|Английски оригинал||Перевод на български|
AS I WALK INTO SCHOOL on saturday morning, I go over what I’m going to say. Maybe just, Hey, John, how are you? It’s Lara Jean. I haven’t seen him since the eighth grade. What if he doesn’t recognize me? What if he doesn’t even remember me?
I scan the sandwich boards in the lobby and I find John’s name under General Assembly. He’s representing the People’s Republic of China.
The General Assembly is meeting in the auditorium. There are desks set up for each delegate, and onstage there is a podium where a girl in a black suit is making a speech about nuclear nonproliferation. I’m thinking I’ll just slip in the back and sit and watch but there’s nowhere to sit, so I just stand at the back of the room with my arms crossed and look for John. There are so many people here, and everybody’s facing the front, so it’s hard to tell what’s what.
A kid in a navy suit turns around and looks at me and whispers, “Are you a page?” He’s holding up a folded piece of paper.
“Um . . .” I’m not sure what a page is, and then I see a girl hustling around the room delivering notes to people.
The boy thrusts the piece of paper at me and turns back around and scribbles in his notebook. The note is addressed to Brazil, from France. So I guess I’m a page.
The tables aren’t in alphabetical order, so I just start wandering around trying to find Brazil. I finally find Brazil, a guy in a bow tie, and other people are raising their hands with notes for me to deliver. Before long I’m hustling too.
From behind I see a boy’s hand raised for me to pick up his note, so I hurry forward, and then he turns his head just slightly. And oh my God, it’s John Ambrose McClaren, delegate from the People’s Republic of China, a few feet away from me.
He has sandy hair, clean-cut. His cheeks are rosy, just the way I remember. They still have that fresh-scrubbed wholesomeness that makes him look young. He’s wearing khakis and a light blue button-down with a navy crew-neck sweater. He looks serious, focused, like he’s a real delegate and this isn’t pretend.
Honestly, he looks just the way I imagined he’d grow up to look.
John’s holding the piece of paper out for me as he takes notes with his head down. I reach for it; my fingers close around the paper, and then he looks up and does a double take.
“Hi,” I whisper. We’re both still holding on to the note.
“Hi,” he says back. He blinks, and then he lets go of the paper, and I hurry away, my heart pounding in my ears. I hear him call out my name in a loud whisper, but I don’t slow down.
I look down at the paper. His handwriting is neat, precise. I go deliver his note to the USA, and then I ignore Great Britain, who is waving a note at me, and I walk right out the auditorium double doors and into the afternoon light.
I just saw John McClaren. After all these years, I finally saw him. And he knew me. Right away he knew who I was.
I get a text from Peter around lunchtime.
Did you see McClaren?
I type back yes, but then I delete it before I hit send. I write back no instead. I’m not sure why I do it. I think maybe I just want to keep it for myself, and be happy just knowing that John remembered me, and have that be enough.