girls who were bullied most of their life and gain confidence at one point should be feared most because they dont take anyone’s shit no longer and they will destroy you if you think otherwise
She had worn her red converse sneakers and watched the way it tapped on the cold white floor of the hall as she waited for other people to come in. They came in groups, couples and singles; some knew each other way back home, some found each other in their dorm, some didn’t know anyone at all. They were tan, pale, skinny, chubby, short, and tall. Some wore glasses, some had beautiful eyes, some with short hair, some with long locks of curls. And then he strolled in and that sheepish grin and that amazing laughter and that unmistakable swagger in his steps—she didn’t look at her red shoes for the rest of the hour. They will forever remain red and muddy at the soles and the tiles will forever be cold and white. But he was boisterous without being too loud, quiet without looking shy and so perfectly imperfect she was filled with an overwhelming desire to just be friends with him at the very least. There are people who shine and there are people who glow. But in her eyes, he was like the sun. If she touched him, she’ll get burnt; so she watched from afar and basked in his warmth.
There was that one class they were seatmates in and when he asked something about yesterday’s lesson he missed, she merely gave him her notes. There was that one day he was eating alone and so was she, but she looked down at the same red sneakers and pretended she didn’t see anyone she knew. There was that one time at the library when he was with a mutual friend, and sure, she did approach the table, she did talk and laugh a lot; but none where directed in his direction. Just like that, two years have passed. Her red converse shoes were muddier around the soles and there was a hole developing at the toe and he was still a mystery to her and she to him.
She saw him less and less, and even when she did it was because he appeared to see their mutual friend while she was with her, and he kisses her lightly on the cheek, asks how her day was and offers to walk her home. The warmth she used to bask in, slowly started to burn until it became unbearable and she had to clench her fist a hundred times to remind herself she never touched the sun. She never dared to touch that sun. It didn’t have to hurt.
That was what she told herself. That’s why on the morning after she threw the proverbial black cap, she didn’t understand the feeling stuck in her chest and the scene replaying in her head. She didn’t understand why, after every familiar face started hugging one another, when everyone was caught up with a premature nostalgic bliss and at the same time grabbing a fleeting moment, he came out of nowhere and grabbed her close to him. He had not been wearing a sheepish grin or a mischievous gleam in his eyes. She had not been lowering her head and pretending he wasn’t there when every single part of her body was attuned to his every movement. For that one night, they can be someone they wish they could have been for the last four years. They held one another with direct, unwavering gazes, an unspoken conversation going through their heads. But it was those two words. Just two words.
She had looked beautiful that night—but she has always been beautiful. She was the long-awaited summer that never came. She was the moon he wanted to reach, to touch, to hold. But he contented himself by looking down at her white three-inch heels and laughing. And it wasn’t a blissful kind of laugh. It was mocking and sad and carried with it a hundred different unsaid words.
You didn’t look down this time. You weren’t wearing those goddamned shoes, he had said. And she had held his gaze until the people around them had hugged each other twice and they were all staring at the two, wondering why some endings have so many unsung beginnings.
I can see you now, she said.
Three years later, a new girl sits cross-legged on your bed.
She tastes like a different flavor of bubblegum than you are used to.
She opens up a book that you had to read in high school, and a folded picture of us falls out of chapter three.
Now there are two unfinished stories resting in her lap.
Inevitably, she asks, and you tell her.
You say: I dated her a while back.
You don’t say: Sometimes, when I’m holding you, I imagine the smell of her vanilla perfume.
You say: She was younger than me.
You don’t say: The sixteen summers in her bones warmed the eighteen winters my skin had weathered.
You say: It’s nothing now.
You don’t say: But it was everything then.