A Sonnet of Love

Fiction By Sarah Beth Huntley

There was just something about blue eyes. Maybe it was their ocean-like quality. There seemed to be thousands upon thousands of miles and possibilities contained within their depths. Or maybe, it was because one particular pair resided within a boy whose wall-shaking laugh never failed to bring a smile to Lili’s face. Either way, in her dreams, both sleeping and waking, she dreamed of ocean eyes that sparkled with the possibility of loving her just as she loved them.

For today, at least, the possibility of this dream persisted within Huxley Blake, whom Lili watched each day with a hopeful curiosity that maybe, just maybe, he could be her stranger. Her dream. She had met hundreds of boys throughout school with eyes of the same color, but his were different. They were more brilliant, more oceanic. While the other boys’ eyes held worlds of possibilities, Huxley’s held infinite amounts. There was something more there, a deeper abyss to be explored, and Lili wished to dive right in. However, being a thirteen-year-old girl, she was afraid of something she could not name. Whatever it was, it was innate, and it suppressed the actions she wished so badly to take.

“You’re staring, Lili.” Lili turned quickly to her left, startled out of her reverie by Jennifer, her dearest friend. Jennifer smirked at her, knowing of Lili’s secretly harbored feelings. She brushed her friend’s arm gently, encouragingly.

“You could just tell him, Lili.”

“And be ridiculed? Or rejected? I’d rather die,” Lili responded in panicked whispers. Jennifer shook her head as Lili stared at her. She often wondered how a girl like her and a girl like Jennifer had ever become friends; just looking at them showed what polar opposites the two were. Jennifer’s hair was bone-straight and blond while Lili’s black hair coiled and curled tightly. Jennifer’s eyes were grey and mysterious while Lili’s were brown and bland, and Jennifer’s skin quite literally paled in comparison to Lili’s dark mocha complexion. Their differences verged

beyond appearances, too. While Lili was more withdrawn, Jennifer lived to be at the center of everything. Lili preferred a nice, long book while Jennifer longed to go on nice, long adventures. And yet, despite these differences, there was no one the two girls would rather be with than each other.

“You’ll never know unless you try,” said Jennifer. Just then, Huxley turned toward the two girls, glancing at Jennifer before quickly directing his gaze to Lili and approaching her. Lili reached under the table and grabbed Jennifer’s hand for solace.

“Hi, Lili,” Huxley said, tossing some stray brown strands of hair out of his eyes. How Lili wished to run her fingers through that hair and stare lovingly into those eyes!

“Hi, Huxley,” she managed to reply. He glanced at Jennifer again, giving her a quick nod before turning back to Lili eagerly.

“What do you think the homework is gonna be?”

“I have no idea. Have you enjoyed the poetry section?”

Huxley glanced back at Jennifer, nodding. He turned back to Lili.

“I find it very...romantic. Don’t you?” Lili froze at his words, feeling her cheeks warm. She turned to Jennifer, whose cheeks burned bright red as she stared up at Huxley. Lili turned back to him, unable to form words, and simply nodded. He smiled at her before giving a small wave and going to his seat. Lili turned back to Jennifer, who continued to stare at Huxley.

“He is very cute,” Jennifer said, almost as if she didn’t even mean to say it out loud. Lili raised an eyebrow, opening her mouth to question this newfound admiration for Huxley when Mrs. Hart, their teacher, suddenly walked to the front of the room and cleared her throat, silencing the chattering students.

“Your assignment for tomorrow will be to present a sonnet to the class, like the one we read by Shakespeare. You can write about anything you wish, just be creative.” Mrs. Hart smiled as the bell rang and everyone packed to go. Huxley smiled at Lili and Jennifer as he exited the room and Lili grabbed Jennifer’s wrist before she could go, lips turned down into a frown.

“Do you like Huxley?” she whispered frantically. Jennifer sat back down with a sigh. “Of course I like him. How could I not?”

“But you know that I like him!” Lili turned away, arms crossed, feeling betrayed. Jennifer grabbed her hand, gently kissing her knuckles, and sighed, causing Lili’s eyes to meet hers.

“I know, Lili. That’s why I don’t plan on doing anything about it. But you should, Lili.” With those words, Jennifer got up and left the room with a wave. Lili sat for a moment, dumbfounded, before quickly leaving the room and heading home.

As she sat at her desk that evening, she wondered what to write her sonnet about. As she brainstormed, her mind continued to wander to Jennifer’s shining eyes and blushing cheeks as she gazed up longingly at Huxley. She knew she and Jennifer were just as pretty and smart and kind as the other, and she knew Huxley only ever wished to talk to her in class and yet...she still felt that maybe, just maybe that wasn’t enough.

You should, Lili, she heard Jennifer saying over and over again. Yes, she should. Lili finally knew what her sonnet would be about and set to writing it immediately. It didn’t take her long to finish it, and once she had it perfected, she beamed with pride at the thought of reciting it the next day.

When she awoke and got ready for school, Lili dressed herself in her favorite outfit and clasped on her special gold bracelet her grandmother had given her. As she fixed her curls in the

mirror, she could not stop smiling at the prospect of finally learning what the depths of Huxley’s ocean eyes contained.

“Are you ready to read your sonnet?” Jennifer asked her in class. Lili beamed again as she glanced over at Huxley, who quickly glanced away, pretending as if he had never looked. Mrs. Hart returned to her place at the front of the room and once again cleared her throat and once again the class quieted. She proclaimed they would present their sonnets in alphabetical order by last name, and, naturally, that meant Huxley would go first. As he stood at the front of the room, he glanced back at their table once again, but as Lili waited for his gaze to land on her, it never did. Those ocean eyes only glanced at Jennifer.

“This is called ‘A Sonnet of Love,’” Huxley proclaimed, before beginning to recite it.

In all my dreams, both sleeping and waking,

In all my thoughts, the same angel

appears A clumsy thief, my heart she is


Which she’s stolen, piece by piece, for some years.

This maiden with beauty most astounding

And a heart of gold that is sweet as she

Her striking blond hair sends my heart a’pounding

How could she ever love a fool like me?

We share the same race, same neighborhood, too

And now I wish to share this love with you.

As Huxley finished with a triumphant smile, the class erupted into claps and hoots.

Jennifer blushed beyond belief as she resumed that same gaze of longing. But Lili, unbeknownst to everyone else, sat still as stone, staring at Huxley as her heart shattered into infinite fragments.

“Wasn’t that just beautiful?” Jennifer asked, not even turning to look at Lili. “It was...something.”

As the class settled back down, Mrs. Hart resumed the sonnet readings. As everyone went, Lili didn't hear a word they said. She heard Huxley’s words all over again, examining them for any semblance of herself. There was none. She thought back on all his gazes and chats and began to learn the differences that truly separated her and Jennifer. Blond and black-haired,

gray-eyed and brown-eyed, pale and dark, nerve-racking and comfortable…

“Last up, we have Lili.” The class clapped as Lili took her funeral-march to the front of the room, ignoring the smiling faces of everyone around her. Ignoring the ocean-blue eyes she’d once wished to dive in that now seemed to drown her. She turned to the front and began to reach into her pocket for the folded slip of paper before thinking better of it.

“I forgot to do the assignment.”

Mrs. Hart gasped, walking over to Lili and speaking in hushed tones. “Is everything alright?”

“Yes ma’am. I tried, Mrs. Hart. I really did. But it seems that...it could never be enough.”

Mrs. Hart crouched so that she was eye-level with Lili, who’s shining eyes turned away in shame, gazing out at the sea of people whom she finally realized she was different from.

Whom she could never be...or be with.

“I’m sure you could come up with something, Lili. I know you have a song in that heart of yours.” The first tear fell from Lili’s eye as she locked eyes with Jennifer, whose gray eyes held no mystery now, only worry for her friend whose thoughts she could never understand. A second fell as she stared into Huxley’s blue eyes, which she knew no matter how much she loved, could never return the feeling.

“I do, Mrs. Hart. But it doesn’t fit here. It never could.”

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