I Spy the Boy Next Door
We’re about ten minutes into the lesson when everything around me stops and spins. I don’t know which because all I can see is him.
“Mr. Parker, nice of you to join us,” Mr. Brown says.
I stalked him a few years ago on Facebook to see if we were in the same grade, but I wasn’t expecting to be in the same class.
My day just got a hell of a lot better.
I press my palm to my chest, feeling the familiar beat. I press harder, hoping the pressure will soften the racket inside of me.
He slides a note onto Mr. Brown’s desk, barely acknowledging him before returning his attention to his phone. His fingers fly across the screen as he walks down the aisle.
Please look at me. Please look at me. Please look at me, I silently chant, but when he turns and heads directly for me, my prayers abruptly change. Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me.
My heart’s thumping so hard against my ribcage, I’m losing air.
This is the moment.
I don’t know what to do. I’ve been envisioning it for so long, and now that it’s about to happen, everything I’ve ever planned I would do or say has gone out the window. I start clicking my pen, then tapping my foot. I should be focusing on the lesson at the front of the room, but I can’t take my eyes off him. He’s wearing a hood, but I can see his hair slipping out from under it. Dark jeans hang low on his hips, and a bag sits snug on his back.
He’s only a few steps away. I swallow.
He’s in front of me. He looks up.
My breath catches in my throat.
His eyes widen, then narrow. All these years later, he still doesn’t smile at me.
And I realize, I sat in an already claimed seat.