It is the smell of new leather that permeates my senses today, and I say to myself quietly: this is a new car, this is your car, it is your new car and I am sitting in it, right now. I should not be here. This is not my place to be and we both know it.

The words struggle out of our mouths and it is this that proves to me what should have been clear five years ago, when halfway through the year you were but a classroom's length away and I laughed at you privately, thinking that your name was the oddest I'd ever heard.

Today the air is heavy with nostalgia, carried closely by the faint stirring of wind and warmth, eager to spread itself through my veins, filling tiny capillaries and pumping heavily through arteries to reach my fingertips, nervously clutching at my skirt. It is now that I realize that I have been wearing it backwards the entire time and I catch my breath through the stilted current of our conversation, hoping that you have been ignorant as I have been these last few hours.

You would have said something if you had seen, and you are silent because you have eyes only for your car right now and you notice no anomalies outside those of academia. The world for you is the endless litany of prestigious names, the outpouring of the letter A, and the number 90. There is no room there for me, and I know you have said so to others.

But it is not with reluctance that you keep me out of the list you must repeat to yourself every day, it is with reluctance that you let me in, however brief my stay will be. It is with reluctance that I am sitting here now, with my skirt backwards and my memory taking in every listless word you say.

Your leaden speech is heavy and opaque, and the words that sink into the resounding silence fall to the ground with the dull thud of heavy consideration. I strain to pick them up from the floor, to break them apart and piece them slowly together; I tire.

I want to give you words like marbles in return, bright and gleaming in the sunlight streaming through the windows, but when I set them down you look away and the translucent spheres roll beneath our seats to break into fragmented pieces. That my efforts should end in sharp and broken edges, shards of colored glass crunched on the ground beneath my shoes, it is a waste.

There are things I want to say, welling up in the back of my throat, but I choke them down, knowing that if I let them slip into the inhospitable atmosphere of unfamiliarity, they will linger to haunt me in the days to come. Coming not as a shock but as a cold seeping realization is the crumbling of ambition, the recognition that my castles have been built upon the faint tracery of a foundation of air. This is shaky ground that we are treading here.


Author's Note: This thing is maybe a little vague? What happened was, a couple of months ago I asked a rather introverted yet extremely smart boy to junior prom, and he ended up giving me a ride home that day, during which I realized that maybe, I had made a mistake in asking him.