i write sometimes. a fan of the fine arts & swimming.

Image of Short Story
My hands are sweaty.

So sweaty, in fact, that it feels like two shallow pools have formed in my palms, eager for patrons to take a dip in my fear. Beads of sweat are doing elaborate dives into the grooves between my love and life lines. I let my index finger map out each canyon and dismally, I discover: both were short.

I swipe my damp digits across my jeans and try to quell my nerves by checking the time. I don’t believe in that type of stuff anyways.

2:10 pm. 2:11 pm. 2:12 pm.

God. My eyes keep darting back to the clock, trying to regain some sort of normalcy. On a regular day, I’m always looking at the clock, in anticipation of the lunch bell or perhaps just to silently cheer on the hands going around, as if they’ll go any faster. Instead of relishing in my daily routine though, I’m more focused on the riot between my ribs.

This could nearly be classified as cardiac arrest.

My pulse is racing so fast that you’d call it Mario Andretti, so fast that my heart is likely to have lapped my other organs thrice, and I’m honestly afraid that you can hear it revving in my chest. You’re sitting so close that you probably can.

The brush of your knee against mine gases up the car riding in my veins, even though the feeling is something I’ve felt since I was a child. I’ve known you forever but today, the sensation strikes me like a bullet. It’s not the same as before, it’s something new and strange for something as old and familiar as that.

I still have recollection of the instances where you and I sat like this. Remembering far back isn’t too hard on me. Not when our parents have thousands of pictures of us sitting in your sandbox, knee to knee, or watching a movie together, arm in arm, strewn across the walls of our houses respectively. But as we aged, those type of things earned a new context.

Now we sit knee to knee once more, surrounded by an unnerving silence, save for the screams outside our classroom door. The clank! of cases is getting louder out there but I’m just trying to think about anything else. The brush of our limbs, the faint ticking of the clock, the way you’re shaking next to me. Anything else.

Biting feelings are scraping their teeth along my bones and instead, I try to replace them with something warmer, something sweeter. Something that feels like melted chocolate, like gooey honey. Not something that makes me feel dead while still alive.

So I put my hand on yours.

Something blazed in my sternum.

Maybe it was an act of comfort from a childhood friend or maybe it was an act of comfort from someone who wanted to be something more but all I know is that I did it and you’re now looking up at me, your soft smile aglow.

Your smile is the sun, and staring at it blinds me from the massacre outside.