Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chapter 24: Bridges

Tristan paced back and forth, thinking hard. After lunch, David had decided to go find his mom. Well, that’s what he said. Tristan knew that David was a twelve year old boy, and he knew that twelve year old boys were incredibly fond of roller coasters. David could say whatever he wanted to, but his eyes spoke the truth.

So, there Tristan was, waiting nervously for Nora to reappear. He had been smitten by other girls before, but he had never been so antsy around any of them. Nora was definitely different… Probably because she hated him. Just then, the sound of a door opening caught Tristan’s attention. He glanced up and saw Nora standing just outside the welcome center’s door, staring at him with a puzzled expression on her face.

“Um…what are you doing?” she asked slowly. Tristan thought for a moment.

“Oh, uh, just…putting a rut in the ground.” he replied with a soft chuckle. Nora didn’t seem to think his joke was funny. Tristan cleared his throat awkwardly as Nora began walking towards him. “I was just, um, waiting to--” Tristan began. Nora walked past him, not paying attention to what he was saying anymore. “Walk to the front of the zoo with you…” he finished, sounding very dejected. He followed after Nora, trying to catch up with her. Once he was next to her, he slowed down so that they were striding in sync.

The two of them walked in silence, neither one of them sure as to what they should say. Tristan was feeling nervous because of his crush, and unbeknownst to him, Nora was feeling confused because of his sudden change in behavior. They walked along, looking at everything but each other, the silence between them growing more and more awkward. Finally, the reached the front of the zoo.

“Well, I guess we’d better--” Nora began, but Tristan suddenly cut her off.

“Nora,” he said urgently. Nora looked up at him, surprised. “I, um…I bought you something.” he continued softly. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small pin. It was a light blue dolphin, outlined in gold. “I looked for a blanket octopus one, because I know that one is your favorite, but they didn’t have any…” he explained in a quiet voice. Nora stared at the pin in silence. “I…I hope you like it…” Tristan finished, hoping for some response. Nora just continued to stare. Tristan looked down at his feet, still holding the little dolphin pin out to Nora. He closed his eyes and swallowed hard, trying not to feel like such an idiot. A gift had been David’s idea, but Tristan had picked out the pin on his own. He wasn’t thinking it was such a good idea anymore.

Just then, Nora gently lifted the dolphin out of Tristan’s hand. Tristan looked up slowly, just in time to see Nora pin it onto her shirt. She glanced up at Tristan with a smile on her face. “It’s beautiful. Thank you.” she said softly. Tristan smiled, looking down at his feet again, a blush coming across his face.

“But…I’m confused.” Nora began, her face clouding over. “Why did you buy me something?”

“Well, I…I wanted to say…” Tristan swallowed hard, forcing himself to say the two tiny words that brought every man to his knees. “I’m sorry.” he finally blurted out. He sighed then looked up at Nora. “I’m sorry for the way I treated you. I shouldn’t have said the things I did or acted that way. I realize now that you really love this place, and I’m guessing it’s kind of like your second home or something, but I didn’t know that before, and I was just trying to cause problems for you, and I’m really, really sorry--” Tristan explained quickly. Nora reached up and placed a finger over Tristan’s lips, cutting him off. She had a smile on her face.

“Apology accepted.” she said softly, her eyes sparkling. Tristan smiled a little, seeing the change in Nora’s eyes. The two of them stared at each other before they turned and began walking towards the entrance of the zoo.

As they walked, Tristan noticed a new bounce in his step. He wondered if Nora felt the same way he did, or if she was just happy that he was being nice. Well, however she felt, Tristan was amazed that it was so easy to take down the wall that they had built up between them and replace it with a bridge.

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