I looked at her, sipping her water with tiny, delicate sips. She was sitting across from me, but her gaze wouldn’t rest on me. Her eyes were constantly dancing, looking around the room, taking in the soda machines, the bulletin board, the passersby, the people sitting at other tables, the garish painted tiger on the wall. She would stop, look at me briefly, and then look around again, trying to see someone better looking or more popular or more important than me.
I was her first friend here – when her family moved into town, I shared some potato chips with her at lunch and we quickly became fast friends. I introduced her to everybody, made sure she was invited to the parties, wouldn’t let anyone poke fun at her. We brushed each other’s hair, told secrets, laughed, cried – we were inseparable, and had been since we met. Until now.
It wasn’t the boys that came between us. Well, it wasn’t entirely the boys. There was this distance between us now – I was no longer the first person to learn of her news, while I always told her mine before anyone. I was the same person, but she wasn’t – she had aims I didn’t share, wanted things I didn’t understand. She was seated so close – the tip of her shoe was right in front of my shin – but she may as well have been a million miles away.