He's watching her. Quietly, unobtrusively—like he'd always done and probably always will. She knows that, doesn't know why, but she knows it as a constant in her life just like breathing, blinking, being. And she watches him too, out of the corner of her eye, not always, just whenever she needs to.

Talking isn't her strong point. She likes listening a lot better. Maybe she learned it from him. Doesn't matter. Because when she looks over at him, and their eyes meet, it's as if she's somehow said a thousand things to him in a single moment. She knows this is weird which is why she keeps it to herself (and him), not telling anyone.

And who would believe her? She isn't pretty or famous. Not a blue-ribbon winner in the science fair nor a leader in the school's fine arts programs. Doesn't have a million and one friends or a million and one dollars. Other people—her parents, friends, teachers—they would all describe her as average if they were honest. And maybe that's another reason why she doesn't tell them. He makes her into something special. Above average. Afraid of the day he won't be there.

He follows her home after school usually. A few cars behind her but then, it's not like he'll get lost if he loses sight of her. He knows the way by heart. Parks half a block down the road. She goes for a run once she's had her after-school snack. Passing him twice. Not making eye contact. Just knowing the other was there.

How could this feel so comforting?

It's a carefule routine they follow. Almost like a dance from Shakespearean times. Close but never touching, never merging.

July 25, 2009. It's the summer so it's a little different. She works in the morning so she doesn't see him until she gets home. But he's always there, waiting for her. Sometimes he'll have a Subway sandwich, sometimes a Starbucks frappuccino (mocha). Little variations. Which is why she wasn't alarmed when he was outside, leaning against his car, as she returned home from her mid-afternoon jog. Just a little variation.

But when he started to cross the street, approaching her, she stopped running. He kept on going, colliding into her. He caught her as she fell backwards, pressing a cloth over her nose and mouth. Did she struggle?

She didn't wake up. Her body found along a hidden trail a few weeks later. Her name in the papers. A retouched photo for the obituary. A scholarship in her name. Special.

Here lies a daughter, a friend—too young to find her niche in the world except in the hearts of those who knew her.

A few months later, another body turns up.


Not sure about that last line. Should I leave it or delete it? Because I'm not sure I should leave the reader with the message that here's a girl who risked her life to feel important or with the irony?