The Story Starts

14 Dec

The story starts the way you would expect it to. She was sitting in the hallway reading a book about the holocaust, and he walked by. He had read the book already; searched it out in the school library while he might have been doing anything. He had sat in the corner as the other children laughed at each other, turning each page with young enthusiasm. It had made him think, and had made him wonder. And there were passages in this story that he longed for them to understand. He knew that his mother would listen, or even his father, but that was all. And so instead of sharing his thoughts with anyone, he had found another book and read that. And another. And another.

Now, all of the sudden, here she was. She sat with her hazel hair pulled into a neat ponytail, silent and intent. He walked over to her and asked her if she liked to book. “Oh, very much” she responded, her face serious.

He knew, from the look on her face, that something had changed. He had never really expected to find her, but here she was. She knew, from the look on his face, that something had changed. She wasn’t sure what it was, so she kept talking about the book. “I can give you another,” he offered. She nodded. He walked away.

Phone numbers were exchanged. Books were given. Smiles. Words. Tears.

She tells the story the way it is. That something so young, so honest and true, could never really work out. It’s not the way that love is supposed to be. Because could she ever really believe that this boy, with his awkward smile, his perfect grades, his mind -she couldn’t even begin to describe it- could be the kind of boy she could giggle to her friends about? So when she finally had to give him an answer, her answer was no.

Years later, she wonders if this was the way it was supposed to be. “He was nice to me,” she tells her best friend. But her best friend will never really have any idea what she is talking about. It wasn’t just “nice” that makes her sometimes wish that she could call him to talk about political theory.

This girl’s name could be any, just as his could be the same name scrolled in the front cover of all those books that we have buried in the back of our closet. And as the years go on, we keep expecting that time will make everything more real, but time does no such thing. After everything changed we realized what we want more than anything is for someone to understand the way they did. And so we search.

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