Time expands and then contracts
when you are spinning in the grip of someone
who is not an ordinary girl
(counting crows, hard candy)
I hadn’t really noticed her before that day. She’s unobtrusive, know what I mean? She’s one of the quiet ones hovering about the edge of class. She sits in the first row, three seats back next to the window.
Today, her tortoise shell glasses are slipping forward past the bridge of her nose. Her head is tipped down, eyes on her paper as she works out the answer to a problem. The sunlight is glinting copper bouncing off her hair. I only see this when the light in upon her, otherwise her hair is a rather nondescript chin length brown. I should be concentrating on my own work but…
She’s an average girl, right? I mean she dresses so conservatively. Today it’s a brown skirt, cream sweater, matching cream tights and penny loafers. She’s not wearing any makeup. In fact, I don’t recall ever seeing her wear makeup. Nor does she adorn herself with a lot of jewelry instead she chooses to adopt a simple gold chain.
She sits right next to Veronica of the bright red hair and black mascara: bubble gum smacking, cleavage enhanced, belly button peeking, tight hip hugging jeans and red spiky heels Veronica. So why do my eyes continually seek out the shadows next to such flashiness?
Two weeks ago Mr. Zax pulled her into my line of sight, that’s why. Nobody hides for long in Mr. Zax’s class. He expects full participation whether you are comfortable or not. He writes this equation on the board and expects us to be able to jump right up and solve it-in front of the class no less. Usually, the person never gets it right and he uses it to illustrate the point that we don’t know as much as we think we do and if we did our homework we wouldn’t have a problem.
She slouched down in her chair as if this act alone would make her disappear. Her hair fell forward covering her eyes. Her face flushed pink when he called upon her.
“Zoie, how about you show these slackers how it’s done?”
He walked up to her handing her the chalk. I could see that she did not like the attention-at all. Reluctantly she walked to the board and lifted her chalk. Quickly and effortlessly she provided the solution.
“Wonderful Zoie! See class? This is how it is when you actually DO the work. I want all of you to start following her fine example”
She winced as she turned to go back to her seat, pushing her glasses back up the bridge of her nose. Her eyes stayed trained upon the floor. That’s when Jimmy decided to “stretch” his leg out into the aisle with a smirk. That’s when she went flying, straight into my lap. Her hands reached out involuntarily and grabbed onto my legs.
The room erupted in uproarious laughter. She had a pained expression on her face when she looked up at me. Her face was beat red, mortified. It was then, at that moment, that I noticed her eyes. How could I have missed those before? She has pale blue eyes with yellow rings as if her pupils were twin moons on a hazy night, eyes that were bright and clear, eyes that went on forever reflecting my own, the most striking eyes that I had ever seen. The rest of the class faded away until there was only this ordinary girl half on my lap with her eyes locked onto mine.
“So this is where you’ve been hiding, oh girl with kaleidoscope eyes,” I said to break the spell.
Her response was electric. A spontaneous smile escaped before she quickly averted her face, tucking it away out of sight. She picked herself up off my lap and returned to her desk. She let her hair fall forward covering her face again, a curtain drawn closed.
I am still reeling from the jolt. All this time she has been keeping herself a secret right under my very nose. I am noticing her plenty now, sitting there trying so hard to not be noticed in the background. What will it take to see her light up like that again? I have every intention of being that switch.