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Sunday, June 13, 2010

An Angel of Ashes - Part 2

The first period of classes had reached its conclusion, or at least that’s what the ringing of the bell told. Freya breathed a long yawn while fixing the neck of her school sweater, then she set her elbows on her desk and rested her chin on soft palms. The psychology class had been as interesting as the tardy road from home to school due to morning traffic. Freya was already sorry without having her father remind her how late it had gotten due to so many distractions; however, it wasn’t a case of major regret either. It all came down to being a little more efficient and aware when waking up.

Freya had always been interested in how contagious were the useless frenzies and denial of tardiness. Hundreds of people traversed rivers of asphalt and traffic signs from their metal shells, wishing they could stop time whilst cursing at nobody. It was completely senseless; in fact, it was an interesting parallel to the challenge of salmon emigration, going against the current. Undoubtedly, the full gamut of consequences that came from pointless hurrying was far more irresponsible than tardiness itself. Her understanding of these matters helped her apologize to the teachers; after all, it wasn’t something that affected her class behavior and grades. She was an excellent student.

Without anything to do until the start of chemistry class, Freya twirled her finger in a lock of hair and started to drift into adolescent daydreaming. She became aware of the silly smile on her face only until Maria and Barbara, her best friends, made it known with playful rhetoric. She likewise understood that the laughter coming from the crowded classroom was not due to some prank done by the class joker, but rather due to that dreaming face of hers. Freya then shrank to the size of a rice grain, her head and neck tucking between her shoulders like a turtle’s. Even though her friends gave her the warmest of hugs, they couldn’t contain that spurt of the healthy epidemic that is laughter. Freya couldn’t hold anything against them for that.

Maria knelt on the chair in front of Freya’s desk, facing her and taking her hands between her fingers. Barbara sat behind Freya and let her fingers dance through her hair, always softly and with the utmost care. She found a single white strand in her exploration, carefully yanking it off without thinking too much about it.

“Don’t worry. To be honest, I’m kind of jealous of that smile you have.” said Maria, having to raise her voice. The classroom buzz continued.

Freya’s face drew a big question mark.

“Your face!” elaborated Maria. “It takes a lot of emotion to be like that.”

Freya tilted her head, unsure of what to say. She blushed as usual, ignoring how Barbara stared down those who still laughed, declaring the show was over with the demeanor of a lioness.

Maria laughed, turning now to Barbara.

“It won’t be that long before you become just like this.” She pointed at Freya. “What has lover boy told you?”

Maria got a strong pinch on the arm for that, to which she reacted with an interjection and further laughter. Barbara’s scared eyes went back and forth, left and right until they covered the whole classroom, hoping not to find Santos, the mature and energetic young man she had a crush on. He was nowhere to be seen, ending the incident in a sigh of relief.

The shy blonde smiled a little. She saw herself in that episode, though she was curious about Maria’s apparent apathy toward the subject. What had happened to her crush, Efrain? The only way to figure out was, of course, to ask.

Maria’s surprise at the question seemed artificial; Freya and Barbara would talk about that later.

“We have been looking for each other.” Maria rested her hands on her knees. “Everything’s going so well that we want to take things easy, just in case. We don’t want to jinx it.”

The answer was extremely irrational to Barbara and Freya. They made their opinion known.

“If you don’t take the next step, it’s probably because there’s something you’re dragging in your conscience.” joked Barbara whilst taking a handful of Freya’s hair with the intent to do a ponytail. The three of them laughed briefly.

Maria then leaned forward over Freya’s desk, making eye contact with Freya at no more than a couple inches’ distance between their faces.

“So how did you meet the guy? You’ve only told us his name, and that he’s not from school.” recalled Maria with Holmesian curiosity. Barbara meanwhile stood on the tip of her toes so that Freya could see her smiling.

Freya had every intention of flaunting her boyfriend as a trophy to perseverance, good luck and hard work, but the words got stuck in her throat. She was thankful for the patience her friends had when talking about love.

The story took off after two false starts and a bit of courage. She took a deep breath and prepared herself to tell the story of her first thriving love.

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