Getting up for the second day of school was much harder than the first. I already knew most of my classes, and, today, work would actually begin.
The only ‘new’ class I had was gym, which I dreaded. I didn’t hate the subject, but the pressure was enormous. It always felt like people were judging you, which was horrible. Thankfully, though, I had signed up for soccer this quarter, which I was relatively good at. But still. I was known for making embarrassing mistakes during gym.
I walked into the gym, where everyone was gathered, waiting for the class to start. I scanned the crowd of students who were gathered on the bleachers, searching for a friend. I sighed when I saw no familiar faces. But no, I was wrong. There was one familiar face. My stomach dropped. Ashton. He was sitting with his friends--both boys and girls--laughing and smiling. How I wished to be one of the girls in that group. I don’t know how they did it. How could they talk to him without tripping up their speech, or making a fool of themselves? I shook my head and sighed again. Oh well.
The gym teacher then pranced in and took attendance. Once he finished, he asked, “Alright, who’s ready to play?” The boys in the class all shouted in response, while the girls stood awkwardly. The teacher grinned. “I’m going to choose team captains, and then the captains will choose their teammates. Okay? Hm. Let’s see… I’ll have Jake be the leader of team one and… Ashton’ll be the second captain.
I studied my shoes intently, trying to take my mind off the painful situation I was just about to experience. I knew that, as most often happened, I would be one of the last picked.
But I was wrong. After the first obvious people were taken (Jake and Ashton’s best friends), it was Ashton’s turn to choose. I had zoned out, not expecting my name to be called. But suddenly I heard, “Kelly” being spoken. I looked up to see Ashton focusing on me. “I’ll take Kelly on my team,” he said. My mind whirled as I walked over to him. Why had he chosen me? He could have chosen another girl he knew better, but instead he chose me? I didn’t understand.
Once the teams were sorted, we headed out to the fields. Then, the game started. Of course, the game became more intense than intended--it was a matter of victory or death. I was standing close to Jake’s goal, mostly watching the game. So I wasn’t prepared when the ball came barreling towards me. It stopped rolling when it reached my feet. Not thinking, I began to run, kicking the ball in front of me. When I had lined myself up pretty well with the net, I kicked it harder. All of the shouts from my classmates faded away for a second as the ball passed by the goalie and into the net. I had actually scored a point!
Ashton jogged up to me. “Hey, great job!” he congratulated. “That was a good shot.”
“Thanks,” I said quietly. “I usually am not that good, though, so don’t count on that happening again.”
Ashton shook his head. “I wouldn’t say that. Come on, let’s see if you can do that again.”
And to my surprise, I did. I no longer felt any pressure, no worry about if I was going to miss or not. I just enjoyed the game. An image of Ashton’s smile stayed in my mind.
After gym, I was scheduled to have lunch. Once I had bought my lunch, I pulled out my phone, seeing if Sasha was around to sit with. But she wasn’t answering her texts, so I assumed she was in a class or busy.
I glanced around the cafeteria, wondering where to sit. Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around to find Ashton talking to me. “Hi, Kelly, want to sit with us?” he asked, gesturing to a table crowded with his friends.
“Um… okay,” I said diffidently. Why did he seem to have some sudden interest in me?
He led me over to the table and pushed up a chair next to his. I sat down, looking at his friends. They all smiled at me, and I relaxed a little. I turned my head to look at Ashton, who had started telling a story, grinning widely. I could get used to this, I thought, smiling.