Do you see me, too?
Trevor, I saw you again—
I saw you sitting at the desk right beside me in Mr. Tracey’s seventh-grade homeroom,
Filled with twenty unhygienic twelve-year-old students. It smelled of strong coffee in a thermal.
A clock rests above the door. It ticks away the moments.
You were wearing that ratty brown zipper-up you liked so much.
The one that smelled as if it hadn’t seen the inside of a washing machine in weeks.
The one you wore every day, as a major piece of your ensemble.
The one I thought you looked nice in.
Your hair was an unkempt disgrace. Disorganized brown hair all over your scalp.
We once stayed up late in the evenings, cruising the streets of our neighborhood on bikes.
Exhausted in the morning, you didn’t think twice about your “bed hair” before leaving your house.
Seeing you appear on the bus was the highlight of my day—I got to sit with you.
Monet and Peter lounged atop nearby desks, neatly arranged by Mr. Tracey earlier that morning.
They insisted that you and I were in love. Every day it was the same speech:
“You’re blushing. You’re so cute together. Just admit it.”
You denied it. Red-faced, I didn’t respond.
Ring. Ring. Next class.
You walked by in the halls with a stack of books that I knew you didn’t read.
Hiding behind my own, I pretended not to notice you, though I snuck a glance. One more... Thinking forward, hoping that we could be more than this.
I wondered what your lips tasted like—pizza or something sweet?
I wondered how it would feel to be in your arms—warm and gentle or gentle and warm?
I wondered why you spent all this time with me—for friendship or curiosity?
I wondered if you felt the same.
Ring. Ring. Eighth grade. Time to move on.
You moved your seat to the other side of the room. Isolation found its way to me.
Homeroom. Art. Gym. You switched them all.
You were different that year. I’ll never know why.