Don't Hide it Forever
An unusual silence had taken hold of the school's hallways as Cindy walked down them. It just so happened that her eighth period class was on the other side of the school from her locker, and she had to enjoy a nice, quiet, five-minute walk to get her things and go home. Not like she was in a hurry. Yes, it was Christmas Vacation, and yes, most sane students would be as far away from the school as possible at the moment, even the insane ones. Even the teachers had hightailed it out of there, eager to grab a cappuccino from a far, far away Starbucks. Cindy guessed she was the only one within a mile of the school on that cold, snowy winter afternoon.
But she liked the lack of noise for once in her life. Besides, it gave her time to think. It was only a week ago when Jimmy began laying on the jokes, hard. She had never been hurt so much by his pranks before, but now, for some reason, they went to her head. She couldn't blame him though, considering all the times she'd humiliated him before. Perhaps it was just payback. Well-deserved payback, she reminded herself.
But that wasn't the only thing that was bothering her, or at least, that wasn't the whole of it. Jimmy had started humiliating her a week ago, but two days before the current, he'd stopped. A simple question poured from her brain at this; why? Five days of mortification could never add up to the years of torture Cindy had put him through. So, why?
She found herself absently turning the dial on her locker to fit her combination, and sighed heavily at the still unanswered question. Grabbing her backpack, filled with a pencil, a thin binder, and a book she was reading, she closed her locker. She turned towards the school doors, which were right down the hallway, only to smash right into another person. Both fell down from the unexpected impact.
Cindy rubbed her sore back. "Sorry, I didn't... NEUTRON! Watch where you're going, will you?"
"Sorry, Vortex," he said, getting up. "I didn't see you there." He smiled, dusted off his pants, and offered her a hand. Cindy grumbled under her breath before taking the offered hand and being gently pulled to her feet.
"Thanks," she said, rather quickly. "But what are you doing here?"
"I could ask the same to you," he said, grinning. Cindy gave him a sour face. He was still grinning as he pulled out a folded piece of paper. "I guess I'm here to apologize to someone. I've been pretty mean lately, and I realized that the only reason I was being mean was because I was hiding something from myself." He waved the paper in front of him. "I'm hoping this will clear everything up." Cindy raised an eyebrow. Who else was Neutron being mean to?
"Everyone's gone," she said. "How is this person going to get the note? Or are you planning to make up with this person after Christmas vacation?" She placed her hands on her hips. "Who is 'this person, 'anyway?" Jimmy's grin faded as he walked past Cindy, and slipped the note into her locker. Cindy's eyes widened at her own stupidity. Jimmy gave her another smile, then turned and left the building, the big doors swinging shut behind him.
Cindy stood still, momentarily stunned. Then, slowly, she turned the dial to her combination one more time, picking up the note that lay inside.
About a week ago, I determined it wasn't fair, the way you've been treating me over the past years. It hurt to be affronted every day of my life. So I decided it was time I start insulting you. And I enjoyed it... for the first few days. But then, I felt bad. It just didn't seem justifiable for me to treat you badly. And then, about two days ago, I realized what I was hiding from myself. I realized that... I like you. As more than a friend.
So I stopped hurting you. I know you probably can't return my feelings, and I don't expect you to. Heck, you might even use it as blackmail. But I just thought I'd let you know. Merry Christmas, Cindy, and a happy New Year.
Cindy's eyes widened in surprise and she almost dropped the note in her hands. Jimmy liked her? Impossible. But as she read the note over again, she became convinced.
"Hah," she laughed weakly. "So that's why he stopped tormenting me..." She suddenly wished he didn't leave, for the hallway became very cold.
She burst out of the school's entrance, Jimmy's note still in her hand. Running down the sidewalk, she spotted him only a block away from the school.
"J-Jimmy!" she called. "Jimmy, wait up!" He stopped and turned, surprise registering in his eyes. Cindy stopped as soon she reached him, her breath curling off into the sky within the cold air. She found herself speechless, staring into his questioning eyes.
"I'm sorry," she finally breathed. "I'm sorry for everything I've ever done to you. I don't blame you for trying to get back at me... and... and I like you too..." She averted her eyes, embarrassed and kind of confused. When no response came she looked up, and found... no one. She looked to the left and right, but the entire area was void of people other than herself.
No footprints other than her own were in the fresh-fallen snow. Cindy stared at her hand where she was positive a partially crumbled piece of paper had just been a few seconds ago. She was completely alone. Taking one last look around, she turned to retrieve her backpack from where she'd dropped it when Jimmy bumped into... when she fell. As the school reappeared in the distance, she rubbed her freezing arms, trying to give them warmth; she had left her jacket inside.
A few minutes later, she once again left the school with all of her belongings, sighing. Maybe she, just like the Jimmy she imagined, had been hiding something from herself. And maybe this meant it was time to tell. She couldn't, after all, hide it forever.