He couldn't help thinking, as he sat there glancing at his watch and acting casual, that she was late. Now, of course she wasn't actually late, since they didn't have any official appointment—she was just a few minutes later than she usually was. Not that he thought so much about her that he paid specific attention to what time she arrived at school every morning. No, he had just happened to notice.
To distract himself, he pretended to study the white sheet full of numbers and formulas that rested in front of him on the desk. He knew the answer to the problem almost as soon as he looked at it, but his thoughts were actually focused on a deeper problem which he didn't know the answer to. He once again anticipated her walking through the doorway and the few words, or possibly more, which would pass between them.
What should he say when she got close enough to hear him? He was very used to the regular exchange of playful banter and good-natured teasing which, more often than not, he found himself initiating. Though a part of him always longed for more than this, he found that this form of communication came easiest to him in situations like these, and he always cherished the fleeting moments of scant satisfaction that came with it. It would be typical of him to greet her with something like, 'Oh, you again,' in a sarcastic voice of mock contempt, but which they both knew came from him as a gesture of friendship. Yes, this was how he would begin their conversation.
But did it have to be? What if he were to say something else? Something more mature, like 'Good morning', or 'How was your day yesterday?', or even, dare he think it, something as bold as 'You're a special person and I'm really glad to have you as a friend'. Could he possibly utter one of these complexly simple phrases?
Unfortunately, there was no more time to think about his decision, for as these daring thoughts had been swirling through his head, she had finally entered the room. He watched her sweet, captivating face, crowned by locks of beautiful, flowing hair make its way through the room and towards the desk diagonally in front of his own. She stopped and decorated the desk's unadorned surface with the belongings that she deposited there, the belongings that he had always seen her carry and had come to associate with her presence. When this task was complete, she looked up from her desk and, in doing so, briefly looked in his direction. There was no time to think. This was the moment of truth.
"Oh, you again," he said in a sarcastic voice of mock contempt, but which she knew came from him as a gesture of friendship. Her expression had been one of nonchalance and wasn't changed much by hearing a greeting she was used to.
"Hi," she said back, already starting in the direction of the door towards further socialization in the halls before the bell rang. "How are you?"
"Pretty good," he answered, looking down at his paper and writing down the answer, so as not to draw unnecessary attention to himself. "You?"
"I'm okay," she replied, and momentarily glanced in his direction once again. It occurred to him that the numbers of the answer he had written down were not sufficiently outlined, and so he quickly looked back down at his paper to correct the error. Having found a place to rest her books and other things until the bell announced the beginning of class, the girl gracefully turned and exited in the same door through which she had entered only moments earlier.
"See you later," the boy called after her, a next to futile motion on his part. His eyes only followed her until she was out of the room, but it was several more minutes before his heart strayed from the path.