Sylvie(3)

By: K. Langston


“Linc,” he corrects.

Mrs. Martin gives him a warm smile. “Linc. Welcome him to the class, everyone.”

We all give our obligatory welcome as Mrs. Martin points to the empty desk next to mine. “You can follow along with Sylvie today until we can get you a textbook assigned.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

He slides into the vacant desk closest to mine, pulling a notebook from his backpack. I turn my attention back to Mrs. Martin as she continues her lesson. I don’t want to look at him, but my stupid eyes keep shifting to the left.

“Hey,” he whispers, scooting so close the tops of our desks are now touching.

“Hey.”

“I’m Linc.”

“I know.”

“And you’re Sylvie.”

My eyes shoot to his. “Figure that out on your own, did ya?”

He smiles and it’s different than the one he entered the room with. That one was full of confidence mixed with a smidgen of arrogance.

This one is brimming with curiosity.

Reaching for my textbook, he pulls it closer to the center of our joined desks. “Where are we?”

With my index finger, I point to the problem Mrs. Martin is currently working out on the board.

But he doesn’t look at the problem.

He touches my wrist.

Electricity zings through my body, discovering nerves I never even knew existed.

“I like your bracelets.” His voice is barely a whisper as his fingers move to inspect several woven bracelets lining my arm. The friendship bracelets are something my best friend, Rachel, and I like to do when we’re bored.

We’re bored a lot.

“Thank you,” I whisper.

“Does it take you long to make them?”

“Linc, no talking please,” Mrs. Martin scolds, her eyes darting back and forth between us. “Sylvie, you know better.”

I grit my teeth, quickly returning my attention to my work. I hide behind the curtain of my long, blonde hair, my cheeks burning with embarrassment and something else I don’t quite understand. This stupid boy has been sitting next to me for less than five minutes and I’ve already been in trouble.

I ignore him. Refuse to acknowledge him. That is until a piece of notebook paper is placed in front of me.

I’m sorry.

It proclaims in scribbly, stupid boy handwriting.

Okay.

I write back.

Don’t be mad.

Okay.

Can we be friends?

No.

Why not?

Because.

Because why?

Please leave me alone. I’m trying to learn.

Me too.

Then leave me alone.

Not until you agree to be my friend.

Fine, I’m your friend. Now leave me alone, bully!

He flips the sheet of paper over now that most of the front is filled with our hasty scribbles.

I’m not a bully!

You just bullied me into being your friend.

I charmed you into being my friend. There’s a difference.

Whatever.

I smile, finally lifting my eyes to his.

Who is this boy?

This sweet, happy boy with a smile as bright as the early morning sun and eyes like the green grass of late spring? He’s definitely charmed me. I’m not sure if I find that annoying or cute.

He looks away, back to our paper, and writes something else. My eyes follow his hand as he pens his final words…

Friends forever.

After I read it, he balls up the piece of paper and tucks it inside the front pocket of his backpack.

I have no idea how very true those words would be.





Past

“Linc, I’m scared,” I whine as he drags me closer to the ominous contraption.

“It’ll be fine. I’ll be with you the whole time.”

“Yeah, I don’t think that’s gonna keep me from throwin’ my guts up.” I try to tug my hand from his, fear clawing at my chest, but he only grips it tighter.

Spinning to face me, he brings his free hand to my shoulder. “Listen to me, you can do this. It’s all in your head.”

“I’ve been afraid of heights since birth. Please, let’s go ride the tilt-a-whirl or something,” I beg, trying to reason with him, but I can see it in his eyes, he’s determined, and when Linc Matthews sets his mind to something…there is no stopping him.

“No, we’re doing this, and we’re doing it together. Now quit being a baby and c’mon.”