The Passed Note Issue 1 June 2016 - Page 40

She wanted to map his healing.

“Welcome back, Micah,” Mr. Jensen said.

“Thanks,” Micah muttered.

Cal flushed red and pulled at the neck of his hoodie. His shoulders folded inwards and his eyes skipped like water bugs over peoples’ reactions. Did Micah know they knew where he had been all week?

The next day, Maggie wore a tight red dress and extra lipstick. She and Angeline put on hats, gloves, scarves, and parkas and trudged through the snowy streets to Mayfield. It was Angeline’s first year there. So far, she liked it quite a bit, though she struggled in math and had never had to carry around four binders before.

In homeroom, Maggie stood right next to Cal and Micah. She hit Cal lightly on the shoulder.

“Hey,” she said.

“Good morning.”

“How are you feeling, Micah?” she asked. He turned to look back at her and smiled.

“I’m great, you?”

“I’m good. I’m glad you’re back.”

“Good to be back,” he said. She felt disarmed. He didn’t smell like pot. He smelled like wintergreen gum and Dove soap. She had half a mind to grab the handles of his wheelchair and run out of the room and tell him how hopeless and sad she was. Maybe it was because she was raised by a poet and a cancer doctor, but she saw the beauty in the details of people and she saw the details dying. She loved Micah suddenly, and it wasn’t a manic attraction but a quiet, easy courage that rose up in her and wanted to cut to the middle of him to ask what’s your story? and why are you alive?

If Maggie wanted someone, she only had to message them on Facebook. She would stage a homework question late at night when sex drives and heart drives were high and inhibitions were lethargic. Most people would type the things they could never say. Guys spilled their guts to her. When they locked eyes in homeroom day,