Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Girl Sitting On The Wall Outside The Fine Arts Building

Had he only spoken to her.  

The girl who, for virtually the entire semester, had been there every day when he left Fine Arts for the short walk to the dining hall.  That girl.  The one who smiled at him - not once, but three times, this year.  He didn't know her name, and neither did his friends.  It was concluded that she must have been a transfer from another college, as she did not look young enough to be a freshman.  She had fair skin and freckles, startling gold-flecked blue eyes, and a smile that seemed to contain a hundred teeth.  Her hair was the kind of fiery red that girls without it would pay a king's ransom to have, and which girls with it seemed to hate.

Most days, she had two or three girlfriends hanging around, but not today.  Today, the second-to-last day of classes, before next week's final exams, she was alone.  She was sitting atop the short brick wall, smoking and tapping her dangling feet to unheard music.  She wore torn jeans (possibly ironically-torn) and a Waterboys t-shirt, which strained slightly to fit itself around her, for she was not one of those stick-figure girls who seemed to ever rule the campus.

Had he spoken to her, he would have tried to open with something about how he liked the Waterboys, and had just bought "Fisherman's Blues," but how he didn't like it nearly as much as their earlier work.  If that failed to send her fleeing in search of someone - anyone - else to talk to, he would have added that his favorite Waterboys song was either "A Church Not Made With Hands," or "A Pagan Place."  Beyond that, he had no plan.

When he saw her, she was already looking at him, and he could have sworn that smile number four was being offered in his direction.  That's it, he thought, I have to talk to this girl, before I graduate and never see her again - or some frat boy swoops in and takes her away in his golden Camaro.  He picked his way through the fast-moving cross-traffic that funneled through this intersection of red-brick campus walkways, mentally reviewing his Waterboys opener.  About halfway across, he looked up to see that a couple of the girl's friends had joined her.  

He swallowed his rehearsed lines, turned right, and headed toward the dining hall, rationalizing that he'd have one more chance before finals.  She peeked around her friends, disappointed.  Again.

Had he only spoken to her, he would have found his insights into that obscure t-shirt band to be a well-received ice-breaker.  He would have learned that her name was Erin.  Each would have quickly learned the other's year, major, residence hall address, hometown etc..  A date would have been efficiently arranged, almost without either party officially asking.  She had been looking forward to this conversation since January, and now there was only going to be one more chance to make it happen.  Apparently, starting it was to be her responsibility.  

Two days later, the girl with the hair like a sunrise wasn't sitting on the short wall outside the Fine Arts building.

Had he only spoken to her, she would not have had to be the first to speak.  She was on the near side of the brick-lined confluence of walkways, smiling directly at him as he emerged into the noonday sun.

"Hey," she said.

This one comes in response to another STUDIO 30-PLUS writing prompt.  This time, my friends chose a fragment of one of my own posts, so I had to reuse "Her hair was the kind of fiery red" in a new post.  Kinda weird, but I enjoyed it.  Hope you did, too!


  1. Oh god I so needed a happy story right now. Thanks Joe. Thanks for chiming in, even if it was a tad bit last minute entry.

    1. My work here is done. Glad you enjoyed it. This week, I'll try to get something posted before Walking Dead time on Sunday night!