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It started with a locker and a boy who knew all about the French Revolution.

It started with an overconfident girl who’d read too many young adult novels where love is always reciprocated and who had not yet cultivated a healthy fear of rejection.

It started with Valentine’s Day, which was on the only day she had first period study hall. It was the fates trying to intervene, she decided.

She decided that he probably liked her just as much as she liked him, and it was only awkwardness that stopped him from asking her out. (It wasn’t.)

She decided that maybe what needed to happen was she give him a sign, but a sign that didn’t put herself too much at risk. An anonymous sign.

With chocolates attached.

And a business card to her karate studio, because that would give them an opportunity to spend time together. And then he could figure out the sender, and it would be a mystery.

On the off chance he knew her handwriting, she wrote with her left hand.

It was just like the plot of one of her books.

And she slipped out of study hall to “put something in her locker,” but she put a white envelope in his locker instead.

She thought she was clever, because she came back to study hall with her math binder in her hands to cover up her actions. But his best friend looked at her skeptically and asked her what she was doing.

She was sure her plan was foolproof. She repeated her cover story, and got her homework from her math binder to prove it. She spent the rest of class solving linear equations.

She’s not sure what happened after that. She saw the boy and a group of his friends clustered around his locker and assumed that she knew what they were doing. A mutual friend came up to her in the hall and whispered, “was it you?” Our heroine tried to act confused. His friends looked at her strangely as she walked into English class.

If she and the boy had ever talked, it stopped abruptly after that day.

She doesn’t remember speaking a word to him, not even asking him what the homework was, not even when he moved to another state for his family’s job a month later.

She doesn’t remember admitting that she did anything, not even when a girl on his bus recounted the whole affair in sordid detail from his side at play rehearsal one day, ending with, “he ate the chocolates, even though he knew it was you.”

She knows she never spoke a word to him when he moved back to her school years later. She always thought about re-introducing herself and maybe apologizing for any awkwardness she caused, but at first he wouldn’t look at her, and then the opportunity passed by. She sees him at his lunch table when she asks some of their mutual friends about a project they are working on in history or math, and he is always there, texting or playing a game on his phone.

But they are both different now, she and this boy. She has morphed from the smart, quiet girl in the back of class to one with a strong group of friends and a subject she’s passionate about. He has become an athlete, and she thinks he now likes science. Their mutual friends have stopped watching her carefully to see how she’ll react when they mention his name in passing.

She hardly thinks about him anymore. But she still freezes up when she sees the red and white business cards laid across the glass countertop at her karate studio.
About the author

Ivy Kingston is in high school in a small, suburban town in Connecticut. She uses a pen name to protect her anonymity on the internet, which she is told is a dark and scary place. She recommends that you read her blog, hallsofivy.wordpress.com. This is the first time she’s ever told this story.

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