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The Way You See (2)

Updated: May 31, 2019

I wear sunglasses a lot, so it’s not like I’ve never had something perched on my nose and pushing on my ears, but I feel the glasses every step I take as I walk into my first class. I’m still not convinced that Aunt Stacy is right, but for the first time ever, I really feel like I’m rocking this cute romper I was never sure about before. Maybe it’s just my imagination.

By the end of second period, I’m sure there’s something to it. I hate to speak in class, but when Mr. Ross calls on me in History, I answer confidently, like I do it all the time. I say hi to the seniors I never dare look at in the hall, afraid they’d make fun of me or judge me for talking to them. They say hi back like it’s nothing. Have I really been worried about saying hi this whole time for no reason?

Then I walk into the cafeteria. Drew’s there. Oh, no. my reflex is to turn around and walk back out until I can prepare myself to see him, but my glasses stop me. Okay, I stop myself. Let’s not get paranoid.

He’s alone at the salad bar, on his phone instead of trying to pick out what he wants to eat. My friends wave at me from one table, but I just wave back and start moving slowly toward the salad bar. The part of me that’s the old me is screaming in the back of my head. “What are you doing, Katie? You’re going to say something stupid and ruin any chance you’d have with him!” The other part, the “glasses part,” says, “What do you have to lose? He doesn’t know who you are. What’s the worst that can happen? He still doesn’t talk to you? So what?”

“Hey,” I say before I even know what I’m going to say to him. Drew turns around, and for the first time ever, he sees me. He’s not looking past me or through me, but right at me. “I normally find that it’s best to start a salad with the lettuce.”

He doesn’t respond right away, but then he smiles a little. Did I just say something funny? “Sorry. Am I in your way? I was just texting my friends. They’re normally here, but…”

“No, you’re good,” I say. I’m glad I chose today to wear the romper. It’s bright colored, and Mom said it brings out my eyes. “Do you need someone to sit with if they don’t show up? I can be good company.”

He hesitates again, and the old me is about to die of mortification. But then he surprises me. “Sure. I don’t know where they are today.”

We settle down at a table, and I text my friends sorry for ditching them. Drew asks me what grade I’m in, and we start talking. Mostly about classes and then hobbies.

“Yeah, I don’t really do much in the athletic department,” Drew says with a grin. He bites into a burger (it turns out he didn’t even want salad), and a pickle lands on his tray with a splat. We both laugh. “Yeah, real life isn’t really my thing. I prefer gaming.”

I tell him I do karate, and he’s impressed. “You don’t seem like someone who’s into something that violent,” he says. “Whenever I see you around, you look, like, to yourself. Like you study a lot.”

“So you thought I was a nerd?” I feel a warm glow inside that he’s noticed me before.

“Sort of,” he says, and we laugh again. I’m surprised at how easy it is to talk to him.

“You’ll have to show me some moves,” he says, wiping his mouth. “I could learn some things about self-defense. IRL, of course. I got it down online.”

“Did you just say IRL?” I ask, and he smiles sheepishly. His smile is even cuter when it’s directed at me.

Then his gaze fixes on something behind me. That girl he’s usually with has come in and is shuffling through the line.

“Hey, I got to go,” Drew says, hopping up. “But thanks for keeping me company. I’m sure I’ll see you around.”

“See you around,” I say back, trying to smile naturally.

I watch him catch up to the girl. The old me is a little disappointed. There went my one chance. But the new me is thrilled. I got to talk to my forever crush. And he didn’t think I was weird. And anyway, I can’t expect him to stop hanging out with his friend just because we talked once. At any rate, I’m better off than I was before.

These glasses weren’t that bad after all.

Karate was awkward at first. I mean, who shows up in glasses and refuses to take them off during the fight? But I couldn’t face Meg Ingleson without them. Not after what happened this morning.

I step into my room with a silly grin on my face, thinking about our fight. I’d beat her. I’d actually won against Meg I-Will-Flatten-You Ingleson. The look on her face when I’d lunge punched her was priceless. I will cherish it forever. I might look stupid in Aunt Sally’s old glasses, but I feel awesome.

I plop down and get out my homework. I’m tired, but a good kind of tired. I pull up Facebook on my laptop like I do every day before I tackle my work. I click on the new friend request I got, and my breathing stops when I see it’s from Drew.

Holy cow.

He not only talked to me but remembered me hours after.

I respond to the request with trembling fingers. A second later, a messaged popped up from him.

“Hey, thx for adding me back. Just wanted to thank you for sitting w/ me at lunch, I don’t have a lot of ppl to hang out w/ anymore”

I take deep breaths, my heart pounding out of my chest. How much better could this day get?

I write and rewrite a response, trying to make it sound intelligent but not too nerdy, funny but not cheesy. Before I can figure it out, Aunt Sally calls.

“Hey, Kate. Tell me how your day’s been going.”

I just laugh, not even knowing where to start.

“I knew it would help you!” she cries when I finally get the words out. “I’m so happy. So how about that half marathon?”

She laughs as I try to protest, but, honestly, it doesn’t sound like such a terrible idea anymore. “That’s the only reason why you gave me those glasses, isn’t it?”

“The only one,” she says. “Seriously though, I don’t even care if you go or not. I just hope the glasses help you realize how great you are and what you’re capable of.”

I hung up, smiling wider than I remember smiling before, and turned back to the computer, where Drew was waiting for my answer.

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