Justin Lo


School is out, and everyone looks like a cough drop except Andrea.  Andrea never looks like a cough drop, even in that cough drop uniform all the girls have to wear.


I don’t really care that much whether I’m in school or out.  The bushes still bristle the same way when you touch them, anyway.


Today, I decide I’ll go and talk to Andrea.  She’s the only one worth talking to, I think.  At least she’s the only one who looks like she’s worth talking to.  A few of the cough drops make nice company once in awhile, but they always put up that little sign that says that their little smile is something to be reckoned.  It just isn’t the kind of smile I like.


Andrea doesn’t seem to notice me, or maybe it’s just because I don’t know what goes on behind those thick glasses of hers.  She can’t see out of the corner of her eye since her glasses don’t go that far, that’s for sure.  She doesn’t seem to be able to see anything most of the time, even through those glasses.  In class, she just stares forward with her eyes wide open but her irises as dull as those rocks in the backyard.


Her hair is long and dirty.  I would never want to touch it.  It just has absolutely no youth to it, nor that charm that the cough drops’ hair displays every day.  That hair you’d want to touch, but then you wouldn’t want to talk to that cough drop in the first place, so you’d end up never touching it anyway.


“Hey, Andrea,” I say, trying to ignore her hair.


“Yes?” she replies without turning her body.


I don’t really know what to say.  I could ask her about her hair so that maybe she’d wash it for once, but that’d be quite tactless.  Instead, I decide not to say anything at all.


She doesn’t seem to care, or maybe she’d already forgotten that I’d tried to start a conversation with her.  For hours, she keeps walking, and I can’t believe that I am walking by her side.  The sun begins to set, and I realize that I should have been home hours ago.  Instead, I am on some unknown street on the other side of town, walking with Andrea.


As the sky turns wine red, the air grows intoxicating and I see, with blurred vision, a pair of wings in front of me.  They are beautiful and pure, glistening silver-white before the dripping landscape behind.  The wings are folded neatly, and after the sun sets, they fade away and I return to my senses.


“Andrea, you won’t believe this, but I thought I just saw a pair of wings hovering in front of me.”


Andrea turns around with a confused expression on her face, but I can see clearly into her eyes, as if the glasses were not there.  Her irises are now a glowing blue and intensely radiant.


“I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about,” she says finally, as if she had to calculate her answer before responding.


But as she turns her head back to see where she’s walking, I can see a small smile creep onto her face.  Looking at her back, which appears slightly bent the wrong way, probably because she always crouches about her desk in that way when she’s taking notes in class, I see nothing out of the ordinary.


We keep walking, walking until night falls, and then walk all through the night without stopping.  I long to see those wings again, but when the dawn comes and the sun’s rays strike me in the early air, I feel something on my back, and Andrea gives a toothy grin.


The world of cough drops seems long behind me as we approach the school once more.  I am walking next to a girl with wings.