Jacob was standing before the large classroom window next to his desk. The air went to caress his face gently and he drew a deep breath. The light blue sky of the morning had turned to gray and the heavy clouds craved the moment of their releases. The air was humid and smelled of earth and fallen leaves.
– “Hey, aren’t you coming to eat, Jay?”
A gust of wind made his hair dance as he turned to face the source of the words. Jeremy had placed his newly purchased meal on Jacob’s desk and had brought his chair to it.
Jacob turned back, spacing out again. Jeremy was a sport guy. He was thin but muscular and his energy and happy demeanor made people comfortable. Though, that day, he looked strangely serious.
– “Did something happen?” Jeremy asked, fidgeting with his hands. “You’re even quieter than usual.”
Jeremy was suddenly next to him, his eyes danced on Jacob’s face a moment, then turned to the outside world. He felt the embrace of the warm, heavy wind on his face and smiled bitterly.
– “Where’s Kath?” Jacob asked.
– “Right here!” A small voice answered.
Kathelyn was suddenly next to him, staring into empty space. Jeremy took a deep breath before speaking again:
– “I know you might not feel the same but…” He hesitated and his body tensed. “Me and Kath, we’re your friends. So…We worry about you.”
Jeremy looked down, embarrassed by the words he had muttered. Kathelyn smiled a radiant smile and nodded. She was a boyish girl, never wearing makeup, rarely ever dressing her short hair. And to add to the confusion, she even wore a male’s school uniform. Jacob had heard that it was because her family was quite poor and, therefore, she was given her older brother’s uniform, unable to purchase one of her own. But despise her tomboy appearance, her girly smile could have melted the iciest of hearts.
– “Yeah, you can talk to us.” She said, smiling to Jeremy.
Jacob let out a sigh.
– “I’m fine.” He said, the words escaping his mouth. Suddenly, he felt helpless again.
Jeremy nodded and went to his meal, Kathelyn following him closely. The strange duo had started to sit at Jacob’s desk through lunch break the day after he had transferred. They would smile and talk to him without ever expecting an answer. He had never minded since they would never press him to talk. Since then, both were a constant part of his life. He never had considered them to be friends. To him, they were more of a part of the decor.
Having them suddenly say they were his friends had surprised Jacob. He would have liked to say thank you. He would have loved to appreciate his new friendship but, to him, it only felt impossible. “Would I ever be able to call those two “friends”?” He asked himself, failing to realize that he had asked where Kath was. That he would feel nervous if those two weren’t there at all. Failing to realize that those two had always been there and that he could actually speak up to them without being judged. Not for his awkwardness nor for his looks and not for his quiet nature.
In the end, Jacob didn’t eat his lunch, his stomach twisting and churning every time he thought about his meeting on the rooftop. Jeremy and Kathelyn stayed at his desk, laughing and fooling around, and he stuck to the window, feeling alien and disoriented. Soon, class had started again and he was forced to sit, still craving the warmth of the humid autumn air outside…