The Space Between Us(3)By: Anie Michaels
Hi! My name is Reeve. Did you just move here? What's your name?
I looked over at her as she stared straight ahead at the teacher, convincingly looking like she was interested in the geography of Africa at the moment. I took a pen out of my bag and replied to the note and then, when the teacher turned his back to the class for a moment, tossed it onto her desk.
My name is Charlie. I did just move here. First day.
I watched her read it and then she scribbled under my writing and handed it back to me.
How do you like it so far?
I read her question and shrugged my shoulders. Then I wondered how I was supposed to write that in the note.
It's ok, I guess.
When she read my response, she looked over at me and smiled. She folded the note up and put it in her backpack. She didn't pay much attention to me for the rest of the day.
When school was over, I walked out of the building and headed towards the field that sat on the side of the building.
“Charlie!” I heard my name and turned around to see Reeve running towards me. “Hey! Where are you going?” She came to a stop in front of me, her backpack swinging from side to side behind her with every step.
“Walking home.” Home was such a weird word to use. Home was hours from here, back in my old neighborhood. I was really walking to the house we'd just moved into, but it didn’t feel like my home.
“Cool. I walk home too, but I live that way,” she said as she gestured in the opposite direction. “There's this place, The Range, it's just a few blocks over. Sometimes after school I go there to hang out. It's kind of like a coffee shop, but cooler. You can just be there and hang out with friends. They have some video games and comfy couches to read on. Anyway, maybe sometime you would want to go with me? It's better than just going home and doing nothing,” she said with a smile. Before I could think about it I was smiling back at her.
“Ok, I'll have to ask my dad first, but I think it will be ok.”
“Great!” Just as Reeve's smile grew wider, my eyes landed on the boy from earlier, Asher, walking past us. He saw me too and kind of nodded his head, giving me a very small smile. I smiled back at him weakly, embarrassed, remembering how we'd met and what he'd done for me. “Did Asher Carmichael just smile at you?” Reeve looked at his back as he walked away, but then looked back to me confused.
“Uh, I guess.”
“Oh my gosh, he's so cute. How do you know him?” My mouth opened to answer, but I looked back at him, no words coming out yet. Cute? I hadn't noticed. A few of my friends from home had crushes on boys, but I never understood it. He wasn't ugly, but I wouldn't call him cute. Puppies were cute.
“I just met him at recess.” I looked down at my hands that had started fiddling with the hem of my shirt. “He told another boy to leave me alone.”
“He stuck up for you? Oh, em, gee. He's so cute. Who was bothering you?” Her words came out at a million miles per hour, and as she spoke she used her fingers to twirl her hair around and around. Eventually the hair got tangled and she had to yank her finger free, but then she'd just start all over.
“His name was Ryan. He had red hair.”
“Ew. Ryan Miller? He's a jerk. Don't worry. If Asher told him to leave you alone, he will. Why was he bothering you?”
“He was making fun of my name,” I said as I shrugged my shoulders. I didn't tell her about him throwing rocks at me, that was a little too humiliating.
“What's wrong with your name?” She asked, truly confused.
“It's a boy's name.”
“Oh, well that's a dumb reason to make fun of someone. You don't even pick your own name. So he's really making fun of your parents. What a jerk.”
It was hard to tell for sure when she was done talking. I waited a second or two before I spoke.
“It's ok. I'm used to it. Anyway, I'll ask my dad about The Range. Maybe I'll see you tomorrow?”
“Definitely. I sit right next to you, so it would be hard not to see me.” She smiled, then blinked, staring at me.
“Ok, well, I'll see you tomorrow, then.”
“Ok, bye!” Reeve turned around and bounced towards the other side of the school. I watched her for a few seconds still a little dizzy from her rapid talking. I finally turned and continued towards the break in the fence that went around the school that would let me out onto the street of my new house.