Periphery

PShe was forgettable in a handy way. Quiet, she wore unremarkable clothing in analogous colors. Neutral hair of medium length, neutral skin, no beauty marks or tattoos. Her posture wasn’t open or closed, just demure, accepting. Her eyes were on the path or whatever was just below another person’s clear view of her face.

She was the new kid in high school—a sophomore—in a town of fewer than 500 people. The males were sharks, circling for a couple of weeks before deciding she wasn’t much of a thang. The females seemed not to notice her.

Heaven, though, don’t let her smile. I mean, she had a closed-lip smile that failed to reach open eyes and left her head in the down-nod position. In that sense, she smiled constantly.

The first snowy day of school, everyone took off their shoes at the wide entry hall. What a picture that made! She followed the lead of the more experienced and added her shoes. By this time, the hallway to the classrooms was a riot of bodies run-sliding in their socks. More hilarity than injury.

She picked up her backpack and stepped away from the door onto the heated floor. Her chin lifted to share surprised green eyes, and her smile bloomed. Transformed, transfixed, she hadn’t even noticed I was watching. I was always watching, curious.

Her toes wriggled inside her socks. The building was heated from below. Her brightness spontaneously spilled at random times during that first snow day.

As much as she wished, she couldn’t return fully to the periphery of attention. What is seen cannot be unseen, much to my delight.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Author’s note: This is my fourth attempt at the letter P for the April A to Z writing prompt. Certainly not because I was displeased with the writing of the first three; however, each of the three became too intense to post.

 

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