Prompt: English Assignment
Date: October 20, 2011
Story: Three Little Words
Tagline: One haunted memory was all she had left of the three little words he had whispered to her.
Author’s Note: I wrote this for an English assignment way back when. I don’t remember if I ever posted it on my personal, but I thought it’d be nice to put it up here. Yeah. Okay.
What haunts her most is her reluctance to let go.
Her past is now faded, muddled and gray. But there those rare moments that stand out in her mind; the ones she’s grown attached to, unwilling, like a child, to let go. The scenes and the colors and the words, still so vivid, stay behind as the rest of her life goes on. The rest - the worn out memories - come sparingly. She can’t remember where she puts her keys or when she last washed her laundry but how he smelled and the sound of his voice were ever present.
It haunts her everyday, the memories of him, of them. But what’s worse is how she can’t let go, how she forces herself to hold on, how she has to be distracted so she doesn’t fall into her vat of memories. What’s worse is how she’ll always remember how she felt with him, how infectious his smile was, and, really, how three little words from him wrote her freshman year.
Sixth period. English Honors. She’s tapping her foot - a nervous habit she detests. The clock is mocking her; its hands ticking away. Thud. A sudden pain in her toes causes her to spastically jump in her seat. She glances up to check if anyone has seen her and realizes that in her time of daydreaming the teacher has been speaking. Trying to gather her attention, she lazily scans the room, noting the glazed eyes and blank stares of her classmates. She vaguely hears the words “vacation” and “candy,” not even stirring at the prospect of chocolate. As she is handed one chocolate Hershey’s Kiss, the school bell rings - a sound amplified in her eyes by all of the excitement - signifying the start of a much needed break from school.
She walks out. Her escape is here.
The straps of her backpack dig in to her shoulders as her feet, feeling sore, drag her across campus, through throngs of excited students, and away from the buzzing of chatter. She arrives at the sidewalk, her cheeks tainted pink and her brows creased. The sky is colorless, bleak and gray. To some, the dull sky and the dark clouds might prove to be a downer but this was the kind of day her spirit soared. On days when the sun was barely peeking through the crowded clouds, she felt as though anything could happen. And that’s when she sees it: the color blue.
The blue is so bright it was a color only found glowing against the midnight sky amongst the city nightlife. Yet, here it is in front of her, taunting her. It muffles the sound of the cars honking and the kids yelling and the 2:50 P.M. bell ringing. It reduces everything around her to a gentle blur where the only thing in focus is the blue jacket. The jacket is standing at the crosswalk, getting ready to go when it turns with a wistful look and sees her too. Her eyes darken with determination as she tries to conceal the pounding in her chest as she believes that her heart has been hooked up to an amplifier, magnifying the sound. The jacket - he smiles - chooses to stay and wait. A smile explodes across her own face like a firecracker. Though the weather was perfect, her mouth had refused her to show any kind of cheerful emotion all day. It had been locked up tight until she saw him. His eyes, a dark brown, crinkle and emanate happiness. Her heart rams into her chest as she realizes that he is happy to see her too. So her heart relaxes and her throat no longer feels constricted and she takes her first deep breath to say what she had been wanting to say all week: “Hi.”
They walk together, closer than just two friends spending time together. His hands graze her own and flames burn beneath her skin. She accidentally lets out a schoolgirl giggle causing a tint of red to make itself known across her face. Suddenly his friend appears out of no where, teasing him with just his arm. The pair stop and she marches on. She does not want to appear clingy at such an early stage in their friendship nor exasperated that he would rather speak to his friend than her. She disallows herself to sneak a look back to see if he had forgotten about her and, against her will, keeps walking. She reaches into her pocket and fumbles as her iPod is unwilling to leave the comforts of its temporary home. The earbud is caught on the inside and she juggles her jacket as she attempts to extract it. A lump on the ground goes unnoticed as the victor of the battle is acknowledged as she. Naturally, she trips. She catches herself before her victory becomes bittersweet but silently hopes that he - her bright blue jacket - did not see a thing. Carefully, she selects her music choice but is prevented from distracting herself even further. A hand touches her shoulder gently and she turns, slightly surprised, to see him again. For a split second, they’re unmoving, simply living in the moment. He looks at her shyly, dragging his eyes across her face. Completely mesmerized, she watches as his mouth opens and she makes herself listen to him. He says three words and she can’t help but smile openly. He nudges her with his elbow and picks up their conversation exactly where his friend had suspended it. Slowly, quite reluctantly, they continue their walk home.
This is what still haunted her: the memory of a day when she had finally escaped her prison of a mind that was filled with crazy fantasies she created at school and entered into a dream that was actually reality. Chills crawl up her back like dozens of tiny bugs when she remembers his cool brown eyes she hasn’t looked into for years, his bright neon blue jacket she is forced to see on a daily basis, and his voice, so smooth, so haunting, she feels creeping from behind her. He is here and there. His presence is ubiquitous, unavoidable. And when she still sees him, when their eyes meet across the way, his voice echoes in her ears. The very words that practically defined her entire freshman year still strike a chord within her. “I’m still here,” he had said. I’m still here. I’m still here. But he isn’t. So she is stuck.