Sleep brought me no answers. But when does it? I’ve heard the expression ‘let me sleep in it’, so it must work for some people. For me, I still had no idea how I was going to react when I see Kayla in about a half hour. I went through my routine and found myself ready to go in record time. I guess my nerves drove me into high gear.
I decided to run back upstairs with my extra time, and check my email. Maybe there would be something from Kayla, or even Mark. No such luck, but there was a new message from AJ. He asked if I was having problems with the IM stuff, or if I had changed my mind. He said he was really looking forward to talking to me, and hoped we got to soon. I sent him back a message that said I was just about finished with getting setup and I’d talk to him soon.
I went back downstairs and peaked out at the bus stop. It was empty. I set up shop at a side window, where I could see the bus rounding the corner. I was going to take a page out of Sid’s book, and run to the bus as it was getting ready to leave. That way I wouldn’t have to deal with the Kayla meeting until we were sitting down. I don’t know what difference it makes, aside from buying me a couple minutes.
A few minutes later, I saw the large yellow machine, so I darted out of the front door and made it to the bus stop, right as he was about to shut the slider and pull away. I glanced at all the sad faces as I ascended the stairs, and saw no Kayla. Most days I would be worried about such a thing. Today, I kind of welcomed it.
I managed to get through the first half of the day without even opening my mouth. Well, I probably yawned a few times, but that’s not really what I meant.
The bell rang, telling me it was time for lunch. I hopped into the al-la-carte line, and walked away with some chicken strips and a cup of ranch dipping sauce. I parked at ‘our’ table, and started to nibble disinterestedly at the breaded poultry. After a few minutes, it appeared I would be eating alone. Mark never showed up either. Probably for the better. Without Kayla there, it would have been extra awkward. As it turned out, things became more awkward than I would have ever predicted.
While I was sitting there with my face buried in my plate, I heard a chair slide along the floor, across from me, at my table. Without picking up my head, I lifted my eyes, to see what was going on.
“Umm…hi…hehe. It’s Danny, right?”
“I’m Amy…ummm, we have algebra together. I don’t know…”
“Yeah. Hi Amy. I’ve seen you…so, how are you?”
“Welllll…oh my god. This is kind of weird. I can’t believe I’m doing this.”
Amy nervously looked over her shoulder, to a table full of girls, sitting, giggling, and staring right at us. I could feel my cheeks starting to burn, and a sudden sense of dread. What does she want? This can’t be good.
“Well…my friend Katie. She’s umm…over there.”
Amy pointed to the table with the giggling girls, all of whom, now had big eyes, but for one, who was hiding her face in her hands.
“She kind of has a crush on the boy that usually sits here with you, but she’s a big chicken. Can you, like, give him this?”
“You mean Mark?”
“Yeah…is that his name? Mark?”
A smile crept across my face, and I had a huge, internal, sigh of relief. This wasn’t about me. Thank god.
I reached across the table and retrieved a folded up note from Amy, saying “sure. No problem. Here. I’ll put it in my pocket. I won’t even read it. Ok?”
Amy giggled and “cool. Thanks. Guess I’ll see ya.”
As she stood up to leave, she added “oh…umm. Me and my friends think you and your girlfriend are really cute together.”
She was gone, before I could even react. Thanks Amy. Now I get to brood on Kayla leaving again.
I never saw Mark the rest of the day, but I rarely due, aside from lunch. I have my first real hockey game tonight, so I’ll make sure to bring Mark’s love letter, in case he shows up for the game. If we were on better terms, I could embarrass him in front of the whole team. As it stands, I’ll be discreet.
As I walked up the sidewalk to my front door, I saw Kayla, waiting for me to get home. I had a moment of panic, but I saw she was nervously tapping her foot. I jogged the last few strides, and pulled her up and into a tight hug.
“Hey Kayla. I missed you today. Everything ok?”
She had shifted back into that quiet, sad girl from last week. She whispered “everything is not ok. Can we…umm…talk?”
“Yeah. Come in.”
We stepped into the house and walked toward the kitchen. I grabbed two cans of Sprite and guided her to the living room. I sat on the couch, and she sat at the corner of the other couch.
Daniel…I saw you last night…on the sidewalk.”
I gulped back some tears and pride, and quietly responded, “you did?”
“I’m so sorry Daniel. I wanted to tell you so bad…but I didn’t know how. It sucks, you know. I don’t want to leave. I wanted to come out to you last night, but I couldn’t stop bawling. I was such a mess. And I didn’t want you to find out that…”
“Shhh. Shhhh. Shhh. Kayla. It’s not your fault” I assured her, reaching for her hands. Trying to soothe her, as her eyes poured tears. She broke down even further, as she leaned into me, for another heartfelt hug. Her crying got me started, and we just held each other, counting on the comfort and support we found there.
After some time, I decided to start the inevitable conversation, just to get it out of the way. I peeled myself away from her, and invited her to sit next to me, snuggling her head into my chest.
“You ok? Feeling any better?”
“I’m happy that you know, but it doesn’t make it any better.”
“So, where are you moving to?”
“Back to Toronto. I guess that was always the plan, but they never bothered to tell me.”
“What do you mean?”
“My dad only took the job here, so he could set himself up for the next step in Toronto. The stupid corporate ladder. I guess a bigger pile of money is more important than his only daughters feelings.”
“That sucks. Why didn’t they tell you?”
“They probably didn’t think I would meet the most incredible boy ever, and…fall in love with him.”
I held her a little tighter and kissed the top of her head. “I love you too, Kayla.”
We sat there in silence for a while, letting it all sink in.
“So, when are you…umm leaving?”
“First of the year. If the house isn’t sold, we’re still leaving. His company will sell it or something. He starts January 2nd, so we have to go.”
“So that gives us like a month huh?”
“Kayla? I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Like way a lot. We both know we can’t change this, and being bummed out sucks. We have a month. Let’s not ruin it. Let’s have the best month ever. What do you think?”
“Not good enough. If you can’t do it, you should just leave tomorrow. Look, wouldn’t you prefer to remember the last month here as fun? And not sad and stupid?”
“Yeah. I’ll try Daniel. But I can’t promise I won’t get sad sometimes.”
“Me too, but I’m gonna try like Hell.”
“What should we do, to like, keep it a fun month?”
“Sex. Sex. And sex.”
She slapped me on the shoulder. “Oh my god Daniel! Are you serious?”
“No. But I got you to smile. That’s a start, right?”
“You jerk. But you know…some sex would be nice. Maybe even a lot…”
“Hey. Are you busy tonight?”
“Wow! No. Why?”
“Oh my god! Not sex ya goof. Do you want to go to my hockey game? We have our first game tonight.”
“Yeah. I’d love to.”
“Well, I should go I guess. Umm…what time is your game? I can just walk down before you leave.”
“It’s at 7:00, so leave here at like 5:45.”
“Ok. See ya then.”
She walked toward the door, and turned back to give me another big hug. “Thank you Daniel. For being so awesome.”
“Nah. You’re the awesome one.”
I watched her walk down the path, turn, and give me a final wave goodbye, before she disappeared from my sight. I exhaled, as a single tear fell from my eye. I was proud at how well I kept it together in front of her, but inside I was numb. This girl was going to break my heart every single day, for I don’t know how long.