Two days later as Rose was at her locker once more, the NLG waved at her again. She waved back. After two weeks, their small encounters became more than simply waving. One day after the NLG waved at her, he walked towards her and stuck out his hand.
“Hey, I’m Patrick.”
Rose replied, shaking his hand. His hands were abnormally large. He looked up and began studying her face. She felt weird watching him watch her, so she decided to stare back at him. Like it was a staring contest. Patrick’s features were somehow familiar as though she had seen his face her whole life. Except for his eyes. They were strikingly blue and hard to look away from, yet at the same time hard to look at. After a few seconds of their heated staring contest, Patrick seemed to come alive again.
“Well, it was nice meeting you, Rose.”
He had said it in such a punctual way and walked away so… elegantly Rose couldn’t help but laugh. Patrick looked back and smiled, then resumed walking. So, his name was Patrick. Now she could call him something other than NLG. Rose watched him walk away. Suddenly she felt her cheeks getting hot. She had just stared at a boy for like, twenty seconds straight. What had she been thinking? Rose combed her hand through her hair. Now that she thought about it, those twenty seconds were the weirdest of her life. But at the time it felt completely normal even though she knew that it probably shouldn’t have felt normal. Slightly confused and embarrassed, Rose made her way to her class.
The next day Patrick caught up to her as Rose was walking in the hallway.
She said, slowing a little so he could match her pace.
His electric blue eyes looked rather thoughtful, almost as though he was trying to comprehend the universe. Rose knew that look well and could tell that he was deep in thought. After a moment, he spoke:
“Oh wait, did I ever tell you about the parachute thing?”
“Umm…. I don’t think so.” Rose replied, tapping her chin.
You’ve never actually told me anything before, she thought silently.
“Okay, so you know when you’re skydiving? The moment you jump off the plane, you have the rest of your life to open the parachute.”
Rose’s mind immediately went to picturing someone jumping off the plane then pulling the parachute, but Patrick’s statement didn’t make sense. She shook her head slightly.
“No, think about it.”
Patrick stopped walking and faced her.
“The moment you jump off the airplane…”
He made a jumping movement.
“You have the rest of your life to pu—“
Rose exclaimed in a half gasp as she stared into the distance. She understood.
“Isn’t that jut a… a beautiful notion?”
Rose’s mind immediately began tingling, like it did every time she thought about beauty. She felt her tongue forming the words to tell him about true beauty – the real definition, the fact that beauty wasn’t just recognizing something pretty – but before she was able to open her mouth to explain to him, she decided not to. She had a feeling that he didn’t need an explanation of what beauty meant.