No. 2 Pencils Rock

Lindsay was a sophomore in high school, and a model student. Her friends admired her for her dedication and hard-work. She was always on time when the bell rang for first period at 7:55 a.m., her homework was always complete, and it was out of the norm if she didn’t raise her hand to answer a question. She maintained this pace in every single class, every single day, of every single week that school was in session. It was nothing short of amazing for anyone who took the time to notice.

Alex, who had English class with Lindsay, noticed. He sat in the back of the room, and would always give the occasional glance her way. He was the only student, probably in the entire high school, who refused to adopt a mechanical pencil. His father is a carpenter and Alex grew up seeing his father use carpenter pencils. Alex was fascinated with their rectangular shape, and loved whipping out his Swiss Army Knife to sharpen it. Of course, he couldn’t bring his knife to school. It’s too bad schools don’t have a rectangular pencil sharpener, he thought – maybe he would invent one. These days he just resorted to using the good ole No. 2 pencil. Besides, he had more than one reason these days to continue his use of the classic wooden pencil, and not be like everyone else with their plastic pencils constantly having to click away because the flimsy lead would inevitably snap under pressure.

Lucky for him, Lindsay was located right next to the pencil sharpener, and Alex found himself purposely breaking the lead of his own pencil these days – anything to get a closer glimpse of Lindsay. Alex would swipe his long hair to the side, so it fell down past his ear – right ear, never the left. His right side was by far his best profile, and he would purposely take the longer route to be sure that Lindsay was getting the best view. He would somehow walk as if he was moving with a purpose, but at the same time barely moving at all. It was truly an art to see his strut in action. He perfected the craft of observing her as he walked by. Never in a creepy way. He was just intrigued by her outfits. She didn’t dress like the other girls. If she wore a dress, it always hung down to her ankles. She wore tight jeans, but she would usually have a long shirt or jacket on, so she didn’t reveal what every guy desperately wanted to see. Her shirts were not tight or baggy, they fit just right, never showing any cleavage or too much skin. Her left arm was colorful like the rainbow, with an array of bracelets on them. He was able to make out “S1TK” on the bracelets. He later looked it up online and saw that it was a Christian concept that stood for seek first the kingdom. That made a lot of sense to him, given how modest she was in dress and how she always treated others with compassion.

On one occasion, Lindsay looked up and spoke to him. It was the greatest day of his life, and the most humiliating. As usual, he was putting on his best strut ever as he glided past her desk. Just then, she looked up quickly and Alex stopped. In his mind, she was finally going to say something to him. After all these long months of endless strutting, she had broken down and was ready to confess her love for him. She started to wave her hand, and these harmonious words ushered forth from her beautiful lips (so plump), and her perfect white teeth (ah! Crest and all its capabilities): “Could you please move? I can’t see the board.” Her words fell on deaf ears because at this moment Alex was in another world. Her hair was flapping in the wind, everything around her was a blur, her lips pulled back to reveal a smile meant only for him, as she slowly winked. His voice could barely be heard as he managed to say, “Sure. Anything for you.” Her eyes squinted at him, as she slightly cocked her head to one side. “Are you ok?” she said, almost like a concerned mother. Instantly he returned to earth, felt all the blood rush to his face, and managed to nod as he scurried back to his desk.

He glanced around to see if anyone else noticed his embarrassment that sent him tail-tucked and red-faced back to his safe zone. So far so good. Everyone seemed to be copying the notes on the board like good little students. Oh shoot. Derrick in the back corner – the class clown. He wore a stripped t-shirt and jeans that fit like skin. He was sneering at him, while repeatedly mouthing the words “loser” as he pointed right at him. Alex quickly turned his head down to his own paper to begin taking notes. He figured if sticking your head in the sand worked for an Ostrich, then surely it would work here. He peeked up at the board, and started to scribble when he realized he did not complete the task of sharpening his pencil. His embarrassment sent him in a quick flight back to his desk, and now, here he sat with no way to take notes.

“This is freakin’ awesome” he thought to himself.

He glanced over at Tammy who was going back and forth between taking notes and chuckling over something that she was drawing. Tammy was a unique one. Her hair was always dyed some color or a combination of different colors that seemed to all come together in this perfect art that was mashed together in a knot above her head that hung down to one side. You could never tell if she washed it or not. It looked as if she just pulled her hair up the moment she woke up. Either way, it seemed to work for her. Alex didn’t want to do what he was about to, but he had no choice.

He leaned over and whispered, “Can I borrow a pencil?” She stopped everything she was doing, and froze from the neck down as her head slowly turned to make eye contact with him. He was a little weirded out by this; it had exorcist written all over it. She slowly made a scrunched up face, and the words that followed mimicked like she was talking to a puppy. “Aww, did Lindsay scare you away?” Blood rushed back to his cheeks. Her left arm slowly reached into her backpack and pulled out a plastic contraption. Displaying no emotion, she said, “Welcome to the twenty-first century,” as she slapped it into his open hand. Alex returned an obviously fake smile and cringed as the plastic touched his palm. He slowly clicked the top. The sound of each click caused his face to show physical signs of pain to anyone who may be watching. He felt as if he was betraying his own father, and everything he ever worked for. Finally, after a couple shakes and some more clicks, a tiny piece of lead poked its head out from the bottom. He placed lead to paper, only to have it snap violently as he applied the slightest pressure to his notebook.

“This is freakin’ awesome,” he thought to himself.


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