My hand shot up to my mouth to cover a gigantic, lung-stretching yawn. My eyes watered as I shook my head slightly, trying to focus my attention on the thick accent of the professor. His back was to the class as his chalk scratched rapid-fire on the blackboard.
“In order to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’,” he explained carefully, “you first need to get to point ‘C’.” White, dusty dots spread across the board. Point by point he tried to convince my tired brain that motion was impossible.
I glanced across the aisle at my best buddy, Hannah, and rolled my eyes. It was far too early on a Monday morning to deal with philosophy.
Before Dr. K. turned from the board, Hannah tossed a tiny piece of folded up paper onto my desk. My eyes shot up to the front innocently as Prof turned from the board to face his sleepy class. My hand cupped over the paper on my textbook.
“Turn to page 151, and we’ll read what this author has to say about the impossibility of motion.”
I propped up my book just slightly and unfolded the minute piece of paper as a smile tugged at the corner of my mouth. In teeny, tiny print I deciphered my first CPN of the day. “Hey Polka! Want to do KFC for lunch today? - Dot”
Keeping one eye on a discussion between the prof and Bright Student #1, I ripped a little corner from my notebook. In the smallest print I could make I wrote back. “Hey Dot. Sure! Who’s going? – Polka”
As soon as the coast was clear, a little white missile landed on Hannah’s desk. Soon, the bottom corner of her notebook was sacrificed on the altar of our now infamous CPN’s – Conserve Paper Notes. We’d become experts at passing our notes back and forth discreetly. We were convinced our teachers were none the wiser.
“HE will be there. <3 And Bert too! – P.”
As I read her words, my heart thumped a little faster. Hannah and Bert had just started dating short while before. She was now playing Cupid trying to match me up with a guy who up until recently I had held at arm’s length as “my brother”. Everyone was always telling us we’d make such a cute couple. I wasn’t sure what to think. It was so comfortable and safe to have him hanging around without strings attached. I had to admit, though, that lately I’d been having second thoughts.
My meandering mind was wrenched back to reality as a stack of papers was handed over the head of the guy ahead of me. Bewildered, I scanned the papers and realized I was about to take a pop quiz. Sick! What else had Dr. K. talked about while I was daydreaming? I reluctantly kept one sheet for myself and passed the rest down the row behind me.
“Pay attention, girl!” I hissed under my breath as I mentally pinched myself.
Fifteen minutes later, I walked up to the front of the class to hand in my quiz. Dr. K. gave me a knowing look. He couldn’t know how distracted I’d been, did he? The bell rang as I walked back to my desk. I quickly grabbed my backpack.
Hannah and I shuffled side by side towards the exit. She nudged my arm as we neared the door. Standing just outside, I saw Bert beaming his quirky smile at Hannah. As he stepped aside to allow the rush of students to escape, I caught a glimpse of Mack’s curly hair behind his shoulder. I took a deep breath. “This is it, girl.” I whispered to myself. “Brother? Friend? Something else? It’s time to make up your mind!”
As we finally made it through the door, Mack’s smile completely disarmed me. “We’ve come up with a plan if you’re game. How about a picnic on an island instead? I’ve got my canoe on my car already. What do you think?” In his frank gaze, I recognized what I had known in the back of my mind for a while now. He wasn’t content to just “be friends”. He was ready for more.
My reservations melted into a puddle at my feet as we turned to head down the hallway and toward the beautiful sunshine outside. Somehow I knew that from this point on, nothing would ever be the same.
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