At School

At School


submitted by: Cindy Duhe


cipher romance at schoolFifteen years old, one doesn’t think much of romanticism.

The night sky was adorned with beautiful red hues that not a child on their bikes

would notice; not until much later in their lives, when soft, fleshy

hands interlock, replacing the cold steel of their handle bars.

Surprisingly, though, there is always one child to break whatever mold

has been set. Eric was a fine example of that.

We had known each other for a few, brief years of saying “hello”, while

passing, from lockers to classroom. Dignified, yet juvenile, he made

his way through the temptingly rigid hallways of our junior high. We

were always seated next to one another, by fate, as our last names were

alphabetically close. At times, this got on my nerves since we were

still at that age when a boy, no matter how mature, could be caught in the trap of acting his age, on occasion.

At any rate, after months and years of knowing each other, rumours of

his affinity for me started to fly and race right past my own sense of

reality. I had no clue what I should do, if anything, at all, so, in

typical girl fashion, I sat and waited. And, the waiting was no

picnic. I couldn’t decide what to do; should I circle the ‘yes’ or the

‘no’ when the fateful moment should occur?. In junior high, one has to

remember that economics and reliability in the system of notebook “I

love you’s” is a lot cheaper than flowers or box candy. Not to mention

the fact that it was simple, straight, and to the point; definitely not

a trend to go out of style, anytime soon.

Well, finally, the morning came, as I got off of the school bus, that

Eric stood, with a note in hand. This was the moment that I had

awaited, ever since the first whisperings of hearsay. My heart pounded

and ideas swam in my head. Both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ would be equally

difficult choices; this was a matter not to be taken lightly. With the

ramifications of each option, roaring at my side, I opened the crinkly

notebook paper and proceeded to read:

Dear Cindy,

I have a word puzzle. See if this tells you who I like.

I didn’t understand. Perhaps my connection to the junketed market of

gossip mongering was wrong. Inside sources can be inaccurate, after

all. I read on. It went on to list some numbers:

39, 8, 92.

Nothing more, just numbers. I stood, confused. The ringing bell

sounded and it was time to get to class. With that, Eric had been swept

away by the dashing crowd, and I was left to face this challenge, by

myself. The day drug on and, while coming closer to a halt, I finally

resigned to the fact that I would never crack the code of this

hellascious game.

With that, I drudged onward, to the science lab, where

we were to study the periodic table of elements. This was not my

favourite subject, but it was something with which Eric was a keen

student. The teacher proclaimed that the element number of oxygen was

eight. Eight, I thought. Reminded me of one of the numbers in Eric’s

code. At that moment, it hit me; he had used his periodic chart to

spell out the initials. I looked at the table. The first number in the

game, 39, was a ‘y’ for Yttrium. Perhaps this was it… Oxygen, as the

teacher stated, was number eight, the second letter. The third, and

final letter that would bring it all into perspective, was the letter

‘u’ for Uranium.

Y-O-U. It was me. Me.

This was one clever boy! He was the type to notice every line, every

detail, every pore. When I realized the magic of that moment, before writing my subscribing reply, I wanted to go home, scrub my face, and

make sure that each detail would be just as perfect as the moment that

shall live on in my heart for as long as I live.