Susan sat in her place, all quiet and annoyed. She always had to face the bullying of the other boys and girls in the class. That kept happening and she never had the courage to tell it to anyone. She hadn’t even told Gavin, and that about measured up that not a soul in the world knew about it.
She was the quiet nerdy girl, studious and hardworking, teacher’s pet but classmates target. She loved helping others but they rarely asked her help. They demanded and that made her unwilling to give any hospitality. Why did people have to behave like that? If she didn’t talk loud, or sing along or walk around in semi nude dresses, it didn’t make her lesser than anyone. It was her personality. Her genetic make up.
After the class was over and all had teased her about her inadequate knowledge of Facebook, while they all were creating a group on it, she walked out alone from the classroom. As she walked near the gate, she saw Gavin walking along, accompanied by his friends. She waved at him, but he didn’t notice. She was taken aback. The boys saw her walking behind them. They chose to ignore her. No one paid attention to her. Her plain looks, her old fashioned spectacles or her out of fashion dresses, anything and everything could be blamed for that!
She heard them speak about football and then they spoke about Carmen. Susan’s heart skipped a beat. She was the most beautiful girl in Gavin’s class. He had told her about this Miss Beauty, a few days back. Looking at his excitement and blushes while he spoke about her, made Susan boil within and hate her even before she had seen her. Her lone friend, Gavin, and he too was going to be influenced by the outward beauties. She was scared of losing. Losing him to her. Her invisible, unseen foe. Her eyes started welling up and the drops fell one by one.
As they kept walking, the boys drifted apart. And at last, only it was her and two steps ahead her was Gavin. Walking slowly and softly. Her tears were now falling uncontrollably. She was scared to ask him not to get involved with Carmen. Who was she to tell him that? Just another friend! Not more than that. She suddenly felt as though she saw him turn and stop at his place. But her vision was so vague due to the water in her eyes. It was for an instant, so she thought she was imagining it.
Susan! Why are you walking behind me?
She didn’t reply. With her voice all broken, she couldn’t.
Come here. Walk beside me, he said.
No! She softly said.
She kept walking ahead, not realizing when he had stopped. She bumped into him. Her face at the lower base of his neck. Her lips on his hard shoulder blade. Her hands holding him, else she felt she would fall with him and hurt him.
Suddenly she held him tighter. Her cold body, holding onto him. The warmth he exuded was always enough to thaw her out of any situation.
Her arms moved forward and encircled his chest. Her palms could feel his heart beat, while her heart was thumping aloud. She knew he could feel it through his heart.
Susan! Don’t cry! He said.
She couldn’t even mutter a yes or no. Or even breathe. Her heart and soul were crying.
I won’t meet Carmen. I don’t like her so much that I would hurt you for meeting her. You mean more to me!
No! I ain’t like them. I ain’t beautiful. You all like that kind of girls. Isn’t it?
Yes, perhaps you are right. You aren’t beautiful like them.
You know, you are the most beautiful girl for me. I don’t want someone who looks beautiful to the world, I want someone who looks and wants to look beautiful to me. So, will you be my girlfriend?
Susan was shocked. She loosened her grip of his body. He turned. She couldn’t face him. Gavin slowly pulled off her frosted spectacles and wiped the tears off her right cheek. He swiftly caught the one drop which just escaped from her left eye.
If even in my presence these precious drops fall, then my existence is nothing, Susan. Please don’t tell me, you don’t like me!
No! It’s not like that Gavin. She said.
Tell me. Will you be my girl friend? he smilingly asked.
She smiled and replied, Yes! Of course yes!
She said aloud and jumped into his arms. They hugged and laughed and like everyday, they walked back home. But from today, it was going to be different. They were special to one another. They had taken the first step in love!