Norah

Chapter 1 of an unbound story. Write the story with us.

Nathan is fixated on the new girl. The teacher had called her up to introduce herself to the rest of the class. Now she stands awkwardly in front, one arm crossed under her barely-there chest to hold the other arm. Occasionally, while she’s talking, her free arm gingerly tucks a loose strand of hair behind her elvish ears.

He watches as her chapped pale lips move with every word she says, barely audible, barely a whisper. He takes in her overly oval face complete with a protruding jawline. Her eyes, sky blue from a distance but (he doesn’t know this) actually green up close, sit on dark circles and under-eye bags. They flit here and there around the room and always end up resting on her dirty red Chucks, making zero eye contact. Her dark black curls hang loosely from her head, cascading down her neck and stopping just below her shoulders. She’s skinny, that’s for sure. Gangly arms and bony fingers with no hint of shape or tone. Stick-thin legs, knobby knees showing through worn out jeans and — what Nathan can only guess at — a size two waist. Underneath the thin navy shirt she’s wearing, her rib cage pokes through her skin, and when she sits back in her seat right in front of his, he notices that her spine does too.

Class goes by as usual, as any class would. Mr. Rothstein starts discussing the chapter they were supposed to read over the weekend, although honestly Nathan had stopped reading four chapters ago. It’s not his fault; he doesn’t sympathize with Nick Carraway. As his teacher babbles on about hedonism in the roaring ‘20s, Nathan focuses his attention on the back of the new girl’s neck. Norah, was it? She spoke so softly he barely heard a thing. She had gathered all her hair on one side of her face, leaving her blind spot bare for Nathan to see. Freckles colored her pale skin around a birthmark shaped almost like a fish swimming upstream. He can see where her spinal cord starts and runs down her back and he wonders whether she even eats.

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