CORY SPUN THE combination dial on her locker an extra few rotations as she peered down the corridor. Why hadn’t she seen him again? It had been two weeks. Didn’t he have to get books? Maybe not. She remembered how empty the inside of his locker looked last time. Well, she couldn’t wait forever. She pulled out her calculus book and opened the front cover. The homework assignment he did was tucked inside, all correct, like he said. Cory slammed the locker shut and trudged down the hall toward the cafeteria. She had hoped for weeks now to run into him again. She’d planned what she would say this time. She was having a relatively good hair day despite the humidity and wore a nice sweater . . . Maybe he was sick? Expelled?
She entered the cafeteria, tiled in an institutional green. As Cory slid the tray past the day’s lunch choices, she lobbed a cellophane-wrapped tuna sandwich on it with a bag of chips, then found her usual seat—in the far corner. She took a bite of the grayish tuna and looked up over the edge of her sandwich. The room swarmed with students getting up from their chairs, pushing each other, walking in roving packs. It made her think of a pile of writhing maggots in a garbage pail. She dropped the sandwich and stood to toss it out when she spotted him across the room, sitting among a group of guys she didn’t know. She sat back down and fed chips into her mouth one after another. When she glanced up again, he was gone.
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