By: Tessa Sutherland | February 14, 2022
Photo Credit: Tessa Sutherland
He kicks back in the chair with ease while his college peers bustle around him. Swimming in his dark blue sweater paired with a white undershirt and round glasses he sits comfortably eating pizza from his college cafeteria. Every once in a while he flips his dark brown hair to the side to keep it from his eyes. He takes large bites into his plain cheese pizza folded right down the middle creating a stream of grease on the flimsy paper plate. Taking in his surroundings, out of the corner of his eye he spots her walking towards him. Immediately organizing himself to make room, she plops down in the chair next to him, facing him with a troubled expression. He puts his pizza down and directs all his attention to her.
“I just don’t understand what’s going on,” she huffs. He looks away with a slight grin and turns back to say, “I don’t know what to tell you, I can't figure it out either,” and locks his eyes on her completely entranced. He settles his cheek into the palm of his hand, stabilizing his elbow on the table. He pays no mind to the pizza as he pushes it away.
She sits scrolling through her iPhone with no intention of talking though he patiently waits for her to continue. He goes on, “maybe she just had a hard day or…” he begins to trail off noticing her mental absence. A second passes in comfortable silence and he reaches for her arm. He places his hand on top of her faded blue sleeve, rubbing his thumb back and forth over the fabric. She looks up and he offers her a comforting smile, just enough to shadow his dimples. He clears his throat before continuing, “But I don't think you can avoid it, I think you need to deal with it.” His voice is soft, he says this to offer a hand in her drama, not to be harsh. He removes his hand from her arm hesitantly. She huffs again, looks away from him and moves to get up. He looks up slowly following her actions, his hopeful eyes looking for her approval. She nods at him signaling to follow. Scrambling, he throws the remains of his pizza away, scoops up his black Nike backpack and rushes to her. His arm brushes the back of her waist, a quick reminder that he is by her side.