Her again. Always walking adjacent to her shadow, she kept up a quick pace with a constricted gait. Her long dress is to blame for that. Long hair overflows upon her back and covers her like a veil flipped back. Never have I seen her face. I’m sure it’s beautiful. It has to be. Her emotions are introverted, leaving only a void on the inside. You could just know by the way she walks. So scared, so hastily, so like a refugee. From what? I wish I knew. Maybe I could be the fortification she hid in. I’ve only conversed with her once. “Hello, Missy. How are you?” “Fine.” She replied with her head bowed and hair obscuring her face like a mask. She said she was fine. Fine! No, I don’t know her, but fine was a lie. A sweet lyre; singing unintentionally. She has that kind of voice that sails smoothly until it submerges into coyness. Why? What is it? Why is she so cautious? Of me?
Wait! A sheet has fallen from her arms unwittingly, rocking to the ground in a pendulum motion. Here’s my chance.
“Missy! Wait! You’ve dropped something!”
She halts rather abruptly, erecting her otherwise hunched back. It feels like I’m in a motion picture and a sheet of glass has just shattered before her. It would be a black and white film, silent, with captions at the bottom of the screen.
BOY: You’ve dropped a note.
BOY: You’re welcome.
Then she scurries away almost in a trot. Not this time. No. I catch up to her and grab her arm lightly to let her know I’m still there.
BOY: Wait, can I walk with you?
GIRL: I’d rather you not.
BOY: Can I buy you a drink?
GIRL: Certainly not.
GIRL: Why can’t you jerks leave me alone?
I’m shoved away and she’s taken by the wind. Just like that. Maybe I came off too strong or too condescending. Maybe I was too careful with my reassuring tone. I did sound like a brother trying to comfort a baby sister. I turn to walk back but before long, the leaves are crunching from behind me. Missy is running at me, eyes swelling with tears, hazil eyes, gorgeous, lips quivering and teeth clutched, hair whipping behind her like a fish tail, dark black licorice hair, her face is heart shaped and perfect. She is better than I imagined. I underrated her.
GIRL: I’m sorry.
BOY: It’s okay.
GIRL: Will you please walk home with me?
BOY: I’d love to, but why did you say no first?
GIRL: Can you fight?
BOY: I’ve never fought in my life.
GIRL: If you walk with me, be prepared to. The boys down my street hate me because I’m different.
BOY: How so?
GIRL: Because I’m…I don’t know. I’m not their type.
BOY: It’ll be okay.
I don’t think it will be okay. I think I will end up with a few broken bones and maybe a black eye. Bloody lip perhaps? Nose? I’ve never had a broken bone before, ever. But I know the boys she’s talking about. I know them well, and they are my friends. Or were, until the moment I walk down her street and the first insult is yelled. I’ll burn my bridges for her.