Truth be told, the story is about a lot of things.
It's not a story about how one night can change everything. It's Ivy Singer's story through her own eyes and through the eyes of her best friend Travis. Falling in love. Believing in magic. Truths and tragedies. The story revolves around her, yes. But what the story really is about how the loss of one seemingly minor detail in her life could - did - change everything.
I was holding my books as I walked home. And there he was. I watched him as he tried to pick up all of his things in the middle of the sidewalk. Papers were flying around him. I walked towards him. My heart was pounding and my head felt like it was swelling.
What am I going to do now?
I was just about to pass him when my feet stopped. I took an involuntary turn to face him and the words burst out of my mouth: “Need some help?”
He stared at me. I looked away. So he didn’t want any help, especially none from me. I started to walk away, broken.
I looked back.
“Sorry. I was a bit shocked you asked to help. I thought you were gonna pass me by,” he tried to explain.
I turned around. I felt my heart again. So I wasn’t dead. And he was talking to me. I couldn't even think straight. Is this a dream? Is this a dream? Is this a dream?
“Everyone else did so I thought you would, too,” he continued.
“You do need my help, then?” I asked.
“Yes,” he replied, smiling awkwardly.
I kneeled down beside him and started picking up his things. I let my hair cover my face. I didn’t want him to see me. It felt strange having him this close.
“Thanks,” he said. “I’m Spencer, by the way.”
I know. I couldn’t respond. I kept thinking of ways of talking to him as humanly possible.
“So, do you have a name?” he asked me.
“Uh, Ivy,” I said in a shaky voice.
“As in the plant?” He sounded amused but I was still busy hiding behind my hair to see.
“What? Oh. Yeah, that’s it,” I said.
“Cool,” he said.
He found my name cool.
“Thanks. Spencer’s a cool name, too,” I said, feeling foolish
“Not really - "
He paused. I could feel him staring. Then I felt his hand brush against my face as he tucked my hair behind my ear. I stared at him, frozen. He half-smiled at me shyly. I got lost in his olive green eyes and my heart was racing. This was why I hid my face in the first place.
“What was that for?” I asked him. I sounded annoyed. I wasn’t. I was messed up. The words I wanted to say to him would’ve expressed the opposite emotion. But I sounded cold.
“Oh,” he said. “I’m sorry. It just felt wrong talking to you and not seeing your face.”
I smiled a real smile.
“Thanks,” I managed to blurt out. He stared at me.
Then I started picking up his books again. I wanted to go. Then my bag spilled out its contents on the pavement. My doodles were everywhere. I closed my eyes in silent relief. His name wasn’t anywhere.
I saw him picking up a sketch of his face. I gulped.
“Your sketches look familiar,” he said.
“Uh,” was all I could say.
“Hey, aren’t you the school paper’s illustrator?” he asked. “Ivy Singer?”
So he didn’t realize the sketch was actually him?
I could've laughed in relief. “That’s me.”
“Really cool,” he said, picking up more of my things.
I nodded in appreciation. I started to put my focus back to picking up all that was spilled on the ground, including his stuff. I picked them a bit faster. I couldn’t stand it, having him this close and not being able to hold him.
“There.” I stood up. "All done"
He stood up.
“Here,” he said, handing me my stuff as I handed him his.
“Thanks,” we said in unison.
I stared at him.
“So where do you live?” he asked, swaying a bit as he stole glances at his skateboard. “I think I’ve seen you around here.”
I looked around. Where was ‘here’? I could’ve been in some alternate reality and I wouldn’t have cared.
“I live a few blocks from here, Cherry Street,” I said.
“I live near there,” he said.
“So, uh,” he said. I knew what was coming next. I wanted to run. “I can walk you home. If you don’t mind, that is.”
Echoes of his voice were in my head. I felt light-headed.
“No,” I said impulsively.
He looked a bit taken aback. “Oh, alright then.”
I wanted to hit myself. “Sorry. I meant ‘no’ as in ‘no, I don’t mind’.”
“No as in ‘yes’?” he said, laughing. “Oh, I get it.”
“Come on, then,” he said, urging me forward with a smile.
“What about your skateboard?” I asked. What did I expect; that he would suddenly go skating off? I guess I did hope for that, anything to stop myself from feeling like I could explode any second.
“I don’t mind carrying it,” he said. He took a step forward and we started walking.
I couldn’t breathe properly. As I felt his arm brushing occasionally against mine, I tried to recall what I did today. He seemed so impossible to reach when I was watching him across the field earlier. So, to have him beside me now, I must have done something right. I spent the entirety of my life longing for Spencer since the day he moved in to this town, back when I was 14 and still very much alive. Now, I was very much dying. Was that it? Some kind of consolation from the heavens?
He cleared his throat. I looked ahead. We had two more blocks.
“So, Ivy, music or movies?” he attempted at small talk.
“Music, definitely.” I said, smiling.
“Movies,” he replied. “My grandfather’s a director.”
“That’s cool,” I said. We went into awkward silence once again.
“Your turn,” he announced. “Any random questions?”
“Okay. Any webhead addictions?” I asked. Then I realized how infinitely lame that question was.
He didn't seem to mind. “Chatting, I guess. Yahoo! Messenger,” he said. “Do you have an account?”
“Yeah, why?” I said, my voice an octave higher.
“Contact list expansion,” he said, smiling. “Add-er or add-ee?”
“Whichever’s the one who adds,” I said foolishly, hating my self more and more every second.
“Okay.” He took a pen out of his pocket.
My heart stopped the moment we stopped walking and he grabbed my hand. He started writing on my palm. I felt his breath on my skin. My head felt like it was going to explode. I couldn’t take it. All my defenses were gone.
“There,” he said, letting go.
I looked at my palm.
We started walking again, more awkward than before. I kept my head down.
“Cherry Street, here we are,” he said.
I looked up. We were at the corner of Cherry Street. This was my stop. He lived at the next street. Maybe he could just drop me off here.
“Okay, I’ll see you around, then.” I said.
“I said I’ll walk you home, right?”
I’ve let myself go farther than I would have normally let myself. I couldn’t handle anymore of my overflowing emotions. “No, that’s okay.”
“Really. I don’t mind. I’ve gotta go this way anyway.”
“But you live in the next street,” I said without thinking.
“Y-yeah. How’d you know?” he asked.
I sounded like a stalker. “Uh, I think I’ve seen you skate by once.”
“Oh. Well, I have to pass by Nicole’s house,” he said, blushing. “My girlfriend.”
Well, this is embarrassing. Not to mention, it really hurts.
I started walking. I was just something on-the-way. I didn’t mind. It was just that, well… I hoped.
“Well, this is my house,” I said, stopping in front of a big burgundy and brown house.
“Cool house,” he said.
“Yeah, thanks,” I said. "Dad went overboard with all the details when they were building the house. I think he would've died if it was anything less than perfect."
I made him smile.
“Goodbye, then,” he said. “It was nice meeting you, Ivy.”
“You too,” I said. “Bye.”
I started making my way towards the front door. I looked back and he was still there. He smiled at me. I tried to smile back.
What is he waiting for?
I walked and reached my door. I looked back and saw him walking away. I entered the house. I waited to hear any sign of my Dad or our maid, but no one was home.
I leaned against the door.I breathed deeply. I remembered his smile. I found peace in that smile that I have never had before.