honestly surprised by my nearly inaudible question. I didn't like my voice. Too quiet, too scratchy and not quite anywhere near where I'd like it to be. Still, he'd at least heard me and that was probably all that matter. I didn't mean to be rude to him, but I was content from watching from afar and I didn't like this attention. He wasn't supposed to pay attention to me like this. It was only supposed to be something I imagined, but would never happen. But it was, and here he was, those eyes that I had constantly thought about watching me with a sort of curiosity that I didn't see very often. He didn't seem quite disgusted with me like the rest of this school population. He tilted his head.

“You were alone, so I decided to join you.”

Suspicion. Fiery hot and fierce, it clawed at me. This was because of what happened earlier, and I knew it. Was he really just like all the others? Or – and most of me rejected this idea, but one part, a small one, had to wonder it – was he being genuine? I wasn't sure I wanted to find out. He was watching me, with careful eyes that I felt could see straight through me. The feeling was foreign and I struggled, for once, to maintain my calm mask.

“Since when?” It came out as a rude grunt, but I had to see.

And his grin caught me off guard. It was wide and sparkling and those eyes of his just lit up when he smiled. My mask was melted by the pure radiance of it, leaving me with slightly parted lips and wide, startled eyes. I was frozen, mesmerized by that smile and those eyes. He was too beautiful to be real, and there was no way he was talking to me. For once, I was convince I'd become detached from reality, for sure. But I hadn't, because he was as real as that smile and those eyes and the oversized Nirvana hoodie I wore. But that smile didn't waver.

“You know, a simple 'hello' would suffice.” His voice was light, almost carefree.

A moment, and I hesitated. This could have been the one chance I'd been waiting for, to speak up at last and actually have a conversation and maybe befriend him. Even if I knew I'd never get farther than that – he probably had a girlfriend already – I could settle with friends. Slowly, I glanced up at him from behind my hair, lips drawn back into a flat line and hands clasped together in front of me.

“Hi,” I said, and then there was no going back.

His smile grew into a full out grin, and in that moment, I became absolutely positive I'd never seen anything more beautiful than the combination of that perfect smile and those beautiful, pale blue eyes. And those eyes? They just about smiled too.

“Hello.”

State
Texas
Zip Code
77355