Portrait of a Girl

Wednesday's Pizza Day

It was noon on an average Wednesday in the beginning of March , when she sat down in front of me. Winter still had a grasp on the world but it was slipping and soon the world would be green again and we would be graduating and our childhood would be over. Little did I know that her sitting down in front of me that day at lunch would change me, and my life forever.

She was not in my clique, we were not friends, and we didn’t have any mutual friends. So of course I found it strange her sitting across from that day. In our small rural town social standing and circles defined us. My father was a dentist in town, his Sunday driving car was a red corvette, my friends were children of teachers, and local business owners we were also friends with the children of larger farm owners, however they tended to form their own clique. Then there were the kids who wanted to pretend they were rebels but we still accepted them because our parents knew their parents and that was just how it was. There were the popular party kids and the kids who played sports and we all sort of overlapped in our friendships forming what people would call the ‘Popular’ crowd.

There were the kids from the wrong side of the tracks, the kids who's parents were in jail or junkies and they were following in their foot steps, we didn’t talk to them. There were nerdy band kid, and the weird kids, and the drama kids. And as in many small towns, we all when to the same Methodist church on main street, Sunday mornings.

Then there was her and her friends, most of them didn’t live in town, and their parents most likely didn’t even work in our county. She and most of the others had gone to the small elementary school in the middle of nowhere on the other side of the county. There were 5 elementaries in the county, and only one middle school and one high school so in 7th grade we were all forced to integrate. Not all of the kids from her school had failed to make other friends. And in 7th grade her rag tag group of misfits collected a few of the other stragglers from the other elementaries. One of them started calling me ‘Preppy Kid’ in middle school. I acted as if I ignored it but I sort of wore it as a badge of honor, that I was something, and they were jealous of me.

But there she was sitting across from me, I glanced at her friends, who were sitting slack jawed throwing side ways glances our way trying to not look as if they were staring. Each one of them, were unique, in their personal style, interests, and personality. I had wondered sometimes if they actually had anything in common or were only friends out of necessity. I glanced quickly over my shoulder to see where my friends were in the lunch line, they were no where to be seen.

She sat there quietly gazing at me with her large almond eyes framed with thick black lashes. I had never sat so close to her before. So I had never noticed just how pretty her eyes were, I had heard her ex boyfriend talking about them once, and how one could so easily get lost in them, and I remembered thinking how ridiculous it was to think like that about someone’s eyes, but that was a long time ago. They were a gray blue green and around her pupils golden rays seem radiate out as if from the sun.

I swallowed and finally spoke, “Can I help you?”

“I have a proposition for you,” She said her voice soft but cold, her small pink lips curling into a smile.

“Umm, I’m not looking to buy pot or pills or anything. And I’m not stealing my Dads prescription pad and selling it to you. ”

Her smile vanished immediately, she scoffed and rolled her eyes she pushed her long pale fingers through her shinny dark hair the slice of pink fell back over her ears, a sweet flowery scent of peonies and summer invaded my nose, “I want you to come to prom with me,” the look I gave her must have been somewhere in between amusement and skepticism, she pressed on, “These are the most words we have ever spoken to each other in the past four years of high school and two years of middle school before that. I’m offering you an experience. Or if you prefer, because you have a more scientific mind, an experiment. Come and sit with me at lunch come to prom with me. You have lived the same life everyday for the past four years, I guarantee you’ll have more fun in these last few months of senior year than you did every day of high school before, combined. You don’t have to answer me today but I’d like to know by Friday.”

When she finished she pushed her chair back, smiled as she stood and walked way. I watched her hips sway in the tight pencil skirt she wore. There was something classy and elegant about the way she dressed, hose with a seam up the back, and lady like oxfords with heels. She had always been known as skirt girl, because she always wore skirts and dresses. We had made fun of her for it calling her amish, before we knew anything about well anything and in that moment of watching her walk a way I felt what could have been a small pang of guilt.
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