Only two weeks into his freshman year of school, Jason already feels bored. His class load turned out to be lighter than he anticipated, and his teachers seldom challenge him. And now he has to attend an all school assembly in the gymnasium. Another boring speaker, with a boring message, to bore him further. Oh, well. Jason begrudgingly shuffles off to the gym with his fellow classmates.
Not usually a loner, but certainly an observer in crowds of people, Jason scouts out the upper sections of the bleachers for an open seat. Robbie and Alec haven’t appeared, but how would he spot them in this crowd anyway? He makes his way to the top of the bleachers, in the far left corner near the windows, out of authority figure eyeshot and earshot. Watching the other students from his perch, will be a small consolation. At the least, it should prove interesting.
Once the bleachers fill, Jason notices a girl sitting on the next row down, directly in front of him. She wears a cap sleeve blouse, decorated in red and white checks, a pair of blue jeans, and on her feet, she has on white athletic socks with red stripes, tucked inside red tennis sneakers. She must like red. Her strawberry blonde hair falls nearly to her shoulders.
He catches himself watching her out of the corner of his eye. At first, he struggles to hide it, but finds himself unable. In fact, each time he glances away, his gaze returns, like a magnet to steel.
And then, not caring who sees him, Jason stares at her. When she turns her head to the left or right, he notices her cute, slightly upturned, button nose. And her hair, neither straight nor curly, but instead wavy, flips up at both cheeks and creates a frame around her face.
He leans forward and rests his elbows on his knees, placing his face within a foot of the back of her head. He breathes in and smells her perfume. At this distance, he notices tiny little blonde hairs at the nape of her neck, and wonders how soft they would feel to his touch. And from this vantage point, when she turns to the side, he can count each individual freckle that forms a raccoon mask between her eyes and nose.
Growing bolder, Jason leans in closer, just to see if she notices. Up to this point, she hasn’t given any indication of his presence behind her, and so Jason makes a move. He sits back against the wall and places both feet on the bench on either side of her. He then lightly brushes her hip with the toe of his shoe. At first nothing. He does it a second time and she startles him when she spins around and places both arms on his knees, rests her chin on her hands, and says, “Hi, you’re cute.” She wears a big smile on her face, while she chomps on and pops a mouthful of chewing gum.
As she stares up at him, Jason feels butterflies flittering around in his stomach, and his face turns a bright red. He stammers, “Uh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to touch you.” He conceals and justifies his lie at the same time.
At that moment, her eyes grow wide. “Jason?”
Simultaneously, Jason says, “Jenny? Jenny Geneseo?”
They both laugh, oblivious to the boring speaker standing behind the microphone and blasting out his dull message. Before Jason utters another word, Jenny has climbed up a row and moved the student sitting next to Jason out of the way. She now sits next to him. Right next to him. He feels her warm skin touching his.
Still nervous, he finds his composure slowly returning. “I didn’t recognize you, Jenny. You’ve, uh, filled out.” Jason notices that Jenny now has curves, in places where young ladies naturally form curves, and he finds these curves pleasing to the eye.
Jenny laughs again. “Jason, you’re a goof. A cute one, but still a goof. Yeah, I’m filling out all right,” she pokes his stomach, “and apparently so are you.” After giggling for a moment, she places a hand on Jason’s knee, which jump starts the butterflies again. “When was the last time we saw one another? Sixth grade? Seventh grade?”
“I don’t know, but it’s been a while.” Jason remembers Jenny from their grade school days. They were good friends back then. And he remembers her being a twig.
Since coming to junior high school, they haven’t shared any classes, and so he hasn’t seen her in quite some time. The difference in her appearance has thrown him for a loop. And he likes what he sees.
“We’ve known each other since kindergarten,” Jenny says, “and I remember the first day of school…that one kid, Ty, Cy, Guy, whatever his name was, he wet his pants, poor thing, and his mother had to come pick him up and take him home. And you were a funny little kid then. I remember playing hopscotch with you and when you jumped, it reminded me of a frog. We had to bring our blankets and take a nap in the afternoon and you and I would never close our eyes, well, only when the teacher would walk by. And in first grade we learned how to read, ‘see Dick run and see Spot chase Puff,’ and I think the reading book was called ‘Friends and Neighbors,’ and…”
While Jenny rambles on, Jason gazes into her eyes and listens. Peering into her soft, light blue eyes creates an anxious sensation within him. Those butterflies again. He wonders if love at first sight really exists. If it does, he now knows what it feels like. While he stares, he imagines diving into and forever floating within her limpid blue pools.
Jenny’s monologue has moved from kindergarten, through the first grade, and now she reminisces about the second grade. While she pontificates, Jason focuses on her mouth while she speaks. Her top lip, pleasingly plump, has a cute little pouty configuration that seems to invite him in for a kiss. Or a nibble. But not here in the gym.
Watching her lips move, stirs that same anxiousness within him. Her husky voice cracks at certain points in her speech, especially when she giggles, and it too brings on those same, electric feelings. In fact, all of Jenny electrifies Jason. Every bit of her.
Jason sees Jenny as a live wire, and he can hardly wait to be lit up. Oh, what a jolt.