I crawled to the bus stop the next morning. Another dreary morning painted with a cold, grey sky. Soon, we will be living inside of the oppressive, dark snow globe that defines winter in Minnesota. Might as well get used to it. But I do love autumn. Mother Nature better not rob us of our fall, and jump right into winter.
Kayla was already standing there, looking as sleepless and dead to the world as I did.
“Hi Kayla” I uttered quietly.
“Hey nature boy. I’m so tired today. At least it’s Friday.”
“No doubt. Huh.”
As we took our seats, she continued, “I was up all night thinking.”
“Yeah. Same” I agreed.
“Oh yeah? Were you thinking about what I was thinking about?”
“Uhh…I don’t know. What were you thinking about? I asked. Assuming she would say us, and our relationship or something.
“The haunted house, of course!”
“What? What do you mean?” I asked. Dreading what she might come up with.
“Well, I decided we must go back.”
“What! No eff’n way. You can’t be serious.”
“Oh, I am dead serious. But I have a plan. I was up all night making it. It’ll work.”
“I seriously think going back there is crazy. We don’t know what might happen. We were lucky to get out of that house yesterday. I don’t want to push our luck.”
Kayla cut my rant off with “if you’d stop and listen to my plan, I think you’ll change your mind. We don’t need to go back into the house, ok? Here’s my plan.”
“This better be good” I interrupted.
“Hello…talking here” Kayla said, equal parts, sarcastic and annoyed. “Ok. So my plan is to get whoever is I there to come outside, or better yet, look out that window on the side of the house. The upstairs one.”
“Well, my brother has a paintball gun. We shoot at the window to get his attention. I mean who wouldn’t investigate something hitting an upstairs window?”
“Ok. So then what? He sees us with a gun and chases us down with a chainsaw.”
“Ahh. Listen and learn. I thought of everything. So my dad is this serious hunter. He has all this camouflage stuff. Hats. Coats. Pants. We get all camo’ed up and hide behind those trees we were at yesterday. Well actually, I set up behind them with binoculars and you get close enough to aim at the window. Then after you hit it, you run back to me and we see what happens.”
“So I’m the sacrificial lamb?”
“Well yeah. You’re a boy. You should be able to shoot better and run faster than me. I mean we can trade, if you’re too chicken.”
“Hey! I’m no chicken, and I didn’t say I wouldn’t do it.” So, when did you plan on doing this?”
“I thought today, after school, you can do some target practice, and tomorrow, we do the mission. So what do you think? Sounds like a good plan, huh?”
“It sounds like it could work” I responded. I had to admit, it was a good plan, at least, to my 12 year old brain. “But if you would have said we do it today, I would have said no. I’m too tired to go running around.”
“So is that what kept you up thinking all night too?”
“No. Not really.”
What was it then?”
“Well…it was you…I mean, like, you and me…us.”
“Yeah? Like what?”
“Like…I really like you a lot Kayla.”
“I really like you a lot too Daniel. Like way a lot.”
We both smiled and her hand fell into mine.
Kayla was pleased that I approved her plan. Her mood had lifted, and she was getting a shot at another adventure. We spent the rest of the ride to school hammering out some of the finer details of our newest mission. We were such an odd combination of playing like we were married, and still being little kids who liked adventure, and could probably still be talked into playing with toys. All I know is I’m much happier to be going through this odd time with a friend, and not taking it all on alone.
After school we went to Kayla’s house to grab her brothers paintball gun and a box of ammo. We went back behind my house and shot a bunch of paint around. It didn’t take me long to reach sniper status. I was sure I could hit that window with ease.
We went back into my house for a while and hung around my room. It wasn’t until Kayla announced that she needed to leave, that we had a long kissing session, that ended with a text from her mom that said “NOW”. Kayla left to go out to dinner with her family, and I fixed some dinner at home. Tomorrow promised to be another crazy day, and I went to bed early, to make sure I was ready for it.