Unknown, Unnoticed



            I can’t remember the first time that I saw her, I really can’t. For if I had remembered that time, a memory which would have been forever treasured by my heart, I wouldn’t have to start in such a trite and simple way. In fact, if I had remembered the first time that I saw her, I would have started the narrative from there, instead of starting it from here.

            She probably came into our homeroom at the first day of school, sat down, talked to people, and wondered why in the hell was there a group of boys at one corner of the room, yelling like crazy, words like “Come on, Pickopot, you can do it!”, or “Kill him, Smoke-weed-everyday, I got my money on ya!”, or some other random words that were yelled by the crowd.

            She probably did. I don’t really know. I was at the time one of those boys in the group, yelling crazily at the freakin’ crickets, for I had bet one dollar on Smoke-weed-everyday, just because his owner, Nate, was a really good friend of mine, and not because I trusted in his cricket’s fighting skills.

            Cricket fights was the only way Junior High kids like us could bet, for none of us understood the physics of poker, and our hounds were just too fat and lazy to give us a good race. So we used crickets, male ones, of course, the ones that cricked their love songs into the moonlight, hoping that their Juliets would come to them, enchanted by their beautiful voices, and have hot, hot sex with them(Or, at least, this is what Nate said). The crickets fought, in a wrestling type of way, each trying to pin down the other one, in a ring made of cassette boxes, each brought in by the ones who would participate in the betting. The ring was just four small walls made of those boxes, only there to keep the crickets boxed in, preventing them from chickening out and running away from the fight.

            Anyways, I was probably too obsessed with cricket fights at the time, to notice her coming into the room, and sitting in the front rows of the room, and all those stuffs girls did when they were at school. I lost my dollar that day, as Pickopot wrestled down Smoke-weed-everyday and won the match, so I wasn’t exactly in a mood to notice girls then. Stupid Nate, if he didn’t smoke weed with the cricket everyday, the cricket wouldn’t have been in such a bad shape.

            But I do remember the first time that I’ve talked to her, as the football season neared, and the school spirit was at a record-time high. I was attending our first homecoming game, ‘cause my best friend Sean played on it, and I was sitting somewhere in the front of the bleachers. I had arrived at the game pretty early, only because Sean was a great persuader, and he had somehow persuaded me to be there for his team’s practices. I think the persuasion was five bucks cash, but I am not really sure about it.

            “Excuse me,” Was the first thing that she said to me, as I sat yawning under the hot afternoon sun, wondering if all the five bucks in the world would be as hard to get as this one. “Is this seat taken?”

I looked at her with teary eyes, that’s what happens to your eyes when you yawn ten times in a row, and shook my head to say no. She sat down quietly near me, her eyes looking out at the grassy field, now filled with moron players running around aimlessly, their brains replaced with excitements for the game. And yes, Sean was one of them. “Why are you here so early?” I asked her, as I sleepily scratched my black hair. “The game doesn’t start till six, and it’s only four-something right now.”

“Oh, I didn’t have anything else to do.” She said in her quiet voice, a small smile on her face. “So I thought it would be wiser to save a seat before the big game starts.”

“That’s cool. I would have been too lazy to do something like that.”

“How about you? Why are you here so early?”

“My friend Sean said he would give me five bucks, if I came to the team practice with him.”

“Oh, I see.” She replied, as she looked out onto the field again. “Is that your friend Sean?”

I nodded, as she pointed to the blond-haired quarterback, who was running around tackling whoever got into his way. “Yep, that’s him.” I said, before I stood up and yelled at him. “Yo, moron! Quit tackling like a wussy! Ya need me to teach you how to tackle like a man or something?”

“Screw you, asshole!” Sean yelled back, laughing as he picked up a football from the ball basket. “What do you know, loser? Shut the hell up!”

I laughed at his reply, as he threw the football at me, something we’ve been doing since we were five years old. I caught the ball easily, knowing the force of Sean’s throw as well as my own, and sat down as the football coach yelled angrily at Sean, scorning him for screwing around (Like he was the only one). She laughed too, at the foolish ways we were acting, I think. “Yeah, we’re stupid.” I said, as I joined her in her laughter, the football still held in my hands.

“It must be great to have a friend who’s the team’s quarterback.” She smiled, as I nodded in reply, fumbling the football in my hands. “How did you guys meet?”

“He was stealing apples from some dude’s place, and I was just walking near there, on the way to the park or something. So he sees me and yells at me, ‘Yo, dude, catch these for me, will ya?’ So I looked up and he throws like ten apples at me, one at a time, of course.

“So suddenly, he quickly jumps down from the apple tree onto this brick wall, and as he is lowering himself down from the wall, he looks at me and says, ‘Gather them all and let’s go… Hope you’re a good runner.’

            “‘Why?’ I asked, just to show you how dumb I was.

            “And he was like, ‘‘cause I just saw the owner release his dog’s leash, and it’ll be like probably ten seconds before he opens the gates.’

            She was already laughing then, a laughter contagious enough to make me join her. “So we ran like crazy, till we reached the stone bridges above the Putama River.” I continued, still laughing. “That was pretty much how our friendship started.”

            “That’s screwed up.” She held out her hand, her blue eyes smiling at me. “By the way, I’m Katherine Forland, my friends call me Kat.”

            “I’m Ron Strickson,” I replied, shaking her hand. “And my friends call me dumbass.”

            She laughed at the joke, and that was pretty much how we met. It wasn’t romantic or anything, just weird, plain weird. After that I introduced her to Sean, the start of our trio, a screwed up one, if I might add. We became inseparable in High School, where we frequently studied together, played together, and all the things normal people do. Sean knew I was in love with her, and he was cool enough to keep it secret, just like I had asked him to.

            Sean himself was now the tall and handsome star quarterback of the school, a trophy that every girl wanted to get a touch on. I was pretty much his sidekick, which was okay, considering that someone always had to play the role of the sidekick, and I was just too lame to play the part of the central character.

            One spring morning, on our senior year, when everybody was thinking of the lives that the future held, and teachers lectured about the ways that life goes. Kat had caught up with me after the third period bell rang, and asked me to skip classes with her. She had cut her brown hair short that spring, and for some reason that made her even prettier in my eyes. I couldn’t refuse her, what fools in love do in order to be with their loves, and followed her, sneaking out of the yellow-white building.

            We went near Putama River, the only place where we could see the beautiful river flow between the lands, and sat on the grassy hills, under the shiny yellow sun. “Now isn’t this a lot better?” Kat said, as she plumped down onto the ground, lying carelessly under the celestial blue skies.

            “I don’t see how you can think of skipping school at this time,” I said, sitting down near her.

“Considering that we’re both failing, and our high school years are almost gone.”

            “Calm down, Ron.” She smiled, closing her eyes, feeling the warmth of the sun, I think. “We all need a little rest sometimes, before we all die of exhaustion and stress.”

            I shrugged and lied down next to her, looking up at the floating clouds. We didn’t say anything for a while, just soaking up the peace and rest, maybe hoping for a little more of the moment. “Hey, Ron.” She said after awhile, the winds roaming across the skies. “Are you in love with someone right now?”

            “Of course yeah,” I replied, looking over toward her. “Why do you ask?”

            “I was just wondering, considering that you don’t have a girlfriend yet.”

            That’s because I only think about you, Kat. I wanted to say that, yet I was too much of a coward to reveal my feelings. “I’m saving myself for that special girl.” I said instead. That special girl is the only one I’ll ever love.

            “So who is this special girl?” She asked, as she turned around to look at me.

            “I’m not gonna tell ya.” I laughed, even though I suddenly felt sad inside. “How about you? Do you have someone special that you love?”

            “Sure, I do.” She smiled, I’m sure unaware of how cute she looked like that.

            “Who is it?”

            “I’m not gonna tell you.”

            “If ya tell me about it, then I’ll tell you about mine.”

            She studied me in quiet, staring at me for a while, before she sat up straight on the grassy hills, her eyes now searching in the clear waters of the river. “Alright,” She said slowly, as if meditating what she was gonna say next. “But promise me that you won’t laugh at me or anything, and will keep this a secret to yourself.”

            I saw how serious she was, so I just nodded in silence, waiting for what she was gonna say next. The wind fiddled with her short hair then, lost leaves and petals of flowers from long ago, waving in the air like dancers in a forever dance. Her blue eyes then shifter toward me, a moment that seemed hard to forget, as her short hair waved with the wind, too short to dance along in the songs of the spring. “I’m in love with Sean.” She said then, simply, nothing more than that.

            I felt my right hand involuntarily grasping my chest, as I rapidly sat up beside her, my head down as I breathed hard, trying to make it as silently as possible, trying to hide the hand that grasped my heart, trying to not show any pain on my face, trying not to cry. “Are you okay?” I heard her cry urgently, felt her presence coming nearer to me.

            “Yeah, I’m okay.” I replied, managing a smile, a chuckle to cover up the cry. “Just a little surprised, but I’m alright.”

            I looked at her then, as our eyes met in the middle of the wind’s dance, my hand still grasping my chest, trying to cover up the pain, to hold the tears that it wants to cry. We stayed there staring at each other, our eyes seeing each other being reflected on each other’s eyes, watching the self through the eyes of the other. Tell her that you’re in love with her! A voice screamed inside of me, the pain piercing furiously in my chest. Tell her all the things that you feel! All that is contained in your heart!

            “Why haven’t you asked him on a date yet?” I said instead, burying all the thoughts that I have, letting nothing else be shown but a smile, an emptiness inside of me.

            “Do you think I should? I mean, he’s just off a long relationship and all…”

            “Sure, the sooner, the better.” The hell am I saying? What the hell is wrong with me? “I mean, hit them while they’re vulnerable, right?”

            “Yeah, I guess.” She laughed a little, me simulating her laugh. “So how about you?”

            “What about me?” I replied, still smiling, unable to wipe that face.

            “I told you who I loved, now it’s your turn.”

            You are the only one I’ve ever loved, Katherine. “Pfft, no way.” I said instead, lying down on the grass again. “Why should I tell you my secret, now that I know yours?”

            “You’re such a bastard.” She laughed, hitting me playfully, as we played around on the grassy hills. Nothing more, nothing less, the end of my own self.

I lied on my bed the rest of that day, not moving, just thinking of what a coward I was, such a loser, the love that never was. I lied there, unable to cry, sadness swallowing me up, my mind no longer alive.

            The phone rang sometime at night, the little orange light blinking as it did so. I had somehow gathered enough strength from my static posture, to pick up the phone and be able to say “Hello?”

            It was Kat, her voice fueled with happiness, her excitement jumping out of the phone speaker. “Ron?” She screamed, as I listened to her in my dark room, didn’t have enough strength to turn on the lights yet. “I did what you said, I asked Sean out for a date. And he said yes! We’re going out on Friday. I’m so excited!”

            “That’s great!” I replied, trying to sound as excited as I could, as my right hand grasped my chest once again, trying to contain the sadness felt inside. “Um… Listen, Kat, I’m kinda busy right now, so can I call you back later?”

            “Sure. And thanks a lot, Ron.”

            “Thanks a lot for what?”

            “For all your support. If it wasn’t for you, I probably wouldn’t have gathered up enough courage to ask Sean out.”

            “No prob. I’ll see ya later, alright?”

            “Sure. See you tomorrow.”

            I hanged up the phone, and pulled the phone cord from the connection plug. I lied back on my bed, and felt myself sink down on the soft mattress. The stars seemed to be crying that night. I wish I could just die.




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