Leo is a college student. Leo falls for a mysterious girl who seems to be hiding a secret.
By: Halo Ditchivite IV
"A fairly bright boy is far more intelligent and far better company than the average adult."
-Haldane, John B. S.
“Maybe someday we will be able to travel to mars or even better- another solar system!” laughed Jon.
What I sincerely wondered was why haven’t we? The technology these days is incomparably advanced. Jon rolls his ballpoint pen across his theories paper. “Well, if we ever want to get the hell out of here anytime soon, we better get going.”
I looked about the Davenport Public Library and to my surprise; it was fairly bustling for a Monday afternoon. “Alright,” I said in quick agreement.
Jon and I had been studying together all day and time just slipped through my fingers. Four hours passes by quickly when you’re studying for a theories exam. I got into my car, enthusiastic for food. As Jon buckled his seatbelt, I offered him dinner.
I pulled out onto Main Street while listening to Jon’s theories on outer space. As Jon babbled on, I got lost in my own thoughts. All I could think about was this girl I met only a few days earlier. I was sitting at a café drinking my coffee, studying, and, ultimately, minding my own business when I saw this girl walk by.
She sat at the table across from me. Trying not to stare, I studied her. Her short moist blonde hair perfectly parted sat even to her shoulders. Her face was angelic with mist blue eyes. Her skin was pale and delicate. Her lips, perfectly centered to her face, were pink and curved at the corners.
She sipped on a small coffee and glanced up at me. Our eyes met, my green to her blue. She clamped her sweater against her forehead and looked up again. She smiled. Not for very long but lucid enough to tell, it meant something. Two cups of coffee later, I found myself going to her empty table. She had left her cup there, half full of milky coffee. A napkin under the cup revealed a note:
"Hello mysterious pretender.
I saw your ghastly eyes wondering.
Only call when you know the right words.
First impressions are everything.
Mary. (design used by microsoft wingdings)"
I was surprised but anxious all at the same time. I picked up the napkin and stuffed it in my back pocket. Her name was Mary. She was so beautiful. “Hello! Earth to Leo!” shouted Jon.
“What!?” I almost shouted, coming back to reality.
“What do you think about the solar”
“I don’t know, Jon! I don’t care,” I said too callously.
“Jeesh. Just trying to have an intellectual conversation here.”
I don’t try to be rude, but as Leo and as a Leo, it happens more than I can control. My real name is Leonardo. Some name, right? I lived in Chicago all my life until I moved out to Davenport, Iowa to go to school. I attend Kaplan University. I met my friend Jon in school and we started rooming together ever since I met him. So, most of the time it’s just Jon and I.
Jon is a heavier set guy. He just turned nineteen and he is quite the geek. Jon makes me laugh, though. He has a good heart and anybody who doesn’t see that is just stupid. I, on the other hand, am your typical attractive twenty-year-old communications student.
“Jon, have you ever had a girlfriend of any sort?” I asked Jon at our Pizza Hut dinner.
“Well. Yes,” laughed Jon snidely.
“Really now,” I chuckled, “Third grade doesn’t count.”
“No! It wasn’t third grade. It was two summers ago. I was young and in love. Her name was Theresa and she was in my advanced chemistry class.”
“Awe,” I said politely, “What happened?”
“I broke it off after two weeks because she tried to seduce me.”
“Now, Leo, you know I respect my virgin status.”
“Ha. You need to get laid Jon. Join the rest of us.”
Jon took a big bite out of his pizza then sucked down his glass of Dr. Pepper. I looked down at my third piece. Ugh. I couldn’t eat it. I must have the smallest damn stomach in all of Davenport. When I look back at Jon, he’s going in on his sixth piece. “Is it alright if I eat the last piece? Please. Please!” Jon begged.
“Go for it tiger.”
There’s a moment of silence while I watch Jon eat the last slice of pizza. As soon as he finishes, I dive right back into our conversation. “So, what would you say if I had a girlfriend?”
“Ew. Why? Do you have one?”
“Greaaat,” said Jon looking down at his empty plate.
“Why is that great? You don’t want me to be happy?”
“Leo, if you had a girlfriend that means we would never get to spend time together. You’d always be all up in her. No pun intended.”
“But we live together.”
“No. I mean spend time like this. What we are doing now.”
“Well, Jon”, I sighed, “Mr. Jealous, I don’t have a girlfriend. I met this girl at a cafe. Well, we didn’t even meet. We just saw each other across the room and we clicked.”
I handed Jon the napkin that now was in my theories notebook. Jon carefully examined it then handed the napkin back. “Don’t do it, Leo. Girls are trouble. Listen to how cocky she is in the note. ‘Only call when you know the right words.’ It’s bullshit.”
“No, it’s hot. And it makes me want to think of the right words. What should I say?” I said thinking out loud.
“You’re a nasty girl who I shouldn’t ever date”, said Jon with a huff.
I laughed it off and dropped the subject. Evidently, asking Jon for advice wasn’t the best idea. “Let’s go home. I’m stuffed.”
Later that night I sat in my room, shaking, holding the phone in my hand. By this point I had memorized the number. 578-8990. I would carefully dial each digit until I had to dial the 0. Then I put my phone down and refused to dial anymore. Then I’d repeat the cycle. By the 20th or so time, I let the ringing drown into my ear. A girl’s voice came in through the other end. “Hello?”
This must be Mary.
“Can I speak to Mary?” I said softly.
“This is her,” she made a soft reply.
“Hello Mary. I need to ask of you a favor.”
“I don’t know who this is,” says the voice so delicate, it massages my ears.
“This is a friend. Leo. A virtue of lives and lion to all,” I said using my improvisational skills.
“How long did it take you to think that one up?” the delicate voice suddenly growled with fury.
“Uh. Ha ha…” was all that spattered out.
“You’re not as clever as I thought you’d be, staring man,” suddenly the once delicate voice hung up.
I threw my phone across the room. I never liked being humiliated. My vision blurred with organic sob tears. “DAMN IT!!!!” I screamed.
My bedroom door flipped open. “What’s going on?” asked Jon half asleep.
“Nothing. I’m sorry I woke you,” I mumbled in between quiet sobs.
“You better get to sleep. Exam’s tomorrow,” Jon started to leave, “Wait. Are you crying?”
“No. Go To Bed,” I said demandingly.
Jon obeyed the intensity of my voice. The door shut again back into darkness. I’m so stupid. I completely blew it.
I woke up late. Didn’t comb my hair. Blew the exam. And yelled at Jon. To let the anger out, I decided to drive. I got into my beat up old Grand Am and hit the road. I blasted the radio and got lost in the music. I decided to drive to this old abandoned park and write or draw. I used to go to this park that lied on the outskirts of the city all of the time a year ago. Now, I’m too busy.
As I followed the thin path down, I noticed another car parked right by the park. Shit, I thought, there’s no way I can turn this car back around now. I stopped the car further away from the park and snuck down to hide behind the trees. There on the bench sat Mary of all people. She basked in the sunlight and her sun hat shadowed her pale face perfectly. It seemed as if she was looking straight into me.
I snuck behind another tree to catch a better glimpse of Mary. When I looked up, however, Mary was gone. “What are you doing here?” Mary stood behind me.
I was dumbfounded at Mary’s speed. “Wow. That was fast.”
“Alright. Why are you here, staring man? Are you following me?” Mary’s voice seemed to grow intense.
“No. I used to come here all the time. It’s like meditation for me,” I pleaded honestly.
“Then why were you watching me?”
“I noticed someone here so I was watching to see who it was.”
Mary stared at me with disgust. “ So, you got my letter apparently.”
“Yes,” I stepped closer to Mary, real close.
“First impressions are everything. Beauty is not. While you may be beautiful, you can’t be the one for me,” boasted Mary confidently.
“Who said I want to be the one for you? You wrote the note, I only read it,” my eyes linked into hers.
“Indeed I did. It was your smile. And your eyes. And your face. Oh, stop it Mary,” Mary scolded at herself as she turned away from me.
“Do not be ashamed. You’re quite attractive yourself. It’s funny you said you noticed those things about me because I noticed the same things about you.”
“Alright. What do you want?” she pulled herself back towards me.
“A cup of coffee. Is that too much of your time?” I was trying not to beg but begging is what it was.
“ I guess I can fit it in somewhere in my oh so hectic schedule. Tomorrow at ten thirty?” Mary smiled for the first time since I first laid eyes on her.
“I’ll pick you up.”
Mary gave me her address and walked off into the first snow of the winter. She drove away and, suddenly, my shitty day turned out to be not so bad. I drove home whistling and walked into my apartment humming. “What are you so happy about?” asked Jon at my love sickness.
“That girl, Mary. I’m going on a date with her tomorrow morning!”
“Wow. Exciting. So, you basically gave up on the exam, chewed me out because I care too much, and disappear for hours with some girl. Awesome!” Jon stormed out of the room without giving me a fighting chance.
“I ran into her. I wasn’t with her all night, Jon,” I shouted into his room.
“I don’t care,” Jon shouted back.
I turned on the T.V. in the living room to see what was on. I was anxious to see about snow for the next week so I changed the channel to news. Suddenly, I saw an anchor reporting live from the abandoned park I was at just hours earlier. A giant piece of metal crashed there. On the metal there’s an unknown language revealed carved into the metal:
"(design used by microsoft wingdings)"
I quickly drew the carving on a notepad while I saw it on T.V. The crash struck me as very odd because the metal crashed only a few hours after I had left. I studied my carving sketch and something caught my eye. It was the h design. It looked very familiar to me. Then it hit me. It was the same design on Mary’s note she gave me.
“Well, hello Mary,” I said as she got into my car.
“Hi,” Mary said vaguely.
We sat in silence for what seemed like forever. I watched her out of my peripheral vision. She sat motionless. Not even a blink of an eye or a twitch of a leg. She seemed so focused. Nothing could distract her. If I ever wanted this girl to like me, I would have to impress her. “So, do you go to school?” I asked carefully.
“Yes. I’m attending Kaplan University.”
“Oh! Really? I also go there. I’ve never seen you around. How old are you?”
“Nineteen,” Mary turned her head to face the window, “So, staring man, why are you so determined?”
“My name’s Leo,” I said too abruptly.
“Right! Staring man. Answer my question.”
“I’m not determined. I like you. I don’t know why but in all honesty, I like you.”
“Ah. I like you too,” Mary smiled into the window’s reflection, but only briefly.
At the café Mary ordered a small coffee. I got a coffee too. Mary liked a lot of milk whereas I liked a lot of sugar. We sipped in silence at first but it was Mary who broke the ice this time. “Tell me about yourself.”
I gathered my thoughts as quickly as I could, “ I’m twenty. I am a communications major. I lived in Chicago all my life. I moved here a year and a half ago for school. I’m a waiter at the restaurant up the road. I wait on weekends to keep up the bills.”
“Hmm,” Mary paused and drank her coffee, “I am adopted. My life seems as if it’s a blur. I was a straight A student all the way into college. I live by my self in my apartment and I work at a department store.”
“Wow. Interesting,” was all I could get out.
“Yes, staring man, it’s been a delightful life,” Mary lifted her cup almost toast like, “This cup weighs exactly 6.3 ounces. That’s without the coffee. With the coffee, it weighs 6.9 ounces.”
“Wow! How’d you know that, Mary?” I said shocked by her random tidbit of information.
“It’s all in the genes, staring man. If you were as smart as me, you would understand the mass of all things this wretched planet holds.”
“You should talk to my friend, Jon. He’s a major geek and he likes talking about this kind of stuff.”
“But you don’t? It’s a test of knowledge, life is. You must consider all weight in correspondence to gravity. On another planet this cup could way a couple of pounds or a couple of grams.”
“You are right. I didn’t realize you were so smart,” now I was practically leaning on every word Mary would mutter out.
“Sometimes I get lost in my thoughts. Sometimes it’s dangerous. I’ve never been in love before but you, staring man… you do something to me.”
“I feel the same way, Mary. Can I take you to dinner tonight?”
Mary sat her cup down and looked at me with her eyes. Her whole face just glowed. I had never met a girl more beautiful than this Mary. Her crystal eyes fluttered with relief. She pressed her lips together and looked down at the coffee in her cup. Mary wore a long sweater jacket and a dress. Her dress was blue and simple. She would reach down and tug on her dress every so often. The only sign of any habit she had. Mary then looked back up to me and started laughing. Her beautiful mouth opened just enough to see her heart warming smile. “Let’s go to dinner! I have no other plans.”
We left the café laughing about irrelevant science that Mary thought amusing. I drove her home and rushed back to my apartment to shower and start getting ready for the night.
As I walked into my apartment Jon was standing close to the doorway. “What did you do today?” asked Jon suspiciously.
“Mary and I went out for some coffee,” I said honestly.
“Hmm. Well you do know that it’s poker night, right?”
“Oh no. I completely forgot, Jon. Forgive me but I already have plans,” I said trying to rush into my room.
Jon followed, “Where? With who? We have had these plans since semester started!”
“Sorry Jon. Mary and I have a date,” I said glowing.
“Oh, cute. So, this is whom it’s about. It’s that bitch, Mary. “
“Hey! Watch your mouth,” I said defensively.
“That’s what she is. Whatever! Don’t come crying to me when she breaks your precious little fucking heart!” Jon slammed my door and I heard cursing on the other side.