Bahar Al Awadhi is back with us with a brand new piece written for our Red theme titled “Young Love” We hope you enjoy it ^^
Nadia couldn’t stop thinking. She had been lying in bed all night unable to get her mind off of what had happened the day before. Could it be true? Did those eyes reveal what she had been hoping for all this time? Had she just not seen it before? Could her feelings be reciprocated? Had she been so blinded by her own insecurities that she just could not believe? She continued to toss and turn as she continued to go over every word and every image. She thought of all that had passed, and all that could be. Her thoughts continued until the red cracks of dawn peered through her windows. As the minutes went by, she could start to feel the warmth of the sun in her bedroom. She wasn’t ready to face the day but she knew there was no turning back now.
Nadia gently got out of bed, and proceeded with her morning routine, all so gently, as if to hold back time. She rummaged through her closet and was deciding what to wear even though she couldn’t even see what she was looking for. All she could see in front of her were those eyes. She finally chose an outfit but continued to get dressed in slow motion. Every button she closed, she did so gently, feeling each and every button as if it were the first time she felt them. After many long minutes, she was finally dressed up and ready to face the day. She drove off to college, parked in her usual spot, and walked to the classroom with her books in hand. She sat in the front, like she always did; but this time, her eyes were focused everywhere but at the professor and the slides he was going over.
She felt nervous and agitated until she saw him walk in. There he was, sporting the red hooded sweatshirt, representing the college football team. But the red hoodie didn’t just represent that; to her, it represented a dream, a passion, a love that she thought unrequited. The professor was continuing with his lecture, but she couldn’t hear a word. All she could think of was the boy in the red hoodie. Every day she would see him walking down the halls, and she never dared speak to him. Nadia had always been a shy and quiet girl, keeping to herself and her small group of friends. She hadn’t told anyone how she felt about this boy. Every day she came to college, and hoped for just a glance. She didn’t know when or how it happened, but these little moments had become what she hoped for every day. She yearned for so much, but couldn’t bring herself to admit it, even to herself at times.
Nadia returned from her thoughts but was still oblivious to everything around her. In that moment, she felt that only she existed, her thoughts, and him. She turned around as her eyes searched for his, and as she found him, she saw that his gaze was upon her as well. This felt like a sudden strike, straight to her heart, and with that, she drifted off again.
She went back to the night before. Nadia had been in the library all evening researching for an upcoming project. As it was late in the day, the library was empty and she relished the solitude and the books surrounding her. She was walking in the aisles, tracing her fingers, book after book, until she found the one she wanted. She took the book off the shelf, only to be startled as she was met with a pair of eyes across from her. She let out a small shriek and put her hands to her chest. The pair of eyes disappeared, but then came around the shelf towards her.
“I’m so sorry about that. Are you OK?” asked the young boy.
Nadia suddenly found herself even more startled as she realized who it was.
“Umm, yes, yes. I’m OK”.
“Come, have a seat here”.
Nadia walked with him, as he led her to a seat in the far corner of the library. Her heart was pounding, faster than ever, but she tried to compose herself in front of him.
“Thanks. I’m alright now”.
“I’m sorry again. I didn’t mean to scare you”.
“Oh don’t worry about it. I just didn’t know anyone else was in here and it startled me“.
“You’re Nadia, right?” asked the young boy.
Nadia’s eyes widened as she had not expected him to know her name, and she softly replied, “yes”.
“I’ve seen you around a lot. Are you in Mr. Andrews Econ 101? And Marketing 102?”
“Yes, I am” whimpered Nadia as she realized he had noticed her before. She always assumed that she had gone unnoticed, that she was too plain to have caught his eye. And yet, here he was, knowing her name and the classes she took.
The young boy, wearing his usual red hoodie smiled shyly at Nadia, knowing that his questions had sparked her attention.
“Well, it was great talking to you. Maybe we should bump into each other here again tomorrow night” said the young boy with a sly wink as he walked off.
Nadia felt a rush emotions engulfing her at the mere possibility that he wanted to see her again – that he enjoyed their encounter as much as she had.
“Earth to Nadia. Earth to Nadia. Ms. Nadia, can you tell us what determines economic fluctuations?” Nadia heard the professor asking.
Nadia realized that she had drifted off again in the whirlwind of her thoughts and emotions. She started to answer the question asked, even though at the back of her mind she was thinking of the night ahead. Would he really come meet her again in the library or had he led her on? Could this be the start of everything she had longed for? Nadia could only hope, as she stared at the clock, waiting…
Author: Bahar Al Awadhi