Authors: Sarah Mullanix
Once the kitchen was free of clutter, splattered spaghetti sauce, and our dishes cleared, I headed back upstairs to my room so I could finish the last of my school work that needed completed for tomorrow. I found it strange, I was thinking while climbing the stairs to my room, that my mom had only asked me once this evening about how I was recovering from my fall and fainting spell this morning. Maybe I appeared to be fine, and so she just assumed everything that had caused the dizzy spell had simply passed. Maybe she knew more than she had been letting on and could explain why I’d had visions of Zoey.
No, that couldn’t be true,
If only she really did know how much more there was to the incident, and for that matter, the rest of this peculiar day. It would be nice to have someone to talk to about the sudden turns in my life. I had always wanted to be different --- for my life to be different --- but I never realized how hard it would be if I never had anyone to share all of that different with.
I quickly finished all my homework and tried exceptionally hard to put the visions, and also the figure I’d seen, out of my mind. Time had passed rapidly while I was working, and by this point in the evening it was nearing ten o’clock.
I felt the exhaustion hit me full force from the long day of unusual and baffling events, so I packed up my school things, took a shower, then got myself into bed at a somewhat decent hour.
I laid in bed for a little while, going over the day’s events in my head. I knew that I’d never get any sleep the way my mind was racing. I pulled out my iPod from the drawer in my nightstand, and I finally closed out the thoughts and images from my mind, falling asleep to the music pounding in my ears.
That night, I dreamt of myself in the woods. The dream was so vivid and clear. I was standing in the middle of tall trees. Although they were so thick that I couldn’t even make out the night sky from where I was standing, I could tell that it was first light because of the glow of a few thin rays of pink sunrise piercing through the arch of thick branches overhead from the surrounding trees.
I was standing alone with a beautiful swirl of tiny glittering twinkle lights all around me. They looked like tiny bits of dust shining in the moonlight and the oncoming morning glow. The tiny lights completely engulfed me and had begun swirling even more quickly than before, lifting my feet along with my entire body from the ground below.
Soon enough, I was moving at a speed so fast that I could no longer make out the images of what I knew to be trees flying past me at such an incredible speed; yet, I was distinctly aware and in control of my every movement.
I had never felt anything like it. So real. It was the most superlative feeling of being alive, and strong, and at peace.
Just the Beginning
The point in time or space at which something starts.
New or inexperienced.
I woke the next morning abound with feelings of exhilaration and contentedness. The dream had been more real than any I’d ever had before, and I was more excited than ever to get to school and officially meet Zoey. I would have to have better control over myself today; I had to, in case the visions were to return.
I got myself dressed, brushed through my hair, and quickly swept it up in to a ponytail. I barely looked at myself in my mirror as I brushed on a light coat of blush and wiped the clear lip gloss across my full lips.
I recalled how differently I felt just yesterday morning when I made my way through this very same morning routine; however, at a much slower pace. There was such a vast change in me, caused by the events of the last twenty-four hours, that the two mornings felt worlds apart.
I slipped on my shoes, grabbed my bag, and bounded out of my room and down the stairs; I even skipped the bottom step with a little hop onto the hardwood floor to save some time, and to also release a small sliver of pent up energy that was a result of last night’s dream.
I entered the kitchen and my mom looked up from her coffee mug with wide, unexpecting eyes, obviously surprised by my early arrival for breakfast. Without a word, she slipped her heaping plate of scrambled eggs across the kitchen table toward my regular seat, continuing to stare at me with her unbelieving eyes.
She finally spoke, “There’s plenty left. Are you hungry?”
“A little,” I replied, even though I was too amped up and preoccupied by my own thoughts and daily agenda to eat a single bite. “Sit down and eat a few bites. What’s the rush?” She continued to sip her coffee.
“Oh, nothing. I just woke up early this morning, so I thought that I’d go ahead and get ready for school.” I gave in and sat down in my regular chair at our kitchen table across from my mom, taking a few delicious bites of the still steaming eggs. I added, “I wanted to go over my work and double check a couple of Trig answers before I left.” I hoped this would give my mom a believable excuse for my unusual behavior of being prepared for school on time, instead of the usual daily occurrence of running late.
She nodded, and I took another bite of eggs, gulping down my barely chewed bite when I thought realized she had actually believed this substitute for the truth.
My mom stood up from her chair, coffee still in hand and asked, “Do you want some juice?”
I simply gave her a nod since my mouth remained full of scrambled eggs, and she headed over to the refrigerator. She took out the carton, poured the juice into a glass, then sat it in front of my plate which now only held a few final bites. She grabbed one with her bare hand and popped it into her mouth, while I quickly scarfed down the rest, obviously more hungry than I had originally realized.
“Dad already leave for work?”
“Yeah, about an hour ago. You know how busy this time of year is for him.”
“Yeah, I know.”
My mom rinsed her coffee mug and dropped it in the sink. The clanking noise made me jump a little, fueling the adrenaline already rushing through my body.
“You ready to go, hon? I’d like to get down to the shop a little earlier today,” she said, as she tossed a couple items into her purse and pulled out her car keys.
Apparently, my early start to the day was a welcome change to my mom.
“Besides,” she continued, “I think someone’s already waiting for you outside,” she smirked.
“Yeah, yeah,” I rolled my eyes, and walked over to grab my school bag from the floor where I had dropped it when I first entered the kitchen.
We walked outside together, and my mom locked up behind me. She gave me one last wave as she hopped in her car and backed out of the driveway. I stood for a moment, sending her a return wave, before I climbed up to the passenger seat.
I had actually forgotten that Leo was picking me up this morning till my mom reminded me. I presumed he wasn’t going to get us to school as quickly as I wanted to get there, though.
My anticipation of getting to finally speak with Zoey was getting the best of me, and I just prayed that Homeroom would pass at the speed of lightening. I needed to see her to figure out this mysterious linkage we seemed to share, or at least the link I felt with her.
We pulled into Leo’s usual parking spot, just a few places down from mine, about ten minutes later. I glanced over and could see my Bug shining in the morning light, covered in melted droplets from the early morning frost.
I jumped out of Leo’s truck, slammed the heavy door, and headed straight for the front hall of the school. Leo followed closely behind.
I could hear him calling my name, trailing me by just a few feet. I couldn’t force myself to stop. I was too tangled with thoughts of doing whatever I needed in order to impel this morning on and make my way to first period Trig class; the one I shared with Zoey.
“Becca!” Leo called again with such a pleading sound in his voice that it made me feel terrible for the way I had been ignoring him, and I immediately was overcome with sympathy for the grief I caused and could clearly see in his eyes. I finally stopped and turned around to face him.
“Where are you going?” He caught up with me and stopped so close that I could smell his delicious cologne and sense his overwhelming confusion. He continued, “You didn’t wait for me?” It sounded as if it were more of a statement full of hurt than an actual question.
“Sorry, I was just anxious to get in and get some things taken care of from what I missed out on yesterday. I really didn’t mean to brush you off,” I apologized sincerely.
“That’s okay,” Leo squinted somewhat, as if he was trying to get in to my head to see if I was telling the truth. Then his expression lightened, and he seemed to have forgotten the whole matter as we walked together to my locker.
Leo and I talked for a couple minutes about random things, like his football practice last night. Thankfully, forgetting my haste, I remembered to mention that he should push Will to ask Emmy to Homecoming --- sooner rather than later --- so that Emmy and I could both be spared a multitude of anguish. Leo nodded in agreement.
“So, what about you? Are you looking forward to the dance…and being there with me?” he asked, as he caught my glance with those deep seas of blue that were his eyes.
Those eyes, that if he wanted them to, could draw in every girl at this school, but he always seemed to save that special flirty look just for me. There was nothing to do now but give in when he looked at me that way.
I think I was actually beginning to admit to myself that the idea of Leo and I going to the dance together had me gushing. At least the body heat that radiated between the two of us agreed with me, sending a good tingle up my arms and back. I could feel my cheeks flush with the same tingle of heat. This was the exact moment I felt that Leo and I becoming a couple was a possibility, then the even more
surprising realization came that this was actually something I wanted. The hairs on my arms stood at full attention as a pleasant chill ran up the length of my spine, full of titillation.
I dropped my head, looking down at the sleeves of my shirt, attempting to hide the blood that had recently rushing to my cheeks. I fidgeted with the edges of my sweater for a moment, then pulled them over my hands all the way down to my fingertips. My head stayed low, and only my eyes made their way all the way back up to meet his.
I replied with a slightly flirty grin, “Yeah, Leo. I’m looking forward to being there with you.”
“Good,” he said smugly, as a smile widened across his gorgeous face. Then he abruptly turned to walk away, his mission completed. Leo always loved to tease me.
He walked off so suddenly that I was left standing there in the middle of the hallway all alone, still wanting more from him. I reluctantly closed my locker, then made my way down the hall toward Homeroom. I had taken only a few steps when I heard Leo shout from the opposite end of the hallway.
“Hey, Becca,” he called, and I turned. “Me too!”
I smiled shyly in return, feeling the blood rush to my face again; the unwanted tingle spread across my cheeks notifying me that I was certainly turning the color of ripened strawberries. How could something that made you feel so ecstatic on the inside still embarrass you on the outside?
I walked the rest of the way to Homeroom with a grin that I just couldn’t erase. It was almost enough to make me forget about seeing Zoey in first period --- almost.
I sat down next to Emmy just as the tardy bell had rung, and Mr. Stanley appeared in the doorway of the classroom. He took attendance while we listened to the morning announcements. The same old things: sports scores, lunch menu, tickets on sale for the dance in the cafeteria during lunch hour and also after school.