“So. Did you fail?”
Jamie stuffed the paper into her bag. All the way down, scrunched next to the leaking pickle sandwich her father had been so proud of. “And if I told you I passed?”
She didn’t know if she should be offended by the genuine surprise on Lindsay’s face. Was it possible to be smugly offended? Because she was. Very smug.
Lindsay’s milky eyes somehow managed to give her a long, blunt stare. “That’s sarcasm, right?”
“Yup.” She snapped up the clasps of her beaten bag, and grinned. “28.”
There was a breathless cough as Lindsay did one of her inhaling laughs. She covered her mouth with both hands, and the smile flooded up to her twinkling eyes. Jamie’s grin widened. “I’m sorry,” Lindsay gasped finally. “I have to ask: what exactly did you pass?”
Humming innocently, Jamie slipped her satchel over her head and freed the unruly curls that had been caught under the strap. The Mickey Mouse keychain she’d had since second grade clinked cheerfully. She’d been meaning to take it off since the first day of high school but two years later, she had yet to do so without her dad noticing and reacting like a kicked puppy. Today, it didn’t seem so embarrassing.
Lindsay tapped her cane impatiently. She was the only person who was genuinely interested in Jamie’s results. After all, she was responsible for pulling her new friend out of a history of suspensions and near-expulsion. The crumpled paper in her bag was the first exam Jamie had taken seriously all year. Still, Jamie wasn’t used to the attention and stalled by guiding Lindsay to the door.
She could have gotten away without saying anything. Lindsay wasn’t the type to press the issue. But the longer the silence dragged on, timed by the soft tapping of Lindsay’s cane, the more Jamie realised that she wanted to talk. She smacked the side of her leg, the way she used to when Preston offered her something she wanted to chicken out of. She breathed.
“Do you know what it’s like to be acknowledged for something you did right, even if it’s a crap mark? To pass everyone’s expectations of you?”
Lindsay’s expression softened. “Not the way you do,” she said. This was what Jamie appreciated most about Lindsay: her honesty.
Jamie gently raised Lindsay’s hand to her own face, letting her feel her smile. It was a little sad, a little hopeful and a little awkward. Real smiles didn’t look as pretty as movies made them seem. A lot of things in life weren’t that pretty. But Jamie was slowly learning that not all things were ugly. Some were priceless, like red pen on math equations and a warm afternoon shared between a blind rich girl and the delinquent who had finally been seen.
“It feels good.”
2 down, 98 to go. Whoo. Sooooo close :P Jamie and Lindsay came out of nowhere, but maybe I can bring them back in future themes. It’s just like me to procrastinate on side projects rather than work on my novel. Still trying to remember what it feels like to write!
100 Themes taken from here. Someone do them with me! I’ll take 5 years to finish them all at this rate.
Check out #1 Introduction here. There’s an unintentionally depressing theme going on… Oops.