She sits on the scratched wood floor, her back resting against the slanted wall. It's dark in the room, he knows he shouldn't have picked this room for filming. He adjust the tripod, she plays with a string of her sandy brown hair. Leo looks at the two of them. He tries to ease the tension. “Well look at us, bonding in the storage room, how sweet.” Zara fakes a smile, Patrick refocuses his camera.
“Yeah so, Patrick wanted me to ask the interview questions, while he's doing artsy crap with the camera.” explains Leo.
Zara nods. Patrick blushes, looks to Zara, but not at Zara. “I just want to do a lot of close ups of your face, if that's cool, I mean.” Zara pushes a strand of hair behind her ear. “Um, why?”
Patrick doesn't respond, so Leo answers for him. “Because he's not all that good with like, you know, social stuff, so he's trying to hit on you by zooming in on your eyeballs and up your nostrils.” Patrick turns the color of a cherry tomato, Leo slaps him on the back. Zara reaches for the silver chain around her neck, rubs the silver dove pendant uncomfortably. “Don't listen to him. This is just for the school assignment.” Patrick rushes in, dropping the words at the end of his sentence.
“Okay, enough of this crap.” begins Leo. “First question?”
Zara Nods. Patrick, with evident relief, presses the record button.
“Name, Age, Interest?” Leo asks.
“Um, Zara. Zara Schwartz. I'm 16 and I, well I'm a clown, well, training to be one.” Her eyes flit about. Patrick moves the camera closer to her, he kneels, holding the camera a couple feet away from her.
“How did you get involved in clowning?'
“Um.” she tugs at her necklace. Patrick leans forward, zooms in on her face, the prominent cheeks bones, long lashes. He can smell her, a sweet, soft rose scent, contrasted against the dusty, damp smell of the storage room. Zara tries to ignore him, she stares down at her hands.
“I mean, it's going to sound strange..but..well..I don't really to talk about it. But when I was in middle school, my stomach ruptured.”
Leo shakes his head, “What, why?!”
“I just well, I don't really want to talk about why, just well, I ended up in the hospital then and..”
Patrick scoots closer to her, holding the camera inches away from her face. Through the lens he's starring into her green eyes with gold speckles, long blond eyelashes blinking, he can see the little freckles dotting her nose. She flinches.
He moves the camera down, towards the nape of her neck, to her collarbone, farther.
She quickly crosses her arms across her chest. “Uh, Patrick?”
Leo looks at his friend. “Dude?!”
Patrick focuses the camera on her silver pendant, the dove with an olive branch in its mouth. Before she can respond, he reaches out,grabs the pendant with one hand and with one deft turn, snaps the bird off its chain. The chain falls to the ground. Patrick holds the pendant. All three look at the small silver dove nested in his palm.
Zara begins to cry.