Saturday, November 12, 2011
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Everything Looks Up When You've Been Knocked Far Enough Down
"Angel? Angel are you awake?"
Everything was so bright, the only way I could open my eyes was to squint. It was Alicia trying to talk to me.
"Yeah. what happened?"
I quickly recognized I was in a hospital room, everything started coming back to me quickly.
"You were in a car accident. They said when you were leaving the corner store, a pick-up truck hit the back of your car and you spun around and into a near-by ditch. I saw the car, it's a miracle you are alive. The back end is barely hanging on."
Oh no, Alicia's car.
"Alicia, I am so sor..."
"Don't worry about it, I'm just glad that you're okay. Were you able to talk to Josh?"
"No, he wasn't home."
The whole thought about the pregnancy test came back into my head. How sure I was, how scared I was, and how just thinking about Josh seemed to ease that fear. It showed me that he meant even more to me than I had previously thought, and I never thought that was possible.
"I just want to go home, where is the doctor?"
An averaged height man in his sixties walked in. His hair was as white as the doctors coat he was wearing, and his skin was just a shade darker. He had a chart board in one hand, and a pen in the other. He stood there, looking at me through the top part of his glasses that he wore at the tip of his nose.
"I think you will be able to check yourself out today, I just have a few more tests that I want to run before I sign you off. Will you excuse us?"
He finished that with a look at Alicia. She didn't seem to notice.
"Oh, no. I mean yeah, I'll be outside."
Alicia hurried out the door after looking at me for some reassurance. A soft nod did the trick. I looked up at the doctor, who was staring down on me.
"I'll be right outside if you need me." She yelled as she closed the door.
I am glad that she is here. Knowing that I have her here is making things a little easier right now, although I really wish it was Josh standing by my side.
"Hello Angel, I'm Dr. Larson. How are you feeling?"
I am an emotional wreck, I haven't seen my boyfriend in way too long and I just totaled my best friend's car, but I don't think any of those are responses he was looking for.
"I feel fine, with the exception of a slight headache."
"When you spun around, your head hit against the side of the window, we checked for a concussion but nothing showed up. According to all the tests, it seems both of you are very lucky and are going to be fine."
He said all this without even taking his eyes off of the chart he was holding in his hands.
"So the other driver is fine too?"
He flipped another page or two in the sheets, and then he put the glorified clipboard by his side. He put the pen in his pocket and took his glasses off and looked at me.
"No, I'm sorry, the other driver, well he didn't make it to the hospital. He passed away in the ambulance."
I only got a glimpse of the guy before the crash, but he couldn't have been much older than I am. Now he is dead because I couldn't take my mind off all this pregnancy test crap. I was too paranoid and had to talk to Josh. I really wish Josh was here right now, I hate it when anyone else sees me cry.
What if this was someones Josh. Maybe he was someones love, someones husband, someones father. Maybe he was just going to the store to get bread for his wife, who was sitting at home watching their child. Whether or not this was accurate or far off, he still must have had someone who loved him. Now that person's life is in shambles because of me. The doctor's words were just replaying in my head now.
"Wait, you said 'both of you are going to be fine.' Both of who?"
His eyes widened a bit.
"You and the baby of course."
He gave me a look like I should know what he was talking about.
"The paramedics said they found a pregnancy test in the car with you, I thought you knew."
The room began to spin.
"You are over four weeks pregnant."
"The test said negative"
Not pregnant. I remember repeating it over and over again.
"Well I didn't see that test, but I see this one, and it's positive. You are pregnant Angel."
Pregnant. I am pregnant. Where is Josh. I need to go home.
"I need to go, I need to go home."
He put out a hand to prevent me from running out the door, but it was only half effort. I got up from the bed and walked right past him.
"Wait, there are some more tests."
Was the last thing I heard as I left the room.
"Come on Alicia, we need to go."
Sarah was sitting next to her, they looked at each other, both hearing the doctor in the background, and then got up and followed me down the hall.
"Angel, wait up!"
I did not want to wait up. I went even faster, I didn't stop until I reached the front doors. then I turned to face them.
"Can we just go home? Do we need to go back to the cabin at all?"
"No, Jaimie said she was going to pack everything and meet us back at my house tomorrow."
They both seemed confused, but I didn't say anything. Sarah went and got the car and me and Alicia waited by the curb.
"Did you look at the test?"
I did not answer her. Not at first. I had no idea what I was going to say. I still wanted to tell Josh first.
"The stupid test was negative."
I said the truth, but it was wrapped in a fat lie.
"That's a good thing isn't it?"
Sarah pulled up, and I just gave her a look oozing of uncertainty and got in the back seat.
The whole drive back, nothing was said by either of them, and the only words to come out of my mouth was to ask Sarah to turn the radio down so I could nap.
When we finally got back to my house I didn't even say goodbye, I just waived and left the car. Running through the front door I went straight to my bedroom. My parents were not home and that was probably for the best. First they would wonder why I wasn't on the field trip, then wonder why I was home instead of up at school if I didn't go on it. I just jumped under my sheets and cried myself to sleep.
I slept all night and into a good portion of the next day. It was almost two when I awoke to a call from Alicia.
"Are you feeling better?"
I temporarily was. My dreams were still swirling around in my head, and I wasn't really sure what was fiction and what really happened.
"A little. How are you getting back to school?"
Now that I totaled her car, I would probably end up being her ride most places until her insurance money cleared, but my car was still up at school.
"Derek is going to bring me back up tonight. You want to catch a ride?"
The house seemed empty and I figured my parents were both at work. They probably did not even notice I was home last night, and it would probably be best if I could escape without having to answer any questions.
"Yeah sure, what time?"
The exact time on the clock was one fifty eight.
"Wow you really know how to give a girl time to get ready, don't you?"
"No, two in the morning. He is going to a party at a friends house first, then heading straight up to campus. So be ready at five."
My parents didn't normally get home until six, so that would be fine, although I wasn't really in the party mood, the choice was not really one I could make. Yesterday still weighted heavy on my mind.
"The other driver, Alicia, he died."
"I know. When I saw my car, I saw his too. Are you okay?"
"I don't really know. Everything is just so messed up, and this has been the most stressful week of my life. I can't wait to see Josh on Friday."
"I'll see you at five."
I spent the next three hours eating and getting ready. I didn't dress up for the party, I didn't really know anyone aside from Alicia, Sarah, or their friend Derek at the party, and meeting new people is not really something I am feeling up for right now.
"Are you having fun?"
I did not even notice this guy come up to me. He was smiling, but looked as if there was something he had to say.
No I was not having fun, but he would not want to hear how I really felt.
"Well, I have two favors to ask of you."
I didn't really think there was anything I could do for him, but for some reason he reminded me of Josh, and it made me smile. There was something nice about him, something honest.
"Well you see, I have this camera, and I want you to take a picture of me, but not just of me."
"Just trust me, here, I'll tell you when."
He moved so he was standing in front of the room, and everyone else was seen behind him.
"When you see everyone high five, take it."
A few seconds later everyone paused what they were doing, and gave each other high fives. the flash filled the room with light, but no one seemed to notice. It blinded the guy who was standing in front of me, and the look on his face made me smile.
"Thank you. Don't take this as anything more than a friendly compliment, but I have fallen in love with your smile."
That made me smile even more. I like this guy, not in a way that would make Josh jealous, but I enjoy him none-the-less.
"Okay, one favor down, what is the second?"
His smile seemed to hinder for a second on that question, then he looked at me again and the smile returned.
"I need you to deliver a message for me."
I walked up to him, and he leaned up to my ear and whispered the second favor to me.
"I am leaving. I have a ticket for a bus that comes in just under an hour, and I am hopping on it. No one here knows, and I want to keep it that way. I don't want them to try and talk me out of it, or turn this night into a goodbye party. I just want to leave them like this, with not a worry in the world. I just want, I need you to tell them, after I've gone. Give me a head start, then tell them all at once."
I really didn't feel up to this, but I knew he needed me to. That feeling of being depended on actually made me feel a little better. After a week of instability and uncertainty, feeling I was helpful and capable was something I needed.
Without warning he leaned in and kissed me. I would have pulled back, but before I could react it was over. I know his intentions were not to make me feel uncomfortable, but merely a token of appreciation.
"Thank you, it really means a lot to me."
He needed to start over in life, I got that. I needed to do that too. Only his was a start somewhere new, mine was with something new, a baby.
"It's no problem. Goodbye."
He turned and walked out the door. I watched him walk down the street, he only turned back once to make sure no one noticed him leave, then he disappeared into the shadows of the night.
Friday I would have to talk to Josh about where our lives are going, how things were about to change. Right now though, I had to let everyone here know something else, how their friend Kevin was about to change his own life.
In less than a week, my life had changed so drastically. In a few more days it would change even more. It really gets me wondering. I am just one person, how many others have had their lives changed in a blink of an eye. we make plans for our future, where we hope to be in ten years, but the truth is, none of us have the slightest idea where we'll be in ten days do we?
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Best Friends Keep The Best Secrets For Themselves
"Emily, it's me again, please call me back. I really need to talk to you in person. Your dad told me you were going to Canada with Jean. I'm on my way up there right now. Please, just hear me out."
I can't blame her for acting this way, I just wish she would hear me out, and give me the benefit of the doubt.
"Stop calling her."
"Jean? Is she there?"
"No. She's in the restroom. Now stop calling Brandon, I mean it!"
"How could you do this to me Jean? Or her for that matter? What is wrong with you?"
"I told you why. She wants nothing to do with you now, get it through your head."
"That is only because..."
What a bitch. There is no way I am letting her get away with this. It is all her fault that I am in this situation.
She must be at a gas station, and the sign back there said last station for forty five miles is coming up. Their lead was not that great to begin with, I must have almost caught up with them.
This was her plan all along, I know it. Jean wanted Emily to break up with me, and then she was gonna try and get her to move on. Two girls on a road trip to Canada sounds like a great way to forget about an ex. Where she can meet some other guy looking for someone in exactly her position, a wounded girl looking for someone to make her feel good again. Some random fling to show her that she has still got it, and re-affirm her thoughts on how I am the one who is missing out. Of course she would be right.
I am not letting Jean ruin this for me. I don't know why she thinks I'd want anything to do with her after this. She was jealous, no, she was envious of how great Emily and I were together. Emily would describe me as the perfect guy, the best boyfriend, I know she did, because I used to say the same things about her. Jean wanted that, and instead of looking for her own, she thought she could just take me.
It is always weird weird looking back on the pivot-able moments of your life, and how at the time they never feel as grand or definite as they turn out to be.
"You wanted to talk to me about something Jean?"
At the time I just thought she was having a rough time, I thought maybe she was just confused and needed someone to talk things through with. Now thinking back I can see there was no confusion, the type of talking she had in mind needed no words. She moved in before I knew what was going on.
"Jean! What are you doing?"
None of these hesitations seemed to deter the unwanted assault.
"Oh come on Brandon, we both know this has been a long time coming."
"No. No we do not know this."
Finally pushing her off me and back into her own seat. She had a look of complete shock on her face, like she had just been slapped. In retrospect I wish I had slapped her, it would make me feel a little better right now. The look of shock faded as she buried her face into her hands and started crying.
"I am so sorry, I don't know what came over me, ever since Daniel I have just felt so alone, but you and Emily have been so great. You never make me feel unwanted. After Daniel, well, you know..."
Truth was I didn't know. She never told me exactly what happened, she hinted towards him wronging her in some unspeakable way.
"I haven't been myself."
She shot her face up with a look of terror.
"Please Brandon, don't tell Emily! She would never talk to me again. I can't lose the two of you, I am sorry, I didn't mean to, I wasn't trying to..."
Her face was buried once again, sobbing even louder now.
"Easy, okay, Jean don't worry, I won't say anything. I'm sorry if I gave you the wrong signals at all, I only have feelings for Emily. Let's just pretend it never happened."
Once again her face appeared, a hesitant smile upon it now, with, even at that moment I thought, was hiding a grin. I brushed it off, and when she moved back towards me I backed up defensively.
"Oh sorry, I um, it was just a hug. I understand though, forget it, I'm sorry."
She slumped back into her seat. I felt sorry for her, I actually pitied her. Stupid Bitch. I moved in and gave her a friendly comforting hug.
That was when she must have done it, I am sure of it. Maybe when I was hugging her, or when I was putting my seat belt back on, but it was definitely at this moment. The evidence, was only the first thing she planted. As soon as she got home she planted something far worse, the seed of doubt in Emily. I would not learn of either until the next night when I picked her up.
"Brandon, I need to ask you something."
"Yes hun? Anything."
"What did you do last night? I mean, who were you with?"
Her eyes were fighting back tears, but her face was stone solid.
"What was I? Um, I didn't do anything really, just stayed in and watched TV."
I was watching TV before Jean called. I did not mention that because I did not want to explain why Jean s desperately needed to talk to me, alone.
"Why do you ask?"
The tears started slowly at first, but they kept pace with her words as she spoke.
"Well, I didn't believe it at first. A friend of mine told me they saw your truck parked up by the baseball field. I did not think twice about it, but now getting in your truck, I, I can smell her Brandon!"
This is starting to get out of control.
"Emily, I just stayed in most of the night. Julie needed a ride home from softball, so I went to get her."
The statue like stillness that was her face, melted.
"And stayed at the field for forty-five minutes? Stop lying to me! The seat was pushed back all the way. The way it used to be when we would go to the baseball field."
"Julie must have pushed it back when she..."
"No! You're twelve year old sister does not wear these!"
Emily pulled a pair of panties from the side of the door seat.
"Next you are going to say my friend didn't see you kissing a girl as she drove by. Was that Julie too? Just giving her a kiss on the cheek for a good practice?"
"No Emily! That wasn't Julie. It was..."
Wrong way to start a defensive statement.
"So it was someone! I can not believe you, after everything we have been through! At least have the decency to tell me who it was you were with."
"Emily please hear me out! Nothing happened. I was just talking, it was Jean, you know we are just friends!"
Balling now she opened the door and started to get out.
"You just can't stop lying can you? I never want to hear from you again, next time check with your accomplices before you make up your alibis. Jean was with me last night, who do you think saw you parked? She lives across the street. You disgust me."
Jet set me up. Fucking Bitch. Emily got out of the truck slamming the door, and jumped in her car and took off before I even really grasped what had happened.
"I'm not letting her get away with this."
Jack's Corner Store, two miles on the right. Like you really need a sign to point something out on this road. The only thing I have seen for the last ten miles was some side roads and a maple sugar farm. Until now I had not even seen another car in almost half an hour. Figures with all the open road out here I have to get cut off from someone who does ten under the limit. I had to slam on my breaks to stop from running into the rear end of the car.
"Pick a side!"
Can't even pass if I want. The driver seems to think the yellow line is more of a guideline than a set of boundaries.
I had to slam on my breaks a second time when he all of a sudden pulled off to the side of the road and parked still partially in the lane.
He did not seem to hear me as I passed him. He threw open his door, coming inches from my front bumper. Just barely had enough time to swerve out of the way. In my rear view mirror I can see the driver stumble into the woods where he threw up, then fell, hard. I grabbed my phone from the passenger seat and called 911.
"911, what's your emergency?"
"I'm driving up Route 135, and I just saw a guy get out of a car and collapse. He was vomiting, and then fell hard onto the ground."
"Where on Route 135 are you?"
"I'm heading North. I am about a mile before a place called Jack's Corner Store."
"We are sending someone right away. Did the male seem hurt?"
"I can't really tell, he just didn't look good, he was driving erratically in front of me, then pulled over and stumbled into the woods."
"Thank you sire, we'll take care of it."
"Is there anything I can do?"
"You've helped as much as you can, we've got it from here, thank you."
"Okay. Thank you, bye."
With all the excitement I couldn't pull my eyes away from the rear view mirror to see if the car was coming around the corner. Maybe he got back up and got back on the road. I wanted to believe the guy was okay. I was believing it so hard that I thought the car in front of me all of a sudden was part of my imagination right up until it was too late. A car pulled out of the corner store right into my lane. Braking was not even an option by the time I realized what was going on.
The truck landed on it's roof, and I stayed in my seat because of the seat belt. My shirt was quickly feeling wet. My head was spinning so much I almost thought the truck was still rolling. Below me on my ceiling the phone began ringing. I went to go grab it but I couldn't move. I saw Emily's picture on the phone, it was her calling. I needed to answer it, to tell her what happened. She needed to hear it from me. I fell asleep thinking I answered the phone.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Questions kill hopes of going back to sleep. Anytime anyone asks you a question, you are forced to think, thinking uses the brain, and when the brain is in use it is harder to fall back asleep.
"Well, I was. Why, what's up?
At this point I just gave up on the idea of sleep anyway. It was probably deep in the afternoon, and I should probably be up anyways. So I tried sitting up and opening my eyes.
"Dude, it's quarter of five, and you are still sleeping?"
"Again, I was, now what's up?"
I could hear him chuckling in disbelief on the other line. Doesn't bother me at all, I enjoy my sleep, nothing wrong with that, I mean what else do I have to wake up for?
"Anyways, are you coming to the party tonight? I can give you a ride if you need one."
Party, oh yeah, totally forgot about that. Um, do I want to go?
What else am I going to do? There is no way I am getting back to sleep, and everyone else I hang out with will be there, so there really isn't much of a choice.
"Yeah, what time you headed over?"
"In about two hours, think you'll be awake?"
He just woke me up from a thirteen hour nap, what was I going to do? Fall back asleep? Maybe.
"Yeah, I'm getting up now, eating, showering, stuff like that. I'll be read, just call me before you get here."
"K. Later man."
Now that I actually sit up I can hear everyone else in the house doing their daily activities. I can smell supper being cooked, smells like steak. I can also hear what seems to be my little bother playing video games in the next room. I look around at what has become a pigsty of my room, throw on the cleanest and closest pair of jeans, then put on deodorant before I leave my room.
I went straight for the bathroom. I looked in the mirror, saw the same face I have seen for the last twenty years day in and day out. My tan is starting to fade from my beach days this past summer, but tan or white, it didn't matter, it was still my face. Still the same look. Still the same questions seeking the same answers going on behind it.
Leaving the bathroom I went back to my room and started to clean it, or at the very least, organize it. I changed into my favorite t-shirt and threw the rest of my clothes in the hamper. By the time everything seemed in order it was almost five thirty. I grabbed the few dirty glasses I had left on previous nights in my room, and brought them into the kitchen. I was right, steak. I also had perfect timing.
"Dinner almost ready mom?"
"Yes, go get your brother, and wash your hands."
My mother always seemed to say things like that; "Wash your hands" or "Don't forget your jacket," yet never seemed to care if you followed through or not. I think it was just engraved into her from her own mother when she was growing up, and still feels the need to say it.
"Steven! Get your ass down here, dinner's done!"
"Don't talk that way to your little brother, and if I wanted to hear yelling I could have done it myself."
"He's eighteen, that's not that little anymore."
We could be in our thirties, but to her he would still be my little brother, the baby. I shoveled my food into my mouth as soon as I sat down at the table, and was finished in under five minutes. I ignored the "don't eat so fast"'s my mother instinctively spit out, and ran back to my room. I picked up the phone and called Chris back to see if he wanted to come any earlier.
"Hey Chris, I'm bored, let's do something before."
"Uh, okay. Just let me get ready, I'll be over in about fifteen minutes."
"Deal, see you soon."
As I was putting the phone down on my end table, the picture I had just put back up there when I cleaned up my room not even an hour prior, caught my eye. It was a picture of me and my best friend from high school. We were both making these funny faces and he was on my back. It was taken at a friends barbecue a few days before school ended. For the next year after that photo was taken we drifted farther and farther, and then he finally moved. It made me kind of wish that was our last memory together, just together with our friends enjoying an early summer day. I took it out of it's frame and put it in my wallet, then put my wallet in my pocket. I also grabbed my keys and my I-pod, fully stocked with music. My track jacket was on the back of my computer chair, I threw it on and went back to the bathroom. Chris pulled up outside and laid on the horn. I smiled at myself in the mirror and ran downstairs to my mom.
"Mom, I love you. "
I gave her a big hug and kiss, then ran out the front door. She barely had time to yell she loved me back before I was in the car.
"Hey man, what's up?"
He was on the phone with someone but I pretended like I didn't notice or care. As soon as I sat down I just stared at my house, and for the first time, I noticed that there was a bird's next on top of the gutter. It was huge too, must have been there for awhile. I guess I never really took the time to look at it before. Chris was talking with annoyance to whoever was on the phone.
"Okay, fine, bye."
I think it was his brother.
"Sorry, Chad's trying to see who is coming tonight. I need to get some gas."
Whatever man, you're driving."
I put my headphones on and blared my music from my I-pod. He never really liked putting in cd's, and never listened to anything loud, I need loud, I need deafening loud. I just put the seat all the way back and rested until the car came to a stop about ten minutes later.
"Are you going to get anything?"
"Huh?" taking off the headphones. "What?"
"I said are you going to get anything?"
"I don't know if I want anything."
"Well here, go pay and look around."
Lazy bastard. Oh well I mine as well go in and see if I want anything in there. As soon as I walked in though, I saw exactly what I wanted. A disposable camera. I grabbed it and put it on the counter, gave the cashier the money, and put the camera in my pocket, then ran back to the car.
"Yeah go ahead and pump."
I fell back into my comfy seat all the way leaned back, and turned the volume all the way back up.
The party was at Chris and Chad's place, and was supposed to start around eight, but there was already half a dozen people there when we arrived at six thirty. The eight of us continued on with what has become our weekly routine. Beirut and kings were being played, and a mix cd of songs of every genre, enough variety to keep everyone happy, rang in the background. In what passed like minutes, the rest of the crowd showed up.
One of the last to show up was Sarah and her friends. I was surprised she came, last I heard she was still up at the cabin for the week. After an awkwardly brief hello and a hug, she b-lined it for the fridge. I tried not to spend much time near her out of fear of changing my mind. Instead I spent the majority of the evening reminiscing with the guys.
"Remember how water rolls off of cinnamon?"
"Or when Bryan almost killed me with his sai?"
We laughed more.
Only a few people there knew what we were talking about; but it was this string of inside jokes and memories that would forever remind us of each other. Some of the nearby 'outsiders' have heard the stories behind the jokes and laughed along. One girl however was hearing it all for the first time, I had never seen her before.
The stranger had entered with Sarah. She was the only one who had never been to one of these parties before. They were fun, but always the same. As the song I had been waiting for all night came on, I made my move.
She was beautiful, the kind of beautiful that leaves your tongue grasping at words to even begin to describe her.
"Are you having fun?"
She didn't seem sure about that answer. It came off more friendly than sincere.
"Well I have two favors to ask of you."
She smiled. If never again in our lives, for that one second there was some connection.
"Well you see, I have this camera, and I want you to take a picture of me, but not just of me."
"Just trust me, here, I'll tell you when."
I adjusted where I was standing so in the background there was everyone. All playing games and talking, yelling, flirting. Everyone was having a good time, and no one saw her holding the camera. Everyone was too busy getting ready for the upcoming part in the song that I was waiting for.
"When you see everyone high five, take it."
At the exact moment I was waiting all night for, the flash went off. It blinded me, but even through the white spot, I could see her smiling in front of me handing me back the camera. That smile was almost enough to change my mind, but I had already made up my mind, there was no going back now.
"Thank you. Don't take this as anything more than a friendly compliment, but I have fallen in love with your smile."
That made her smile even more.
"Okay, one favor down, what is the second?"
Oh yeah. I can almost forgot what all this was really about.
"I need you to deliver a message for me."
She came in close, and I leaned in and whispered the second favor in her ear. I saw her smile fade as I pulled away, but the gleam in her eyes held strong. I all of a sudden felt an urge to kiss her, and I gave in. It was nothing more than a quick peck, I think she may have pulled away if it was anything more. She seemed tensed, perhaps she was already with someone. He is a lucky guy if so. I was oddly jealous of the idea.
"Thank you, it really means a lot to me."
She smiled again, she seemed to understand everything, and in a way it almost made it harder to leave. She knew there was nothing else to say, so she just kept smiling.
"It's no problem. Goodbye."
I walked out the door.
I wish she would just shut up. This is not the easiest thing in the world to do. This could change my life forever. I wish Josh was here. I can not go through this alone, why have I gone all week listening to Alicia? I should have called him and told him I am up here, I should have let him come and see me. I need to talk to him, I need him here with me.
"Was there a pay phone at that corner store we passed a mile before the cabin?"
"Yeah I think so, why? Are you going to go and call Josh?"
"Yes, I need to talk to him about this, now not next week."
"Well just use the cabin phone then!"
"Sarah is on it, plus I could use the fresh air and privacy to talk to him."
It was a week ago that we got up here, and all week this is all I have thought about. I am going crazy, there is no way I can wait another week, it is just not a possibility; and there is no way I wanted Alicia over my shoulder listening in.
"You're not going to find out first? What are you going to say to him? That you might be pregnant? That sounds like a great idea, so for the rest of the week he can be held in tortured suspense along with you. Do yourself a favor and find out first, then call him."
She is right. I need him, but making him wait along with me until we are together again is not fair.
"I'll take it now, and bring it with me. I'll find out when I call him."
This was not the answer that she was hoping for. I know the suspense was eating at her too, but nowhere near as much as it was for me. Josh deserves to know before anyone else, and that is how it had to be.
"Can I borrow your car?"
Sighing she reluctantly nodded.
Grabbing the test from the bag I went for the bathroom. When I came out Alicia was standing there just holding the bag in her hand, she looked worried.
"Just be careful, and whatever it is, remember you are not alone. You have Josh, and you have me too."
She opened up the bag for me to put the test back in.
"Thanks Alicia, I don't know what I would do without you."
I grabbed the keys off of the table and then went out the door. It said on the side of the box to place the test on a level surface, but the passenger seat would have to do.
I do not know what I am going to do if the test is positive. I am too young to have a baby, I am still in school and Josh works full time. Would we get an apartment? Would we stay at his parents? What are my parents going to say? I guess I could transfer to a local school, maybe even take a year off. I could work for a few months and save some money. Will he want me to get rid of it? What if he hates me? I have no idea how this happened, we were always so safe. What if he leaves me? He might think it's not even his and leave me. I need him, there is no way I can do this by myself.
By now the tears had started falling down my cheeks, I swear this five minute drive has already taken an hour.
Maybe things will not be so bad. We both said someday we wanted kids. I know we were hoping years from now, but still, I already know this is who I want to spend the rest of my life with. We could start our life early. After we get a place to live we could decorate the baby's room. We never discussed taking things to the next level, but we have been together for almost three years.
Finally, the corner store. I would have missed it if a car with a couple girls in it didn't almost side swipe me as they came out of the parking lot. I pulled up along side of it and got out of the car.
"It's going to be okay, everything is going to be fine, we'll get through this."
The phone had something on the receiver, but at this point I did not care. I just held it at a safe distance from my face and turned up the volume. I am glad Josh's house phone has not changed in three years, cause if it wasn't programmed into me already, there was no way I would be able to remember a number in this mind set. I realized shortly after the second ring that I stopped breathing when I began to dial the number.
"It's going to be okay."
"We'll get through this."
"We have to get through this."
"Hi Mrs. Duffy, is Josh home?"
"Oh hi Angel! No dear I am sorry, he just left with Alex a few minutes ago."
"Do you know when he will be home?"
"He had packed some clothes to take with him, I think he said he'd be home sometime next weekend. I guess Alex and him went on a little trip, you know how those boys are."
Breathe again. Keep breathing.
"Angel, is everything okay? You seem upset."
Upset? You haven't the faintest idea Gramma! I can not believe he is gone for a week, I need him to be here with me, I need him to tell me everything is going to be alright.
"I'm, I'm fine, I just, miss him."
"Well if he calls here I'll let him know you called, is there a number he can reach you at?"
"No, that's okay, I'll just see him Friday. Thanks though."
"No problem dear, you take care okay?"
"I'll try Mrs. Duffy, goodbye."
A week is too long for me to wait. I need to know, and I need to know now. The images of our future unfolding and how different our life is about to be were all I could think of as I opened the door and grabbed the bag. A picture hanging up in our apartment of the baby, Josh and I. I had to strain through these thoughts to even read the test.
"Negative? I'm not pregnant? I'm not pregnant! I'm not, pregnant..."
A wave of relief washed over me, although the images of our almost future still were burned in my mind. Josh standing over a crib in a gender matching painted room. A big smile on his face. I know in reality we are no where near ready for this, but for a moment, I feel as if I was, as if I would have been ready if needed. I don't know if I should even tell Josh about the scare, or if I should keep it to myself. No, he would want to know, I should tell him. I began to think of ways to break the news without freaking him out as I drove away from the pay phone.
Staring at the small line on the test now on my passenger seat, I didn't bother to look where I was headed. I pulled right out into the road, in the way of a pick-up truck. Hearing the crash was the last thing I remembered before everything went black.
Friday, September 4, 2009
"Emily, you haven't said a word since we left the motel. Are you okay?"
With a week like I just had, how could anyone be anything but okay? But I was not okay. I was torn. I wish I had never gone along with her.
"All week long you had this look in your eyes, and I could tell you forgot all about Brandon, and now what? You're back to moping not even an hour after leaving?"
"It's not Brandon."
"Then what is it?"
I tried ignoring her, but I could tell out of the corner of my eye she was staring at me waiting for an answer.
"Leave me alone, I'm driving."
I leaned and turned the radio up hoping this diversion would get her off my case for a ltitle while. I was wrong, she turned it right back down.
"No. What's wrong?"
I felt so used, so hypocritical, and I knew she hated me. I had no idea who she was, but she hated me, I was sure of it.
"Do you already miss him?"
"I told you it's not about Brandon!"
"I meant Josh."
Did I miss him? Jean was right, for the last week there was no thought of Brandon going through my mind at all, and it was all thanks to Josh. On the other hand, how could he do that to me? How could he do that to her?
"I'll take that as a yes?"
"No. I don't miss him, that's a ridiculous assumption."
"Oh. Well that's too bad then."
I could see out of the corner of my eye she stopped staring at me and gell back into her seat, not because she was done talking to me, but because she was waiting for my curiosity to eat at me to find out what she had meant by that. I was hardly in the mood for games.
"Yeah, too bad."
"Well I'm just saying. Alex invited us to go up and visit him next week, and I figured you might want to go and see Josh again."
"Yeah. Josh's friend? Remember him?"
"Josh always called him Bateman, I never knew his first name."
"Well whatever his name is, he invited us to go up and visit him. Him and Josh."
That would be perfect. A week with me, Josh, and...
"He has a girlfriend."
"No. Josh has a girlfriend."
"Really? He didn't act like he had a girlfriend when he was around you."
Tell me about it. I could only keep replaying that second night with him, the night after I met him in the bar.
"You're not like most girls are you?"
We were about to go to bed, in his room since Alex and Jean were shacked up in the room I was supposed to be staying in. We kissed the night before, but that was it. Most guys given the chance to share a room alone with me would have tried for much more. I was surprised, but appreciated the fact he acted like a gentleman. It was only a week before that I broke up with Brandon, and I just was not ready for a one night stand.
"I'm not really sure, I just know you're nothing like any girl I've ever met."
"You're not really like any guy I've met either, most guys would have tried to make some kind of move by now."
I really did not want anything to happen between us, but he just had a way of making me feel so comfortable around him. He made me feel special, like there really was no one else like me. Maybe it was just the temptation of lying in a bed with him, alone, for the second night in a row.
"Well, to be honest with you Emily."
He turned away from looking at me and stared at the ceiling for a second, trying to grab at what he was about to say, then he turned back to me.
"The reason I haven't really tried anything,"
I knew what was coming, and I did not want to hear it. Looking back it was my own fault, he tried telling me, I refused to let him. Instead of hearing why, I kissed him, then rolled up next to him. That is how it all began. He wanted to tell me the truth, he was trying to find a way out. He was feeling guilty for it already and I pushed him further into it. What if that is what happened to Brandon? What if he tried to tell that girl, but she did not let him get the words out. The blame is still there, but maybe this was not what he was planning on. Although I think I will never be able to forgive him, I could almost relate to Brandon through some of this.
"So Emily, did you want to go up with me?"
I know Jean really wanted to go and see Alex again, but what would I do up there? If he told his girlfriend about me, I would just make things worse by showing up, and if he was hiding it from her and she found out because I was up there, that would be even worse. As much as I pretend to care about the truth, I wish I never found the underwear beneath Brandon's seat. I wish at times Jean never saw him with that girl, or at least never told me.
"I don't want to complicate the whole thing by showing up unannounced."
Jean looked disappointed, but after a prating like that, what would I even say to him? Truth us I was not all too worried about making things hard for Josh, I just hoped to save a girl from learning something that she could never forget.
"You know Josh, I don't want to seem like the week long fling that doesn't see what she had was just that, a fling, but..."
"No, I'm not like that, you're not just some girl I met at a bar one week in Canada."
I smiled, he smiled back, but it seemed vaguely insincere.
"Well you know, we're only about forty-five minutes away from each other, so if you wanted to hang out sometime, I suppose..."
"Emily, there's something I need to tell you."
Even his fake smile faded with those words.
"I, well, I have a girlfriend. This week was amazing, and I meant everything I said to you, this wasn't just some fling for me. I'm really not normally like that. My girlfriend and I though, well we're pretty serious, and I love her. I just think that, in retrospect, this week has been a bad mistake."
I barely knew him, no real attachment has been made so it was not as hurtful as it could have been, but I think I fell a little too hard for those words said in between the sheets.
"So, when you were saying you've never met anyone like me before you were just..."
"I haven't met anyone like you before. That is why this week was so hard. In another lifetime, someone like you, and someone like me could probably have something unparallel to anything, but this isn't another lifetime, and I have someone waiting for me back home."
I slapped him. I can't say I expected anything more out of meeting a random guy at a motel in Canada, but the way he talked to me, the way he looked at me, he sold me a lie that I bought into with everything. Alex and Jean came around the corner in Alex's car, Jean got out and Josh just stood there looking at me. I turned and left him there staring back at me. The only thing on my mind was getting my clothes and getting the hell out of there.
"What? Of course I am listening. There is just something going on between Angel and Alicia, let me call you back in a few okay?"
She still has not answered my question.
"Sure, just make sure you actually call me back this time."
"I will, I promise. Talk to you soon."
It was not the first time such a promise was given, nor would it be a first broken if she forgot. Sarah hung up without another word, and once again left me to my own thoughts.
Almost a week ago Sarah and I were enjoying a beautiful fall evening on my front porch. The breeze was just present enough to warrant the two of us to curl up beside each other. we had been spending the better part, and it was indeed the better part, of the last month together, but this day in particular was the closest we had ever been.
She had just gone back to school a couple of weeks ago, and I was supposed to moving in less than three weeks.
"I like you."
My voice cracked and it ended up coming out as soft as a whisper, but I knew she heard it despite the squeaking of the porch swing.
"I like you as well there mister."
I could feel her head move slightly as I ran my fingers through her curly hair. It was the same color as the dark mahogany swing we were half laying on.
"I mean, more than a friend. I am happier around you than anywhere else. This past month has had me thinking a lot about..."
She stiffened as I spoke, and slowly she began to sit up straight.
"Kevin, last I heard you are supposed to move in a few weeks, and now you are saying you have feelings for me?"
Now it was my turn to tense up and sit straight.
"I have wanted to leave here for a while now, I've felt I had nothing here for me, that it was about time I moved on. Now, well, maybe now I have found something, or someone I suppose, that might be worth sticking around for."
The moon had come up some time ago, but the sun had just finished it's daily farewell. I did not remember hearing the crickets start their chirping, but in the current silence between Sarah and I, it was all I could hear.
She eventually loosened up and laid back down on my lap and closed her eyes. We just stayed there like that for awhile.
Fifteen minutes and she still has yet to call me back. I probably should have done something other than sit next to the phone and wait, but what else was there to do? Nothing. Nothing to do but wait, just as I did on the porch last week.
I thought she had fallen asleep. She did not move at all for a bit, and her breathing fell to a soft, slow pace.
"I haven't really put much thought into it to tell you the truth. I mean, of course I like you, but I have been under the impression you were leaving, so I never took us for more than two people enjoying time spent with one another."
Her lips moved, but the rest of her stayed as still and calm as she had been seconds before.
"If you stay, I want it to be because it is what you want to do, not because of me. We can figure us out when that time comes. For now, do what you need to do."
How could I explain to her that I had no more reason to move than I had to stay. That my overall decision to leave was based solely on the fact somewhere else, anywhere else, was better than being stuck here. That the chance of finding something to make me happy here, negated every reason I had for leaving.
"Why do those two need to be exclusive? What if being with you is what I want to do, and having you here makes this where I want to be?"
She seemed to ponder this, or maybe she really had fallen asleep this time. I did not dare to check, she looked so peaceful just lying there. It is a scene I think I will always hold on to, to replay as a reminder at just how calm a situation so complex could be.
I answered before looking at the caller I.D.
"Sorry Kevin, I thought Angel needed the phone. She is having a rough time up here."
"Is that Alicia's friend?"
Sarah decided the day after our talk that she was going to spend the next couple of weeks up at her parents cabin with some friends from school. She never told me why, but I assumed it was to think about what I said, or maybe to give me time to see if I meant it.
"Yeah the two of them have been whispering all week, its actually kind of annoying, but that is besides the point. What were we talking about before?"
I doubt she really forgot. Maybe she was secretly hoping I had, but I obviously had not.
"Us. If we are something worth looking into or not."
"I thought we decided to wait and see what happens and take it from there?"
There was no we in that decision. She was waiting for me to find some other reason to stay, or silently hoping I would just leave, I could not tell.
"Do you want me to stay? Would you care if I left?"
I hated pressing the issue, but I was running out of patience.
"Kevin, don't be ridiculous. Of course I care if you leave. I just... Ugh hold on I have another call."
The silence was back. I was starting to get used to this disappointed feeling of not being heard whenever Sarah was involved.
"Let's give it a few days and see what happens."
She finally said as she sat back up on the swing.
"Right now I need to go home and get some sleep. I think I might get up early tomorrow and see if Alicia is up for hanging out."
She stood up and gave me a hug, then waited, as if hoping for some sort of agreement to her idea. I gave her none. I did not say anything at all, I just sat there and watched her walk to her car, saw her wave from behind the wheel, and kept watching as she drove off down my street.
"Sorry Kevin, I need to go."
She too now was seeming impatient.
"Sarah, I just am looking for a sign that you want me here, that if I stay it won't be for nothing."
"Damn it Kevin, I really can't do this right now. I'll talk with you when I get back but right now I need to go. Bye."
And with that she hung up.
I felt foolish. This girl I was about willing to change all my plans for, barely could stand talking to me anymore. It was wrong of me to think about staying, I really did not have anything worth sticking around for.
I looked up at my calendar, a big X was marked two weeks from now. A couple of days ago it seemed so soon. Now it was ages away. I grabbed a nearby sharpie walked over to it, and drew a new X on September 25th, tomorrow's date.