I had to pass her to get into the school grounds so I naturally unlocked our gaze. I could not help but hold it for another moment though, to look at this girl one more time. She was pretty and graceful, held herself well. Her eyes were full of pain and sadness. There were secrets hidden amongst the hurt. She lightly tapped my arm as I went by. I jumped not expecting it at all.
“I’m sorry” she said quietly, carefully.
“Um it’s okay” I managed to reply.
“Was that Christen James?” she said smoothly and easily. The question was asked casually but her eyes betrayed her. Her fists were clenched and her lips quivering slightly- I had always been one to observe. Though anyone could tell by the way he’d legged it back home that there was something going on here.
“Yes” I admitted reluctantly. How did she know him? Yeah he was popular, but she was clearly not from around here. Her accent was English and slight.
“Right...I’m new. My name’s Sarah. I’d better get to reception or I won’t last the day. I’ll see you around” she tripped lightly. Her voice had a transparent air. This made no sense but there was no other way to describe it. There was no emotion but you could hear something there, something you couldn’t put a name to.
“Hey, how do you know Christen” I called after her. She turned daintily like a little ballerina.
“I knew him when he was living in Birmingham?” she called back, quietly once again but loud enough so that I could hear her. I caught up with her.
“He ran like a maniac when he saw you” I reminded her. She winced slightly.
“Yes he did. There was an incident”
“What sort of ‘incident’?” I pressed.
“Nothing of importance. We were mutual friends and had a bit of an argument. We didn’t get the chance to forgive each other because he moved here shortly afterwards” she said slowly and firmly.
“Oh” I mumbled unintelligibly. She smiled but it was the only part of her face that changed.
“So how do you know Christen?”
“He’s my boyfriend”
“Of course” she laughed.
“Yeah” I said simply for something to say.
“Your name?” she asked.
“Well as I said I’d better get to reception. I’ll see you”
“So why did he run, really? It’s not the sort of thing he’d do without a pretty good reason”
“You know him well”
“Christen might be able to tell you that” she replied in a voice so small, so full of pain, it had an edge that chilled me right to the bone.
As she walked towards the building I stood and watched, not wanting to catch up with her accidentally. I swear I heard her cry.
“Who was that?” gasped Jennifer in her carrying voice.
“Shh Jennifer!” I whispered.
“Oh my God but like I was just over there by the car park, and this girl just charges past me almost sending me flying into Mr. Morris’ Ford Focus! You obviously knew her and I want a word!” she carried on irritably.
“Her name’s Sarah- that’s all I can tell you” I said honestly.
“I don’t know. I don’t know her” I sighed.
“Then how do you know her name?” she demanded.
“She told me her name”
“Well why were you talking in the first place?” she pressed.
Okay, Jennifer was my best friend but she was very annoying. She was loud, spoke without thinking, wasn’t very tactful and really did not give a crap about anything. So basically I had one Hell of a girl on my hands. It was a common thing to hear me simply crying out her name in frustration- it was probably the one thing that shut her up. I couldn’t answer any of her questions before I found out myself, could I?
Something wasn’t right about Sarah. There was also something seriously wrong with Christen’s reaction- running away like a madman I mean. That wasn’t something he would do. He was a face it head on sort of guy. I was normally the person pulling him back. Or off, in some cases when he’s peeved off and launches himself on people- like I said he acted like a child sometimes. She was so on edge and looked like she was about to burst into tears. The way she talked was unnerving, she was so careful when choosing her words as though afraid she would say something wrong. I couldn’t picture Jennifer in my situation. She would have acted like nothing was wrong, thought Sarah was really strange, and then come straight to me to, well go on about her strangeness. I was too logical with my thinking and Christen teased me about it frequently. My tendency to observe closely was something I had lived with for as long as I can remember.
It turned into one of those days where I was barely aware of my surroundings. My head was clear of thought but my ears contained a sort of ringing. It was like my own private background music. Christen didn’t come to school and I did not see hide nor hair of Sarah. I was beginning to believe it was all a dream- I had a hunch I’d hope it all was soon.