“And that was the first time I talked to you… and I almost didn’t, because of your… you know… headphones.”
And, I mean, she’s nice. Pretty enough, nice haircut, good teeth, and siblings I’m told. And yeah, yeah she nice, and, for some reason, she wants to be nice to me. I cannot think of one goddamn reason why.
We’re not friends.
Not quite, we know each other, but we’re not friends. She knows it, I know it, and we’re skipping around the fact, trying to coordinate ourselves like we’re blind folded in a darkened room and are trying to avoid touching the other. We should have done this earlier, it would have been normal earlier, and now it’s not. Now it’s awkward because it took us this long.
I always liked her, secretly and from afar. She laughed at the same things I did, only she actually laughed and I smirked behind my laptop screen. We would have been friends under different circumstances, but she’s popular and properly proportioned and knows how to interact with people who aren’t like her beyond just basic small talk. She’s not like me and I’m not like her.
She is not my people.
“Yeah,” I say, I’m trying to grin, “my great strategy.”
She’s tried to talk to me before, has been trying to be my friend for a while now. She’s commented on my hair color and in return I’ve commented on hers, and she’s pointed to the sewn on school logo on my pants and said “everyone say’s there going to do it, but you actually did.” And then she laughed and I laughed too, and I didn’t know why we were laughing. I can’t figure out why she’s trying to talk to me, but I like the fact that she is, and I try to talk to her back.
This is the only class we have together, we don’t talk anywhere else. And she sits on the other side to the classroom to me, with her friends. With a loud girl and a girl wearing a hijab. The girl wearing the hijab and me are friends. Maybe that’s why the girl is trying to be friends with me. God I hope not.
She has one of the most truthful views of me, I suppose, out of the rest of the school. I don’t socialize in the class with her, I don’t even try. I used to sit with someone who used to be my friend, then I realized we had never been friends, her voice annoyed me, and I would rather eat my own tongue than continue another conversation that involved both the word ‘adorbz’ or how much she hated this specific person. So I decided not to care, and instead seated myself as far from her as humanly possible.
She saw a Clementine that the rest of school didn’t see. A Clementine that was not out-going, who spoke in dry, ironic tones, a Clementine that was not actively hostile, but not actively inviting and was smarter than all of them.
She’s looking at me hopefully, and I’m looking back, over my laptop screen. I’m keeping my face neutral, but I’m analyzing every novel I have ever read trying to think of something to say. I realize, instantly, that I shouldn’t be sitting with her, I should literally be sitting with anyone else, because this is not going to work. I’m only sitting here because my usually secluded spot has been stolen and I’m really starting to think that I should just get my biggest sharpie and write in big bold letters ‘only sit here under pain of death’.
And then the bell rings, and we untangle each other from the other’s verbal stumbles and excuse ourselves from the presence of the other, me to scuttle of to the art rooms, her to do whatever popular girls do on their own time, and we both know that we’re probably going to do this again until one of us caves and we’re friends.