Elaine got off
the school bus
following her younger sister
not sure if John


was on the bus
or not
she didn't look
although she had been


tempted many times
to look about her
but she just stared
out the window


at the passing view
listening to others
talking and laughing
wondering if John


was there
and if he had been
looking at her
she walked on


by the school fence
her sister went off
with a friend
into the girls' playground


she looked
at her shoes


her white
ankle socks
now and then


at the passing feet
of others
not looking
but staring


for the school bell
to ring
can we still talk?


a voice asked
she looked up
John was standing there
with that quiff of hair


that hazel eyed stare
she blushed
and looked at him
talk about what?


she asked moodily
looking at his
loosely tied tie


as long
as we can talk
he said
she didn't feel


like talking
or listening
but she did
she was in


such a depressed mood
that she thought that
any moment she
was going to cry


and she didn't want
him or others
to see her cry
she looked behind him


at passing girls
their hair
all arranged neatly
you're not going


to kiss me again
are you?
she said
he looked at her


then at her hair
not if you don't
want me to
he said


although at that moment
he wanted to
because he wanted
to make the oddness


of the day before right
to get them back
to some kind
of friendship again    


she wasn't sure
if she felt relieved or not
part of her
wanted him


to kiss her
to show others
that someone
did find her attractive


and that she wasn't
just a 14 year old
frump as others
called her


we can't talk now
she said
the bell will soon go
maybe lunch time


at recess?
he nodded
he said


I’ll look out for you
O by the way
I saw a Jay yesterday
she looked at him


there was a small smile
on his lips
she said


it's a bird
he said
don't see them often
but it was in


our garden briefly
she said
not knowing


what else to say
about a bird
I’ll show you
a picture


in my bird book
at recess
if you like
he said


she nodded
and a smile spread
on her lips
the book of birds


he kept in that
coat pocket of his
she thought
the school bell rang


and he said
see you later
and touched her hand
and was gone


she she sensed
his touch still there
warming moving along
her nerves


like a fire
opening up
a small unknown
deep down desire.


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