Hey guys! New not-so-one-shot-one-shot. I started this one a few weeks ago, but I haven't had a chance to finish it. My usual thing is that I have to finish something before I post it (so you guys don't have to wait too long), but I figured maybe if I post the first chapter and hear some feedback on what I've got so far it'll help me write the next part. As of right now, I'm not too sure if this is a strange idea for a story, haha.
So I apologize for the name. Usually I don't name stories with a "the" and then an "insert insignificant noun here." This one, however, makes sense. The story pretty much revolves around a desk. I'm going to stop babbling now and let you read.
You always hear people talking about how something changed their life. "This new job changed my life," or "getting a dog changed my life. "Going on an all-vegetable diet and losing 30 pounds changed my life," or how about, "meeting someone on the internet changed my life." That's a popular one.
My story, however, is far less interesting. Would you like to know what changed my life? A desk. That's right. A simple, every-day desk in the back of a history classroom.
Now, when most people picture a desk, they picture a beige writing surface with a little indent at the top to hold your pencil. Maybe it's supported by metal legs that are held together with tiny screws. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you get a foot rest attached to your desk, or maybe a metal basket welded to the underside that holds your books.
But no matter what it looks like, there's something about a desk that just attracts writing utensils. It's like the inside of bathroom stalls. People always have to write on them, just because they're there, and said person is equipped with a Sharpie.
Desks are the same way. If you look at one, you can always find pencil drawings, or names, or little doodles, or answers to a vocabulary test scribbled across the surface.
If you want to be more specific, the writing on the desk is what really changed my life. Scribbled across the surface of that life-changing desk was a three month conversation with a boy I'd never even met.
I stared down at the newest message, written in pencil in his handwriting. You could tell the difference between mine and his just by glancing at it. Mine was slightly slanted with widely-spaced letters, and his was crooked and close together.
I read the message over and over again, each time getting more slightly-apprehensive butterflies in my stomach.
"Can I meet you?"
The bell rang, breaking me out of my daze. Mr. Campbell droned on about the approaching final exam, but I was in such deep thought that his voice didn't even register in my mind.
I exited the classroom in the same absentminded state. As always, my best friend was waiting for me, leaning against the lockers off to the side of the doorway. When she saw me, she pushed off the metal and joined me while I walked down the hallway.
"Why so pensive, Claire?" she asked.
I blinked and shook my head, tearing myself away from my thoughts. "Huh?"
Sam laughed. "Lemme guess… Desk-boy," she said. I rolled my eyes. No matter how many times I begged her to think of a new (more mature) nickname for him, maybe even make up a fake name until we found out his real one, she refused to quit calling him that.
"No. Well, yeah. I dunno," I sighed. "He wants to meet me."
Samantha held out her hands and gave me a look that said, 'what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-you?' "And you're upset about this? I thought you wanted to meet him! What's wrong?!"
I shrugged. "I do… But, I dunno. I guess I'm kinda scared."
My best friend raised an eyebrow. "Claire… He's a kid our age; not some internet predator. What's there to be afraid of? Unless some fifty-something-year-old dude sneaks into Mr. Campbell's classroom every day to respond to your desk writings," she joked.
I rolled my eyes and shot her a look. "You know that's not what I mean."
"Then what do you mean? Please. Enlighten me."
As we followed a bunch of seniors out of the building for an off-campus lunch period, I bit my lip and thought about it. "I guess I've just spent the last three months building up an image of this kid. What if he's not at all what I expect, you know?"
You're probably extremely lost right about now, so let me just take a few minutes to explain how it happened. This whole thing started about halfway through March in my senior year of high school. I was seated at my desk in Mr. Campbell's fourth period History class, and I was bored out of my ever-loving mind.
This man never stopped talking. Ever. You'd think he would get sick of his monotone, lifeless voice like the rest of us. But the man just kept going like a tape rewound and played over and over again.
With my head propped up by my arm, I stared absentmindedly towards the front of the room. My gaze found its way to the clock for the thousandth time that period. Three minutes to go. The bell seemed like a lifetime away.
I brought my half-closed eyes to my teacher, Mr. Campbell. His mouth opened and closed as he spoke, but to me it didn't sound like anything but incoherent babble.
The guy had to be at least a couple million years old. I wondered why he hadn't retired yet. I also wondered why he didn't teach a class about Scientific Extinction, since he had been around when the dinosaurs walked the earth.
Mr. Campbell never left his desk, which was half of the reason his class was so boring. He never even got up to write notes on the boards, or pass out papers. The students were in charge of picking up dittos on their way in. He just lectured from his chair, peering at us through his thick glasses. I think we were supposed to take notes on what he drawled on about, but barely any of us did. He was too senile to notice, anyway.
I had a sheet of paper in front of me, but it was completely filled from top to bottom with drawings and writing. After tapping the eraser against the desk a couple dozen times, I lifted the pencil and brought the tip over to the desk. Out of sheer boredom, I began to scratch some letters into the surface.
"H e l l o."
I went over the message continuously, making it darker each time. One of the school rules was "never write on the desks," but everyone did. Especially in Campbell's class. If the man barely got up to go to the bathroom, I highly doubt he would walk around his classroom after school to check for writing on the desks.
Even if Campbell was looking directly at me while I "vandalized" school property, he wouldn't have noticed. My last name being Webber, I was always at the very end of the class names list. Therefore, I was always placed in the last seat, back of the classroom. And Mr. Campbell, being the lethargic, old man that he was, hadn't changed seats since September. The front of the classroom seemed miles away from my sheltered corner of the room.
Finally, the bell rang. All of the students grabbed their things and bolted for the door. I followed suit, unable to wait to meet Samantha for lunch.
When I reluctantly plopped down at my desk the next morning, I was surprised to find a response underneath my message. The handwriting was kind of sloppy and crammed together, but still legible nonetheless.
"Hey. How's it going?"
A smile crept its way up to my mouth. I brought my pencil tip down to the surface of the desk. "Not too bad, although this class is hell. Yourself?"
Every day from then on, that was how I began the history class. I'd read the message written for me the previous day, and I'd respond with one of my own.
Communication was slow. Since each of us was only in the classroom once per day, we were only able to write one message per day. If one of us was absent, the conversation halted until we returned to school. By the time a few weeks had passed, however, we had nearly a dozen lines of a conversation written on the desk.
"Yeah. I can't stand this class either. What period are you in?"
"Seventh. Who are you?"
"Someone who'd rather not get a week of detention."
"Well, yeah. I doubt anyone would. What do you mean?"
"I'm not about to write my name down when I'm doing something I shouldn't be."
"Yeah. Guess you're right. Kind of like confessing to the crime. But Campbell would never find it. Too clueless."
"Better safe than sorry."
"Touché. OK. In that case, are you a boy or girl?"
"Nice to meet you, Boy."
"Right back at you, Girl."
By the time a couple months had passed, our conversation went down the left side of the desk and curved back up to the top twice more, making two more rows of writing. It was getting slightly hard to follow the conversation, but all that really mattered was the newest message.
I often wondered if we would eventually run out of room, but I decided it probably wouldn't happen. The school year was nearing an end, which meant that the two of us would be graduating soon. We would be free of Mr. Campbell's classroom forever.
For the time being, however, I began to look forward to the daily message on the desk. I found out a whole lot of stuff about this mysterious guy, like how his favorite color was forest green and he had a dog named Rocky. He loved strawberry ice cream, just like I did. Superhero movies were his all-time favorites, next to horror movies, and he could play handball for hours on end. He played saxophone in the school band and bass guitar in his free time.
Although I knew all these things about him, I never made an effort to try and figure out who he was. The problem could easily be solved by just asking Mr. Campbell who sat in my desk during seventh period. However, I refrained from doing that for two reasons.
1. I wasn't sure if I wanted to know who the kid was. What if he turned out to be someone I loathed? Our conversations (and my only source of amusement every day, fourth period) might come to an end.
2. It might bring attention to the fact that there was writing all over the desk. Mr. Campbell, although quite senile, might make the connection that I was the one who put it there.
So for three months, I kept quiet about the situation. Sam was the only one who knew about the mysterious desk guy, and although she urged me to find out who it was, I avoided it.
Still, I couldn't help but wonder about him.
Thanks so much for reading! I'm going to work on this for the next few days and try to get more out as soon as I can. Reviews would be really appreciated; I'd love to know what you guys think so far.