The clock struck its third second after the 12. The classroom was silent, except for the hurried scribbles on paper. The teacher sat on his desk, watching his students struggling through the test. He pushed up his circular glasses, turning to watch the clock. He cleared his throat, marking the five minute mark.
Kevin bit his lip, speeding his way through the Politics & Government test. At last, he turned the scantron over and organized his materials so that he could lay his head on the cold desk. Kevin closed his eyes, trying to take a nap before the five minute mark ended. His lips parted, letting his mouth slightly gape open. Oh sweet sleep, come bless him with that comfortable feeling of blacking out…
A loud, high-humming bell emitted from the speakers, waking Kevin up with a start. He sucked up the drool that still hung from his lips, sitting up and wiping up the remains on his cheek. Kevin blinked once or twice, nodding at the girl that sat in front of him and handing her his test.
He pulled his backpack onto his shoulder, strolling out of the classroom. And of course, he ran into Tara. She grinned back up him, tugging on the sleeve of her black jacket. Today, she wore all black, from her leather jacket and shirt to her boots. Tara watched him for a while, and then turned around to walk him down the hall. Silently, but comfortably, Kevin and Tara strolled along, thinking on their thoughts and walking their walks.
“Hey, do you want to stop by some place?” she interrupted the silence, looking up at him.
“What place?” he replied, shrugging.
“I don’t know… See if that Biggerson’s down the road has a to-go thing?” Tara nodded forward, gesturing to the trees.
“You want Biggerson’s?” Kevin’s eyebrows rose, remembering his mother’s warnings about the place.
“Actually, now that I think of it… Probably not,” she smiled, turning the corner towards the library.
Kevin shrugged, almost afraid that he probably just turned down a date with Tara Pham. But he didn’t like her, and he knew that Tara didn’t like him either. She’s got those fictional characters to fall in love with. Kevin knew he couldn’t amount to be like Castiel or Sam or Dean. They were saviors, and he was… well… a senior.
He shrugged again, walking alongside the grass. And then suddenly, he had fallen on top of it, his backpack positioned awkwardly between his head and his left shoulder. Kevin blinked, his mouth gaping open with confusion. Then, he realized. It had been Tara. He looked back up to her, standing there as a dark outline against the sun. She grinned at him, her eyes glittering, and then she began to run. She ran past him, towards the trees, or towards the library. He couldn’t tell. What was this supposed to be?
Kevin pushed himself off the ground, dusting the grass off of his pants, and then searched for the missing girl. He tucked his fingers into his pockets, striding towards one of the trees she surely had climbed. A smile crept on the left edges on his mouth as he spotted the blue backpack hanging from one of the branches.
Then suddenly, Tara’s face popped in front of his, causing him to stumble back. Kevin blinked once or twice again, regaining his posture. She hung upside down, her nose still scrunched up, and her hair in mid-air – almost like how it was with the benches. She let go of the branch, easily falling onto her two legs. Tara collapsed onto the ground, forming a perfect criss-cross position. She motioned for him to sit down as well, and so Kevin did.
“I hope you don’t mind we skip the boring homework and go straight to chatting again,” Tara’s smile crept onto her lips.
Kevin shifted himself, settling down on the scratchy, fake grass. At last, he looked back at Tara, studying her light freckles and dark freckles that were aligned almost perfectly on her face. Her nose scrunched up again, now with her eyes crinkling as well.
“What’s wrong with you?” Kevin ventured again, studying the freshman’s face contentedly. “Honestly and really and truly.”
“Are you saying you love me, Kevin, or are you truly asking for the problems in my life?” she looked into his eyes, her smile fading.
“Your problems,” he uncomfortably answered.
“I feel like making speeches now, to you. It seems only proper when it comes to displaying my problems, which are, like, very deep,” Tara laid down, resting on the grass and looking up at the sky.
“That’s okay,” Kevin adjusted himself again, taking his own turn to lie on the ground and look up at the wonderful clouds that she was so fond of. “I don’t mind.”
“Sometimes, I feel like I’m a train – and forgive all of these metaphors and stuff,” Tara pushed her hands between her backpack and her head, her eyes fluttering. “I have to keep going, no matter what, and I’m not allowed to stop. At first, I’ve set my own track for me, and I’m new at everything. I go along with myself, collecting my cargo, my memories, my past… And then suddenly I’m stopped. And more people join my journey, making the cargo heavier. I find myself not on my own track anymore, but switching tracks. People start telling me where to go, and I’m not allowed to stay as I was before. The people that joined me leave, and then more come back and force me to keep going. I stop for repairs, but when I do, I realize too late that I’ve gotten old and everything’s turned to nothing.”
“Are you okay?” Kevin rolled over, facing Tara.
“Are you okay?” she replied, turning her head to face him.
“I don’t know,” Kevin turned back, surveying the calm blue before him.
“No, really, Kev, are you okay?” Tara sat up, ignoring her tangled hair. “You never say anything. And I worry about you, I do.”
“I’m okay,” he replied, taking his turn to sit up.