Brightness from the fluorescent lighting above shone, reflecting from his dark, black hair. He sat at the uncomfortable desk, pencil in hand and foot tapping the ground sporadically out of nervousness. The voice from the front of the classroom, to which he usually made an adequate effort to pay attention, echoed throughout with a tone of insincere fervor.
His thoughts drifted about his memory, recollecting the times when he was so naive and new to the world. His mind recalled when he had only happiness on his mind; he didn't understand the brutal and harsh occurrences that happened constantly, nor did he want to. "Ricky," said the voice from the front of the class. He presently lifted his head to peer up towards the teacher. "Would you like me to repeat the question?" he asked.
He glanced up towards the teacher again, but could not hold the gaze. "Yes, sir," he said with both respect and shame. The teacher stared back down at him, now with an empathetic look in his eyes.
"What was the Second Great Awakening?" the voice repeated. Momentarily, the boy's nerves settled as he understood the simplicity of the question.
"A period of religious fervor and alteration of Christian beliefs in the early times of the United States," he answered quickly.
"Correct," replied the teacher with an attitude of encouragement. He looked up towards the plain analog clock, which hung on the wall above the door of the classroom. "It appears as if we're nearing the end of the period, now. You'll need to complete the handouts about - " he said as a bell rung to liberate the students. They exited the classroom, and continued down the hall, seemingly in unison.
"Ricky," called a softer voice from behind him. He turned, seeing a girl with bright brown eyes appear through the heavy mob. She wore a grey cardigan with black denim pants, and wore a chain with a heart dangling ?round her neck as always. Ricky decided she was a pleasant sight, despite her smudging makeup and imperfectly parted hair. She continued, "Did you finish the lab for biology?"
Ricky glanced up and nodded yes, and as he stepped down the stairs he noticed she was looking at him with a certain stare only she could manage. Her eyes seemed immersed in his mind as they searched his face, and he had to look away.
She followed him towards the band student hallway, in which his locker was. "You can just copy it if you want," he said as he removed the thin packet from its place within his binder. She thanked him, then stood still at his locker waiting for him to get his things for lunch.
He looked up, slightly confused as to why she wouldn't just go off with her other friends. Inside, though, he appreciated it. He closed his locker after quickly getting all of his needed materials, and smiled kindly at her. "Don't forget your book," she told him politely as she reopened his locker and retrieved it from the shelf.
"Thank you," he said. His accent shone through as he spoke. He looked up again at her, and she looked back contently. Her eyes drifted down towards his chest, covered by a navy blue sweatshirt.
"Wait . . . I need to fix you," she said. After setting her books gently on the floor near the wall of lockers, she reached towards his sweatshirt. She pulled the dangling string on the left side of it, making both sides even. Once finished, she looked over the adjustment and brushed a wrinkle out of his sweatshirt.
"Why'd you do that?" he inquired curiously. He stared at her eyebrows, for fear and she continued to look up at his deep, dark eyes.
She answered, "I just like things to be symmetrical." He let a small laugh escape his lips as she picked up her books. With one final smile, she turned and made her way alone towards the cafeteria, leaving behind a charming scent of vanilla as she left.