i had this friend. loud, vivacious, and brimming with energy and colour. her sun-bright smile drew others to her like moths to flame; and yet she could always pick me out from the crowd effortlessly. i wondered how she did that, why she’d pick me over many.
she was the kind of person you could never look away from for long, but i saw her better from my peripherals. when she lifted her chin, her face would become awash with glowing light; and then she’d laugh about her pale skin, and the ruddy cheeks and dark freckles would appear again, as if they’d momentarily blanked out. when she grew protective, her blue eyes would spark dangerously and burn white; and then she’d blink, and the glint of her glasses would stand in with explanation.
but i saw her best from the back. when she’d run, her fire-bright curls would flare out behind her like wings.
as flighty as she was, she always came back to me. i wondered why.
she told me, once.
one day, before class had started, when i was in the middle of falling asleep in the sunbeam warming my desk, she turned around in her seat to talk to me. she spoke with her whole body, from her waving hands to her bouncing shoulders.
then she petered off, and settled into stillness. watchfulness. despite all the eyes on her, she only saw me.
“hey,” she said. “could you look at me for a sec?”
and when i lifted my head to look at her straight on, she smiled as if she’d found the answer.
“look at that,” she murmured. “your eyes have halos in them too.”