Inventing Indigo

It began with a girl.
And none of us even noticed she was there... until she wasn't anymore.


2. Day One


It’s 3:35, Friday afternoon, outside school, and my eyes are fixed on the back of Tarren Samuels’ head.

His perfect head.

Sorry. Focus.

We have spoken a few choice words to each other in our time getting on and off this bus, and sometimes I dare to flash him a smile if I see him walking around school. I like to think that we are acquaintances, of a sort, perhaps on our way to being friends.

Okay, so, I like to think that because it makes me feel a teeny-tiny bit less pathetic for following him around with my teen-girl-puppy-eyes act. Which I attempt to conceal, because nothing is more creepy than someone who won’t stop staring at you all the time, right?

So we’re acquaintances. Sort of. And he… is the highlight of my bus ride home every day.

I’m distracted by these thoughts, and the music blaring through my headphones, and I-wonder-who’s-cooking-tonight, and my plans for the weekend, so when Tarren gets his ticket and sits down I completely fail to notice and stand there staring at nothing, until the bus driver coughs.

“Oh,” I mutter, fumbling for coins in my purse. I get my ticket and then turn.

Tarren is sitting next to my usual spot.

Deep breath. Go on. Act normal.

I swing into my seat nearby as usual, but I don’t meet his eyes.

Idiot, says a voice in my head. Now he’ll think you’re ignoring him.

I look up.

Say something.

I fumble for words.

Crap. Too long a pause. Now it’s just awkward.

“Hi,” I say, but it edges out stupid and forced I sort of want to slap myself in the face, or maybe construct a fort out of iron girders to lock myself away in. Bonus points if it is at the bottom of the ocean. When did I become so childishly, stupidly awkward? This isn’t me. I don’t do this kind of stuff. I am careful. I am composed.

Tarren’s staring off into an empty space at the back of the bus, and it takes him a moment to realize I’ve spoken. He glances at me, a quizzical expression etched on his face. “Hey.” Then he looks away again, at nothing.

Smooth moves, Lou, I think to myself. He would literally rather do anything than look at your face.

Maybe this isn’t about me, I reassure myself. Maybe he’s just not in the mood to talk. And I occupy myself in the activity of staring intently at my phone and trying not to be self-conscious. And after a while, I almost forget. Then he jars me out of it:

“Have you seen Indigo?”

I jump slightly. “Um.  Sorry?”

“Indigo Roudriguez. Have you seen her? She hasn’t been on the bus in ages. She’s usually here every day.”

“The girl with the purple hair?”

“Yeah. Sits at the back.”

I shrug. “Maybe she’s just ill.”

He frowns and bites his lip. “It’s been three weeks.”

“Call her?”

“I don’t have her number. We weren’t really… we weren’t that close.”


He glances at me again, his eyes lingering locked to mine for a second.

Then he looks away, and doesn’t look at me again for a full few minutes.

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