“I see you lurking. Watch this.” – Trivius Caldwell
It was a lonely existence. One of many in a huge crowd. He wanted to believe he was special, but he had no proof. He had friends, but they were just convenient. Gossip travels quickly in a small building.
The two-hundred-year-old girl who still couldn’t leave the school also felt alone. She was not solid, and he could only see her outline, but she was there. Following him. The living souls warned him of a vengeful spirit, but she was his only friend. When his momentary companions walked away, both literally and emotionally, she was still lurking.
The gym was empty Thursday afternoon except for two. He saw her, sitting on the bleachers, with her sad smile. He wanted to cheer her up. He did a cartwheel for her, but he didn’t know why. Those who could do them said it was nothing; those who couldn’t said it was stupid. She clapped and a laughing breeze blew in from the window. He was a crazy person who talked to himself if he talked to her, but here, they were alone. He showed her his new comic, which the others had dismissed. It became their afternoon. He showed her more things over time. Trivial things that everyone could do. He showed her how he could juggle, with his phone and finally his diploma. She was always there, but she could never leave. As he drove away from the school on the last day, he saw her waving.
Ten years later, when Mr. Waters is frustrated — his students don’t care about math, his colleagues mock his lack of a wife — he recites equations to the empty school gym. He hears clapping and sees a familiar face sitting on the bleachers.