Perhaps the Principal was simply anal: every teacher at my high school arranged their students alphabetically . . . as if to break my heart.
For four years I sat behind the same girl, our last names spelled close enough to ward off any interesting interlopers. I got to know her voice, her laughter, her odd quirks, her moods, her smile that got prettier every year. She enjoyed my attentions, laughed at my guarded hints, even teased me about it; but despite how well we got along, her head would only turn for the boys in class. Our last names kept us in close proximity class after class, despite my need to move on to allay the pressure in my chest. Year after year I watched boys come and go, hurting her the way I never would, watching her not learn from their mistakes. By graduation, even my mother knew her name, shocked when I pointed her out. I always seemed too shy to aim so high.
That day the pain subsided and life went on as if nothing had ever happened. Then, many years later, we fell across each other online. She’d married badly and was unhappily stuck. She was just as pretty as I remembered her and I said so. She teased me like old times, and for a moment I wondered if she might have had second thoughts about us…
Broken hearts can haunt us forever.