He shuffled into the room, head bent, chin tucked, letting his book bag drop to the laminate floor below. Unable to bring his eyes level with the rest of the class, closing his eyes granted him a nightmarish reprieve from living in the present. Memories of shared smiles and time spent together studying after school flooded his senses. Her scent danced as a shadow across memory’s plane, growing with every deep inhale. He raised his hand as his name was called for roll, not looking up. As his heart thumped Daniel, David, Delia, the next name stilled his heart. Oh, that treacherous word that he had loved. And yet, he found it not in himself to despise her, but wished his own name to have been blotted out from the chapters of time. In his mind, she was still the most precious thing in his heart. Within his heart of hearts, he desperately clung to her as life – she had stolen his past and present with every breath of her existence.
Yet the words they exchanged scorched through his hopes and scorned his dreams. Calmly spurned as just being “another guy who wanted her as a trophy of some sort and not taking into account her own feelings and personality and who she was,” she turned and walked away from the hallway and apart from his soul. How could he have shown her that he would have held on until the last breath he had was hers? That every minute he conceived of could easily be spent on her? How could he have known what she meant when she said some of the things that she said to him? His analysis was his end. He realized it wasn’t his time, his dedication, his anything that she wanted. He realized that perhaps he hadn’t known her at all, that the mask she wore so well had preyed upon his own predilections. What an idiot he had been to think that she treated him any differently, with any more attention or devotion than she treated others.
He looked up and color vanished from his sight. The drab green chalkboard became awash in a disruptive grey, oaken tables took on a stark pallor in contrast with the tired darkness of the plastic chairs. Forget it all, what point is there in paying attention to anything anyway. His own naiveté and innocent passion drove him headlong into the disappointment of his life. He felt at once selfish for expressing his desire, hateful for thinking of his own wants over hers, sorrowful for the loss of her presence, regretful for his decision to speak up, wistful for the times before he made his grand gesture, nostalgic of times when they hardly knew each other, and hopeless as he considered the future ahead without her. What a blow, the silent fury of a tempest borne of a single, impure desire. And that purity, had it ever really existed? He felt ashamed as he condemned himself more and more for only approaching her out of shallow interest, without any consideration of improving her quality of life. His own life felt wretched and his soul corrupted by the taint of attraction. The vanity of his own romantic pursuit disgusted him as he became more and more convicted of his own stains. Daniel, David, Delia…disappointment.
He stood up, swinging his book bag over his shoulder in one motion, the red and black flannel bleakly hanging onto his sunken shoulders. Eyes facing downwards, the only sounds heard were those of the sliding of a chair, and the friction of his rubber soles aggravating the laminate beneath his feet as he walked out, managing to close the door silently behind him as he looked on to a life of grey expectations.