by Claire Snook

He’s here, I know he is. I haven’t seen him or heard him arrive but the hairs on the back of my neck are standing to attention. They only do this when he’s in the same place as me. My whole body tenses, my palms start to sweat and I wipe them on my skirt before surreptitiously putting them back on my folder.

The lecturer starts but I can’t hear what she is saying. I’m waiting, waiting to see if my super-sensory perception is right. The door opens. And he walks in.

I realise that I’m not breathing as he sits opposite me on the table. My body remembers that oxygen is important and I start to choke. I don’t make eye contact with anyone but I can hear the sniggers from some of my classmates at the back. He’s looking at me. I can feel it. Desperately, I plead with my body to spare me from any more embarrassment but it’s too late. The red begins at my toes and ends with my cheeks.

He’s still looking at me.

The lecturer is pissed off. She glares at me and goes back to talking about whatever it is we’re studying today. I pick up my pen and hold it to my face while wearing my ‘I’m-very-interested-in-what-you-have-to-say’ face. It masks what is going on inside. I can’t look at him but my whole body is aware of our close proximity.

Suddenly everyone packs up and the class empties. I wasn’t aware of the time but the lecture is over. My mouth aches and I see blood on my finger as I lift it away. I have been tapping my pen against my lips for the last hour.

He hands me a tissue.

Claire Snook is a former journalist turned wannabe writer currently studying for a MA in Creative Writing at University of Manchester.

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