Inspired by Sweet Dispositon (the soundtrack to 500 Days of Summer)


The sound of tapping fills the silence again. It's somehow different than the others. Maybe it's the way her fingers tap in precision rather than in boredom, or because her nails are clipped so short that they make sounds that are sweet and hollow. Or maybe it's just because she's Rachel, and it gets harder every day to compare her to others.

The dull clack of nails against wood beats repeatedly. It articulates into an unwoven melody: Tap-tap-tap-tappidy-tap-tap. The clocks restart and I tally the results. It's the third time she has tapped her fingers against the desk. I don't know which question is more urging: why I listen, or why I count. Either way I can't seem to stop myself.

It's like the eager drill of a wood pecker, and in my mindlessness, I mimick her softly. It was a mere echo to the preceding sound, but Rachel heard. My ears perk up as Rachel shifts against the windowsill and her fingers stall against the wood. The seconds start to compile in my head.

Rachel sits alone in the desk behind me. I can't see her, but I hear her. Her every motion is filed and pressed freshly into my mind like a flower in a book. I can hear her breathing softly: sweet whispery little sighs. I count them. It takes twenty seconds and ten breaths before she starts again, but once she does, it's in a new rhythm, a new song, one I am meant to play along.

It's like an exciting new language. Like the Morse code only without any reason. It's shy and soft, like the passing of notes in the hush of class. I wonder if my fingers can tap out my reasoning, as to why I listen to her so keenly. That it wasn't just today. It was everyday. EverydayI find myself in this routine, tuning out whatever repetitious subject I am meant to learn in favor of listening to the soft sighs of just another girl.

I hope she understands, because I can't simply say it in words. I can't put it in a speech, or sing it out with pre-written songs. No, I can't possibly explain in words, just how easily I, Quinn Fabray, fell in love with a girl.

Rachel giggles and I look behind my shoulder. The girl's dark brown eyes regard me warmly before her lips spread into a secret smile. A smile just for me. It's something new, and I mark it down secretly. One. Two. Three. Oh good, I can breathe.

I return the smile sweetly, a mere echo to the warmth preceding me. But Rachel has always been that way. Overpowering, awe-inspiring, and all the same devastating. It seems that's just the way things are with people who are incomparable; she will always be more and I'll always be less. That's just how things are. But if I could have her, and somehow find words to express the indescribable, then it wouldn't matter. Because she would be mine. I'd be hers.

But for now, I'll count the seconds and tally the results. Because that's all I have of her right now. The breathy little sighs, her small movements, and our secret meaningless language.

It's sad but true. However, as Rachel softly taps her fingers against the desk and waits for my following echo, I think, well, just for right now, it will do.