Noise, the hall was filled with it and is always filled with it save for those few occasions during class when not one person traverses its length. I pushed my way through the mass of bodies bottlenecking the area in front of the history room.
“Oh, sorry,” I mumbled when I bumped into another student.
His books fell to the floor. Silently and without looking at me, he bent and gathered them into his arms. Without a word or a glance he proceeded down the hallway.
I watched until he became a part of the mess of students all moving in an unorganized way. I shrugged and continued to my locker.
The bell rang three minutes later and I was already seated in my third period class. My teacher started going off on minerals one second later. Just as silently as in the hallway, the boy entered the room and sat down one desk in front of me.
Mr. Cho didn’t glance up from the examples he was rifling through. I stared at the boy’s hunched back. He was scribbling continuously on a piece of paper, his pencil making neat circles as I watched. I sighed; something about him just didn’t fit.
The boy wore dark clothing and an old tattered trench coat. I had never seen him before, except for earlier in the hallway between classes. The clock ticked. My breathing became labored as my mind invented as many ideas as they were ridiculous that tried to explain his presence. I gazed at his back, my eyes boring into him. It blurred as my vision became unsteady and I swayed.
The boy turned around and looked at me, as if he seriously did have holes in his back. His unwavering gaze unnerved me. A hint of recognition flashed through his eyes as he stared.
“It’s you,” he said. “You bumped into me earlier, I heard you were in this class.”
“Well, I’m new here,” he said, almost too abruptly.
“Sure,” I offered shakily.
Stress began to seep out of body. Was he just new here or something more? I cocked my head in his direction, more thoughts hammering my mind.
Of course he’s just new here, I told myself.
He turned around and said nothing more.
B. Valdez 2008/2009