I glanced quickly at Finch being lightly illuminated by the arcade lights. He was pretending not to notice and I was grateful for that. This was not a “date.”
“You know…I’m with Violet.” I nodded. All this was platonic. Sitting in the arcade eating pizza, he was quiet mostly but it was comfortable.
“You are.” My voice came out choppy. This was the first bit of discomfort I had faced today.
“Finch.” I stood up, striding over to one of the games. It had to do with aliens and space, I nodded toward it and he smiled. My insides churned. I wanted to yell, in all honesty, but we played these dumb arcade games with imaginary distance between us. I wished this were a real date, not just two friends eating amazingly cheap pizza at a dingy and very sketchy arcade. Finch left a coin on the top of each arcade game he played more than twice. Which happened to be a lot.
“Finch,” I said again.
“Wait.” He was biting his bottom lip, his hands were stained with blue paint. This happened a lot. A lot of shades on his hands, he painted his room often. He looked so focused on this game.
Finch. The word didn’t come out this time because my heart was about to fly out of my damn body. Finch. I stepped forward and slightly side stepped, pressing myself between him and the game.
I kissed him and then we went home.
I stepped in my room to reflect on the day. He was quiet and when he spoke I felt everything go still; I had soaked in every sentence he said. They were all so poetic, so important. Finch is the most interesting boy I could ever meet.
—By Seattle W., 16, London ♦