Inner Musings of a Teenage Girl: Certainties

There was a certain way she always carried herself. Carefully. Some might say fearfully. Her arms wrapped tight around herself and her head bowed, her long hair falling in front of her face. She watched her feet as she walked.

There was a certain way she expected her day to go.

It usually didn’t involve her walking into somebody.

The weight of her backpack made it impossible to right herself. She didn’t make a sound as she fell back, but the other person did. A sound of pain. Panic shot through her whole body, welling up in her chest and suffocating her.

Out of the corner of her eye, she could see papers scattered all over the floor. His.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Are you okay? Did I hurt you? I didn’t mean to. I’m so stupid. I should have been watching where I was going. Are you hurt? You don’t look hurt, but you should probably go to the nurse anyway. Did you hit your head? Oh my god.

She didn’t say any of that. She stared silently at the boy she’d knocked over.

There were certain things that she prided herself on. Not many things, but there were a few. She was good with faces and good with names, despite the fact that she almost never used them.

She’d known him forever. When had they met? When they were three? Four? Five? She didn’t remember.

They had never really spoken, never been friends, never had any sort of interaction with each other.

“Are you okay?” the boy asked, looking at her. A chunk of his hair, black and straight, stood up on the side. He ran his hand through it and the strands fell back into place.

She nodded. She imagined she looked like a broken bobble head.

“Are you sure?” he asked. He seemed genuinely concerned.

“Fine,” she muttered, gathering the papers she had scattered. They were crumpled, a footprint here and there.

“I’m sorry,” he said, the corner of his lips pulling up into a smile. “I wasn’t really looking where I was going.”

There were certain things she expected from her classmates. This wasn’t one of them. She stared again.

No, she wanted to say. I was the one who was looking at my feet. I was the one who knocked into you. I should be apologizing to you.

“It’s okay,” she said, getting up. People were swerving around them, shooting them annoyed looks.

He got up too.

She thought he might have tried to say something else to her if she’d stayed, but she walked away, willing her feet to move as fast as possible and clutching the mess of papers to her chest.

There were certain things she was good at.

Human interaction had never been one of them.