Saturday, March 20, 2010


Neck - 364 words

Mary Ann Loo

Justin knew she was beautiful the moment she walked into the History classroom, even though no other heads turned. She took the seat directly in front of him, smiling shyly as their eyes met, but he quickly averted his gaze, pretending to still be interested in his buddies’ conversation about last night’s football game. She wore her straight dark hair in a high ponytail, and as she settled in her chair, he noticed the freckles on the back of her neck, which appeared to form a stylized “J”. He was intrigued, even though she clearly was the complete opposite of the modelesque, busty, and fashionable blondes or redheads he’d dated every other week.

Lisa. He didn’t know why but her name reverberated through his entire being the second it escaped her lips. The entire class period flew by as he busied himself with the pictures those freckles painted – their first hellos, their first date, the first time their hands touched, their first kiss… scenes of their life together – and he hadn’t even returned that sweet sweet smile. No, it couldn’t be. The quarterback on the school team had a reputation to uphold, and plain quiet forgettable Lisa was in every way a misfit.

So twice a week he sat behind her silently, eyeing those freckles, musing about the mysteries they seemed to contain. Everyone was oblivious to his secret fascination, and even though he wasn’t in a hurry to confess it, his fingers wanted so much to trace the patterns on the back of her neck, to feel the magic hidden there, to know every inch of her. She hardly spoke in class, unless called upon by Mr. Benton, and her contributions to the discussion were always articulated, confident, and demonstrated her quiet passion for the subject. As a straight-C student, he realized the perfect excuse to connect with her, without breaking the natural order of high school society.

Four more classes went by; for the first time since middle school, this cocky, self-absorbed ladies’ guy struggled with the words that changed his life forever: “Hey, Lisa. Um… I was, um… wondering if you’d… uh… help me study for… um… that test next week…”

Poison & Wine - The Civil Wars

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