Her hair slid into her face as she glanced down at her notes, the graceful arc of the dark coiffure strands sending goose bumps on my arms. The teacher called on her and she answered with a beautiful Indian accent, sent to mingle with the words that came out of her mouth, lips curving elegantly around each syllable. The English teacher adored her. The accent wasn't naturally there, but she had a refined way of rolling her "r"s and adding more syllables to her "d"s than I thought was to possible to place on the thin shoulders of one letter.
The subject of the topic is a sensitive girl, who sometimes acts as overly matured woman and sometimes as a kiddo, who can bring the world to halt with her heavenly, angelic smile. She is the cutest thing that has ever happened to me.
The afternoon sun slipping in the window framed her with a heavenly glow that made my eyes feel unworthy of the view. I wanted her to notice me. I wanted her to like me. I didn’t want her to know that I was watching her relentlessly. No, I did want her to know; I wanted her not to care.
She glanced around the room and her soft brown gaze fell upon me. For the briefest of moments, she smiled. The only time I saw her smile was when she would grin quietly to herself during class, as if sharing a secret joke with herself. Those were the times when she was most beautiful. Here she was smiling like we, too, shared a secret joke that no one else knew about. The corners of her eyes tilted and her lips parted to reveal straight, white teeth. Then she turned away, her mouth closing over the smile as if it wasn't finished; it was just going behind the curtain for a later showing.
I shut my open mouth, shoving my short, imperfect dark hair out of my eyes. The bell rang and I closed my books, getting out of my seat and heading for the door. I walked up the hall by the teachers' rooms, and she power-walked past me, her slightly shorter legs carrying her farther from me. I quickened my pace. I just wanted to watch her. Then I felt the necessity to head back to home as I followed her down the aisle. Though I hated to leave her, I changed directions and threaded my way to the cycle stand where two of my friends were waiting for me.
We did group discussion about science experiments and I worked with V and E on the million pages of work we did. I watched her laugh with N and R. She would grin and roll her eyes and blush in rapid succession as they talked among themselves. Several times, when her back was turned to him I saw K gaze at her back, his eyes crinkling as they smiled and he looked as if he wanted her to like him, too. He was in the same grade as me, and yet I still started to regret the destiny; the destiny of not knowing her till 8th grade and K knowing her since childhood.
Sometimes I felt her eyes on me and I would look up to see her grinning at N, but her hair swayed as if she had suddenly swung her head. I was praying that she was looking at me. The dark eye brows framed her eyes beautifully and I thought of the rarity of the rarity, dark hair and brown eyes. Her hair was black in a coiffure on her head, side bangs grazing her cheeks. Her shoulders were hunched forward and curved down to her waist. Our group was only a few feet away from hers and I caught sight of flecks of onyx against her chocolate irises. A chill slipped through me as I thought once again of how beautiful she was.
E caught me and glanced over to where I was staring. Good luck, he said, looking at the way she was not noticing me; E wasn't blind, and he knew that I was secretly hoping I would tease her or poke her in the back so she would know I was flirting. My heart sank a few inches, weighted down by the probability that I might not even have a fair chance.
Next day the teacher passed out the test papers. Everyone got a reasonable score. Blush crept up her cheeks as the teacher read the score. Her ears turned a soft pink, ear lobes almost blending in with her red dress. Her hair was pulled up with little strands loosely falling down the sides of her face. She dint even glance over at K. Her eyes traveled to me for a second, may not be deliberate, but Jesus wasn't I on cloud nine when she did that; albeit for a briefest of the moments. Her lips stretched into a smile as the blush started to go back. But the smile stayed for the rest of class. Her smile was quick, and deathful. As she left the classroom she had the test paper against her chest and her books guarding it. I watched her disappear around the corner as K came up behind me, looking slightly disappointed. He lengthened his strides and sped after her.
"Happy New Year" I smiled at her when she wished me. As she walked away, she tripped over the lunch bag that belonged to one of the students. She even had a graceful stumble. Just before she turned the corner, she glanced back at me and grinned. Hoisting up my backpack over my shoulder, I started to think that all was not lost.
A week after the New Year day I was beginning to wonder whether she would remember or if she would even notice me now. I walked into Sanskrit class and sat down, shoulders slumped. She power-walked through the door, probably she was worried that she would be late. Her fingertips lightly brushed the wood of my desk and held my breath for reasons unknown to me. We were taking a test today so I took out a ballpoint pen before glancing her way. She shifted in her seat and pushed her hair out of her face and our eyes met for a moment. There was that smile. Throughout the test I would just look to the other end of the classroom and while doing this I would park my eyes on her. But then it felt like I was counting the minutes, I knew I was. Sometimes I would look up in between the glimpses, and she would be staring at the ceiling of the class room (in a later point in time I gave a name to this peculiar but sweet look of hers – Peddu look), but her eyes would be unfocused as if her mind was on something else. I would have waved to wake her if she hadn't looked so beautiful when she was distracted.
The bell rang and I exhaled. Our time was up and I still wasn't sure whether or not she remembered me. I could notice her palm slightly sweaty from holding her pen throughout the test. I walked down the hall behind her as if it were the most normal thing in the world. And it did feel natural, like I belonged to a class of people whom she may like. I sighed aloud and turned to see her giving me that smile that lit up my world. I smiled too, knowing that there was no other place I'd rather be.