Some moments in certain places lend themselves to become a story. The cosmic timing of a situation links itself to become something greater. Some would call this happenstance. Others may label it coincidence. A select few would call this magic. For the next eight weeks, Creative Writing Club proudly presents eight tales from the Ram’s Horn Diner, a venture into the magic of coincidence, a serial of circumstance.
PART 2: Second Impressions
Christopher, a red-haired 14 year-old boy, stumbled into the Ram’s Horn Diner. He sat down at the closest booth and took off his now stained jean jacket. He began examining the paper full of advertisements; anything to distract him from the day he had just had. His first day of college was a disaster. He felt like a failure. He was supposed to be a child prodigy, top of his class and winner of every academic competition his private prep school could offer. However, he could not even make his way to class without a major crisis!
Just thinking about his day gave him a headache. When the waiter came over to take his order, all he could think about ordering was a water. Definitely not a soda.
It all started with his first class, his only class that day. He had a writing class in a building called Anderson. He went over the route in his head one hundred times last night. He knew it inside and out. However, when he found it, Anderson was under construction! There were fences everywhere, caution tape galore and the sound of drilling loud enough to damage his hearing. He checked his schedule again and it indeed said Anderson Hall. What was he supposed to do?
As if that was not embarrassing enough, when he was looking at Anderson with the shock and confusion apparent on his face, a seemingly massive human being came up next to him. Christopher decided to be brave and tap him on the shoulder:
“Hey, excuse me sir, but I am supposed to have a class in Anderson. With this construction, what am I supposed to do?”
The massive human’s friend gave him a seemingly secret symbol. It was some sort of hand gesture. They made eye contact.
“Hey bud. I’ll tell you what you are supposed to do,” the massive human said with a smirk. And then, in one fluid motion, the canned soda in his hand was being poured on Christopher’s head!
It took a few seconds to register what was happening, and then it was too late. Cola dripped down his hair, onto his jean jacket and onto his brand new corduroy pants his sister had helped him pick out.
“Oops. Sorry bud. Didn’t see you there,” the massive human smirked behind shrieks of laughter. He had a gaggle of other massive humans behind him, who were slapping their legs in between hysterical laughter. They could not get enough of it.
Wincing on the fresh and painful memory of the day, Christopher looked toward distraction once again. As he examined the ad on the paper for “Johnson, Johnson, and Hegelforth: Law Consultants” he thought about how he was going to explain this to his sister. He insisted this morning that no, he did not need her help. He knew she has enough on her plate, trying to work two jobs as she finished her degree at West Chester. His thoughts were interrupted by a large slip and a boom.
Christopher looked up and could not believe what he saw.
The Anderson Hall bully was flat on his ass in the center of the diner. In his reverie, Christopher must have been ignoring his surroundings and hadn’t noticed the bully running straight toward him for a second round of cruelty. As he was thinking about the absurdity of the situation, he was interrupted. He could not believe who he saw coming towards him. This could not be real.
Christopher slowly and fearfully wrenched his head upwards. “Hey,” he echoed weakly.
He held his head stiff as the Anderson Hall bully sat down next to him. “What do you want?” he asked dryly.
The bully put his head in his hands. He took a deep sigh. He looked like he was in deep thought.
“I can explain. I really can. If you just give me a chance,” the nameless giant said quietly.
Christopher looked at him with understanding eyes and nodded.
“First of all, my name is Alex. Second of all, I was not running into you, I was running to you. I wanted to explain,” Alex explained.
“Go on,” Christopher prompted.
“I’m friends with some not so great people. I kind of got caught in the wrong crowd. When you asked me for directions, I thought it would be funny to mess with you. But lately, my friends have been making me do rude stuff to people I do not want to do. That’s the signal you saw before I poured the soda on you. They pressured me to do it,” Alex said.
“So why did you give in?” Christopher asked.
Alex put his hands on his head.
“It’s just because I’ve been feeling so down lately. It makes me feel worthless .My grades aren’t so good, and I’m even failing physics. I don’t know what I’m going to do, “ Alex murmured.
“I can help you. I am a physics major.”
“Why would you help me?”
“Because everyone deserves another shot.”
Both boys started at each other. Christopher smiled. Alex laughed.
“What are you so happy about now?,” Alex asked.
“I made my first friend in college. Even if he was once an enemy, ” Christopher said.
“You are not wrong, ” Alex replied.
“But on one condition,” Christopher stated.
“Anything,” Alex said immediately.
“Let’s get out of this place. It gives me the creeps.”
Joyce Weiner is a second-year student dual majoring in early grades preparation and special education.