Frustration. It gleamed in Clara’s downcast eyes and dismayed grin. It glowed in her flushed cheeks and twitched on her eyelids as she fought back tears. Again, he had not noticed her. Every day, Clara tried to catch Byron’s attention. But he just passed by, never heeding her, never meeting her gaze.
Clara slammed her locker shut and stuffed her notebooks into her backpack. The bell rang and kids were filing out of the building like swarms of bees leaving the hive. People jostled and pushed her in their hurried frenzy to leave the school.
“I suppose I’m invisible,” Clara said; no one heard.
At the entrance, she sighted Byron flirting with a cheerleader, and Clara’s heart squirmed with yearning and a pang of jealousy.
If only she were beautiful, and svelte, and tall and smart. Tears pinpricked Clara’s eyes, and she pushed them back.
Clara opened the door to her bedroom and plumped onto her bed in a heap of frustration and longing and self-hatred.
The tears came; she pushed her face against the pillow, stifling the sobs threatening to rip her chest apart. Not alone in the house, she had no desire for a heart-to-heart with her mother. She also did not want her pesky little brother hanging around her room. If either of them suspected something wrong, they would try all afternoon to pry it out of her. She wanted to be alone with her frustration.
Clara closed her eyes, and as the tears ebbed and her breath normalized, she drifted into sleep.
She was at school, screaming amidst the multitude of children, but no one cared. No one acknowledged her.
The sea of children parted and she saw Byron, handsome as ever — though in the dream he resembled Harry Styles, whose pictures graced her bedroom walls.
He winked at her. Clara glanced around, wondering whether he might mean someone else, but the halls were now empty.
Harry Styles (Byron) winked again and grinned the lopsided grin that made Clara’s knees quiver.
“Hi,” he mouthed, but made no sound.
“Hi,” Clara replied, and no sound came from her lips either.
Harry Styles (Byron) reached his open palm to her, beckoning her to take it with a small nod of the head.
Clara beamed as she floated towards him. She reached out her hand, which was not her hand because the fingers were skinny, but… why not? It closed around his fingers. He pulled her beside him and slipped her under his arm. She basked in his warm embrace, and her body tingled. He then placed his arm around her waist and together they hovered above the school.
Soon they were flying above the building, the cool clouds kissing their faces. Clara felt the wind and the lightness of her body as she and Harry Styles (Byron) soared through the sky.
“Clara!” Mom’s voice boomed from a dark, plump cloud laden with rain, “Dinner!”
The sound rushed through her ears as she jerked awake. Clara glanced around the darkening room and, for the first time in a long time, felt as lighthearted as she had in her dream.
The next day at school, Clara glimpsed Byron on the quad, and her heart skipped a beat. A mischievous grin crept across her lips, as if she were the proud owner of a juicy secret.
She entered the building. It no longer mattered whether Byron glanced her way. It no longer mattered whether he noticed her. The dream had lifted all the frustration and self-consciousness off her chest. She still had a crush on Byron, but now, just watching him from afar satisfied her. Besides, though handsome, Byron looked nothing like Harry Styles (even if he tried to look like the singer).
Clara opened her locker and was reaching for her Geography book when someone pushed her.
“Hey! You pushed me!” Clara spun around, indignant.
She would have said more, but her voice quaked when Byron turned around and murmured an empty sorry. Then he paused and fixed her with a bewildered gaze.
“I think I dreamed about you last night,” he said and broke into a wide smile, “yeah, sure I did!”