Thursday, November 21, 2013

Free Falling

            The jock slammed into the blonde’s elbow as he jumped to catch the ball in the middle of the hallway.  The rubber band around the note cards broke sending the small pieces of papers flying across the floor.  Laughter floated in the air as kids pointed at her as they disappeared into the classroom.  A young man in tattered jeans helped collect her cards.  She smiled in relief as he handed her the unorganized mess.

            The screech of the tardy bell caused him to groan.  He followed her into the room only to face the anger of their teacher.  The pretty blonde explained the reason for his third tardy, but no understanding flowed from the adult, detention.  She managed to slip him a note card later in the day suggesting they meet at the dance.  Hope welled up.

Walking into the gym, he ignored the lurid comments of his friends as they trailed in behind him.  The urge to turn around to leave left him as he caught sight of the golden blonde hair of the girl.  The skirt of her white dress swayed against her legs.  She looked like an angel.  He envisioned her with wings.  As if hypnotized, he skirted the dance floor finding a place on the bleachers.  The guys pointed out different girls they desired.  He disregarded them watching her every move.  Frozen in place, he watched in horror as she walked towards him with a smile on her face.

            “Man, I would like to tap that.” 

The crude words woke him.  He slid off the bleachers with cat calls following him.  The music played a new song drowning them out.  Her lips moved as he stopped in front of her but he couldn’t hear.  Smiling she took his hand leading him further onto the dance floor.  Wrapping her arms around him, she pressed in holding tightly.  Her hair smelled of coconut.  His heart stirred.

“I am sorry about today.  Mr. Ross should not have kicked you out of class.”  Her blue eyes peered into his. 

He shrugged afraid to break the spell he felt.  Neither of them spoke for the rest of the song.  They saw only the smiles on each other’s face.  All around them, her friends glared at them and whispered.  As the song ended, she caught sight of their teacher striding across the floor.  She pulled him to the exit before they could be reached.

Sliding onto the black car seat, he thanked her again for the ride.  The playlist in her stereo confused him.  Rock, Christian, country, classical, jazz, she listened to all genres.  His discomfort eased as she told funny stories of her quirky mom and serious dad.  She loved her family.  Pulling off the highway, he noticed his father sitting in a lawn chair next to the dilapidated stairs leading to their singlewide trailer house.  He cringed. Spontaneously, he kissed the back of her hand like he saw once when watching one of his mom’s favorite old movies.  Before the old man could interrupt, he jumped out of the car.  She blew him a kiss and sped down the four lane highway. 

            The smell of stale bear permeated the air.  His father roared at him for not introducing him to his classy new friend.  Mockery dripped from his father’s mouth as he talked about stepping across the social boundaries.  The young man defended with words.  A fist flew quicker then imaginable in a drunken state.  Blood flowed from his nose running down onto his old t-shirt.  He turned on his heel.  The old man’s swear words followed him in the night.

Standing at the top of the mountain, he felt her arms around him once again.  His mind struggled with the likelihood that she actually liked him.  She talked sincerely.  In the couple of months they shared the class, he felt safe in her presence.  Teasing him from time to time, a friendship developed.  He lived for her greeting.  In fact, his only interest in attending school was to see her.  He sat.  Smoke curled around his body sitting on the edge of the cliff face.  His legs dangled over the side.  Could they become a couple?  Could he escape the violence?  Visions of cruelty between his parents, his mother walking out the door with a suitcase in hand, hope floated away with the wind.  An owl swooped past, white wings.  The grace of flight intrigued him.  He longed to fly away.  His legs wobbled as he stood up.  Lifting his arms, the wind encouraged him forward.  For a few short moments, he glided until the world turned black.

            She wept.

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