March 29, 2017

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Just a Smile & a Hello

It didn’t take much for Jeremy Thomason to win her over.

Olivia Murray thought of herself so: quiet, unlikable, unwanted, unworthy, invisible. She was convinced that everyone else saw her the same exact way. Most people she met or came across met her with an almost cold civility, as if their meeting meant nothing to them, was nothing more than a necessary meeting in the course of their day filled with much more important things. Even worse were the people who walked right on by her, who didn’t acknowledge her presence, didn’t send up a greeting, didn’t ask after her well-being. They were the ones who made her think that she was invisible.

Jeremy Thomason was different. Every time he passed her, he greeted her warmly, caringly asking her how she was. Every time he greeted her, he offered her a bright smile in addition, a smile which pierced through the shell she had created to shield herself from the uncaring masses. He saw right through her and rather than seeing the persona she had created to fulfill what everyone saw, he seemed to see the real her. The her who loved to laugh. The her who thrived on people. The her who loved deeply and wanted to share in that love.

All it took for him to win her over, to gain her attentions and her affections, was a simple smile and a hello, because no one else ever paid her much attention.

When Olivia Murray fell for someone, she fell hard, and Jeremy Thomason was no different in that aspect. He was, however, different in many others. Olivia found herself feeling and thinking things about this particular young man that she couldn’t recall ever having felt or thought about anyone else. His presence made her smile. He always brightened her day, lifting her spirits to soar above the clouds. His smile warmed her very being and his laughter, an oddly lilting sound, made her want to share in his joy. His voice with its particular patterns and formations of words, phrases, sentences, drew her in. Something she couldn’t quite name attracted her to him, and yet that something was everything as well. He made her breath catch in her chest, her stomach do somersaults, her heart start a-dancing and her mind a-racing.

Had she been in a romance novel, she would have declared, “Jeremy Thomason is the love of my life! I will have no other! It must be him! It must be!”

Olivia Murray was, however, not in a romance novel. In fact, she was not even the kind of girl who normally got the guy. She was an ordinary girl, larger in appearance but not in personality than most. She cut her hair short and wore it that way for months, and most people agreed that it suited her. From time to time, she would dress up and wear makeup, but most of her days she spent fairly casual, no makeup and no fancy things, a simple hooded jacket slung around her waist or her arms or her shoulders. Often, she lost herself in fantasies and daydreams, in which she danced off to some foreign country or walked among the stars. She did not live her life grounded in reality, but sought the truth in whatever she did.

And that was what drew Jeremy Thomason to her. Her simplicity and her “selfness.” From her attitude, her posture, the way she held herself around others, he knew she didn’t always feel at ease being herself, but she still was anyway. She learned to live with it, because she could be no one else and no one else could be her. An admirable quality, really.

One day, while Jeremy Thomason walked through the university campus on his way to class, he passed by Olivia, her peppy personality shining through, an unusual sight to see. “Hey, Olivia,” he greeted her, each word filled with an earnest sweetness. “How are you today?”

“I’m doing pretty good,” she replied. A hint of hesitation shadowed her face. It was there for just a second before it disappeared. “No. That’s BS. I’m not pretty good. I’m great! How are you?” she finished off, hoping her cheeks weren’t as flaming as they felt to her.

“I’m good, thanks,” he said. His eyes never once left her face, noting every expression and micro-expression that crossed her features. For a moment, they stood in silence, each observing–or rather, experiencing–the other in his entirety. Olivia took in Jeremy, his scent, his sound, his very essence, and Jeremy took in Olivia, her stance, her status, her very being.

Olivia moved to leave, heading down the hallway to her next class, but Jeremy stopped her, his hand resting lightly on her shoulder. He felt her freeze under his touch, a comfortable rigidity, not fearful. “What’s your weekend like?” he asked. “We should go for coffee or something. I’d love to get to know you better.”

Olivia didn’t turn to face him, the smile on her face too large and too childish to share with him in their newfound connection. “Completely empty.”

“Do- do you even drink coffee?” Jeremy asked with a chuckle.

“Not at all,” she laughed. “But I’d drink it with you.”

“How does Saturday morning sound? Say, ten o’clock? I can meet you at your place and we’ll choose somewhere together.”

“Perfect.”

The two split, Jeremy heading to the left and Olivia to the right. Neither looked back, too enraptured with their last encounter. That was really all it took.

Just a smile and a hello.

***

Prompt: Write about a girl and her crush.

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