After we got home, and said our goodbyes, I ran upstairs to take a shower. Unlike Kayla, I didn’t find the smell of my sweat after a game, too sexy. As I cleaned off, I had this idea. Maybe I should try to be sweaty and gross around Kayla, as much as possible. If she was being honest, I could really benefit, hehe.
When I finished in the bathroom, I went into my bedroom to relax, before bedtime. I got my phone out of my pocket, and out of habit, I checked to see if I missed any calls. I don’t know why I always do that. I’ve never missed one before. However, this time, I had missed a text. It was from Mark. It said:
“Oh my god dude! This shit is funny!”
“What’s so funny?”
“O. What’s it say?”
“Check this out. I’ll write it out for you. Hi. I know you don’t know me and I don’t really know you. But I was wondering if you would like to hang out sometime. I think you’re really cute too! I’m in lunch with you so if you think you might want to, maybe stop by my table. Bye. Katie.”
“I know, right. You seriously didn’t see her?”
“I wonder what she looks like?”
“Well I’m sure you’ll see her tomorrow. You gonna talk to her?”
“I’d rather stay with you. You want to stay over this weekend?”
“Or you could stay here?”
“Yeah. We haven’t done that yet. But only if my mom stays home. Or I’d have to watch Adam.”
“Oh yeah. Find out.”
“Cool. See ya tomorrow.”
For some reason, I got kind of sad after Mark texted me the love-letter. What if he ends up going out with this girl? Would that mean he is totally straight, and I have no chance with him? I still don’t know why he likes to touch me in my sleep. I guess if he ends up with a girlfriend, it was just curiosity. Or is it? I mean, look at me. I mess around with Kayla, and she’s kind of like a girlfriend. I do love her, but I don’t lust for her, like I do Mark. She makes me feel good, really good, but it’s not the same. Mark gives me butterflies. Mark fills my dreams and fantasies. I’m so damn confused. I just know I will be depressed and jealous if Mark does end up with a girlfriend. Why am I even thinking this? I’m such a hypocrite.
It was ‘taco salad Tuesday’ for lunch, so I dragged my tray along the assembly line, collecting all the different ingredients, except for the ice-cream scoop of alleged meat product. So, I guess I had a vegetarian taco salad. As I reached the end, I turned and saw Amy, standing by herself, waiting for me.
“Hi Danny. Did you get that letter to Mark?”
“Hi. Yup. Last night.”
“K. Thank you so much. Bye.”
I navigated to our table, where Kayla was already sitting with a bottle of green tea.
“How come you never eat?”
“I do. Just not this junk.”
“What’s wrong with no meat taco salad?”
“You’re such a freak.”
“I know, and you love it.”
Mark pulled up a minute later, acting a little sheepish.
“Do you see her? Where is she?”
“I told you, I didn’t see her, but I can show you the table she sits at.”
“What’s this all about? Tell me. Please!”
Mark and I looked at each other, and he nodded me the green light.
“Well, some girl at that table, over there, is all hot for Marky Mark.”
“Oh? Which one?”
“I don’t know. She hid her face yesterday. Her friend gave me a note to pass on to Mark. He’s supposed to go to her table, if he’s interested in meeting her.”
“Oooo. Exciting! Are you gonna go over there?”
“I’d kind of like to know who she is first. What if she’s…like butt ugly, or huge?”
“Wow! What a dick!”
“What? You’d do the same thing.”
“Hmm…you’re probably right. What table?”
I pointed it out to Kayla, and ten seconds later, she said “long brown hair, curly. She’s wearing a white hoodie.”
“How do you know?”
“She hasn’t taken her eyes off Mark since he sat down. It’s so obvious.”
“Is she hot? Daniel?”
“I don’t know. I guess yeah. Kind of.”
“Go get her big boy”. Kayla blurted out.
“What am I supposed to say?”
“You could start with hi.”
“Very funny. What would you do, Daniel?”
I shrugged my shoulders. I didn’t think saying ‘forget about her and let’s be boyfriends’ is what he’d want to hear right now.
After a little bit more encouragement from Kayla, Mark did get up and walk to the other table.
Every step he took toward that table, felt like he was stomping, right on my heart. I couldn’t watch, but I had to watch. I sat there, holding my breath, as a freight train pounded in my ears. I felt my face get hot, and I became dizzy.
Kayla noticed my transformation. Putting her hand on my shoulder, she asked “are you ok?”
“Huh? Oh. Yeah…I’m fine.”
“Are you sure? You look like you saw a ghost. You’re white as a sheet. What in the Hell is in that salad?”
“I’ll be fine. Really.”
“Are you sure? You seem quiet now. What’s wrong?”
“It’s nothing. Really.”
I reached for Kayla’s hand, under the table, and gave her a weak smile. She drew my hand up to her lips, and gave it a little kiss.
“You showered! Yuck! You smell like soap.”
“Haha! Nice one.”
Mark retuned to our table, and sat down casually, like he just returned from the bathroom.
“Well?” Kayla asked.
“Oh. We traded phone numbers and email addys. She seems pretty cool.”
“So are you gonna call her? Take her on a date?” Kayla asked excitedly.
“Well you better. She’s sweet on you. Be nice.”
They continued to talk back and forth, but my freight train was back, drowning out all other sound. I felt like I was going to collapse. Dizzy. A line of sweat forming at my hairline.
I stood up and whispered “I gotta go”, not stopping to answer any questions.
I walked quickly to the bathroom, and splashed cold water on my face. Mark had just willingly stepped into the web. His maneuver put him with the ‘in’ crowd. People were going to know him now. No longer an outsider, he was about to date a popular girl. After her, there would be another one, and another. The carousel of junior high dating. They pass each other around, like some incestuous society. Using each other, until something sticks. My weekend sleepovers with Mark were probably over, and with Kayla leaving, I was on my way to lonerville. A familiar place. I should be happy for him, but I can’t. My mixed up feeling for him, won’t allow it.
Most likely, he will try to bring me into that web with him. Most kids would jump at the opportunity, but I’m not most kids. The whole thing sounds dreadful. Fake romance, and more drama than a reality show. All for what? An occasional hand job, if you’re lucky.
I went outside for a walk in the cold air. Trying to sort out this onslaught of random thoughts. Hoping I was wrong. Hoping like Hell, I was wrong.