Oliver by Shaina Marrie Dayon

This story is one of the April Writing Challenge entries chosen to be a featured story.

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She stared at the one and only line of a couplet scrawled on her Calculus notebook— the skeleton of a sonnet budding inside her head. Nibbling at her pen cap, her full attention was in attempting to keep the switch of her imagination on as she could barely glue her thoughts together anymore.

Cold rainwater seeps through the floorboard cracks…

The professor droned on and on about limits and whatsoever, his voice a monotonous nuisance in the background. She looked up to see him scribbling graphs and numbers on the whiteboard with half of the class sleeping on their desks. Oliver tapped her pen furiously against the table in agitation.

She couldn’t take it any longer: her hand shot up in the air.

“Excuse me, professor,” she said in a clear voice, despite her nerves.

“Yes, miss, uh…”

Oliver rolled her eyes. “Can I please go to the clinic? I don’t think I’m feeling well,” she replied, ignoring the fact that he does not actually care. Her eyes scanned the room and landed on one pair of gray eyes. Noah’s stormy eyes looked at her curiously. She swore he was about to smile.

“Yes, sure…” the old man said as he waved her off and turned back to the board. She nodded, packed up her things, and left the room gratefully. At the door, she looked back one more time at Noah, only to see him smiling at her. Oliver willed her legs to drag her away before her cheeks could burn red enough for her to wish the ground to swallow her.

She hurried past lockers and ongoing classes down the beige colored hallways, her sneakers squeaking against the tiles. The thing that beat inside her chest was thumping fast, tears threatening to escape down her cheeks.

Her mind struggled to keep up with her imagination. Suddenly, she couldn’t think anymore— she barely felt anything other than the gaping numbness that seared through her chest. It was like being subjected to too much cold that it burned.

Cold rainwater seeps through the floorboard cracks, she thought once more as she slammed the door of the ladies’ room shut behind her and locked herself in one of the stalls. She was breathing hard now. Hot fat tears tumbled down her blotted cheeks, sobs coming out of her like a rhythm. Her legs gave out and she sank down onto the tiled floor.

This was the third time it happened to her, an episode. The episode  usually lasted for fifteen minutes, but it didn’t seem to subside now. She fumbled for her phone and found her mom’s number.

“Mom? I…” she said in between sobs as her mother picked up on the fifth ring. Concern rose in her mother’s voice as she asked what was wrong.

“You’ve… got to pick… me up. Right now…. Please, Mom. I don’t know… what’s wrong with me,” she choked out. “I’ll be there in ten, honey. Just hold on.”

Hurry, she prayed silently— her mouth couldn’t form the words anymore. Her breath came in short and quick sobs. Her stubbornness kept her from standing up and going to the nurse’s office. She plugged in her earphones and waited for her mother to pick her up.

Her clothes clung to her as sweat beaded on her skin, mixed with tears that kept falling down her face. The world melted away as the music grew louder. Song after song, she tried to calm down— tried to finish the line that swam in her consciousness.

Cold rainwater seeps through the floorboard cracks

She ran to her mother’s arms when she finally arrived. Oliver let her mother drag her away from the school and into the car, the woman’s fingers running through her daughter’s hair— whispering comfort words to the young lady. Before Oliver could close the car door, she turned her eyes one more time at the stone building and saw at the back of her mind the ghost of gray eyes and a warm smile.

Given time, a bright wild flower blossoms.

The couplet finished itself in her head as she got in the car and let herself be taken care of.

 

 

 

Shaina Marrie Dayon
17
Philippines
Germ Magazine guest author
… is a contributing guest author for Germ, which means the following criteria (and then some) have been met: possessor of a fresh, original voice; creator of fresh, original content; genius storyteller; superlative speller; fantastic dancer; expert joke teller; handy with a toolbox; brilliant at parties; loves us as much as we love them.

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