Of course I could feel it, that longest minute. We’d been talking for a while. Surely Mr. Chemistry what’s his name is ready to start class by now and I should pay attention, mister teach us some chemistry now, it’s time, no, he’s shuffling papers slowly way on the other side of the room and there’s no good reason why I should be looking his way. Everyone seems half asleep in first hour, usually that is. What the heck?? I didn’t know that…but, ok well it didn’t just land there, that wouldn’t make sense. Was it something I said? It must have been something. We were laughing about something just before. I look down at the heavy black desk top. I’m trying to find something else to focus on and not look left at all. It didn’t just land there. Nothing else going on, damn it. The warmth has settled into my own now, melded together in a way. You’re taking too long and being weird I yell at myself in my head. Say something! Anything! I didn’t know that she was… I had no idea… I’m not. Yeah, say that, say “I’m not”, say it. But what if it’s not what I think? I turn only halfway towards but not facing Stephanie and ask “Did we have any of those homework problems?” There’s a pause.
“You can feel that can’t you? I KNOW you do.” She says smiling and quite amused.
“Feel what?” I said more convincingly unfazed than I thought I would.
“My hand on your leg, silly.” almost annoyed.
“I have No IDEA what you are talking about.” I laugh in my best you’re crazy voice.
“Yeeees, you dooo!” she says leaning very close to my ear now, giving a big squeeze to my thigh. Definitely annoyed but laughing.
I’m not looking at her.
“I don’t know”
“Am I making you uncomfortable?”
“Do you want me to move my hand?”
“Ok, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
“You didn’t scare me, it’s just, I don’t know.”
“No, I’m sorry, really.”
I don’t really need a boyfriend. That’s it. That’s what I had been saying. Yeah, who needs them. That’s what we laughed about. It’s so cold where the warm laughing was and no way to go back, no rewinding back to that moment.
I remember at the time I was thinking as I went to my next class I should really try to find that guy who sent me a valentine. That was really kinda sweet. I don’t know why that had bewildered me so much. It was meant to be sweet, clearly. I see that now.