I walked out into the courtyard; it was a perfectly sunny Swedish springtime day. I took a glance around, conscious of the fact that I was in Gymnasium – conscious that we were all teenagers and therefore I needed to exude cool. Especially if he happened to be outside. My glance around was an effort to scan over by the benches he and his friends usually hung out by, while still maintaining the illusion that I wasn’t looking for him.
A quick sweep, ah, there he is. My heart did a little jump, but I maintained my focus not to give myself away as I kept my eyes moving and settled on another group of friends milling around under the tree. I turned right, instead of left, to join this group of friends. I hoped deep down he noticed me, as well as noticed that I didn’t come to him first. He didn’t need that ego boost.
As my friends started to filter away, back to classes as they started, I walked over to Dan as if he were an afterthought. He sat on top of the back of the bench with his best friends and a few other friends from his group milling around. He wore scruffy pants and combat style boots, a basic T-shirt under a tattered trench coat. His feet on the seat of the bench, his legs open – If I wanted to sit, I’d have to sit between his legs (or, well any of their legs really.)
“Hey guys, what’s up?” I asked, once again purposely not directing my query at Dan himself.
“Hey Emma,” I received in response. A couple people said “Not much” or “Nothing.” As I got closer I could smell the cigarettes waft up to my nose and I breathed in the fresh tobacco smoke. I loved the smell of cigarette smoke on a spring day. It’s hard to determine if my attraction was the smell itself, or the association with him.
“Got a cigarette?” JD asked me. “I just ran out,” he said as he showed me the empty packet and then flicked it into the trash. “I don’t have time to go to the store before class… hit you up later?”
“Sure,” I told him. I knew he was good for it, but didn’t really care either way. I’d bummed enough from them in my time. I handed him one and he lit it – a fresh puff of smoke from a fresh cigarette swirling and joining the air. Then he held out his lighter to light mine as I leaned in.
JD had these amazing eyes – ice blue with a streak of rust arching across from the pupil to the bottom of his iris, as if his pupil was a shooting star. His irises also consisted of masses of tiny circles instead of the average lines one usually sees in eyes. They fascinated me every time I saw him, but I did not let on my interest as a leaned in towards him. I had already let out an exclamation of surprise the first time I noticed them and had a brief discussion with him about them then. That was that.
Camel lit, I sat between Dan’s legs, resting my cigarette hand over his knee when not inhaling.
Usually, I would just sit and listen to whatever conversation they were having before I got there. Joining in once and awhile – but mostly just listening as they discussed music or trips they had had. Drug trips that is.
JD told us about when he and Steve went to Amsterdam just recently and a weird experience he had while high on Amphetamines, he described the way reality appeared to him and talked about a guy he met in an alley way – how he looked and what the interaction was, though he wasn’t sure the person ever actually existed outside of his mind. Well, it all sounded weird to me anyway – Dan and Steve understood and thought the story was cool, because they both did Amphetamines too.
After a short while, the boys hopped down off the benches with ease to head to class… except Dan. He asked me if I wanted to go up to the lounge room for a bit. Usually used as a study space, the lounge room was a sizeable room on the 3rd floor that had couches and tables and chairs. I knew I had a class about to start – but Dan and I were doing well today, and my God, when that boy smiled… So I agreed and we picked up our bags and headed into the building together.
Under the pre-tense of study, we’d make our way to the lounge room where I would sit on the couch while Dan laid out with his head in my lap. I’d run my fingers through his hair – on his head, maybe on his chest – as we talk about inconsequential things. I’d run my fingers along his face, stroking the lines around his features as he closes his eyes and grunts in approval.
Once in awhile someone we’d know might come in and have a chat with one or both of us as we remain in our comfort spot. After about an hour, I would moan about my next class being about to start.
“Do you have to go?” He’d ask me as he lifts his head and looks back at me.
“Nah… No, it’ll be ok if I skip this one.” I’d respond as he lays his head back into my lap, my hand going back to twirling his hair in my fingers.