It took me a can of Coke to convince our class monitor to ask the teacher to shift me to the seat beside her. He got it done, and now I sat two benches behind. Things had changed a little since the first day. She did not sketch flowers on a sheet anymore; this time she was reading a book, probably a novel. She used to keep the book on her lap, and her head on the desk, and continue to read for the whole day. She didn’t care about what the Physics teacher said about thermodynamics, and she didn’t know that the Maths teacher had already started with trigonometry. The only time she raised her head was when the teacher called out her name, when she took attendance. Once I asked her to pay attention in class lest she’d probably might miss some important topics. She looked at me, said nothing, and returned to reading her book. And as she put her head down on the desk again, it was the first time I noticed her hair. It was auburn and black, and they were untied, with three clips cleanly placed at equal distances. And that was the first time I felt something, which I wiped off almost instantaneously.
There weren’t probably many reasons I could present for my urge to be friends with her. She had her set of friends, with whom she laughed and jabbered, and I had my set of friends, with whom I stayed for the majority of the school hours, and after school as well. She didn’t attend classes one day, and I assumed she was ill, and when she returned, she had a new book with her. When I asked her why she was absent from school, she smiled and said, “I woke up late,” after which she returned to her new book. That was the moment I realized what I had to do to be good friends with her.
The next day, she came in, took her seat. And she was pleased by what she saw. For I had a book in my hand, a novel. I had decided that the only way we could connect was to talk about fiction, and novels, and not studies. She seemed quite interested, and asked me which book I was reading. I said ‘The Alchemist’, and she said, “Oh, you know what, the boy finds the treasure under his own house.” I pretended to be angry and said, “You weren’t supposed to tell me that,” and she laughed. I looked at her face, forgot everything for a second, and then laughed along. This was just the beginning. We started talking. From books, we went to authors, and styles of writing. She would do most of the speaking, because I had no clue about that. She would speak of poetry, and how a ballad was different from a sonnet. She would compare O Henry with Wordsworth, and I would pretend to pay full attention to what she was saying. Meanwhile, the teacher finished with topics I had no clue of.
Two months and we were good friends. Our topics of discussion now changed. She would talk to me about how her yesterday was, and I would say the same. We exchanged numbers, just in case we ever needed them. And thus the foundation for our to-become-close-friends was laid.