Jeff and Dayne and I have been hanging out for the last couple of hours here. We came here to talk about the camping trip the gang’s going to take this weekend, but as usual, Jeff talks about his newest girlfriend, Tamika, and Dayne’s plotting the next big party we’ll be having, and I’m thinking about college. It’s not like we normally come over to the café to meet up, but when I suggested it, they came. I guess it’s because we’re always being rowdy, and coming to this quaint little vintage spot is a nice change. The various knickknacks, the heavy wooden tables—they inspire me. It sounds silly, but with the smell of brewing coffee and toasting bagels heavy in the air, I have this sudden odd feeling to write something, anything. But it doesn’t make sense, and I don’t know what to do with it.
Now Chloe, she’d be able to make sense of it. I think she’s inspired, too. She’s sitting a couple tables down, drawing in a sketchpad of hers. I see her glancing around the room occasionally, her eyes flitting in my direction once or twice. Maybe it’s my imagination. Yeah. It’s got to be that. Chloe’s really smart and really pretty in that casual, natural way. We were in English class junior year, and then AP Government this year. Whenever Mr. Sanders would give us an assignment or essay on some poem or story we’d read, Chloe would pass with flying colors. She’d be able to make sense of Wordsworth or Elliot or whoever, while I stared at the words that might as well have been Sanskrit for all I knew.
There was this one time we had to write a poem after going through the 20th century poets, and Chloe wrote some contradictory thing that was . . . really captivating. I mean, it had something to do with loud silences and serene chaos. You know, paradoxes. But she made sense. She made me feel.
But I’m me, and she’s her. She could definitely make a good literary snob, without the coffee part. My type . . . my type’s the loud, rambunctious sort, the one that parties on the weekend and goes through girls faster than underwear. Except I’m not always like that, nor is it exactly my aspiration to live up to that stereotype. I just sort of go along with my friends. But that’s an excuse.
I sneak occasional glances at Chloe, who’s still sketching. She’s not like a lot of the other girls, with lots of makeup and tank tops and miniskirts. She’s wearing a T-shirt that says “You caught me at a bad time: I’m awake” with jeans, and her frizzy red hair’s been hastily pulled back into a sloppy ponytail, like she doesn’t care what people think. I think that’s good.
She closes up her sketchpad and stores it away, then stares into empty space. I avert my gaze and focus on Jeff and Dayne. They’re now talking about the music concert we’re going to tonight. I join in again, also excited to see my favorite band live.
Then Chloe passes by. I don’t look at her. I’m calm and cool, but she makes me flustered. It’s like that One Direction song, where the singer says that the girl he likes is his kryptonite. That would be her. But knowing her, she thinks of me as the superficial all-American jock, and to be honest, she’s not completely wrong. I guess it’s just too bad that someone like her wouldn’t even dream of giving someone like me the time of day.
But that’s life.
Less than three,