A Lisp

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Due to a two-hour delay,
lunch is postponed
by a half hour on Monday,
and due to some convoluted
reworkings of our schedules,
we are regrouped into
two lunch periods
rather than three.
When Eunice and I
walk into the cafeteria,
shadowed by her friends,
it certainly sounds a lot
louder than normal
as a result of the higher number
of students crammed
into the room.
The commotion hurts
my ears.

It quiets a bit once
most everyone has gone
through the lunch line.
Martha and Darien
start chattering about a class
they have together,
while Euni laughs as
Ashlyn throws grapes
at Trevor's open mouth.
He's not very good
at catching her projectiles,
though;
most all of them
bounce off his face or
miss him completely.
Every failure is accompanied
by a chorus of giggles
from the two girls.

I, for my part,
feel rather removed from
both halves of our group,
just as I normally do.
I pick at my ham sandwich
and let my thoughts wander -
a dangerous pastime, considering
how often they stray
to things I probably shouldn't
be thinking about.

Like Natalia,
for example.
I keep turning over
that conversation we'd had
on Friday
in my head,
the way she had declared
that she would find me
a suitable boyfriend
'or so help me, god!'
Well, maybe those
weren't her exact words,
but the meaning was the same.
I don't know exactly
what kind of harebrained scheme
she's plotting in that
blonde head of hers,
but I'm not quite sure
if I like it.
I probably don't.
Who even knows
any more.

Eunice nudges me
after a while,
a question in her eyes.
She's been worried because
I'm not really opening up
to her friends -
she thinks there is
something wrong, but
the truth of the matter is
that I still feel awkward,
because they've all
know each other since forever,
and I've only just met them.
There are years that I
can't bridge between
myself and them,
years that they spent
before knowing of my existence.
While I make an
even number between us all,
I still feel as though I
stick out like
a sore thumb.

My sister goes back
to laughing at Trevor
when I don't say anything, and
my gaze moves to skim
around the rest of the room,
settling on nothing in particular.
I don't really know
what I'm looking for
among the wide spectrum
of hair colors and the
smaller diversity of skin types
scattered around -
but I soon find it
as a familiar face
appears just in front of me,
grinning devilishly.
I nearly fall
out of my seat
in shock.
"Hi, Talia!"
Eunice says from
beside me,
surprised as well -
but Natalia is looking
at me as she speaks.

"I found him,"
she says,
more solemnly than her
exuberant expression
should have allowed.
When I don't say anything,
probably looking just as bewildered
as I actually am,
she just sighs.
She's been doing that
quite a lot lately -
around me, at least.
"The guy I'm going
to set you up with,"
she deadpans at last,
ignoring Euni's confused glance
in our direction.

"What?"
I squeak -
and immediately cringe.
Why does my voice
never come out right
when I'm around Natalia?
"Who?"

She crouches down beside me
to even our differing heights,
her gaze turning away
and out towards the rest
of the crowded room.
"There,"
she says simply,
pointing towards a table
off to our right.
"The guy on the
left side -
the one with the
dark hair and
grey hoodie."
I follow her gaze and,
after a bit of scouring
and frowning into the distance,
I find him.

The guy -
whoever he is -
really doesn't seem...
too bad, I guess.
He would probably
be considered cute by
most people, but
I wouldn't really know.
According to Euni,
I don't have a good eye
when it comes to boys.

And sure enough,
my sister, having
followed Natalia's
directions as well,
frowns towards the boy
we are both already looking at.
"Bryan Carter?"
she asks dubiously.
"Doesn't he have, like,
a lisp or something?"

"But he's cute enough,"
Natalia argues.
"You can get
past a little lisp-"

"He's not very cute,"
Eunice says in her
usual blunt way.
Maybe Natalia hasn't
known her for as long
as I'd thought she had,
because she seems a bit
taken aback.
"I don't think Matty
would be good with him
at all."

If I'd thought that Euni
would be against Natalia's
little matchmaking scheme,
that much just crushed
all the hopes I'd had.
There's a gleam in her eye,
one that tells me
that Natalia has
sucked her into the plan already,
no explanation required.
"But, hey,"
she continues,
"what about Jesse Wyatt?
He's pretty cute.
They would be
pretty good together,
don't you think?"

"But he's a freshman,"
Natalia says petulantly.
"Why would Matty
date a freshman?"

"She's only a sophomore -
but fair point."
Eunice seems stumped,
at least for the moment.
I'm sure it won't take long
for her to come up
with yet another boy
to suggest, though.
At that thought,
I just sigh.

"I'm right here,
you know..."
I quietly remind
both of them;
they turn to me immediately,
unsurprised.
"Why do you have to
find someone right now?
Isn't this stuff supposed to
come naturally or something?"

It's silent
for about half a second
before, abruptly,
Natalia laughs.
"Naturally,"
she snorts,
"in high school?
How naïve.
And anyway, naturally
doesn't get me any closer
to my double date,
now does it?"

"Ooh!" Eunice
picks up immediately,
obviously delighted by the idea.
"That sounds like fun!
If Vince and I hadn't
broken up a few months ago,
we could have made it
a triple date!"

Groaning silently,
I tune out of their conversation
before long,
losing interest
in their gushing over
different boys and
perfect double date scenarios.
I guess I have
no choice but to
resign myself to whatever
Natalia wants with me now.
With Eunice on her side,
there is no way
I'll get out of this one easily.

×

Yyyyikes. That's about all I can say to this. Nat sure is determined to go on that double date...

If you guys liked this chapter, if live if y'all would vote and leave me some feedback! It would be very much appreciated. And y'know, like especially as far as Matty's character goes, because I'm pretty sure y'all know she's gay from Misalignment, but she has no idea at this point, and I have no idea if I'm portraying that properly. She's pretty naïve, but I have no idea if I'm making her a little TOO naïve, if you know that I'm saying... Who knows.

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