'Puzzled' by Jennifer Wilson
Miss Hardy liked to fit people into her world like jigsaw pieces: everyone neat and tidy, tucked away in the perfectly-labelled filing cabinet of her life. She would have given them physical labels, as well as mental ones, if she could: good child, bad child, trusted friend, frustrating colleague. All very well, until she found the person who didn't fit.
She tutted, and fussed, and frowned at him every time they met, which she tried to avoid at all costs. But her mind kept flicking back to him, her eyes finding him whenever she could, across the assembly hall, or in the line for lunch. Which label could she apply? Which group could he be slotted into?
He annoyed her, but not that badly. He intrigued her, but not so much as to want him around all the time. For now. She wanted to ask him question after question, but did not always like the reply. Or the time it took for the reply to come.
She asked others how they would label him.
“Heart throb,” was one response.
None of it helped.
Acquaintance? Too fleeting. Friend? Not quite. A nuisance? Most definitely, yet it seemed too harsh.
At last, just in time, inspiration hit, the tag which fitted the bill. One hurried phone call, two exclamations of happiness, and the label was applied.
He would be 'hers'.