I’ve been sleeping and relaxing, I think that’s the secret. And I’m happy.
Dear Carter Owen Rivers,
It’s been nearly a year since we’ve spoken to one another. Prom, if I remember correctly, when I badgered you to dance with me, in spite of your two left feet. You argued that prom was a waste of your time. Of course, how could anyone as cynical and cool as you be caught dead at such a routine high school tradition? You were never that cool and certainly never that cynical in the time that I’d known you. For that, I’m terribly sorry.
It may be horribly impolite to go a year without contact to suddenly bring up that subject that we never want to talk about, the one that we tend to cower away from endlessly only to be pulled back into the direction of regret. I was very quick to keep the blame on your shoulders and continually remind you of the pain that I experienced, but it was rare— almost nonexistent— for me to consider the collateral damage my departure may have had for you.
We were young, definitely not ready for that degree of commitment that was dreamed up between us, and afraid. You’ll never admit fear, but I know how much it scared you to have that map flipped upside down and torn apart. No one gets that easy life, Carbear, but we were pretty damn lucky, you know? Our parents, our friends, even with each other— we’ve had a great support system and the mistakes we made with each other shouldn’t be something to dwell on. I’m sorry for dragging it out so long and for holding so much resentment towards your fears.
I hope you’re doing well. I hope you’ve finally found that humble confidence you used to have and your ability to comfort others so easily with that smile. You deserve the world. You deserve to still have that future with someone.
Give me a call sometime, champ.
She watches shows about rebuilding cars. I’m scared.
A new semester.
She lugged her hefty pile of books across campus with clumsy steps. A fresh sheet of snow sat upon the grass, causing a few haphazard reactions. It was in these instances when Luciana could pinpoint her fellow foreigners; the ones who’d never set their sights on this much snow, let alone have to react and adapt to it.
Three straight classes, each ten minutes apart. That was the outlook for the girl’s morning schedule and as she made the trip this first morning, the regret was already slipping into her mind. The baggage, the layout of the campus, the weather — everything was working against her on this first day.
Huffing her way into class, the blonde gently rested her belongings on a desk near the front. She’d come to find that each classroom was different, never one set up exactly like the next upon professor request. Guided Debate. With a name such as that, it was easy to understand the circular setup of the room, having everyone face one another. There were only a few others already settled in, evidently grasping the same early-bird sensibility.
A new semester meant new classes and new people to mingle with and learn from. That’s the attitude that Luciana had grown to keep, extending her optimism to the normally tedious and mundane nature of change. After fishing through her bag for a pencil and notebook, she laid them both neatly on the table in front of her, anticipating the flow of students to fill the remainder of the room.
The subconscious murmur stood as a switch to turn off any positive thoughts floating through her mind. No, it wasn’t her own thoughts that sent them spiraling, but the snarky, smug image of him prancing through the doors of the classroom as if he, himself, were planning to teach the class. That smile. My god, how she grew to hate how much arrogance he seemed to carry within the smallest smirk. And, of course, he walked towards her. It’s his third year, surely he knows more people to gravitate towards, more souls to torture with his incessant banter and easy, smooth voice. The soft, deep sound of his whisper. No. Absolutely not. She refused.
"Luciana," he announced, dragging out her name like it was rehearsal for a damn theater production, having to enunciate every syllable on his lips.
Perching his frame right next to her, making it a point to nonchalantly scoot the seat in her direction just an inch or two in the process, he managed to tug at her nerves with the simplest of actions.
"Benjamin." The retort came out quick and bitter, just as intended. Before she could ask any further questions from the list in her head, a stocky, stoic professor entered the room, slamming his briefcase down with a thunderous, attention-seeking thud against the podium.
Halfway through the syllabus review, after at least ten minutes of side glances and exchanging frustrated sighs, Luciana became distracted by a tug on her sleeve. Her assiduous eyes darted directly to his in confusion. A simple nod down to his paper diverted her attention and as he slipped his arm from over his paper, the note became revealed to her burning curiosity.
You never returned my texts.
The blonde scoffed, immediately shaking her head at the silly gesture. Is this third grade? Were they really receding back into covert note-passing techniques? She didn’t want to reply. Not to his texts, not to this note. With him sitting right beside her now, she didn’t have much of a choice. Scribbling her reply on the paper, she could feel his eyes sinking into her movements, reading her nervous nature just the same as he’d read the ink on the paper.
Was I supposed to?
As she brushed the paper slightly in his direction, Luciana noticed the boy’s head sink a bit lower in defeat. It wasn’t the answer he was looking for, as it wasn’t an explanation at all. Still, the text had no tangible relevance that needed to be addressed, which was precisely the reason for the the younger girl’s confusion now. They were merely polite check-ins throughout the break.
Though her initial reasoning stood at a very superficial level, Luciana couldn’t deny the fact that she didn’t want to mix life at Bella Nova and life at Yale. She didn’t want to face the fact that she can’t have both. A sigh of exasperation filled her lungs and lazily escaped in the midst of everyone packing up their belongings.
Ten minutes. She started to count it down, knowing she didn’t have much time to spare before her next class. He loomed, hovered, kept a close distance as the blonde tucked the notebook securely back into her tote.
"Come on. We’ll grab coffee," he offered. No, no. It didn’t sound so much as an offer as a command. That’s the sort of tone that bothered her, as Luciana wasn’t one to be ushered around. It’s as if he thought the world revolved around his ego-driven self, as if she didn’t have better things to do. And she did. She knew she did. Besides, she didn’t even care for coffee.
"I have class."