I am Irene, and I know a secret. A secret so big, that it’ll take me more than one part to relate it. Let me start from the beginning.
I was an average kid, to be honest. I got average grades. I wasn’t a teacher’s pet.
Then I met him.
Now I know you are probably thinking, “Oh! I bet you fell in love with him the first time you saw him!”. That wasn’t how I saw him. If anything, I was a bit confused.
“Class!” The bell rang and we all made our way to our seats. My teacher began her normal announcements, the day’s lessons and other trivialities, then proceeded to rap on my desk, and ask me to repeat EVERYTHING she just said. Bad start to the day.
“Umm...that we have Math today?” The look that she gave me was a melange of disgust and disappointment. I’ve become desensitized to it. It’s not really anything new at this point. My teacher smiled to herself, clearly pleased at proving me wrong and said to the class, “We actually have a NEW student joining us today, and I thought, since Irene didn’t have a table partner, he would join her. I felt my cheeks going red, and my ears felt like they had been lit by a torch. “Sure, I guess..” My reply came in a mumble. Then he came in.
The first thing I noticed about him was the way he carried himself. It was normal for a new kid to walk shyly, not making eye contact. But he did the opposite. After making clear eye contact with everyone in the room, his eyes rested on me. He gave a smile and sat down beside me. I gave him one back, but it was a bit more forced. I used to hate socialising, especially with people I didn’t really know.
“Hi. I’m Jack.” He said, looking around. “Pleased to meet you.”
Then it kind of went the way you would expect it to go. We really hit it off, because we shared a love for books, and jokes for that matter. Then that one fateful day arrived. The day at the carnival. The day that would change my life.
“Betcha I can go on that one, 3 times! In a row!”
“Nuh-uh. How ‘bout…” Jack and I sat laughing on a bench, picking up on the hundreds of conversations around us. There was something about Jack that just made me feel good, and made me feel happy. Suddenly, Jack’s face became serious. “Listen.” He said, all the colour from his face fading. “You need to know this.”
A nervous giggle escaped from my lips. Then, Jack, being Jack, broke into a smile. “Gotcha! Gosh, you should’ve seen the look on your face! Priceless. If only you had told me your fear of secrets earlier. I could have so much fun with it, you know-” His voice faded away as I allowed myself to think. ‘It’s funny, how just last month, I wouldn’t have been caught dead at a carnival, but now...here I am.’ My thought process was interrupted by a firm tapping on my shoulder.
“Hello? Earth to Irene? I swear, sometimes you zone out into who knows where. So what’d ya say? The fortune-teller one, next to the corn dog stall.” I smiled at him.