Leila sits in her creaky desk in her usual third seat in Earth Science. Her pencil races across the page, trying to keep up with her professor’s words. Her mind tries to wander off. The professor’s monotonous voice drones on and on about rocks and how they’re formed. The professor sounds like a robot, like he is daydreaming in the middle of his lecture. Her mind continues to drift back to summer. Leila longs for the days spent in the sun, lounging on a towel in the sand. Those days were gone too quick. September, as usual, is in a hurry to get here but overstays its welcome.
“Leila. Leila!” Mr. Fleming is desperately trying to get her attention.
“I’m sorry. What did you say, Sir?” Leila desperately apologizes. It’s not his fault he is so boring.
“How do you know if rocks are metamorphic?” Doctor Fleming persists.
Leila turns red. She skims her notes for something helpful, anything. She bites her lips. Then the bell rings. She has never been so excited for the ending of a class. Leila leaves the classroom and enters the hallway. People come and recede like the waves on the beach. The beach isn’t far from here. The beach with the soft white sand and crystal clear blue waters. The sun warm on her back and the gentle breeze caressing her hair. A person brushes against her, the coarse denim fabric brings her back to reality. Leila’s studies come first. As much as she might want to go, she has to stay. The temptation is still there. Her little black car is waiting in the parking lot. A whisper of temptation. Leila shakes her head. She isn’t the type of student to skip class to go to the beach.
Leila walks down the crowded hallway. She keeps her head down. The other students are talking and running down the halls. Leila is usually alone, she doesn’t like to participate. Leila prefers her books to actual people, least with books one knows what to expect. She enjoys the summer time. The last time she laughed was during the summer. Three weeks seem like an eternity. Leila arrives at her locker and begins pulling her books out. The bells begin to chime again, announcing that there is only two minutes before the next class. Leila pulls out her copy of The Great Gatsby, her notebook, and a blue pen. She walks to class, it’s on the other side of the hall. She pauses at the door. She peeks in through the window.
Her teacher is moving up and down the rows of the desks. He is gesturing and talking about the relations to modern society. He is trying to get the other students in her class motivated enough to learn and discuss The Great Gatsby, an impossible task. Leila stands there for about a minute, her hand resting on the door knob. She needs to go in. Without realizing it, she turns and heads the opposite way. At this moment, it feels like there are two parts of her mind at odds with each other. She really shouldn’t skip class today. Her body and the rest of her mind argue against the naysayer side of her. There is no way to win this argument.
She makes it out to her car, and tosses the books onto the passenger seat. She turns off her cell phone and places it on top of her stack of books. She sinks down into her soft leather seats. Leila puts the keys into the ignition and pulls out of the parking lot. The drive to the beach flashes by in a blur. She vaguely remembers the route that she took. Leila glances around, the beach is almost empty. There is just an elderly couple with a metal detector. She slips her sneakers and socks off and tosses them into the back seat. She rolls up her stiff jeans. Leila opens the door and steps onto the sand. The sand feels softer than how she remembers it feeling. Leila wiggles her toes, enjoying the warmth and the softness.
Leila takes a step, then another, and many more following those ones. Soon, Leila is running down the beach and giggling like a child. She chases the receding waves and runs from the bigger ones that swell up out of nowhere. Leila plays and runs down the beach in this manner for a long time. Finally, she is tired and all her problems are miles behind her. She finds a gigantic rock. Leila sits down on its smooth black surface. She watches the sun sink down into the water. The sky changes like a chameleon, from light blue to reddish orange, settling for a deep violet. Leila just sits there, enchanted by the stars, and she smiles.