I headed towards an empty table, under a window. The sun shone iridescently through the window pane onto the table. I sat directly under the sunlight. The sunrays felt exhilarating, yet calming and peaceful. It’s a good thing my daily moisturizer had sunscreen. If not, I would have been bleached by now. I sat there content, with my overflowing tray of food, sunshine, and solace, in the much larger sea of the noisy cafeteria.
I was about to eat. Suddenly, he appeared. I hadn’t noticed him come in. That was unlike me. I always notice him. He stood in front of me, with a tray overflowing with food as well. My stomach instantly began to churn as if small currents of electricity bounced around the insides of my intestines.
The sound of his voice resounded in my ear. It was a voice that I was very familiar with. It was the first thing I noticed about him a few weeks ago, in class. He was invisible to me until I heard him speak. There was nothing special about his appearance. His style was unappealing. However, it was his voice that had its own presence. One day, the teacher had asked him a question in front of the rest of the class. When he spoke, my soul could hear and open like a flower, that absorbed each one of his words, as if they were rays of nourishing sunlight feeding my existence. His voice had a greatness that didn’t ask for permission. He spoke with a confident indifference of how he was perceived as if he were certain of his purpose and aware of the strength of his presence. His voice spoke to a part of me that I was unaware of. His strength and defiance represented everything that I wanted to be. I couldn’t stop noticing him afterward.
In the cafeteria, as he stood in front of me with the tray of food in his hand, he took off his book bag, put it in the chair next to me, and sat down in the chair directly across from my seat. I wanted to run and hide. My body didn’t understand basic functions anymore. I felt paralyzed, awkward. I looked at my plate. it was now a blurry painting of different colors without any smell. Unable to pick up my fork, I looked across the room, and then at different tables, and finally out the window, anywhere except at him. I took a sip of juice. It tasted like acid. I felt as if my hand shook. I quickly put the glass back down.
I couldn’t believe he was sitting here. Did he know that I had been watching him Had he noticed me too Was he following me Was he making an excuse to sit with me I wanted to say something but couldn’t. How much longer was he going to sit here I wished he would hurry up and finish. Yet, at the same time, I wanted him to stay, at my table, sitting directly across from me, stuffing sausage in his mouth. But, what did he really want Why did he sit here What was he thinking My stomach gurgled with the electric currents that now crouched and kicked like a Russian Folk Dancer. He hungrily stuffed his face with several more Italian sausages, two strips of bacon, some scrambled eggs and drank some orange juice. Then he looked up at me.