Monday, June 22, 2009

Math Class

Jenny was one row over and two seats down. I silently tried to figure out the degree of the angle between us. I determined it to be about forty degrees. I realized that if we took this degree from this scenario and converted it to temperature, the degree of the distance between us would be very cold. I didn’t like that. I wished she was about three seats closer to the front of the class. Our angle would be about eighty-five at that point. If we converted that to temperature, the two of us would be on fire.

Just as I was smiling at the thought, she turned and looked right at me. She gave me the strangest look I’d ever seen – it was somewhere between lust and curiosity. Half the look was confidence, the other was doubt. I’m pretty sure the look I threw back at her could have been labeled simply as “confused”.

I tried to gain some composure, and the only way I knew how to do this was to look away. I didn’t think I’d have to for long, I figured her look would be a quick one. But when I looked back after just a second, she was still looking at me. What the hell? I spent a moment thinking I should look away, but the guy way down deep inside me that normally sleeps through every day, the guy that’s supposed to come forward in moments like these and make a man out of me, actually showed up this time. I kept her stare. I had to know where it would go. She slowly turned her head back to the front of the class. I waited to see change of expression – there was none, she kept the look the entire way through the turn.

My heart beat again, and my guy went back down below. What was that look? What was that look? What on God’s pale earth was that look?

I decided to focus on the lust part of the look. Holy crap, I saw lust shoot from Jenny’s eyes to mine! I didn’t imagine it, it just happened! My heart started speeding like it was at the Brick Yard. Jenny looked at me with lust. Jenny looked at me with lust.

Before I could doom myself and move onto the other part of the look, she dropped a piece of paper on the floor a couple seats behind her and looked at me. What? This was the oldest trick in the book. Damn, that’s hot. She looked at me as if to tell me to pick it up. The other kids around were either looking out the window towards their salvation or at the back of their eyelids for their consolation. No one saw the paper but me. Jenny kept looking at me, wondering what the delay could possibly be. My guy came from down below and screamed “wake the hell up fool!”, so I picked up the note.

Jenny gave me a very slight, sly smile and turned back around. I leaned back in my chair. Holy crap, I held in my hand, for the first time ever, the Bible. Written on this tablet were my ten commandments. Heck, if there were six million on here I’d still obey them all. The paper almost burned through my hand, it was too holy for a mortal such as myself to be holding. I could smell the Frankincense and Myrrh from it as it filled my nose with all of love’s possible history. Without looking, I opened it up and set it on my desk. I waited a few seconds, gathered the camera in my head that would remember this forever, and looked down.

It was upside down.

I looked back up and flipped it over, knowing that when I looked at it again, my future would be written in front of me. What could it possibly say? What blessed words had the angel written? I took a deep breath, reloaded the camera, and looked down again:

“This Class Stinks”

I was in love. I laughed out of sheer hatred for ever having doubted that life was nothing but the bomb. These words were defining me. “This Class Stinks” – what sweet, miraculous words these were to a boy like me. They were all the things in life I cling to – they were funny, they were observant and above all, they were simple. She was the uncomplicated angel. She was the lifeguard letting me swim without floaties.

The bell rang, I suddenly realized I might have a hard time walking. I gathered the strength and started to walk out. She was a few feet in front of me. I wondered if I should say something to her? Man, what could I possibly say in response to such poetry? She had no idea that I had sat at home so many nites and had written prose of so many kinds. She would only know what came out of my mouth right now. This was the moment I needed to throw just a few of those words at her. I needed to hit her so hard with them that her soul would bruise. I needed to stop thinking so much!

I saw her round the corner and disappear into the hall. I sped up a beat and rounded the corner.

I ran right into her. She had stopped in the hall and was waiting for me. I had just touched her shoulder with my upper arm – our first contact. All sorts of fluids and blood raged into my big toe and it became erect. I prayed she wouldn’t look down and see the bulge in my Adidas.

She spoke first.

“Wasn’t that class the worst?”

She was stunning. Her eyes were so blue I thought I saw Barry Sanders running in them. She was made from European Gods. They created her over there and shipped her to the U.S., like they did with the Statue of Liberty, and the Yugo. I had to relax and say something.

“Yeah, it was kinda like that joke about the snail. Do you know that joke?”

“Well, there’s this guy watching TV and he hears a knock on his door. He goes to the door and opens it up, but there’s no one there. He’s about to close the door and he hears “Hey, I’m down here.” He looks down and sees a snail. He gets pissed and throws the snail out into the yard. Then he goes back inside.”

She was actually paying attention to me. Hot.

“So a few years go by and the guy hears another knock on the door. He opens the door, no one there. He’s about to close the door and he hears “Pssst.” He looks down and sees the snail, and the snail looks up at him and yells “What the hell was that all about?”

Jenny laughed. Not a pretend laugh, but a genuine “I thought that was funny” kinda laugh. I couldn’t believe it. She looked so beautiful in that moment. Her laughter was echoing through my ears. I realized I’d never forget this moment. I would never forget first contact, first joke, first response, first flirtation. We stood there for a couple more seconds just looking at each other. There was a look in her eyes that made me realize I was longed for. That feeling was the most powerful thing I’d ever felt. That moment when you realize you are about to give away some of your secrets to somebody. When you’re about to share what’s inside you, because someone else is interested in exactly that.

We parted ways, went to different classes. But not before I had asked her to go to the movies Friday and she had accepted. We traded numbers and that was that. Just like that my life went from zombie mode to the lead role in the play. I turned to go to gym class, knowing I was destined for thirty points on this day.

1 comment:

1. "There was a look in her eyes that made me realize I was longed for. That feeling was the most powerful thing I’d ever felt. That moment when you realize you are about to give away some of your secrets to somebody. When you’re about to share what’s inside you, because someone else is interested in exactly that."

Brilliant. Truly unique wisdom, the best that writing can offer - telling us the truth before we knew we knew it. Thank you for this John! I will remember it next time I'm there...
-Zoe