“Open your books, ladies and gentlemen, to page 372,” Mr. Cearfoss instructed us. The sound of pages flipping in a handful of books was heard from isolated points in the room but majority of us didn’t move. This was the 8 a.m. session of Biology 101; i.e., nap time.
I settled in my seat in the fourth row of the middle column before glancing over to the right hand column to meet the gaze of my cousin and best friend Adrienne, one of the only other people who actually turned to the page. This was how we always began the class. We’d unpack and set up shop, preparing for Cearfoss to bore us to tears for the next hour and fifteen minutes and then exchange glances and knowing smiles. The smiles always expressed the same thing: amusement and surprise that once again, we’d even bothered to get up and come to this mockery of a class.
As usual, Adrienne’s eyes met mine, an amused smile on her face. It was different today though. She was smiling yes, but her normally open blue eyes were veiled, shadowed somehow. She looked away before I could dissect it though. I looked down at page 372 for the first time and saw a large diagram of an eye staring away from me. I don’t wanna look at you either, buddy, I thought senselessly. I tuned in briefly to Cearfoss who was going on about cones, rods, and other terminology I’d have no use for as a graphic design major. I tuned back out to look at Adrienne again. My hazel eyes caught hers and she seemed unaware of the tired, frustrated look in them. I tilted my head slightly and raised an eyebrow.
Her eyes flashed to the seat next to her and I realized belatedly that it was empty. That’s where Max, her utterly insipid boyfriend, normally sat. I raised my eyebrows again, coughing theatrically.
She shook her head a little and glanced back behind her. I followed her gaze and saw he was sitting next to an equally insipid bottle blonde girl. Her name might have been Candice. Or maybe Andy? Something uninspiring. Her flat brown eyes were equally uninspiring. She was handing Max a series of sheets of paper, which he was copying when his black eyes weren’t staring intently down her low cut shirt.
I looked back at Adrienne, eyebrows furrowed. How had that happened? They’d been sickeningly attached to each other just yesterday.
She shrugged and looked from me to the slender silver ring on her right ring finger and back to me.
Oh, I thought, understanding. That was her chastity ring. I glanced back at Max, distaste in my eyes. ****.
I looked back to Adrienne to see her eyes shining with unshed tears. That was it. I flicked my eyes toward the door, and immediately she began packing her things. I did the same. We already knew everything we needed to know about the human eye anyway.