Her heart skipped a beat. It wasn’t the regular, irregular thump-thip-thip-thump that had always been the beat, but a thump of nerves as he walked towards her.
2:48: everyday, the same time he would walk down that hall where she would sit. It was routine, and they were no longer surprised to see one another there. So it shouldn’t be any different today.
Only he had a piece of paper. That little fantasy that she had been harboring in her mind for weeks (perhaps even months) flashed through again. She couldn’t help but think that this young man, who always, always smiled when he saw her, was harboring the same feelings for her as she had for him. And that piece of paper in his hand was for her.
As he came closer he lifted his free hand and gave a small salute to her. By luck or by practice she had regained her composure by the time he stopped at the table. He greeted her the same every time.
“Hello,” he said. So simple.
“Hi. How are you?” Again, this was the routine start of their conversations. He wrinkled his nose and shrugged his shoulders.
“Alright. And you?”
“I’m good …” she said. “Well … yeah, good is the closest approximation.” He smiled, and she forced herself to smile and look him in the eye. She did all that was possible to keep herself from looking at that piece of paper.
“One moment,” he held up a finger, keeping her from letting whatever silly thing was coming out of her mouth, unfiltered by the part of her brain that had shut down. He then turned around and faced the trashcan on the wall opposite her table.
He tore the piece of paper in two first, then stacked them on top of one another and gave it a second, longitudinal rip, and let it fall into the bin.
“Just some scribblings I don’t need,” he said, smiling at her.
She smiled back.