Claude arrived as he usually did to registration - on time and on his own. He sat in his usual seat - in the corner on the side of the room which was furthest from the door, on the very back row of tables. As per usual no one sat beside him.
Soon Mr Foreman was taking the register and when he reached Claude’s name, Claude called out “Good morning,” making several people jump as he normally did because few people actually realised he was there. Oh, life was dull.
He had almost forgotten about the new kid and allowed himself to float down into the world of mental blankness he customarily visited when nothing interesting was happening and his attention wasn’t required for anything. Usually he stayed here until the end of registration period but today he was jerked out of it when a male voice suddenly called, “Hi; is this Mr Foreman’s class?”
Claude looked over in the person’s direction and stared , in a mixture of horror and amazement, at the boy who had just appeared at the door, at the boy who must be Matt.
The new boy, in Claude’s class, at Claude’s school, was the young man from Claude’s imagination. There was absolutely no doubt about it. He had the same jet black hair (albeit rather more messy and less straight than in Claude’s daydreams), the same icy blue eyes, the same sharp nose and jaw, the same thin, pale lips, and the same tall, slender figure. The only thing denoting that this was, in fact, reality was the fact that right now he was standing in the hallway of a place Claude would never have imagined him in.
How could this be happening?
“Oh, yes,” Mr Foreman replied, smiling. “Welcome, Matt. Do take a seat.”
Claude quickly masked his feelings as Matt looked around the class, interest evident in his eyes. Claude noted that, as in his imagination, Matt looked about two years older than him. What was he doing in this class?
“Come and sit with us, Matt,” called a girl named Susie who was surrounded by her girlfriends. Every girl at that table looked like she had her eye on him.
“Nah, you’re better off with us,” called Jerry, the captain of the boy’s football team. Those boys looked friendly enough but were part of the large group of people who didn’t ever ask Claude if he wanted to hang out.
Claude sighed internally. The silent, watchful presence, the guy from his dreams, was going to sit with someone else in his class - since why would he possibly want to associate with a loner? All Claude’s hopes that he would be the one to support him and be his very best friend would be shattered as if they had never meant anything to the power that had turned his imagination into reality. What had Claude been thinking, wishing that the guy would come to life? It wouldn’t change a thing. Claude would still be the loner, still be the guy with no real friends, still wonder what was wrong with him - except now he’d be worse, because now he had nothing to hold onto for comfort or to anchor him as the seas began to swell for the most terrifying storm in the history of sailing.
“Hey there. What’s your name?”
Claude was startled. He turned his head from the direction of the window he had been staring through unseeingly for the last few minutes and faced Matt.
He swallowed hard.
This couldn’t be happening... could it?
“Hi,” Claude murmured, finding his voice dry as he waited for the image of the guy of his dreams -curiously superimposed onto the space before him - to disappear.
Matt fought back a smile.
“Hi? That’s your name? Oh, never mind. May I sit here?” He gestured to the seat. Claude stared for a moment too long at his hand and looked away, blushing.
“Sure.” He swallowed again, trying to hold himself together as his world threatened to collapse from excitement. Matt was going to sit next to him! He had actually chosen him!