“crushed like a rose”

She was the most beautiful thing ever, that girl.

What a stupid word, ‘beautiful’.

Her eyes were deep and brown.

Her hair was a bright and rich blonde, and it changed daily

straight and feathery and soft as sin on one day

lush, chipper curls the next.

Her skin was a crisp tan.

Her teeth were white and straight, and when she smiled deep dimples bloomed in her cheeks.

I noticed the way her pink sweater came to a halt just an inch above her white belt, hinting at a luscious slice of belly.

She was, in every ridiculous sense of the word, perfect.

And by complete and utterly cruel circumstance, I got to dance with her.

I reached out one shaking hand and placed it on her hip, feeling her shift under her jeans, under her panties.

She took my left hand lightly in delicate fingers

with small pink, carefully clipped nails.

Her hand was warm and smooth.

She draped her left arm over my shoulder — not encircling my neck with her elbow the way a couple would, but just letting it hang there like she was leaning on a tree branch.

Her skin smelled of cinnamon and sugar, her hair like April gardens.

She wouldn’t look me in the eye, and I wouldn’t look her in the eye. Her face was blank, a look of slight anxiety, or irritation. She wanted to get it over with.
She turned her head away to the side, eyes always on our instructor across the room. When we turned to dance, we would either stare down at our feet or look over our shoulders. That was fine with me. If my eyes met hers I was apt to melt into a defeated puddle of lovelorn goo.

I was shaking. I’d never been this taken before. Not even in grade school, where I crushed on a number of cute girls but never dated and never got any phone numbers. Never got up the gall to approach and ask anyone to dinner. Never made out in the back of Dad’s car. Never put on some quiet music and cuddled in a dim room in front of a rented movie.

We did a slow waltz, surrounded by other couples all chattering to each other about how they didn’t know what they were doing. Girls would glance coyly up into the faces of their partners, only to snap their heads away when their gazes were met, little smiles on their lips.

She refused to look at me, her eyes on the floor, on her feet, down past the faded jeans that hugged her long, slim legs. We said nothing, only shuffled slowly on the tile surrounded by other dancers. I worried my breath stank.

I wrote shitty poetry about her. I listened to the Goo Goo Dolls and Coldplay and thought about her. I visited her facebook profile daily, cursing myself for a stalker but unable to click back or break my stare.

When she walked into the room the first day of class every guy turned his head, not even bothering to hide it. She didn’t flinch. She was used to it. All the girls seemed to shrivel bitterly in their seats. “Who the hell does she think she is, looking that good?” they said with their eyes.

When she gave presentations in class she was wooden and prone to stuttering, not nearly graceful or articulate at all. She made terrible aside jokes that the guys laughed at no matter what. The other girls snickered to each other.

We did our awkward shuffle, I tried not to breathe in her face, the song ended and she let go of me and I let go of her and that was the only time we really interacted with each other.

Everything is a work in progress.

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