After a good ten minutes Al and Enne arrived at school. For Al that ten minutes was too long as he felt somewhat unpleasant.
Though he knew Enne for the longest(ten years), he still wasn’t used to be accompanied with others.He simply enjoyed being alone.
On the other hand, Enne found that ten minutes to be too short. She had always dreamed about standing with Al side by side, instead of just watching him. He avoided people, including Enne herself, so it was very hard to approach to him.
They did talk, rarely, but the conversation would end up boldly(well, if she could even consider those “conversations”) and not progressive to her. In fact, this morning’s incident was the first time he had ever said any complete sentences to her, surprisingly.
Al separated from Enne as soon as they passed through the main entrance of the school. Knowing him for long enough, Enne clearly understood that it meant “I’ve accomplished my promise, now off you go.”. Enne liked this part of Al, too.It made him even more stylish.
Soon many other students arrived as well. Some greeted Enne and she smiled back along the way while she walked to her classroom.
It was Kyla, Enne’s best friend calling from behind. She was a slender girl slightly taller than Enne. Her crimson-red hair was short and cut neatly just to cover the ears. Her pupils are full of energy and life, indicating that she was very open and out-going. As Enne knew, Kyla excelled at nearly all the sports and was friends with almost everyone in the grade. She was popular, and at least in Enne’s opinion, maybe even the most popular person in the grade. Enne was grateful but sometime doubtful at the same time–the thought which whether she deserved a friend like Kyla.
“I saw you walking with Al,” Kyla approached to her by face-to-face, “are you guys dating or something?”
“No, no!”, Enne’s face turned red again.
“Come on! You can’t hide anything from me!”, she laughed and pushed Enne’s back toward the direction of the classroom, “Hurry up and let’s go! Class is starting!”
Entering the classroom, Enne saw that Al was already in his spot–the seat in the leftmost corner of the last row in the room. She sat down in her seat, too, which is the one beside Al’s on the right hand side. Since elementary school she had always been in the same class as Al, but not as often she could sit nearby Al. This year she’d got luck and hoping that she could get closer to him even by sitting beside him.
Al wasn’t looking at her. He stared at the window non-moving, as usual. Maybe the world outside was just far more interesting to him. Maybe he was lost in thought. Or maybe he was just hiding the fact that he was sleeping. By all means the teachers would ignore him and taught their lectures uninterruptedly. They would take notes all the time. Sometimes Enne would take a peek at him(who never turned away from the windows) and be satisfied by just observing him. She loved to see his face from the side. It made him even more mysterious and attractive(Enne was embarrassed by the thought, of course).
Lunch break followed by the four boring classed in the morning. The classroom suddenly turned lively with the exception of Al. He never changed his positions for hours. While her classmates either took out their lunchboxes or heading to the school’s cafeteria, Enne stood up to Al with two lunchboxes and some courage, then asked:
“Do-Do you want to have lunch with me?”
“No, I’m not hungry.” He didn’t even look at her.
She was depressed. For years she had been bringing an extra lunch to school every single day just to hope that for once he would ever have lunch with her. He would enjoy the meal and maybe even compliment to her cooking skills. But it never happened and so Enne was still waiting. Next time, she thought, next time he’ll take my offer.
She walked away and joined the girls led by Kyla to to roof. They were teasing Enne for Kyla had brought up the topic of Enne and Kyla. Their girls’ talk was aimless, random, and happy.
“Well, as long as it’s not Joe, I’ll definitely help you out!”, Kyla said. Joe is the class rep and the student council president. He had a long, straight blonde hair and the most clever mind. He was the most punctual person ever: always getting full marks on every subject, made no mistakes in planning school events, and he always dressed up neatly…
And time passed by quickly as they enjoyed the lunch break. They packed up and headed back to the classroom. Enne discovered that Al did not move at all. She took the chance to look at his cheek secretly but Kyla found out. “Little liar”, she said silently. Enne quickly turned back and pretending that she was reading the textbook, not knowing that she was holding it upside-down. Kyla couldn’t help but laughed.
Then Joe walked up to the front and raised his right hand. The classroom muted within a blink of time and everyone sat down, as if a 3-stories sea tide had vanished without a sign. The young man drifted the entire population to silence. His very being was the power to command wordlessly. He was the king, and they were his people. Al, still staring at the window, was the only one who wasn’t overwhelmed by Joe’s intimidation. Like a rebel, Enne thought, but it’s what it made him so cool,too.
“Thank you, Joe” the teacher entered soon after.
Joe walked back to his seat(in the first row) and Enne found that he stared at where they were aggressively while doing that. That was for Al, indeed. They had always disliked each other, though neither of them ever expressed their personal feelings to anyone. Joe was cold and critical, never wasted a moment put human emotions to considerations. They were two completely different species, but yet common in some ways, as the eagle and the hawk. Sometimes Enne could tell that Joe was actually a nice person, who just had a more harsh way in dealing with people. In fact, since Joe took over the leadership in the Student Councils, nothing had gone wrong in the school and things were run perfectly without chaos. He was the person who best knew his strengths and to applied them, especially in a political manner. He was almost like a tyranny, but more of a charismatic leader of the school. Most girls admired his perfectionist attitude. However, Enne knew Al for much longer so she had only respect for Joe. To her, nothing was comparable to Al. They were living in different dimensions, after all.
The afternoon classes were boring as students anticipated. They lost their concentration to the board. Some pretended to follow along the notes while some half-sleep. Al never bothered listening in class. Joe was the only one who paid full attention all the time. Kyla was sleeping and snoring already. Enne tried to focus, but her mind was soon occupied with the thoughts for Al…
It was a snowy morning of December ten years ago. Enne, along with other kids at the orphanage were watching a new boy joining them. He was skinny and not much taller than Enne. He had a curly pitch-black hair, in contrast of his white shirt and white pants. The chiefman took him to his room, and he followed silently and wordlessly, ignoring the kids’ greetings. Enne couldn’t capture any signs of emotions from his expression. It didn’t have life in it.
Later on, Enne discovered that his name was Al and was 6 years old, same age as her. They would learn in the same classroom with a few other kids in the orphanage. Al wouldn’t talk, but answered everything correctly when asked by teachers. He was bright, but never talkative. Enne herself wasn’t walkative either, but it was due to her shyness. Al was different in a total mysterious way. When school’s off, Enne would find him with a small black cat in the corner of the yard where no one else would go. He would spend hours and hours staying with the black cat, so Enne would spend hours and hours hiding behind the same tree just to observe them. Sometimes the cat would jump onto his lap for a nap, and he would pet it with a gentle smile on his face. It was the only time Enne would see him smile that she was so intimidated.
Soon after, Enne would secretly follow Al every time he sneaked to the same “secret place”. She loved to see his smile so much that it had become a ritual in her during those days. Until one day the same black cat wasn’t there anymore…Al’s smile was gone again…
Enne’s memory was interrupted by the ringing bell. School was over. She wrapped up her desk while Al was about to leave. She stood before him.
“Umm…” she couldn’t never identify his emotions at all, whether it was happy or sad, or was angry or annoyed, “would-would you mind walking home with me?”
“No, I have work.”he rejected immediately and walked out before anyone else did, vanished like a fog after dawn.
She sighed. Maybe it was just too greedy to ask for too much all in a day. She would be a thousand time happier only if he would say “not today”.
“Well I wish you good luck,”Kyla walked to her and smiled, “I’ll teach you a few tips about getting guys! But now I’ve got Student Council business, see you later!”
Kyla jogged away. Enne knew that she joined Student Councils because of Joe. She prayed for her friend to succeed. One-way love was tough and she hoped that she’d be the only one who still had to wait for this long.