darby tried to focus. breathe… normally. just in and then out. it didn’t work. these nerves were getting the best of her, and all she could notice was how loud her heart was beating. or maybe… it was just her. they had always described it in books and movies, where the quirky female protagonist narrates how everyone can just hear your heartbeats. you’ve done this for your entire life. how is it that you can’t do what anyone can do at this moment? she tried to concentrate on the boots of the kids in front of her. she thought about how they all resembled each other, wearing sweaters in such similar shades of gray that they may as well had been picking shirts off of color swatches. her eyes wandered to their pants, how expensive they must be just for the name of the brand. and how their furry boots looked at most, comfortable, alone, but almost aggressive together, their various heights and (again) similar shades to almost prove their friendship. she looked at xavier’s new haircut, and for a second was so shocked by how spiky it was, wondering how much gel could possibly be in the few inches on his head. and this worked… for a second. and then, she made eye contact. just for a split second- she couldn’t help it. and she decided that she couldn’t decide what colour his eyes were, because that would involve staring at the top of his face for more than the biweekly glances she always stole. her spanish teacher opened up the heavy wooden door, accidentally slamming it onto the unevenly textured walls. and this surprised darby enough to avoid walking into xavier and his nearly lethal hair, both of whom had stopped to avoid colliding with the freshmen who talked like this as if they were neighbourhood women gossiping in the 50’s about how lena from the end of the block got pregnant and they just knew that it wasn’t harold’s. switch their monochrome outfits and they may as well have been part of a gardening club. he looked away awkwardly, and almost immediately looked forward again as if she hadn’t glanced up at him. but he was too determined, and darby knew that he had seen her. so with one turn, she walked into her spanish room for fourth period and tried to shake off the discomfort of that non encounter.