Forty weeks. Forty Mondays and Tuesdays and forty of those blessed Fridays. That's all that stands between myself and Graduation 2013. She mused, staring off into space some two weeks into September and half-way through a test. Just forty weeks until I'm out of here. Forty weeks and all of these social systems I could never get a handle on will be completely meaningless. She scribbled an answer, dotted an 'I', crossed a 'T'. Forty weeks, forty weeks, forty weeks.
She finished the test, exhaling apprehensively before delivering it to the waiting stack of other tests at the front of the room. On her return trip she glanced subtly, or at least she thought it was subtly, at a boy she found attractive. All too predictably there was no return on her investment, the fledgling man not even giving her the time of day.
Forty weeks, forty weeks.
The bell rang at the end of the period and the herd shifted around, shuffling from one class to another and squealing and gossiping and isolating couples in corners for a heated period of tonsil hockey. She sailed through them, too unlike them to be noticed. She stood at a slender six foot with shoulder-length brunette hair. Her eyes were large, blue-grey and expressive, her lips pouty and a makeup-less red that stood out against her pale skin. She might have been considered attractive in other places but here she was too tall, too 'geeky', too modest and all together too hard to get.
At least that was popular opinion.
A boy appeared out of the crowd, catching up on her long strides in an almost-jog. He tapped her on one shoulder and then moved behind her other side, smiling cheezily. She smiled in response and he wrapped an arm around her waist, the two of them exchanging pleasantries and snide remarks. He walked her to her next class and they kissed at the door, the passion she'd once felt now so faded that their little spit swap felt as perfunctory as the essay she'd typed up for the class she was walking into.
She entered the class and took her customary spot near the back, out of the crossfire of the kids who'd managed to make sense of the social system and become that thing known as 'popular'. She pulled out her usual pile of things for class, a notebook, the journal she kept her assignments in and a mechanical pencil, pulling out a stapled stack of printer paper with tidy little black words on them.
Carolyyn Adams. She thought, gazing at the top of the paper where her name was so tidily written out in twelve-point Arial. Fitting, I guess.
At the other end of the campus a cellist was preparing himself for rehearsal, tuning his strings with the tuning pegs at the top at first and then carefully with the little fine tuners down near the bridge. I am principal cello. I am the best. He thought, obsessively fidgeting until his ear finally rang with exactly the sound he'd been taught to make. My GPA is flawless and I can wave around a thick stack of letters of recommendation from every teacher I've ever had. I'm a contender for valedictorian and I was practically born into Honor Society. He let the fingerboard rest on his shoulder as he fussed with his music, his brow furrowed and his long fingers dextrous with the flappy sheets of black-speckled printer paper. By all rights I ought to be the happiest person in this school.
Unfortunately he was rather the opposite. His odd sense of despair might have crippled someone else but his will and the external forces that pushed him like a steam engine were both far too strong to allow that. He just felt sort of emotionally constipated, fatigued and put-upon. Like most considerable emotional issues it had a physical manifestation, a strange feeling of dead weight on his chest that rhymed with the feeling of preciptitating sobs.
Come on, the cellist chided himself, you're Rowan MacNaughry, the star senior of the string program. His director emerged from the office adjacent to the rehearsal hall and the orchestra silenced almost unanimously, their attention fixed on their wise-old-owl-esque director. What's a little sadness anyways?