Words – 498
Perfect Harmony: Shining Star
By Josh McMullen
“This has to be a nightmare,” Elodie whispered to herself. “All I have to do is wake up and all this will just be one bad dream.”
It wasn’t a dream, no matter how hard Elodie pinched herself or how much she convinced herself otherwise. She felt all the blood rush to her face and shoulders as she scrunched into an embarrassed ball. Though the steam obscured almost everything, that didn’t stop the chaos.
That chaos was Leo, who wasn’t there by choice. Being a baseball prodigy on a team that was mostly made up of juniors and seniors had its privileges and its risks. This had been one of the risks: being dumped unceremoniously into the girls’ locker room with no way of escape. The fact that the seventh grade girls’ gym class had just let out was just icing on the cake.
It was almost like a balloon bursting in slow motion. What had been harmonious chatter after hard-fought games of badminton turned into a ripple of pandemonium as they realized something – or someone – was out of place there.
All Leo could do was stand there, frozen to that spot, his face bright red. For once, being the center of attention was the last thing on his mind. All he wanted to do was run away. He looked around furtively for another door, until his eyes landed on a shoulder with a perfect star birthmark. That’s when he knew he had to get out of there incredibly fast. In an instant he had forced his way out the door and far away. Leo couldn’t believe that the universe hated him that much to put Elodie in the same room. When he figured he had finally run far enough away, he collapsed on the floor, wrapped his arms around his knees and buried his head.
Elodie found him a few minutes later, arms wrapped around his knees. She softly touched him on the shoulder. When he didn’t respond after a couple seconds, she sat next to him, a silent sentinel against the horrors middle school had wrought.
“You know,” Elodie said after several minutes of awkward silence, “There was a door about ten feet to your left. With your speed, you could have ran out the door before anyone knew you were there.” She giggled slightly, then hummed absentmindedly while keeping her hand on his shoulder. They sat there in ungraceful silence for a few minutes more before Leo broke it with: “Hey, you know you have a birthmark that looks like a star?”
“I’m well aware,” Elodie said, trying to contain her laughter. “How did you know it was me?”
“I don’t know,” Leo said. “I could just tell.”
Elodie smiled brightly. He had seen her at her most vulnerable and did not shy away (well, not completely at least). She wrapped her arms around him, a smile on her face. She may not have known it there, but she found her shining star.