Writing Challenge: Day 1: Write a Short Love Story
She hadn’t known him for very long, she just saw him around the halls at school. They never talked. They never looked at each other in the hallway. They never touched, they never kissed. She would only look at him as he passed by her, his eyes set straight in front of him, his face neutral, surrounded by a sea of people as he set off for his next class or lunch or whatever it was he happened to be doing, she didn’t know. She would go out of her way to see him; she took the trouble of walking halfway across the school to see him walk out of a science room door everyday around the same time, just before lunch. She liked noticing how different he looked from day to day; sometimes he looked anxious, sometimes he looked stressed or happy or maybe a little down. She could only suppose what he was feeling, and she would think up possibilities of why he looked the way he did on a particular day. Maybe he had just had a big test. Maybe he had a project to present fourth period. Maybe he looked happy because he had an especially tasty lunch today, or maybe he was happy because he was going to see his girlfriend after school. She tried not to think too much about that particular possibility.
And every day before lunch he would walk directly past her, eyes unseeing, focused on getting wherever he had to go. And every day, she would hope and hope and hope that he would look back at her, but he never did. She entertained thoughts of approaching him, introducing herself with a big smile and asking him what he was up to, how his day was going, where in the world he was off to. But she was too frightened, and so she never did. She had to content herself with the quick blur of his handsome profile moving past, widening the distance between them. And for a while, that was enough. Until it wasn’t enough. And then she moved just a bit closer to where she knew he would be. Just a couple of steps closer. And then the next week, a little bit closer. And a little bit closer.
Eventually, she stood right outside the door he came out of, and though he still did not see her, she could smell his cologne as he whisked past, a heady musk that smelled like sex. He wore it everyday, but the smell of it never ceased to excite her. She would stare at him as he disappeared into the crowd, longingly, resisting the urge to run after him. But she resisted, somehow. And for a while, the smell of his cologne everyday was enough. Until she imagined what it would smell like on her skin, mixed in with the smell of soap of her bed sheets. And then it wasn’t enough.
One day, after she made sure he wouldn’t be able to see her, she followed him. She walked quickly to keep up with his long stride, pushing past people and keeping a watchful eye on him. He walked down the hall, through the double doors, and then turned right. He walked out of the main entrance of the school, and she followed behind, the chill winter air quickly finding its way through her school sweater to her bare skin, turning it to gooseflesh. But that was only partly because of the cold. She balled her hands up into fists inside the sweater’s sleeves for warmth and continued her pursuit. She walked a little bit slower, because now there was hardly anyone around and if she followed too close behind he would surely see her.
He continued diagonally towards the parking lot, trying to pick out his car. She followed in step, a metre or two behind, attempting not to be seen yet at the same time screaming out in her mind for him to turn around and look at her. It would ease her suffering, break the tension. Fuck awkwardness and fuck propriety, she just wanted someone to see her, to look at her, to want her. But he just kept walking and she stopped, not knowing what she had planned to accomplish by following him, and turned back towards the building, arms around her for warmth, and so she wouldn’t fall apart.
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