A short story of gradual love and art class
Walking into school, Alexandria felt a grimace creep across her face. She really hated the place, as well as most of the people there. She sulked to her locker and struggled with the old lock until it finally clicked open. Grabbing all the stuff she needed, she slammed the door as quietly as she could, knowing she would get in trouble if a teacher caught her doing that. That morning had not been very fun, considering her mother had punished her for who knows what and her chastisement? Yard work. All weekend. While she had planned to hang out with her friend, Grace, but those plans had been canceled. Nonetheless, it was Friday, which meant she would get a break from school for at least a couple days.
She sulked into homeroom, not surprised she was there before Grace, who always turned up late. Sitting in her usual seat in the back of the class, she decided she would pass the time by finishing the drawing she had been working on the night before. After about about three minutes of adding finishing touches and polishing the work a bit, she felt the presence of someone nearby that snapped her out of her daze. Looking up, she saw it was only Griffon, another one of the boys in her class she hardly ever talked to. His short brownish hair was as messed up as ever and he was about Alexandria's height, but did not currently appear so since her was bent over her desk looking at her paper. "Can I help you" Alexandria spoke up, feeling a slight tinge of regret for the unintended bite in her tone. Taking his eyes off of her drawing, he looked up and looked her directly in her green eyes with his blue before grinning ans saying," Just looking at your work. It's very good actually." Alexandria saw he was trying to be nice but she really was not in the mood to socialize. She simply nodded thanks and returned to her drawing, keeping an eye on Griffon out of the corner of her eye. After a couple of more seconds of staring at her paper, he finally turned and headed back to the front, where he sat. Alexandria glanced up again to see him go, wondering what had overcome him to come talk to her, since no one else really ever bothered most of the time. Hearing a breath to her right, she spun to see Grace, sitting with a huge grin spread across her face. Grace had always thought her and Griffon would be cute together and now that something happened, she could not help but smile.
As I walk back to my seat after my previous encounter with Alexandria, my heartbeat finally begins to slow to a normal pace and rethinking the event in my head, I feel it begin to beat fast again. She had actually acknowledged him. What made him so happy about that was that for a least one second, he crossed her mind, and that made him very happy to think about. He felt like she was way to good for him though, having the looks she does. Besides, had they even had a full conversation? No. Yet, every word she had ever said to him has remained glued to his mind. Like the time she had told him to move so she could get to her class. Griffon had felt very embarrassed after that experience though, because he had been distracted staring at her. Before he could once again feel remorse for that day, the bell rung and he left the room to get to his next class.
Alexandria rushed up to art, very late. Grace had been talking her ear off about Griffon and her would be cute together until the whole hallway was cleared except for Grace and her. She was lucky enough to sneak in without anyone seeing her and was just in time to hear their assignment. The assignment was, once again, to draw a randomly selected peer and this time, they were to concentrate more on shade instead of shape, as they had focused more on shape last time. Her last partner had been Grace, so it wasn't to bad. This time he seemed to be doing it boy-girl, seeing the last five pairs he had picked followed those guidelines. "Andrew to Kate, Troy to Brianna, Alexandria to Griffon,..." Alexandria was brought out of her daze when she heard her name and realized who she was partnered with, Griffon. Its not that she did not like him, it was they they never really talked and, well, she wasn't good with making friends. Griffon was already seated and when she made eye contact with him, he motioned her over to the seat across from him. She reluctantly walked over and sat, trying her best to put on a smile and at least not make him uncomfortable. Alexandria was a bit intimidated though, for Griffon was an artist as well, and a great one at that. Probably one of the best in the class. Looking around, she saw that everyone else had already started working and Griffon sat across from her patiently staring with a slight smirk, "So, we gonna start?" Alexandria nodded and moved to grab the needed pencils and paper, flustered that she had been spaced out like that. Almost instantly, Griffon jumped up, "No, wait, I got it" Before Aileen had a chance to respond, Griffon had nearly tripped over the chairs on the way to the table with disheveled stacks of paper and cups of pencils. Grabbing one for himself and Alexandria and heading back to the table with an odd type of triumph on his face. He sat down again and put the paper and pencil on Alexandria's side of the table. She smiled and answered in an attempt to hide her suspicion, "Um, thanks Griffon" He grinned back and went to sketching the basic outline of her face. Hm, he really is acting strange...even for him... Alexandria thought. Griffon had always been a bit of the class clown, falsely fainting from his seat, giving absurd answers to questions, stuff like that. Stuff that he always gets in trouble for. Yet, ever since this morning, he had been acting very strange towards her in particular. Perhaps it was something in his eyes or tone of voice but Alexandria felt a suspicion growing in her chest;did he like her?
He found it almost impossible to make any progress in his drawing, the way his hands were shaking at the time. Why did he have to get like this every time she was around? She wasn't anything special really, just another head in the crowd. At least, that's what he tried to remind himself so he could draw in a straight line. He looked up occasionally to study her face for his drawing. Despite his attempts to remain calm, his attempts remained pointless. A couple times, he would glance across the table to her and had made eye contact with her. He always felt his cheeks heat and to cover it up, he would look back down, always realizing that it made it ever more obvious. But,as he traced the gentle curve of her beak like nose and the waves of her long, ebony hair, he felt himself fall for her more and more.
Yep, she was almost certain. He liked her . Why else would he not be able to make eye contact with her without getting nervous. But one question still remained without an answer; did she like him? To be honest, they had never had a full conversation before and she did not know very much about him, he was new this year. But then again, he was probably the most unconceited of the boys of her class and they did share some hobbies, as she could tell from the way he drew, like a professional. Maybe...A voice brought her out of her thoughts. Griffon's voice to be exact. Focusing back to the real world, she saw a look of concern painted on Griffon's face."You alright?" Alexandria hadn't realized, but she had been staring off into space right about Griffon's head. She nodded quickly and looked down, flustered and embarrassed. "yeah," she muttered under her breath, "I'm perfectly fine."
Was she staring at him? Why would she do that? That's a sign of fondness isn't it? Griffon almost laughed out loud at how desperate his thoughts sounded. She obviously was not looking at him. Even if she was looking at him, it would only be for the art project. He really needed to stop with this. He had told himself that he would try and get closer to her, to perhaps be friends but he knew that it was not working. In fact, now that he looked back at his recent actions, he realized how obvious he was about his feelings for her. He needed to slow down and stop acting so desperate. That's no way to make friends. Why is this so hard for him anyways? He had plenty of friends, both boy and girl. Despite his racing thoughts, he saw that it was already to late to take anything back. So why not make a move? He would just have to figure out a casual way to...
She rushed out of art, trying not to make eye contact as it may show the furious red spread across her cheeks. She could not believe he had said that. She ran down the stairs back to her backpack in front of her locker and onto her next class, the one with Grace. Would she tell her? Probably. She had to get it out in some way. She went to her typical seat in the back of the room and Grace sat in front of her. They had a couple extra minutes before class to chat so Alexandria erupted.
"Grace!" she whispered furiously, tapping her shoulder. She spun around to see what she was freaking out about and annoyance written all over her face.
"what?" Grace whispered back, not taking care to hide the anger in her voice. She hated being bothered when she was in the middle of reading.
"Griffon asked me to..."
before she could finish, Grace lost all of her anger and was refilled with glee and anticipation, "go out on a date?" she whisper-screamed.
"Then what did happen?"
"Well, for our art pieces, we have to draw one another. He was my partner. But neither of us got to finishing our art, so since its almost the end of the marking period, our art teacher wanted it done by Monday. He said we could finish it on Monday in class if we felt we had enough time, or we could work together over the weekend. I was thinking that we could text but Griffon had different ideas. At the last minute of class, he asked me if I wanted to meet with him on Saturday."
"And?" Grace could not keep a straight face, with a smile spreading cheek to cheek
"Well, I said yes. He just seemed so confident and something came over me..."
Grace squealed. "Oh my God, that's great."
"not really, I'm supposed to be cleaning all weekend and my mom would never let me hang out with some boy from school without her there."
"oh, then I guess you guys will have to do it Monday."
Alexandria nodded yet did not completely agree. She had made a commitment and she could not get the image of his beyond enthusiastic face when she had agreed to go. Besides, Alexandria knew it took a lot of confidence to do something like that. Plus, she had his number. She thought perhaps she could just text him and maybe they could meet at night or early in the morning? Yeah, she could run into the bathroom before she is picked up at dismissal and text him to meet in the park outside her neighborhood (he had moved in a few houses down so it wasn't too far) at night (she didn't really sleep much at night anyways, and she was not a morning person). And that is exactly what she did. when she text him, he responded almost immediately that it was perfect. It was settled. They would meet Saturday night at the park. Alexandria quickly deleted and blocked the number, knowing as soon as she got in the car, her mother would take her phone. She did not want to be interrogated over a text, especially one from some guy in her class.
Griffon rushed out to the dismissal assembly, making himself aloof from the impatient teenagers awaiting their parents to pick them up from what they called "prison". Why did he make himself distant from the others? He was close friends with most of them. The reason was that they would most likely tease him about the expression on his face. He knew that if they saw the huge grin on his face and the blood red on his cheeks, they would not give up questioning him about why he was so happy, and it was most likely they would guess it was a girl. He was also away from the herd to do some thinking to himself. He had so many thoughts running wild in his head that he needed to get back under control. What if she had just done it out of pity? What if she didn't really like him as much as he liked her? What if she doesn't even show up and makes a joke out of him? Those thoughts were some among the many that ran in his head that brought him down from Cloud 9. After awhile, he just shook it off and decided not to think of it. Whatever happens, happens and at least he tried. Nevertheless, the grin remained faintly on his face for the rest of the day, anxiously anticipating the next night.
Saturday night. Everyone was asleep. Everyone but Alexandria, who sat in her bed, patiently waiting to hear nothing at all, nothing but utter silence. After about ten minutes, she was absolutely sure that no one was awake and she slid out of bed into her running shoes. She was already dressed to go meet him and had her bag packed with her art supplies and her not so finished drawing of Griffon. She was wearing a light grey hoodie and black jeans that were a bit to big on her, but that was alright. As silently as she could, she went to her window and unlocked the hatches. There was a sharp creak and Alexandria squeezed her eyes shut, hoping that she did not wake anyone. There was silence. Carefully, she resumed in opening the window as slowly as she could to avoid any noises. When the window was finally wide enough for her body to slide through, she did one last check to make sure there was no other noises in the house and jumped out the window. She landed in a bed of leaves she had established earlier when she was doing yard work. She stood up, shook the leaves off, and broke off into a sprint, accelerating with every step. Running at this time of night gave her a odd type of energy that she could not quite comprehend. It was in about five minutes that she could see the park in the near distance and slowed down her pace a bit so she wouldn't be panting when she got there. It was then that a cascade of thoughts hit her like a boulder. Wasn't this to big of a risk to take for some guy at her school that was working on an art project with her? Maybe she should just turn around and forget the whole thing? Why'd she even agree to come out here in the first place? Maybe she should have taken the risk and asked her mom if they could have worked together. Then, maybe she wouldn't have this gnawing feeling of guilt and wrong-doing almost everywhere in her body. Despite the troubling and self-doubting thoughts swirling in her brain, she kept going on, refusing to succumb to the thoughts and turn around. She had made a commitment. She imagined Griffon's face when he realized that she wasn't coming, that it had all been a lie. By then, she had made it to the park gates. She hadn't realized that the park closed during the night but Griffon was there. He sat with his back against the gates and his gaze lifted towards the constellations of stars above him. Alexandria sat beside him and realized that he was singing a song. A soft, silent song. Without moving his gaze he simply stated, "Isn't it strange that though it seems as though you can reach out and touch the stars above, that they are actually thousand of light years away? It's kinda funny actually, that it applies to people as well. Close but in reality, distant." He broke his gaze to the night sky to turn his head to her, his blue eyes glowing in the lights from above. He broke the seriousness with a goofy grin, crinkling his nose and shutting his eyes. Alexandria answered with a wide grin back, receiving a small chuckle from Griffon. She was there, no turning back now.
She had actually come. Griffon had to keep from pinching himself to test if he was dreaming. He had worked himself very low, saying that she wouldn't come, so it wouldn't be too big of a disappointment when she didn't show up. But now she was here and he didn't know what to do. Almost out of instinct, he jumped up and reached out his hand to her, offering to help her up. "C'mon, I know a great place for us to draw, it's better than the ground at least." Griffon smiled slightly but it faded when Alexandria just looked to the ground and rubbed her arm. Griffon's hand fell and he went on walking, going slowly so she could catch up if she decided to come. Almost as soon as he turned his back, he heard footsteps approaching from behind and he smirked. She came from his right and slowed to a walk at his side. They walked silently for a while until Griffon could no longer bear it. "So, how is your sketch coming along, Alex?" Alexandria seemed taken slightly off guard and faltered in her walking pattern,"Alex?"
"Yeah, why not?"
"Uh, no one really calls me that..."
"Really? Because Alexandria is a bit of a mouthful isn't it?"
"Well people used to but,"
"Yeah, my dad used to, before he, uh, left..."
Alexandria got a little coughed up here and stopped talking, her posture noticeably more slouched and her hand stuffed deep into her pockets.
Griffon felt immediate remorse, "I am so sorry, I just didn't know..."
Alexandria looked up with tears forming in the corners of her eyes and smiled slightly, "It's okay, it's not your fault."
Griffon, seeing the look of pure depression on her face, instinctively wrapped his arms around her in a embrace. Alexandria stopped and seemed frozen, not making a move. Griffon immediately realized he had made a mistake by the rigidness of her smaller form and let go and backed up. Alexandria still stood frozen, looking up to him. Griffon grinned again and kept walking, trying to dismiss the awkwardness he had just created between them. God, he was such a failure.
A hug? He had actually felt so sorry for her that he had given her a hug? She hadn't been hugged over that for awhile. People usually felt so sorry for her and awkward that they would just apologize for it over and over when in reality, it was not there fault and they couldn't have done anything about it to make it better or have stopped it. But a hug was something. To her, it meant that they wanted to help, to perhaps squeeze the broken pieces back together. So why didn't she show that she was grateful for his efforts? Perhaps it was because she had never been hugged by someone her age of the opposite gender. When she saw him walking away, she knew she had made a mistake not moving and chased after him. She was going to hug him back but was not sure what would result in that, so she simply answered his original question, showing him her drawing. "Here, I only really need to work on the nose and hair but otherwise, I guess it's okay."
Griffon gasped in surprise at her work. "It's great but, is my nose really that big?" he replied, clearing up the previously set tension between them.
"Well, maybe a little smaller, but not much"
Griffon laughed and bumped her shoulder with his, "Wanna see mine?"
She nodded her head vigorously and he grinned and reached back to pull it out of his backpack. Handing it over to Alexandria, he saw her eyes light up and a weak smile appear on her face. "That's not me."
Griffon's smile faded immediately. Of course it was her. It was one of the best sketches he had of a person. Obviously she didn't see what he did. He saw a immaculately freckled face and skinny nose. He saw a soft pair of eyes and long, wavy brown hair. He saw perfection, but all she saw was flaws. It hurt him that she did not see herself the way he saw her. "Of course it is." He responded, nothing but seriousness in his tone. Alexandria seemed a bit stunned by the sudden change in tone but laughed slightly nonetheless. Before she could answer, they made it to where Griffon had been leading them. It was in front of the closed frozen yogurt shop that was adjacent from the main road. It had its chairs and tables nailed into the ground so no one were the steal them. Though the tables and chairs were a bit rusted, it really was the perfect place to get this done. They both walked over to sit at the creaky chairs and started to draw. It was almost exactly like art class, except without the other slightly obnoxious kids in the class. They both finished very quickly and they rose to go back to their homes. "Well, see ya soon" Alexandria waved over her shoulder as she turned towards the direction of her home. Griffon ran to her and caught her shoulder. "Wait! It's dangerous to walk alone this time of night. Let me take you" Alexandria simply nodded and they walked together in silence most of the way back.
They walked in silence for some time until Griffon did something totally unexpected. He reached out and took her hand. Blood stopping in her veins and her heart in her lungs, Alexandria looked over to Griffon. He smiled shyly and spoke softly "You know, I have had a lot of fun with you tonight." Alexandria smiled back and nodded. Turning to her, he smiled back. Alexandria felt frozen, she knew what would happen next. He slowly moved closer and closer until their lips met. Alexandria's heart went from her throat to her feet and she was frozen. She wanted to pull back but remained frozen in place. He pulled away almost as quickly as it had happened and the disappointment and embarrassment written in bold all over his face. "I-I am so sorry..." Alexandria wasn't there to hear the rest. She backed away from him and took off into a sprint back home, tears forming in her eyes from the realization of what she had done. "ALEXANDRIA!" He called out from behind her, obviously not caring who heard. He called out a few more times until his voice broke and he went silent. Alexandria ran all the way home, tears streaming down her face the entire time. She practically leapt through her open window to her bedroom and slipped off her shoes and went to bed, tears still present on her face.
Monday morning, school again. She dragged herself out of bed and went through her usual routines, getting dressed, making breakfast and lunch, opening her window for her cat to go out. Only, this time, there was something on the window. She took it off and looked at it, extremely confused as to what it may be. It was the drawing of her. Griffon's drawing. It had two sticky notes attached to it in with scratchy handwriting over them that said:
"Alexandria, I once again want to apologize for Saturday night's events. I also want to apologize for any trouble it might have put you through. I had meant to tell you that on Friday, my parents announced that we would be moving to Washington by Monday morning. It was for my dad's job and they got a great deal on the house. So I guess this is good bye. I bid you good luck on your art project and I give you my own to do whatever you want with, turn in, keep, throw out, your choice. It is to painful to look at anymore. Anyways, I wish you a good year at school and that you will stay safe."
Alexandria felt tears start to well up in her eyes once again. The rest of the week, she could not seem to shoo away the storm cloud that loomed over her head. She knew that she would most likely never see him again. Yet, over time, the storm cloud slowly subsided to nothingness, to a point where Griffon was only a memory stored in the depths of her mind. Besides, everything in life comes to an end, doesn't it?