Melissa first saw her at the edge of the crowd. Her small frame strangely set above a gaggle of mostly juniors and seniors, queer that she could spy her so well. With her wide eyes, and round face the girl couldn’t have been any older than herself, a freshman who had come from a small town in Minnesota. There were harsh winters there, but Elsewhere seemed to always have the air of spring.
Melissa tried to follow her, smelling the faint scent of jasmine that seemed to follow this strange girl around. She cut through throngs of bodies and elbows, crowds of feet and indistinct voices entranced by the sing song laughter that reminded her of a robins song. Melissa never seemed able to get close to her, just as she would reach one end of the room she would catch a glimpse of the girl, again on the other side. The red haired youth didn’t know why she seemed so determined to find the girl with daisies in her short hair, hair that reminded her of the barley fields her dad use to drive her through as a child; blonde, but Melissa could have sworn her hair was pink when she caught her in the corner of her eye.
This was the Freshman’s first party- even in high school she had nothing more than the odd sleepover and birthday parties at Camp Snoopy, closely guarded by her parents. Melissa didn’t know what she was doing here, why she was following a girl so beautiful when she, herself was nothing more than a gangly teen with an overbite.
Melissa made her way to the over sized snack table, passing over the strangely colored dips and cups whose contents were sweeter than the soda she got at the store; eyes searching. She dodged glances and the half hearted waves of strangers, Melissa was never good at small talk, the sweat on her palms evidence of her nervousness; she didn’t know anybody. I just need to find her. Melissa searched the crowd once again, her roommate, Dolly, who long abandoned her at the beginning of the night was a few feet away laughing too hard at every one of the senior boy’s jokes.
“Call me Dolly there alright?”
“Why? Your name doesn’t even start wit-”
“Never mind that- all the senior girls go by cool names, what are they gonna call you?”
There. The Freshman’s heartbeat quickened as she spotted the strange girl, looking away from Melissa with arms folded across her chest as if she were in her own world. She was suddenly so close- so close she could almost touch her shoulder, trace her fingers down the thin cotton of her shirt; it’s dipping backline. Hadn’t she been at the other side of the room?
The singsong giggle caught her breath as the girl turned around, looking straight at her with impossibly green eyes that sparkled. There was a small smile on her lips, as if there was an inside joke only she were privy too. All of this was no help to Melissa’s nerves, her heart pounded against her rib cage. She didn’t know why she had followed this girl around- she hadn’t even considered the possibility of meeting her.
“Hello” she sang. Reaching out her petite hands, Melissa grasped it, feeling like a baboon a meeting a flower. “I’m Faye.”
Had Melissa known the consequences of this acquaintance then, she would have hesitated. Had Melissa read her brochures, spied those flyers on the bulletin boards, or heard the whispers in the hall she would have known better. Had she known the trials she would face, the scars she would wear and the dangers ahead of her, Melissa may have reconsidered and walked away. Had Melissa known all these things in this moment. She would change nothing.