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Don't Forget to Smile

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Keith

 

You would think that this would start off normally, I would be walking through the school halls thinking of what class I had next or whom I was pinning for at this very moment. That’s not what’s happening though. I’m taking pictures. Shiro and Matt were standing next to each other holding up a trophy, not sure what for but nonetheless I’m taking their picture.

I have to do this lately; I’ve missed to many of my math classes and spoke out of turn so this is my punishment. My math teacher is also the school’s head of yearbook committees and the group was a little short handed with people so my punishment is to take all necessary pictures for yearbook… fun. I’ve taken at least a hundred pictures by now but this job doesn’t have a limit, I have to do this for the rest of the semester if I want to stay out of math trouble.

Normally people would say that there are perks to being the yearbook photographer, you get to meet people, learn more about the school and the different activities they have! This sucks for me, I have to talk to people and find out their names so that the information is correct so I don’t have to redo the whole process. I guess you could say the best part is I can find out gossip from different groups in school but even that is a little bit boring. All of that isn’t even the worst part, it wouldn’t be so bad if I had to take the pictures during school time when classes were, but no I have to take the pictures on my own time during lunch or after school.

The picture I’m currently taking is probably the most interesting one yet; it isn’t even of two students, or of two teachers. Shiro and Matt graduated a few years ago, I’m not sure what the picture is for they told me but I wasn’t paying attention. Something about most successful students, they graduated and went to a top-notch university out of the state. I know all about the university, Matt comes over to Shiro’s and my apartment all of the time.

They booth won the award; they’re lucky though they no longer have to go to this hellhole. After I take the picture Matt goes off to find his sister, Shiro stays behind to ask me questions about the new job I’ve acquired. He asked me questions that only needed a yes or no as a response so my mind went elsewhere. Most of the pictures that I needed to take today were finished; all I had to do now was take a picture of the swim team. I’m pretty sure that the picture for the girl’s swim team had already been taken so all that was left was to take the boy’s swim team picture.

The boys practice from three in the afternoon until five-thirty so if I run to the pool I should just make it before they pack up to change, I look to Shiro.

“I got to go, see you at home!” I start to sprint, I didn’t realize it yet but Shiro was calling for me; I had left my camera bag behind. I got to the pool just in time; the swimmers were all getting out of the pool. I run up to the nearest one, a tall boy with caramel like skin. I get closer to him as he pulls his swim cap off revealing beautiful short chestnut hair. He looked towards me curious and confused, his eyes were a stunning bright blue.

“Can I help you?” He walks towards me, water dripping off of his, well everything.

“Uh I hope so, I’m here to take pictures for the year book.” I go to gesture to my camera bag only to point at thin air. The swimmer cocks an eyebrow looking amused at my panting from running and not having any camera to take the pictures with.

“You sure.” He smirks. “Seems like someone who would want to spy on the swim team would have a better excuse for coming in than to say they were here to take pictures with no camera.” He crosses his arms and juts his hip out.

“Ugh, I just left it back at the cafeteria. Please, do you mind keeping everyone here for five minutes? Please, I really need to get these pictures in. I’m begging you.” I plead with the smug boy in front of me.

“Five minutes, I can’t promise anymore these swim suits can get itchy after a certain amount of time. Plus have you ever seen a swimmers appetite?” He complied.

“Thank you. I’ll be right back!” I turn to run back to the cafeteria, slipping on my way out I hear a snicker behind me. I sprint back to the cafeteria as fast as I possibly could. When I get back I bump into Shiro who was talking about how he was just about to text me but I was just in for a second before I ran back out again, running to the pool.

“Bye Shiro!” I slam into the cafe’s doors running back towards the pool. I pass by Matt and his younger sister as I try to keep my pace. They argue over something about Matt going to live at the university for a year. I almost slip again as I run into the swim pool’s door.

“I’m back! Don’t leave yet!” I raise the camera in my right hand feeling victorious. I bend over for a second putting a hand on my knee.

“Wow dude, you did that in less than four minutes. Have you ever thought to try out for the track team?” The boy I was talking to earlier comes over patting my back. I wave him off and gesture to the camera, to out of breathe to speak. “Oh right, I’ll be right back.” He winks and walks over to the change room. A minute later after I caught my breath the boy comes back asking where I would like the pictures to be taken.

“In front of the pool would probably be best, can the coach come into the picture too?” The boy nods. We get everyone organized into three lines from shortest to tallest. There is way more people on the team than I had thought there would be. Great, more work. I take a few pictures, insisting that ten pictures are enough. “Thank you so much for the help.” I thank the boy who had helped me from before.

Everyone from the swim team disperses and goes to pack up and go home. I look over the photos hoping that I would not have to retake them. “Dang it!” I look around hoping to find someone still here. Finding only the boy from before I sigh. “Hey, um… could I ask another favor from you?” I look down avoiding eye contact, hoping this won’t take long.

“Yeah sure, what do you need?” Not realizing when I first came in but I walked into the boys change room. He had his towel wrapped around waist, just coming out from the showers. I’m pretty sure I turned beat red; the steam from the shower was clouding the air making it hard to breathe.

“There was one important thing I had forgotten to do.” I bit my lip; I did not want to ask this stranger for more help. “I have to get the full names of everyone on the team, and a few details about themselves.” I turned as the boy started to get dressed. Really he couldn’t just wait until I was done?

“Ok, where do I come in on this?” He questioned. Really? He couldn’t figure that out for himself?

“Well, I don’t know anyone on the team and I was hoping I could get your help to get the information. I’m not sure when it would be best to question everyone on the team, it might take a while.” I turn back around hoping that the boy had finished dressing himself. He was just sliding his shirt over his stomach when I looked back to him.

“Well I guess I could help. I’m not sure what the best time for you would be but I’m free on Thursday after school. Does that work for you?” I nod getting my phone out to plan it out. “Oh hey, good idea. Here I’ll give you my number, the name’s Lance.” I pause, I had heard, or seen that name somewhere before. I go to my contacts and input his number and email.
“Thanks for all the help, see you later.” I turn to leave.

“Hey! You never told me your name.” Lance runs in front of me. I look up to see very blue eyes searching me.

“Keith. My name is Keith.” Lance reaches out a hand to shake mine.

“Nice to meet you Keith.” He shakes my hand for a moment longer than normal. Lance gives me a big smile and moves for me to exit. “See you Thursday!” Once I get out of the change room I sigh, calming myself down my cheeks lessen in color. I look to the other side of the pool to see someone I hadn’t seen in a long time. Azure eyes met mine; I look away quickly and head for the pool doors, nearly sprinting out of this place.

Needing a break from everything I decide to run back to my apartment. It’s nearly eight miles from the school so I take many breaks along the way but the cool November air inspires me to get back to my warm bed and end this day. When I get back to my apartment I open the door and welcome the smell of cooking food.

“Hey Keith.” Shiro calls from the kitchen. “I hope you don’t mind but Matt came over for the night, we needed to discuss something.” I grunt in response and plop down onto the couch. Sleep quickly claims me, I dream peacefully for most of the night.

I wake up to Matt and Shiro arguing over university. I go to the kitchen, grab an apple and head to my room. I drop onto my bed and upload all the photos to my computer. I skim through them quickly, finishing my apple. As I reach the end of the photos I notice one I had not taken. I take a closer look to see a picture of three letters spelling: ‘F A G.’ I delete the picture and shut my laptop sighing.

I throw the apple across my room into the garbage pale next to my desk. I lie down onto the mattress and fall back asleep. My dreams are uneventful and filled with the color blue. I wake up in the morning to my daily alarm clock, Shiro coming into my room and playing the most irritating and high-pitched song in existence on full blast. During the day I pondered what my dreams meant and why they were all of the color blue.