The First

by - June 30, 2011

The room is papered in an aged must that is at once magical and restricting, peppering coughs through subdued laughter behind cracking spines, breathing fiction into heavy library air, dust motes fairy-dancing in sunlight rays from finger smeared panes.  I am hidden in the back stacks, all four feet and eleven years of me, seeking out The Hobbit for the third time, caught in afternoon shadows, unsuspecting innocence and 1990 florescent slouch socks.

"Psst!" She is peeking through the History stack, conspiracy sparking in chocolate eyes.

"What?" Tolkien pressed to my chest.

She sneaks around the end of the stack and pulls me into the far corner, cups her hands around my ear.

The red-head wants to be my boyfriend.

Panic boils.  The safety net of my obscurity is torn.  In the blink of an eye my invisibility cloak has fallen to the ground in an unceremonious puddle of nerves.  I am speechless.  And terrified.  And I want to run and hide beneath the pad dispenser in the girls bathroom and secure myself in the comfort of the proverbial cloak that has always held me so close.

way back then...
"Well?" Her whisper is shrill.

"What should I say?" Because I have no idea what one does in this situation.

"Say yes!"  As if it requires no thought.


And she's gone.  And I hear the wave of whispered gossip as she delivers my word.

I drag back to my seat, clutching my book like a life preserver, feeling sickness coil within me when all eyes fall upon me.  My gaze dashes.  Catches his.  He looks away quickly.  Sideways smile.  Ears blushing red.  A high-five shared with the boy on his left.

I vow never to hold his hand.

I want only to count his freckles.

You May Also Like


I love comments and I appreciate, consider and read each one. I welcome your thoughts, whether you're in agreement or not; however, this website is a happy place and I will remove any comment that I believe to be inappropriate, malicious or spam like.

Thanks for visiting!

© Alanna Rusnak