School! We’re supposed to hate it, complain about it, do anything and everything to get out of it – or so the popular TV programs tell us. Then again those shows never have the kind of family I do. Let’s just say, my family made school look like a walk in the park on beautiful spring day. I particularly liked the library. It was quiet and the idiots who bought into the bully trope never came in there. A guy like me could hide in the library for days.
Or so I thought.
Then she showed up. She took my favorite table and had it piled high with books. Math and science books, and I’m not talking text books that don’t really tell you anything. These were books written by professional nerds for other professional nerds digging deep into the mathematical theories supporting string theory and the Big Bang. It didn’t even know it was her at first. I just saw the pile of books.
I must have snorted or something, because she popped up like prairie dog.
“Oh, sorry, didn’t see you there.” She smiled.
I’m not normally one to be swayed by smiles, but hers was contagious. If she’d spent a little more time on her hair she could have passed for one of the cheerleaders. Except for that smile. Not one of the cheerleaders knew how to give a genuine smile like that.
“It’s okay,” I said and turned to look for another table.
“Were you going to sit here?” She started stacking the books to make room. “I didn’t mean to take over the whole table it’s just…”
She trailed off, biting her lip. She made a neat stack of the books and waved to the other side of the table.
“It’s just… what?” I set my bag down and picked up one of her books.
“String theory isn’t nothing.”
Her eyes snapped to mine, boring into me with a desperation I thought only I had felt. “You know about string theory?”
I nodded. “It’s not my favorite subject, but you just can’t get around it, if you are looking for a way to escape.”
I don’t know why I said that. I’d promised myself I wouldn’t tell anyone, no one, about my theories. I just knew there had to be a way to get out of this life without dying. I wasn’t ready to give up my future, but I didn’t want it tied to my past. Heavy thoughts from a high school junior.
“You, too?” she snatched up her notebook, bit her lip some more. “I… I think I’m close. I just need…” She handed me the notebook and looked away again.
I never thought about girls. Not the way they say boys are supposed to. I know where babies come from and I know better than to bring one into this world. From what I’ve seen, the fun part isn’t fun enough to take the risk, so I just don’t think about that. Until her.
I looked at her notebook to get my mind off kissing her. It took me a moment to read through all the notes and give the mathematical proofs a quick check. Then I saw it. I saw what she had. I pulled out my notebook and flipped to the main page. Our drawing scales were off, but we could have been working on the same project.
“Is this what you need?” I put the two notebooks on the table, side by side.
She looked. “I think… I mean… we’ll have to work out the integration, double check the calculations but…”
“We could escape together.”
I pulled up a chair and started digging for my calculator. I didn’t even care if our ideal escape routes matched. Just having someone else to work on it was good enough for me.