“Hey there.” She walked in like a ghost. I hadn’t seen her in so long. The hallway was deserted and dark. The janitors had already cleaned that area as well as my room, but I had extra work to do so I was staying late. Most people would complain about working overtime, usually I would too. But today had been especially lonely. There was nothing for me to go home to. So my room light was on and shone brightly in contrast to the dark hall. When she walked in the light flickered off her smooth cheeks and full lips like candlelight. She wore dark jeans and her high heeled ankle boots. I remembered when she first bought those. She was so excited to show me the first day she wore them to class. I heard her walking down the hall, heels clacking on tile. She practiced walking around my room. She had never been one for wearing heels, even though I was very familiar with her addiction to buying those shoes she could never wear. She looked older tonight though. She had lost her pretty girlish looks. In four short months she had grown into a woman. But it was still very much her, I could tell by the light. She walked closer to my desk and I felt a grin spread across my face. It was an impetuous grin that only she could draw out of me. I saw her face twist, she was trying to hide her own happiness, but then she smiled. Slow, coyly, so very much in the way I remember. We stood there and smiled at each other for a moment. Everything was still, and tight. The sensation was similar to holding your breath and feeling your lungs expand. It was joyous but dangerous and filled me with an intense feeling of desire on every fathomable level.
“Hello.” My deep voice said, I sat back in my chair and crossed my arms. “Long time no see.” She smiled again, more casually. We both started to relax, this was comfortable, it always had been. The build up released, I could breathe again. I felt numb with joy.
“It has been a while huh? I thought it was about time I stopped by.” She sat down on the edge of my desk, swinging one of her slender legs gently side to side, tap tap tapping on the worn wood leg. There were dents in the wood from where the sole of her shoe tapped months ago. “How are you?” She asked. There was an urgency in her voice, a yearning curiosity. He was going to make the most of this, he wanted to seep up every moment he could with her.
:“I’ve been doing well. Nothing too new to share since the last time we talked.”
“Well that’s good.” She looked at me slyly. I knew this look. It burned through me every time we talked. It wasn’t always in person. She could see right through my over text, over email, through phone calls. No matter where we were she could burn through me with that look or simply the thought of that look. I could not understand how such a tiny person had so much power over me. It frustrated me to no end. I was logical and everything about her was not. It drove me crazy.
“How are you?” I asked nonchalantly.
“I’m doing good, happy to be home for a while.”
“How long are you here for?” Even though he knew it wouldn’t be so, he was hoping she was here for at least a week or two longer. Perhaps that would give them another chance to spend time together. He didn’t mind that she wouldn’t spend time with him in public. Well, actually he did mind, but he would take what he could get.
“I leave tomorrow.” She looked into his eyes. There was a longing there, as if she were begging him to say something, to some how stop her or beg her to stay. But they both knew that was impossible, so he did nothing.
“Oh, that’s unfortunate.” he was oddly formal, “Have you enjoyed your time?”
“Yes, it’s gone to fast but its been a lot of fun.” She smiled softly, her eyelids lowered. She had begun to fiddle with something on his desk. She never could keep her hands still, they were always active, just like her mind. One time, she had taken each of his paper clips and strung them together in a matter of minutes. He hadn’t even realized that she had done that until hours later he reached for one and found them all tangled together. She was active, constantly thinking, churning, and analyzing. Her intelligence was beautiful, especially in such a young person. That’s part of what drew her to him.
“Good!” He attempted to sound enthusiastic but his attempt was half hearted. This was mostly because he did not want to see her go, he was also distracted by her nimble fingers playing with his tape.
Suddenly she stood up, “Luke.” This was the first time she had said his name out loud. His name sounded so different, foreign and special coming from her lips. “I need to go soon.”
He hadn’t realized he had his hopes lifted until she spoke and he felt a sinking feeling in his chest. Just say it. Please just say it or do something. He tried to compel her. There was nothing he could do.
“Okay.” Her sterling grey eyes pierced his chest as she stared back at him. The dark hallway felt like a blanket on his little room. This was the perfect time, the perfect time to tell her how he felt. But he couldn’t, he didn’t want to make her uncomfortable, and he knew she was afraid of what people would think.
He watched as she bent slightly to pick up her bag. At some point she had set it down. He stood up to say goodbye, that was the polite thing to do. Time seemed to slow down and he could feel his heart beating loudly in his ears. Slow steady pumps he imagined red and dark. Lustful. There was a flicker too, but this was in his stomach. A fluttering around in his abdomen as she drew close to him, closing the short distance previously divided by his cluttered work space. Then her arms were around his neck. He felt her lips barely brush his ear and she pulled him in for a tight embrace. Instinctively his thick arms wrapped around her thin waist. He felt her stomach muscles flex against his own as he drew her in close. They could not be any closer. His heart was pressed against her pressed and he could feel the cold metal of her necklace graze his own collarbone. They stood there for what felt like forever, but when she released her grip he felt as if something had been taken from him before his time was up. She took a small, heavy step backwards in her boots. She began to turn away, dragging her warm hands away from his neck, down his chest, and away from his waist. He caught the tips of her fingers for a second before she completely pulled away.
“I’ll text you.” She gave him a crooked smile with full teeth. There was a slight catch to her voice.
“Drive home safe.” He said and placed his hands on his waist. A power stance. Finally, slowly, painfully, she turned away and walked out his door into the dark hallway.
He stood there for a moment watching the ghost of her leave his room.
“Damn it!” He slammed his fist down fast and hard on his desk in a pile of folded up tape.