Unknown, Unnoticed



           How long has it been since I last saw my High School sign? Five years? Ten years? The ticket said that it was six years ago, although it didn’t feel that much to me. “Ron? Ron Strickson?” The receptionist yelled out happily, as she quickly came toward me and gave me a hug. I didn’t know what to do, except to stand there still, and let her hug all she wants.

            She looked up at me after a minute or two, and gave me a treacherous smile. “You don’t remember me, do you?” She said with a little laughter. “It’s me, Lena, Lena Smith.”

            I looked at her in surprise, unable to believe how much she had changed since High School, her short blond hair now replaced with dark-black hair and a ponytail, her green eyes now sheltered behind a pair of glasses. “Wow,” Was all that I could say at the time, as I looked at her once again. “It’s been that long since High School, huh?”

            “Uh-huh.” She nodded, still smiling as she looked at me.

            “So, how did you end up as the reunion’s receptionist?”

            “I volunteered, thought this was the cheapest way to see all of my old friends.”

            “Never would have thought of that myself.” I said, as I placed my hands into my pant pockets. “So, what are you doing now?”

            “I’m a secretary for a law firm near here.”

            “That’s cool, I’m a…”

            “Novelist, I know.” She smiled again. “I have all of your novels. Want to sign one of them for me?”

            “You could have just called me, and I would have come to your house to sign it.”

            “You have an unlisted number, bud.” She said, as she playfully punched my right arm. “So, I’ve heard that you are doing a screenplay, how’s that going?”

            “Not as fun as I thought it would be…”

            That was when the door opened again and I saw her come in, her brown hair no longer short, wearing a white dress, in a way that I’ve never seen her before. Our eyes kinda met for a second, across the early crowds, undisturbed by the evening air, before we both shyly looked away, pretending to not have seen each other, pretending to forget each other’s eyes.

            She was soon surrounded by a group of her old friends, her beauty was always popular like that, as I continued to talk to Lena about the six years in the past. I tried not to look at her, yet I couldn’t resist. Her gentle smile was slowly killing my heart.

            Sean arrived about a half-hour later, arriving in a white BMW sports car, making quite an entrance. I’ve heard that he had flunked out of college, while still in pre-law, and done nothing else ever since. Sean was never made out for that kind of stuff, he was a football player, and that’s what he should have been. His father died a few years ago, as Sean, the only heir, inherited the whole fortune, made by his father’s car-making empire. But those were rumors, just rumors.

            He came into the school gym, surrounded by girls already, girls whose hearts still belonged to him, and will always be. In just a few minutes, he had once again become the High School idol, a trophy wanted by everybody. I saw him talking to her, as she smiled, maybe reminiscing of the High School days. They were made for each other, they really did, I had always thought so.

            I stood in some corner after talking with Lena, as Sean drank alcohol with his old football buddies, yelling loudly about their victories past. I tried to hide myself from her, I don’t know why, but was unable to escape from that thinking, as the evening went on, and more people arrived.

            Sean seemed drunk now, as he stood up from his seat, and talked something to his buddies. He then slowly walked toward me, swimming through the reunion crowd, a glass of beer barely held by his right hand. He sat down in a table near my location, his sunglasses blocking the colors of his eyes. “Hey, Ron.” He nodded, as he motioned me to sit in the same table with him.

            “Hi, Sean.” I replied, as I accepted his invitation.

            He raised his hand up then, and whistled to a waiter nearby. “Hey! Give me two glasses of beer over here!”

            “No, Sean, that’s okay.” I said, as I sat down opposite his seat. “I’ll be okay, I already have a glass of Coke.”

            “No, you’ve gotta have some beer.” He insisted, his hand still up in the air.

            “No, Sean, I’m really okay…”

            “Have a glass of beer, Ron.”

            “No, Sean, I’m fine with this…”

            He stared at me through his dark glasses, a moment of quiet between us. “Alright.” He said, as he motioned to the waiter again, this time without yelling so much. “I’ll have a glass of beer, and my friend here will have another glass of Coke.”

            We said nothing as the waiter brought us our drinks, and left us as soon as he had come. “You still don’t drink, do ya, Ron?” He asked, as he sipped his foaming beer.

            “I try to avoid bad habits, buddy.” I said, finishing my first glass of pop.

            “You haven’t grown up at all. You’re still like a kid.” He was gulping down his beer now, as if trying to kill an undying thirst inside his throat. “Heard you’re a writer now.”

            “Yeah, never thought I would end up as one. And you?”

            “I’m basically on an eternal vacation.” He said, as he finished up his beer. “Screwing around, doing nothing more but waste my life.”

            “Want me to order some more beer for ya?” I asked, not knowing how else to answer his life.

            He paused a while, as he looked at me. “Nah, give me some Coke too, little buddy.” He responded, a smile on his face.

            I did what he said, and we sat there silently, each sipping our own drinks. “Why do you stare at the skies with your blurry eyes.” He said after a while, smiling as he took off his sunglasses. His eyes looked old now, lost the youthness that it has once held. “That’s beautiful, man.”

            “Huh?” I replied, surprised at what he had just said.

            “I read your novels yesterday, Ron.” He said, looking at me. “I liked them very much.”

            “Thanks, Sean, you don’t know how much that means to me.”

            He paused quietly again, as he looked out toward the crowds, people once known and unknown. “Do you know why we never saw each other in the past six years, considering how small this town was?”

            “Well, we did go to separate colleges…”

            “Because I was avoiding you all this time.” He interrupted, eyes still out on to the crowd.

            I felt surprised, yet calm at the same time. “But… Why?”

            “I envied you.” He said, features unchanged.

            “But why? I mean, you’re rich, you’ve got all the girls, you have everything that a guy would want…”

            “But you had the one thing that I ever wanted, Ron.”

            I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to think. He looked at me and saw my surprised look, and that somehow brought up a smile on his face. “You still don’t get it, do ya?” He laughed, as he stood up to go. “You really are still like a kid, Ron.”

            I felt like I had something else to say to him, as my eyes followed him on his way out. “Hey, Sean!” I yelled at him, just before he reached the exit of the gym. He looked back at me, his eyes still too old for me to believe. “See ya later, moron.”

            He smiled as he heard this, a smile belonging to an age from long ago. “See ya later,

asshole.” He responded, as he waved good-bye, and went out of my life. That was the last time that I would see him alive. If I had known that, I would have said much more to him.

            Snow felled as the reunion ended. I heard someone yell at me as I got outside, admiring the snow’s gentle dance. It was her, a smile on her face, as she waved at me to go near her. “I’m going to a bar with some friends. Wanna come with us?”

            “Nah, I can’t. I have to get up early in the morning.” I lied, fake smiling my way through. I knew being with her would only wound my heart more, so I didn’t.

            “Alright, Ron.” She seemed disappointed, must have been a mirage from my mind. “I’ll see ya later.”

            “Yeah, later.” I replied, as I waved her good-bye.

            Something caught my eyes then, as she turned to leave with her friends, something that reminded me of the spring skies near the Putama River, those blue skies that I used to share with her. She was wearing a celestial blue scarf, one that had white puffs sneaking their way onto it. I said nothing, as I stared at her going away, her image disappearing with the snow’s dance, dimmer and dimmer as each second passed.

            I had given up on her long ago, I thought as I made my way to the train station, the snowflakes still falling from the skies. She doesn’t know my true feelings for her, I wanted to say, as I walked between rows of seats, counting the numbers that were pasted on the seat’s armrest. I didn’t know why I was counting them all, just to keep her off my mind, I guess. 1A, 3A, 5A, 7A… The seat that was written on my ticket was 21W, a seat that came too fast after 19A.

            So, is everybody this lonely when they’re in love? I thought as I sat down on my seat, watching out at the falling of the skies, embracing a pain that is deeper than the shadows.




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