I sighed a long sigh. I knew that Isobel had said my name. In fact, I had a good idea of why she had said it. Then again, I really didn't care. I was used to girls talk about me all the time. Some nice comments, some not-so-nice. Regardless, I ignored them. In fact, I ignored everyone in the room. I shut them out. Isolation is what they call it.
"Hey Tom," a voice to my right said.
So much for that.
I looked over at Rhea, who was the possessor of the voice. Most people didn't like Rhea, for whatever reason. I always just thought that she was misunderstood. Then again, what did I know?
Rhea forced a smile. "What is he talking about?"
I shifted my gaze to the teacher and then back at Rhea. "No idea," I said, forcing a smile of my own.
Rhea laughed and rolled her eyes. "Figures."
I then turned my head and sunk back into isolation.
It seemed like almost immediately, the bell rang.
"Class," the teacher yelled just as everyone started to stand. "Don't forget to write your essay!"
My eyes widened. What essay? It was then that I realized that I had completely zoned out for the entire class period. Nice going, Parker.
I looked around the room desperately, trying to find someone who might know what the assignment was. Rhea was already gone. Come to think of it, I think she left before class was even over. I kept searching. My eyes fell on a girl. I didn't know her name, but she probably knew mine---not to be egocentric. Most people knew my name. Not because I was popular---I wasn't popular---but because, well, I don't know. People just knew it for some reason.
Anyway, I approached this girl as casually as I could then said, "Hey."
She looked at me. Her eyes immediately widened, but then receded. "Uhh...hi?"
I gulped. I couldn't remember the last time I had actually started a conversation with a girl. It'd been quite a few months, at least. "I'm Tom."
"I know," she said quickly.
She quickly added, "Christina. You can call me Chrissy if you want."
I nodded and smiled. Oddly enough I didn't force the smile. "Well, I kind of wasn't listening in class."
She nodded, probably not understanding.
I blinked. "What I mean is, I don't know what the assignment is. The essay thing."
Chrissy nodded, a smile suddenly appearing on her face. "Ahh, I see."
I stared at her for a second, waiting. She didn't add anything. Awkwardly I muttered, "So, what is it?"
Her eyes widened as if my words had stirred her from some day dreaming. "Oh, right, umm...sorry. I was just---well, you know---the essay, right. Uhh..." She began to dig through her backpack. She suddenly pulled out a piece of paper. "Here it is," she declared. "It's a one-thousand word paper on death and dying and how it affects people. Can you remember that?"
I jotted it down in my memory. "Yeah, thanks."
She smiled sweetly at me and then shoved the paper back into her backpack. "No problem."
Just then, it came back. That voice in my head that always tells me what to do. I hate it because it always makes me say stupid things. It did it again. I said, "Just in case I forget though, maybe I should have some way of contacting you."
That sentence must have surprised her, because she almost jumped out of her clothes. "Oh! Well, of course. Yes---well---will my cell do?"
I nodded quickly. "Of course it will. Perfect." What am I doing?!
She rummaged through her backpack again.
Suddenly, the bell rang.
"Oh shoot!" she yelled. "I gotta go. I'll catch up with you later!"
She zipped up her backpack and ran away.
I stared after her for a second and sighed. Heart, don't do this to me again, please.
"Mr. Parker," a voice said.
I turned. It was the teacher. "Yeah?"
"Get to class."