The Music Box
by The Crazy Cat Lady
Revised. Though, it probably doesn't make much of a difference.
The sunlight streaming through the window bit her closed eyelids. She groaned.
Cracking her steely blue eyes, Sappho forced her eyes to remain open. They stared at the ceiling; her mind refreshed her memory of what the day was. It was a day to dread; the return back to school. The alarm clock kept ringing, eventually annoying her enough to force her out of bed. Slamming the alarm off, Sappho cringed hearing her mother's voice.
Her mother stood by her bedroom door. She was a tall middle-aged woman in her early forties. Like her daughter, she had straight blond hair except it was neatly kept. The golden long bangs were tucked behind her ears which exposed her long weary face. She stared at her daughter whom was moving slowly across the room like a low-battery robot. Their facial features were very similar, except her daughter's face was rounder. A few pimples dotted her forehead. Putting her blue-rimmed glasses on, Sappho tied her messy short hair into a ponytail. Her mother did not understand why her daughter insisted to tie her hair when it was already short. She didn't even bother to comb it.
The teenage girl did not turn around to face her. "Yes, mother?" she asked as she thrust the baggy t-shirt off her slender chest. It landed on the rugged floor.
Her mother winced at the treatment of her t-shirt. "Are you going to start off the first day of school like this?"
Sappho turned around, confused by what she asked. "Like what?"
"You didn't comb your—"
A silver tabby snuck inside the bedroom. Her tail pointed toward the air as she greeted her two-legged friend. Sappho scrambled toward her cat and hugged her.
"Good morning, my spoiled princess!" the blonde cooed.
Matilda rubbed her head against Sappho's soft cheeks and gave her a nose kiss. Sappho returned a kiss on her forehead, and Matilda purred. Some of the silver hair got stuck on her lips, but she didn't care.
Her mother sighed. At least she's awake now, she thought. The family cat always managed to bring her daughter back to life somehow.
Returning her attention back to her mother, Sappho placed Matilda down. "What did you say again?"
The cat slipped out of the room ignoring Sappho's mother and headed downstairs. It was breakfast time.
"Nevermind," her mother replied sighing. "Just get the cat hair off your clothes."
Dressed in a loose, white blouse and dark blue jeans that curved her thin legs, Sappho headed downstairs. Her footsteps immediately drew Matilda's attention whom raced toward her from the kitchen.
Sappho giggled at the feline's impatience. If there was a time the feline was always excited for, it would be breakfast. Entering the kitchen, the smell of omelet lingered in the air. She spotted her mother scrubbing a pan by the sink.
"Spring onion omelet is on the table," her mother said without turning around.
"That's something new," Sappho remarked as went toward the counter. Unsealing a bag of dry cat food, Sappho felt Matilda rubbed against her legs. "Is it vegan?"
"Of course!" her mother exclaimed. "That's not something to forget about, but I wish you were just a vegetarian. It makes cooking much simpler."
A vegetarian... Sappho remembered the early days when she gave up meat, but that was for another time to reminiscence."Even if I did convert back, I'm still lactose intolerant." Milk, another thing she didn't care much for. As a child, she always got stomach aches from drinking cold milk. It was always left in her cereal when she picked everything off.
Her mother didn't reply as she continued to clean the pan from the sink. Her no response clearly indicated the conversation had ended.
The small-sized kibbles poured into Matilda's bowl, the clinking sound exciting the feline. Sappho placed the filled bowl on Matilda's miniature table which was constructed of a wooden board on top of a cardboard box. She refilled the water bowl with distilled cold water and placed it by the bowl. Matilda happily dived into breakfast.
Sappho sighed with relief as she collapsed onto the chair. Yes! I survived my first four classes!
Fifth period was Sappho's lunch break, but she decided to spend it in the school's library. The lunchroom was too noisy and filled with immature students that gossiped about pointless things. Most of the girls her age were into mainstream topics, celebrities, and things the blonde didn't care for. It was no wonder she didn't have friends, but her introverted nature had never bothered her. Sappho purposely placed her black bookbag on top of the table which helped cover her face. Eating was not permitted in the library, but she ate anyway. She sneakily bit off an apple.
A finger tapped her shoulder.
Sappho spun around and almost choked on her apple. Crap.
The librarian assistant, a black-haired Asian woman with purple-painted fingernails, smiled kindly. "No eating, Miss."
"Sorry," the blonde mumbled. She placed the apple back inside the paper bag inside her bookbag and removed the bookbag from the table.
The librarian assistant thanked her and walked away.
"Damn the rules," Sappho muttered under her breath.
Sappho slipped a paperback book of The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson out of her bookbag. She flipped to the page where she last left off.
"Excuse me," a voice interrupted when Sappho was about to read. "Can I sit here?"
Sappho glanced up at the stranger whose almond-shaped hazel eyes held her attention. They were large eyes intensely staring at her for an answer, intimidating the blonde whom was not used to eye contact. Her curly, short, dark brown hair traced her slender attractive face. She had a long, small nose and thin lips. Her black hoodie hid her chest, and her khaki cargo shorts reached her knees. If it wasn't for her voice, Sappho could had mistaken her for a boy at first. The blonde couldn't take her eyes off the girl despite her intimidating stare. Her heart pounded against her chest.
"S—Sure," Sappho stuttered. She felt her cheeks burn.
The girl laughed softly. "Thanks."
The blonde quickly turned her eyes away and stared blankly at the page. She didn't understand why she felt so nervous all of the sudden. It wasn't unusual if someone happened to want to sit on the same table as her. Not being able to concentrate reading, Sappho pretended to read the poem on the page.
After a few minutes, Sappho felt she was being stared at by the girl. Moving her eyes slowly away from the page, Sappho landed her eyes on her. She had been right.
Her hazel eyes were gleaming with amusement. Grinning at her, the brunette remarked, "You read really slow."
"Huh?" Sappho gazed down at the eight lined poem. "Oh…." She felt she was slapped in the face and immediately flipped to the next page.
The brunette chuckled. "It's okay. What were you reading before?" she asked.
"Umm…" Sappho flipped back to the page. "'To See her is a Picture' by Emily Dickinson."
"Oh! I know how that one goes. It's one of my favorite poems."
"Really?" Sappho asked a bit surprise. "You like her work?" There were not many students she knew that enjoyed reading classic poetry. Many students in her past English classes she took dreaded assigned classical works. However, Sappho enjoyed reading them for pleasure.
The brunette nodded. "She's one of my favorite poets."
Sappho smiled. "Same here!"
The two smiled at each other, knowing they both enjoyed reading an old work by a great author. "What's your name?" the brunette asked.
"Sappho," the blonde immediately replied.
"Sappho…." Amelia pronounced the syllables distinctly in an eloquent manner.
Sappho blushed briefly. She had to admit that she liked how she said her name.
"I'm Amelia," the brunette replied. "Sappho, your name is really unique. Did you know your name comes from an ancient Greek poet?"
Sappho nodded. "My mother is into ancient history and stuff, so it figures she would name me that. You seem to know a lot about poetry."
Amelia gazed intently at her steel blue eyes. "Well, I like to write poetry… but, I just like writing in general." Her smile faded as her thoughts wandered off to something else.
Writing is nice, Sappho thought. She used to record her thoughts when she kept journals, but she eventually got lazy updating them. The blonde was more familiar with writing fictional stories rather than poetry however. "That is… not a bad thing?" she asked hesitantly.
Amelia smiled and shook her head. "No, it's just that writers don't get paid much."
"Ahh," Sappho replied with complete understanding.
The school bell rang, startling the blonde. Time had passed by fast that Sappho had not noticed. Students got up from their seats to leave library for sixth period.
Amelia glanced at the leaving students and back at Sappho. A pause of silence crossed between them as their eyes remained on each other. "I guess I'll see you around. If not, tomorrow then," she said, hesitating to leave. "It was nice getting to know you."
Sappho nodded with a smile. She watched the brunette followed behind the other students out of the library. Amelia gave her one last wave before leaving from the door. The blonde stopped waving back and lowered her hand by her side. It really was nice getting to her. When was the last time she had met someone as interesting as her? Sappho almost forgot about her book as she glanced down at the page she supposedly read.
To see her is a Picture
To hear her is a Tune
To know her an Intemperance
As innocent as June
To know her not - Affliction -
To own her for a Friend
A warmth as near as if the Sun
Were shining in your Hand.
Slamming the book shut, Sappho hid it back inside her bookbag.