“Destiny,” I heard a slightly-pissed off sounding voice called.
I sat up straight in my seat and looked at the teacher who was glowering down at me.
“Do not fall asleep again.”
“Yes ma’am,” I mumbled. Last night had been bad, too. I had ended up going outside again and sitting out there for a while. It was always pretty easy to go to sleep after sitting outside. I wasn’t sure why, maybe because it was so calming. She turned on her heel and walked away from me with a huff. I quickly glanced to the back row where the mysterious black-haired boy sat. I had figured out that I had never seen him before because he was new. I hadn’t noticed him in my Lit class until yesterday, and since then I had been trying my best to figure out his name. I still didn’t know it, though. He was slightly slumped over his desk, staring straight ahead. I turned back around and tried to pay attention to the teacher for the rest of the class.
When the bell rang signaling the end of the class, everyone, as always, rushed to the door as quickly as possible. One of the most possible girls in our school, Natalie Andrews, accidentally, it seemed to be anyway, bumped my binder on her way of walking past my desk. My binder fell off my desk and papers flew everywhere. Just great. What was with me and people knocking over my binders?! She didn’t even turn around, just kept walking. I glared at the back of her head and then leaned down to grab my binder up off the floor. I stopped when I saw a slightly tanned hand reaching out to grab it for me. I glanced up at the hand’s owner, and found myself looking into bottomless deep grey eyes. Grey eyes had always looked odd to me, but on him they looked…right, somehow. Black-haired boy handed me my binder and gave me a slight nod. Without looking at me again, he started to walk down the aisle. Startled by his abrupt departure and lack of words, I hurriedly crammed my things into my back pack and found myself chasing after him. Well, not exactly chasing, more like fast-walking.
He was already half way down the hall, his long legs carrying him faster than I could ever walk without looking dumb. I weaved in and out of the way of people, trying to get to him. He turned the corner and I suddenly just stopped. Why was I going out of my way to thank this guy? He was nothing to me. Turning on my heel, I headed in the opposite direction towards my locker.
Gripping the Styrofoam tray that held my soggy slice of pizza, I pushed the doors open and sucked in a quick breath when a cold gust of wind hit me. Gosh, it was cold. Trudging over to my usual bench, I glanced around. No one was out here, surprise, surprise. Settling down on the bench, I took a tentative bite out of my cheese pizza. Sloshing the greasy lump inside my mouth, I almost gagged. How could people eat this? It was nasty. Forcing myself to take another bite, I thought of the all the people who had absolutely nothing to eat. I should be thankful. So, I began taking huge bites, chewing as quickly as possible, swallowing, and then washing it down with a big gulp of water.
Raising the pizza to my mouth, I quickly took another bite, but I wasn’t fast enough. I felt the grease ooze out of it and I closed my eyes, wrinkled my nose, and tried not to spit it out. This was nasty. They must’ve put extra grease on my pizza or something; I must not be eating the same lunch as everyone else. This time when I took another bite, I kept my eyes open. Looking across the little outside area, I locked eyes with him. I hadn’t seen him sitting there, headphones in, watching me with an amused expression. I could feel myself blushing as I swallowed my bite as quickly as I could. I lowered the pizza and stared at him in silence. He wasn’t looking at me anymore; his gaze was now fixed on his sneakers, which happened to also be black Converse, like mine. I shrugged to myself and went back to my pizza.
Once I had finished my lunch, I walked across the courtyard to the trashcan over next to the bench where the black-haired boy was sitting. He didn’t look at me as I walked over to him. As I dropped my trash into the trashcan, however, he then raised his gaze and looked at me. His face was completely blank. I should say something, I thought.
“Thanks for earlier, for picking up my stuff, I mean,” I said quietly.
He continued to stare at me and didn’t reply. He then put his hand to his ear and pulled out his headphones.
He hadn’t heard a word I had said.
Stupid, Destiny. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
“What?” he asked in a bored voice.
“I, uh…I said thank you.”
“Picking up my stuff.”
He shrugged. “No problem.”
I nodded. Turning around, I walked started to walk back to my bench.
“Hey,” he called out from behind me.
I stopped mid-step and turned around. I raised my eyebrows as if saying, ‘What?’
“Did you enjoy your lunch?” he asked, smirking.
I frowned. Was he making a joke? His smirk was gone by now, and he had turned back to staring at his sneakers. Was I supposed to respond? So, when he quickly glanced back up at me, I simply shrugged. Turning away again, I walked back to my bench.
Flipping over onto my back, I glanced at the clock. It was one.
“Why can’t you just fall asleep?” I asked myself, exasperated. I sat up and slid off the bed. Sliding on an oversized sweatshirt that came down to mid-thigh, I walked out into the hall and then into the bathroom. I peed really quick and then washed my hands. As I was drying off my hands I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My black hair was okay, spilling over my shoulders in little ringlets. My eyes stood out immensely. The white sweatshirt I was wearing really made my hair pop and my legs seemed kind of…good? I had black leggings on. Huh. I liked the way I looked now more than I did at school. Shrugging, I walked out of the bathroom and went back into my room to grab some big, fluffy green socks. Pulling them on, I walked downstairs.
I slipped outside and walked down the driveway. Tonight, though, I didn’t just sit at the curb, instead, I turned right and started walking down the side walk. Ignoring the fact that my socks would probably get dirty, I noticed how cool it looked outside, how pretty. The only light was the moon and the streetlamps. No cars were on the road right now.
After walking for about five minutes I reached the old playground that I used to come to all the time. I walked over to the swings and sat down. Pushing myself back with my toes, I let myself go, swinging forward. I continued doing that until I was sailing back and forth through the air. I had always loved swinging. There was something magical about it. While going forward, the second before the force changed and you were thrown backwards the other way, there was a moment when it actually felt like you were flying. For that one moment you had a choice. You could jump off the swing, or get flung back. I always waited until I was going as fast as I could, and then I jumped.
Landing on my feet, I felt my hair fall down around me. Giggling to myself, I walked away from the park. I started to walk back towards my house, but right before I reached the turn that would take me to my street, I stopped. Deciding not to go home just yet, I continued on going straight ahead.
Back before my dad died, he used to always wake me up when there was a meteor shower. He would come into my room in the middle of the night and kneel down beside my bed.
“Dessy, let’s go. Come with me, let me show you something,” he whispered into my ear. I opened my eyes sleepily and frowned at him.
“What? Dad, what are you talking about?” I had asked, sitting up.
“Let me show you something.”
“What is it?” I had asked, my voice getting louder as I became more awake.
“Shh, don’t wake your mother. There’s a meteor shower, I wanted you to see it with me.”
“But Dad, I have school tomorrow.”
“I’ll let you sleep in an extra hour. But c’mon, let’s go.”
I had been worried that I wouldn’t get enough sleep and I would have bags under my eyes. I had been thinking about how much foundation it would take to cover up the bags if I had them. I had wanted to look pretty, because the next day was picture day. I was so different then. Now, I didn’t even bother with makeup. I didn’t care. If I wasn’t pretty without it, then I wasn’t pretty with it. But for the most part, I just didn’t have the energy to care what I looked like half the time. Who was I trying to impress? No one.
“Look at that,” he said, pointing out another shooting star, “isn’t that amazing?”
I couldn’t help but agree. “Yeah, it is.”
“You know, my mom used to wake me up in the middle of the night to watch meteor showers, too.”
“Yeah. I always thought they were amazing to watch. Ooh! There’s another one.”
I leaned into him, forgetting about my potential ugliness for the next day and just simply enjoying the moment with my dad. “I love you, Daddy.”
He looked away from the sky and down at me. Smiling, he kissed the top of my head. “I love you too.”
Blinking furiously, I realized that I had tears in my eyes. Wiping them away, I collapsed on the curb and willed myself not to cry. After getting my breathing back to normal, my eyes eventually dried.