|Credit: Photo from ashbazulfiqar's Instagram|
Is it normal to be utterly captivated and inspired by a complete stranger?
The apprehensive swarm of newcomers entered the college for the first time, welcomed into their new life for the next two years. The pleasant beams of sunlight rained down on us, softly kissing us all with its beguiling rays. I watched from the side-lines as the room gradually began to fill; some with fiery red hair and revealing attire who were bursting at the seams with confidence and some with band t-shirts and dark eyeliner that painted a personality so vivid and stereotypical.
They took a snap of our glum and confused faces for our ID cards as quick as possible making us mere numbers flooded into a system, rather than bright individual sparks shining in a variety of potential angles. Blocking out the eerie silence and polite small talk I sat down in a chair and listened intently to the important-looking woman standing at the front.
She was too predictable and easy to deduct it almost made me laugh. Pristine navy blue suit: Unmarried, no children and likes to take care of her appearance. Raised chin and pushes out her chest: Thinks very highly of herself, slightly cocky and likes to be right all the time. It doesn’t take a genius like Sherlock to figure out what this woman is all about. I’m not a judgemental person but I disliked this woman; she clearly cared more about the college than the petrified sixteen year olds sitting nervously in front of her.
Once the introductions, formalities and timetables were delivered we were sent on our merry way to get a flavour of the subjects we were to take in September. All was running smoothly and I had taken a strong liking to all the lessons I had had so far. The final subject to test was one that I was thrilled to take – Creative Writing.
This was the ideal subject to take since it’s a strong passion of mine. The feeling of expressing emotion through beautiful words, laying them down onto a fresh blank page and allowing them to come alive and dance is truly wonderful. Writing has been a part of my life for so long that it seemed fitting to continue it in college.
Entering the muggy classroom I was greeted with a bubbly teacher. Her crazy bird nest she called hair framed her face perfectly, her olive skin darkened by the dim lights. I targeted my seat and quickly sat down to avoid any attention. I was trying my utmost hardest to blend in that I almost didn’t notice someone had sat down next to me. But why? There were so many other seats available, why choose the one next to me?
I spotted imprints of thousands of freckles, like sparkling stars, sitting importantly on her pasty white skin. The sophistication and elegancy was empowering. A pretty pastel pink jumper, faded black jeans and the most stunning heeled boots. I watched as she fixed her fringe, her short bob a gorgeous subtle ginger shade. Our teacher for the next hour or so went round the class asking us generic questions about high school and the other subjects we were taking. And soon enough, it was time for the girl next to me to speak.
“My name’s Alice…” she spoke with poise, “And leaving high school was the best thing that happened to me.”
Slowly everyone turned to look at her with blank expressions. The teacher pushed back her shaggy black hair, completely lost for words. She swiftly moved on with the lesson.
I wanted to know more. I wanted to be her friend. I wanted to talk for hours on end about her past, her dreams and ideologies. By just one simple sentence I was engrossed by this stranger. For the entirety of the lesson I tried to start a conversation, to not be the awkward person I always had been and to have the courage to say something of decency and interest. The only thing I mustered was a compliment right at the end of the lesson.
“I love your shoes, they’re so pretty…” I mumbled feebly. I felt so small and insignificant compared to her. She replied with a cheerful “Thank you, you’re so kind!”
Whilst waiting for my dad to drive up to the college and take me home, a dozen questions rang through my mind. Will she be enrolling in September? Will I ever get the chance to have a legitimate conversation with her? Did she even notice me?
She may not be as interesting as I may have thought initially but I want to know what she’s about, I want to listen to her stories of the past and what has made her into the person she is today. Alice was secretive, respectable, intriguing and a rare gem; and I can only hope to have the same effect on someone else one day.