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The plastic chair was uncomfortable in a familiar way. It was connected to an old wooden desk which had been defaced by decades of wandering young minds. I examined the crude patterns carved into the wood with ballpoint pens and read the meaningless jumble of words which were spun around in every direction. The surface of the desk was rough and I avoided touching it. It reminded me of dried mucous.
The metal bar which attached the chair to the wooden desk ran underneath the wooden platform and pressed into my knees. My legs felt as if they were being compressed into my body. The unpleasant feeling was amplified by the droning of the teacher.
I didn't recognize her. I realized I was a visitor in the classroom and as the teacher continued her monotone recital of the English Literature resting before her, I became aware that I didn't have to stay here. I glanced around the sparsely populated classroom. Student's heads resting on their hands. Some staring at the ceiling with their mouths wide-open emitting a constant, gooey stream of drool.
I slowly, quietly, untangled myself from the desk and left the room. Nobody seemed to notice. The teacher's droning pattern of barely evolved morse code grew dimmer as I walked dreamily down the hallway.
The high school had been converted from a grade school sometime in the '50s. Maybe earlier. I could only guess by the look of the old parts. I walked up a set of five or six steps. They seemed out of place. They were put there, seemingly as an afterthought, to connect the old part of the school with the new part of the school. The steps were covered with words and pieces of paper were glued to them. The papers were segments of artwork done by elementary school children who were now old enough to be my grandparents. I noticed vaguely familiar shapes in absurd, primary colors. Green airplanes built of warped metal and blue flowers feeding red bees. Underneath it all, small patches of notebook paper were exposed, sporting decorations of calculus equations and Shakespearean poetry.
I considered trying another classroom. Only momentarily. I realized they would all be as boring as the first. I decided to get a drink of water. For some reason, the water fountain is a small social spot in high schools. A young girl was bent over the fountain with a couple of other people standing around her. I didn't notice if the others were male or female, as I was curious about the young blonde.
I approached the fountain, never moving my eyes from the vision before me, the shining light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. I touched her back and she raised up, smiling at me. That's when I saw her. The epitome of all that is beauty. The culmination of fifteen billion years of exploding stars, congealing gas, primordial brine, oozing slime and survival of the fittest. She approached the fountain, her brown hair flowing down to her shoulders. Her eyes, green, sparkled in the dull light of the hallway. The blonde disappeard and the walls around me melted. Her smile put my entire body into motion, like a rusted steam engine lurching and screeching into motion.
Not once did our eyes disconnect as I moved toward her, "you must come with me Friday night."
"Yes, " she softly replied with a slight nod.
I kissed her delicately, sealing our plans.
Wednesday evening was a large social function having to do with some sort of school club. All members, a very large group, were invited to a showing of a very popular, and reportedly very odd, horror film showing at the local theater. I wasn't actually a student, nor a member of the club, but I was invited nevertheless.
The theater was a harsh contrast to the high school. Modern lights illuminated a decidedly modern decor. A long row of glass housing displayed a rainbow of sugar-coated treasures and large silver fountains emitted sparkling liquids of varying color.
The theater was packed. A jumble of random faces. As I waited in line, I looked around. My eyes darted from one section of people to another. Broken pieces of conversation bubbled up from the foam of crowd-noise as a disjointed series of faces crashed into my attention. I grew uncomfortable in the sea of incoherency around me. I decided to forego the pleasures of the concession stand and find a seat.
The theater proper was unusual for a movie showing. The seats and stage were obviously constructed for live performances. The seating area was short and steep and the screen was hidden, I assumed, behind the long flowing curtains of deepest maroon. The curtains were trimmed with gold, which sparkled in the dim light of the room.
People began filtering into the theater. Happy groups, happy couples, all conversing and smiling and enjoying their concessions. The seats filled quickly. And I noticed my lost half entering the theater with a group of others. She glanced at me, but did not acknowledge. The group took up seats behind me. I was nervous. Something was wrong. I could feel it.
The lights dimmed and the movie began, though I could not focus on it. My eyes saw the man constantly standing at the bottom-right of the screen. He spoke a monologue throughout the entire film. His black hair gelled down to his head to form a glistening helmet. His black moustache never moving as he spoke. I could only think of the perfection behind me.
I began to feel claustrophobic. The images on the screen added to my panic. Faces dissolved onto the screen, holding masks to their faces so that only the glint of their eyes and their lips could be seen. The masks only suggested at the basic structure of a human face, as if they had been worn down by centuires of sand-storms, like the Sphinx. The faces would whisper something, behind their masks, and then fade away to be replaced by a different person with a different mask.
The beauty walked down the row of seats and left the theater. She did not turn to look at me. And she did not notice me when she returned. She knew I was there. I reminded myself that our meeting was set for Friday, not tonight.
As the movie ended, the mass of people filtered out, like cattle being herded through a single gateway. The perfection walked past me, not once turning my way. I wondered if Friday was to remain a dream.