Author's Note: True story.

This girl didn't seem anything above ordinary.

I don't know why I noticed her at first. Maybe because I recognized her, possibly because we're both playing softball. Two years before, she was the quiet teacher's assistant in my history class, and all she did was scribble in a notebook all period. Not very extraordinary.

I'm not a stalker or anything, I don't admire her, I barely know her, but I watch her. I watch her walk, take things out of her backpack, stand, even.

The thing is, she does it like no one's watching her. (No one else probably is, actually.) There's been one, maybe two times that I've actually seen her walk with someone else. To me, being a highschool sophomore girl who doesn't know what to do with herself without a crowd of other sophomore girls surrounding me, this is baffling.

Her walk. Everyone's seen how girls usually walk: small steps, carefully, slowly, swaying their hips with just the right force to try to draw attention. No. Not this girl. She strides long, very sure-footed, very swift, with her chin parallell to the floor and her light eyes raised. Any obstacle, she gracefully dodges or steps over; if she drops something, her stride doesn't even break - she just stoops and picks it up, and continues like nothing happened.

I notice that she always seems to have her jaw clenched, like she's waiting for someone to just say something to her so she could retort, or hit them. Or something. She owns this pair of sunglasses, brown and sqaure and rimless, not like the blastic bright pink ones that take up half your face. And then, when she looks at you, you can't see her eyes but she is totally staring through you—very intense, with thought and contemplation and judgement.

It's like, with that look and that walk, and her casual clothes (no, she doesn't wear heavy black eyeliner or spikes or barely-there skirts), she's channeling James Dean. (Come to think of it, I can definitely see her driving a Porsche 550 Spyder.)

It strikes me as odd. So ordinary, yet I'm so interested. No one really knows anything about her; she's new on the softball team as well, even though she's a year older than I. And I want to know more, but I'm slightly scared to go up and make friends. She's perfectly nice, she smiles at people when they talk to her, very polite and articulate, but she has that (for lack of a better word) loner-esque quality that keeps her by herself.

When my friends are within discussion of hair and boys and teachers and classes, I look at her during softball—my only class with her—when we're all done stretching and we're waiting for the coach to tell us to start exersising.

She's usually laying down on her back, with her muscled legs bent at the knees, eyes closed, in a totally relaxed, expressionless state. Her thick, golden hair is always in a ponytail, and she lays down on it with all of the champagne-colored strands fanning out randomly behind her head, shining with envy-striking incandescence in the sunlight.

She doesn't seem to notice. Either her finger is absentmindly twirling one of the blazing locks, or her hands are still.

Then, an almost inconspicuous expression suddenly becomes, well, conspicuous. Her eyebrows, usually with a soft arch, are lying flat, slightly furrowed. Something's panging her, a past experience that she's never quite gotten over, maybe? My curiosity strikes acutely. I've never wanted to know more about someone, never wanted to know more about a past that can bring this soft but inpenetrable look.

I realize, at this time, that this look is her secret to the seemingly endless gaze that can pierce you, like she was a descendant of some sort of royalty making a life-or-death judgement call. Because she is. Conjecturing, she was deeply hurt and now she needs to make that judgement so it won't happen again. Her quietness, her confidence, its all clear.

Then the lips on her mouth curve upward, into a smile, the memory now fond. It stays like this; this look of melancholy with the expression on her closed eyes and the expression on her slight smile in clear contrast, like black and white. (But which one is black, which one is white?)

My friends' voices alert me back to my reality, and I take one last look at the girl, smiling with her eyes closed.

Like no one is watching.