Tuesday, August 27, 2002

"The Hue from Shore" Part 2 in a series

Three Minutes With Her

During the remainder of high school, things settled into a pattern. Mindy would always offer a warm and enthusiastic "Hi, Tim!", even when she was sitting in the courtyard with Heather Kiefer, Karen Sweetman, and the coolest of the cool, people who wouldn't even make eye contact with Tim when they passed in the hall.

Every now and then, when they ended up next to each other in line at the student council ice cream window in the cafeteria, they'd exchange some warm smalltalk, often tinted with a hint of some deeper connection. His question: "Have you been doing any drawing or painting since art class last year?" Would be met with responses along the lines of: "A little, mostly sketches on the bus to our away softball games, the far ones, like Hibbing. It's not like in our class, though, something about that setting made it easier to create. I really enjoyed the environment we had there."

Within even that singular casual sentence, he had something more to fuel his interest in her. She'd referred to the art class they were in together as "our" class, and that was big. She could have said "that art class" or " Mr. Lachapelle's class" or just "art class", but she didn't. That wasn't all. Her mention of the setting as having some undefined quality that fostered creativity was not lost on him either. Her characterization of that setting was linked to their mutual presence there, her valididation and fond recollection of the class served to validate him. And, of course, there was the "we" at the end of her statement - an important "we". She seemed genuinely very eager to talk to him when they crossed paths in situations like the ice cream line or the corridors of the school, and gave him the sort of solid, tracking eye contact that unmistakably meant that for that moment at least, she was really paying attention to him.

Through all that, Tim never did ask Mindy out. He was very attracted to her, and relished every shred of contact he had with her. But he had a well-developed set of reasons not to ask her out, and those reasons only strengthened in his mind during the final two years of high school.

...to be continued


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