<At this moment in time, this is (in my eyes), the best scene I’ve written.>
Homeroom was the place where the last vestige of freedom a teenager held was stripped away. Even the nurse was unavailable to me if I fell to the floor and had a seizure, unless I also had written authorization from a teacher to visit her. But, I followed the rules, because that’s how I would get a scholarship. Then I would appease my parents by attending GW, get my graduate degree from Berkley, and become an astrophysicist so I begin to grapple this word we call existence.
The stranger breezed into our class. A waterfall of hair the color of spun gold hung over one shoulder, she had dark outlined eyes, jeans, and an orange sweater that, thankfully, looked as if it had been shrunk in the dryer. Before she even spoke, I thought she was the most interesting girl at our high school once I saw the silver loop through her belly button.
Her voice was light as a hummingbird, “Hey, I’m Zoe Malone, is this the right home room?”
“Yes,” Mrs. Tanner straightened up in her dark pantsuit and took a slip of paper from the vixen’s hand. “Where are you from Zoe?”
“Welcome to Cape Saint Claire High School,” The teacher’s eyes moved across the page. “It looks like you have a few classes and lunch period with Blake Morgan. You can sit next to him, and he can give you the grand tour throughout the day.”
My heart stopped.
Zoe turned to the class, “Umm, which one is he?”
“The one in the back, with the glasses.” Mrs. Tanner pointed at me.
The new girl’s hips swayed as she walked to the back of the class. The closer she got, the more my face burned. I slouched in the chair as if preparing for impact. The rest of our peers continued to talk, but the only matter in my universe was her.
“Hey,” The goddess sat down.
I tried to speak but instead started coughing, loudly.
“Are you ok?” Her dark eyes wide.
“Yeah,” I pounded on my chest, “All good.”
“I’m Zoe,” she giggled. “But, I guess you already know that.”
I wanted to say that, I was indeed the infamous Blake Morgan, and it would be my pleasure to attend to her every need until the next Ice Age. All that came out was, “Blake.”
“I like your hair.”
“Your hair, just makes me want to…”
And that’s when it happened. Day became night, the sun went out, and black holes were no longer a mystery when she ran her hand through my hair. Up until that point I was unaware that girls like Zoe would ever contemplate touching a loser like me, much less do it. My confusion and excitement must have shown on my face when she pulled it away.
“Oh, sorry. I’m just a hands-on kinda girl.” She shrugged as if that made it OK to run your hands through a stranger’s hair.
Which it totally did.
“So what do you guys do for fun around here Blake?” She twirled a lock of hair around her finger.
“You mean like, me and my friends?”
The truthful answer was: quiz each other for Academic Decathlon, play video games, watch horror movies, or simply study in the same room. “We go to D.C. sometimes.”
“And do what?”
“Just you know, hang out.” At the Smithsonian, I should have added.
“Isn’t the Naval Academy nearby?”
“Yeah.” I almost dared to ask if she was aware that Annapolis was also the capital of Maryland. But, she was beautiful, therefore I thought better of it.
“So, there’s like a bunch of hot guys there, right?”
“I don’t generally check out the Midshipmen, but my friend Sophie likes to go at the end of school for plebes-no-more.”
I pushed my glasses up my nose. “The freshman, they call them plebes, and at the end of the year they have to traverse this pillar that’s over twenty feet high and pull a uniform dress hat off the top.”
“What’s so hard about that?”
“They grease it up, and tape down the hat with like, duct tape.”
Her eyes widened. “What’s the point?”
I shrug. “To not be called an underclassman.”
“And why does your friend Sophie like this?”
“You’d have to ask her, but she drags me there every year.”
“Will you take me this year?”
Her words did not make sense to me. “What?”
“Would you take me to check out the Naval Academy? You seem really nice and since we’ll see so much of each other I thought it would be fun. I mean if later you think I’m a freak you can totally back out and I won’t hold it against you. Or, whatever.” She shrugged.
I don’t know if I said it because I wanted a change or, because I was completely enamored by this person. “Yeah, sure, sounds great.”
The bell rang and I ushered her to the photography lab.