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Justin Campbell Justin Campbell
Recommendations: 6

Layered


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She had a friend.

She was always defeating him in their verbal arguments, but played back, all he did was come up with something that would put him on the positive side while deriding her as hypocritical, self-righteous, judging and punishing. But it was still a losing argument because of the failure of it all. It lowered his self-esteem.


--


She was pretty, and she glanced at him with a smile often enough, but he couldn't say very much, could he? So he would just have to try something else.


He back-flipped over the table he was sitting at, jumped up on the desk at the front of the classroom, and on cue, the song began - an older pop song by The Cars from the late 80s, called 'You Are The Girl.' It wasn't perfect - they weren't fighting or anything - but the chorus made sense, and nothing was ever perfect anyways.


He looked right at her. "Why don't you dream anymore?" He sang with a smile. Nodding his head at the appropriate rhythms as he moved, he jumped from the front desk to a table in front of it, standing on a classmate's laptop. "What's in the way?" Doing a spin, he pranced back onto the floor and moon-walked backwards as students smiled and swayed back and forth. Her smile was the largest, flashy white teeth shining at him terrifically.


"You are the girl that keeps me up at night," he sang while his arms were spread wide. "You are the girl that makes me feel alright!" He started forward, front-flipping over a table. Campy as this was, he didn't care. Everyone was having fun. The classroom lights dimmed and flickered in accompaniment with the moterik beat of the song. Out of nowhere, he jumped behind a keyboard and dove into the next verse.


"Why don't you talk anymore? What did I say?" He hit the keys as he grinned at everyone in front of him. Soon he came to his favourite part of the song, and with both hands hit all the A notes he could on the piano. Leaning towards her, he sang, "Why don't you stay for awhile? It's up to you." Clicking his heels, he launched into the chorus again, with the rest of the class (minus her) joining in.


The professor took over the guitar solo as he danced in a circle, backwards, around him. It was amazing. By this point the rest of the class was on its feet, people moving and dancing, and Steven was on the drums while a Benjamin Orr lookalike manned a bass, plectrum and all. She sat in the midst of all this, eyes only on him as he pranced and danced about, spinning and traipsing and moonwalking everywhere.


"Why don't you dream anymore?" He sang again as he cooly strutted across the ceiling tiles, having made his way up there by the east-facing wall. "What's in the way? Why do you point to the door - and then ask me to stay?" By this point he was moving back down the west-facing wall, proud of the early-80s music video reference he'd just accomplished. The song was almost over. The whole room was in a climactic procession that involved everyone but her; a few of his classmates had picked her up in her chair and placed her on the table at the front of the room, so he could better sing to her in a central location. She wasn't embarrassed at all - rather just happy. As he finished the final chorus of the song, everyone slowed down their dancing and playing until they all ended in one big bow, all in front of her. He took her hand, finished the last line ("You are the girl in my dreams") and bowed his head silently.


The song ended. The room was silent.


After three seconds, he suddenly looked up at her. "Hey. Want to go to this place called Donald's Foods? It's fictional, but I hear it's great."


She smiled down at him perfectly. "I'd love to."


The rest of the class jumped up. "Yay!" they all yelled.


--


She stands on the traffic island, while he sits in his car in the left-turn lane.


"Nathan wanted to get her attention," the narrator said briskly. "But he also wanted to exercise restraint in his obsession with the girl, whose name was Belinda."


Nathan and Belinda, plus her friend Patricia, all walk towards a Merivale McDonalds. In the background plays 'Head Over Heels' by The Go-Go's, quietly. "The last thing Nathan experienced that you could actually call a social affair with her had been two years ago, when he spent the afternoon with Belinda and her friend Patricia at McDonalds." You see them waiting in line in the fast-food restaurant, with Belinda ordering and the other two behind her. She finishes; Nathan gestures to let Patricia go, but of course she gestures for him to go ahead of her instead, out of politeness. "It had been an unprecedented but memorable afternoon for Nathan, and he felt almost like he'd gone head over heels." They sit at a table and talk while they eat. You very quickly see that they talk much longer than they finish eating.


Nathan toots his horn. She looks over at him and breaks into a big smile. Nathan yells "Off to the beach!" She responds, "I hope it doesn't rain!"


"Nathan was thrilled to see Belinda again, even if it was just for a few moments, as he treasured her deep down. But unfortunately, as things go, they had no real close relationship, and he had to let go of her."


Nathan gets the light and accelerates forward. As he makes the left turn, he smiles at her; she smiles right back, obviously pleased to see him. He keeps going forward.


"Nathan would keep that day in mind for awhile, until he decided it was that one situation that year in which he was to run into her, just like he always ran into her at least once during the year. It was always one time too little."


--


She had dark hair, a pale complexion, brown eyes, a roundish face, a beautiful smile, and a gentle personality. She didn't dress too flashy and she didn't seem too closed up. She was everywhere to him, because while she existed, she only did so in his thoughts and ideas and trains of thought. Her eyes weren't that of a stranger. She could be the girl.


Then there was the other girl, who existed outside of his thoughts and in front of him, if circumstances ever allowed her to be. Dark blonde dyed red, she trumped the dark-haired girl, easily. Why? Because he couldn't explain exactly why he liked her; certainly her red hair, pale complexion, hazel eyes, voice, and personality had something to do with it, but there was something else deep down that instinctively told him she was definitely it, all over. She could probably move in mysterious ways, or just have certain ways that he would adore, every day. He could be with her night and day if he thought of it.


--


She caught his glance, and smiled. She felt quite tickled that this guy appeared to like her, it was quite obvious. He kept looking at her, glancing, and just being very happy and positive. She felt almost like they were connecting somehow, because she wasn't in a totally happy relationship at the moment and he was attractive. He had dark hair, facial hair, glasses and a button-up plaid summer shirt. They were their second week of classes in college.


By their fourth week they'd be friendly and talkative to each other. By their fifth week, she'd be out of her unhappy relationship, while he'd be slowly getting quieter and quieter.


Five months later, she would be dating the outgoing, loud, social leader of the class while at the same time finally getting a friend request from him on Facebook (and accepting it).


A year later, she would be living in Prince Edward Island attending a new college with this same extrovert from class, while he'd maintain his quiet loneliness in Ontario while still having her on Facebook all this time later.


--


She looked at the photo; it was dated 1995. In it, she was virtually on top of a little boy. Both her and the boy had only been four years old at the time, and it was cute. They almost looked like young adults rolling around on the ground having fun in an intimate relationship, although they weren't doing that in this picture, just mucking around on the grass.


She hadn't seen him since that time. She wondered what he looked like, what he sounded like, what he did. Was he tall? She didn't see him as being so, he always seemed short and broad to her, or at least someone to become like that. He probably still had dark hair, unless he dyed it, and maybe he did. He'd be twenty-three now. Did he go to university or college? Did he live on his own or still at home? Did he have a job? Where? What was his demeanor? His temperament? His interests? Goals? Lifestyle? Did he talk to women in pubs and bars or nightclubs, or was he uptight and fidgety and not into much social scenes? Probably the former, if he spent his childhood with girls on top of him, hah.


She closed the e-mail the picture had come in, the e-mail from her mother, and turned off her computer, went to bed. She was in a dorm room, her roommate already asleep. It was located on the campus of the Western University, in London, Ontario. When she fell asleep, she dreamt of the memories she had of him, of rolling around on the grass, playing in the pool, eating lunch on the backyard deck of the woman who babysat them back then. They were good summery dreams, and they carried her through the night.


--


He scanned the box and removed it from the storage bin with little effort. Another food pick had been done.


It had taken him three minutes to find the pick, as his mind had been so absent from the present, off thinking about all these girls and women and times and fictional scenarios, good and bad. It was all that kept him going while he did his boring work, his mind entertained. He looked at his smartphone, which had the time - 10:15 - and felt slightly better. Only forty-five minutes to the end of the workday. He put the box on the cart next to him, and moved to the next pick, his mind now too busy focusing on the work to go back to the girl in his photography class, or Belinda, or the one in his writing class, or the girl from his childhood, or the girl he'd fallen out with last year.


Or the one from McDonalds. Yeah.


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Justin Campbell's website: http://justincottawa.blogspot.ca/

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