Her Name

Why was I in such a rush to get to the exit? I couldn’t think of anything, I couldn’t recall where I was or why I’d gone there in the first place. What had I done for the last few hours? Not a clue. With a quick pace I followed not a route but just let my feet drag me wherever. It was silent, yet it was the loudest silence I had ever encountered, as if my head was empty with the weight of a million ideas that just would not surface. I could see at the time, but nothing registered in my mind. Every tree was a smudge of brown and every person was a long stroke of the brush as everything felt unreal. A sudden feeling of pressure on my shoulder brought me to a halt. I realized I had held my bag straps too firmly, the wind slapped my face, and the harsh and raw coolness of the breeze made me shudder.

As I was just going away from there, a hand touched my shoulder.  Something warm in the absence of warmth. I wasn’t startled but my body jerked anyway, with a hopeless sigh I turned around to see a girl reaching her hand out, gripping my shoulder tightly. A classmate of mine, she was a lot shorter than me and was stronger than anyone could assume her to be. Neither of us spoke a word at first, just staring at each other. In that moment I became aware of the crowd passing by, pushing and complaining about being pushed. Her grip on my arm loosened, not quite letting go and she asked me if I was okay as I seemed a little out of it. Was I all right? I was not so sure, but I just gave her my best smile and a small nod. Her brows furrowed, which lead me to believe she wasn’t convinced. My surroundings started feeling more lifelike as I gave her a bigger smile and promised her I was just tired. After seemingly being immersed in her thoughts for a bit she looked back up at me and smiled also. Resisting the urge to cry from forcing a façade I awkwardly nodded once more. Her compassion reminded me of the warmth of an oven soon after baking cookies.

A raindrop fell on my forehead and made its way down my cheek. Her smile faltered and her hand left my shoulder as she checked the time. Cold. My surroundings faded back into their old dull colors when she stared into my eyes with a less genuine, apologetic smile on her face. Already walking away she told me to be careful and paused abruptly as if to add something but with a puzzled look on her face waved and kept walking. I couldn’t find the strength in me to wave back. Watching her back as she left in a hurry, I came to realize she did not even know my name, and I didn’t know hers.

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