She always sat in the back of the classroom but not because she was a bad student.
I’d seen the professor hand back her papers marked with words like “well done!”
Even “bravo!” And, at first, it surprised me but eventually just furthered the mystery.
Her eyes were always sad and her hood on her hoodie pulled up and over her curly hair.
She never smiled, but if you caught her at the right time, she’d offer a glance of compassion
To a self-deprecating comment as if to say, “Same, Girl,” though she would never actually say it.
I noticed her every Monday and Wednesday: the days on which the class was held,
And sometimes I wondered if her eyes were happier on days like Tuesdays or Fridays.
Did she smile on those days? Did she offer a verbal “Same, Girl” rather than a simple look?
And, then, I’d wonder why she held such pain in those eyes of hers? Had she lost a loved one?
And hadn’t she been taught as a child that human life is fleeting—gone quickly and often?
Maybe she is more sensitive to the trials of life than the rest of us or worse at hiding their effects.
I thought about my own life and how I sometimes would cry at night in the secrecy of my room.
Yet she was there sharing with the world these moments only meant to be experienced alone.
Perhaps she is weaker than the rest of us. Or maybe she is braver, realer.
One day, I thought to do something I’d never done before. I wanted some insight,
So, I asked her about her day. I truly expected only a look in response—the familiar glance
That had been offered so many times before. And, at first, that is all she gave.
But seconds later, as I prepared myself to live with only a glance as response, she answered.
“Just trying to make it to the weekend,” she’d said, and I almost cheered in reply.
It was only a Monday, but I began to picture the joy she must hold in her eyes on the weekends.
Maybe that was it—she was just waiting for the weekend. Or maybe she held some dark secret
In the depths of her eyes that only she knew but chose to share through the glimpses of glances.
But I like to think that it’s the former, and so I said, “Same, Girl,” and she replied with her eyes.