Friends or Foes
There I was, sitting on my bed with my classic cheesy “Fries before Guys” sweatshirt and my sweatpants from GAP with a grease stain on my thigh, staring at my blank phone on my pillow. I hadn’t touched it since last week when I received a text from an unknown number. I had already looked through all of my current contacts, old contacts from my old phone, and a few of my forgotten contacts, and still, no one matched the number I received a text from. So there I was, staring at the black screen of the new phone I had gotten just over a week ago. I hopped off my bed to get a soda from the purple Frigidaire in the corner of my room.
Why me? Why was the message sent to me? Of all the 7.96 billion people on earth, why me? I am the least coordinated person ever. Seriously, I am late to almost everything and my mind often tends to run away from me and take me down a road of alphabet soup made of random thoughts. I’ve got to find a way to get that under control. Whenever I realized I was off track or running late, I would be too late to make an excuse.
“Abigail!” My mom yelled while knocking on my door. “You’re going to the park to hang out with friends in five minutes! Did you forget that?”
Shoot!- I had been so engrossed in thinking about the text that I had forgotten. Oops!
“Just putting my shoes on! And don’t call me Abigail!! I like Abby more!”
I now had to change my shirt, and pants and put on shoes in the time I told my mom it would take to put on only shoes. Goodness, gracious. I asked Alexa what time it was and immediately increased my already rapid pace of changing from sweats to a cute outfit fit for the middle of July in Utah. Fifth-teen minutes later, I jumped out of the car and slammed the door shut right after saying goodbye to my mom who had dropped me off.
I looked around a little to try and find Caroline, Emmie, Mia, and Jess. After a few minutes of searching, I saw them sitting under a tree laughing. I run over and plop myself in the middle of where they are all sitting. I notice a cooler to the left of Emmie propped open slightly.
“What’s that for?”
“Oh. This?” Emmie asked in a voice that had a little too much mischievousness.
“Yes, that,” I exclaimed obviously with humor in my voice but a little too much annoyance.
“Well,” she paused for dramatized suspense, “This is… drumroll please.”
“STARBUCKS FOR EVERYONE!!!” She said with too much excitement in her voice while throwing enough confetti and glitter from her pocket to cover everyone within a 5-mile radius.
“Oh my gosh, Emmie!!!” Everyone shouted very excitedly at the same time.
“What? I haven’t seen y’all in a long time and I wanted to make an experience that we would all remember for a long time.”
“Emmie, we haven’t seen each other since school got out. Which was over 3 months ago. No matter what we would remember this for a very long time. But since you added Starbucks to the equation, we will remember this for even longer!” Jess said while laughing while finishing her sentence which resulted in everyone laughing with her.
After what seemed like hours of laughing, Emmie passed out everyone's favorite drinks, and we all started to sip our drinks. I took a big long sip of my Pink Drink. I close my eyes, allowing my taste buds to take control, letting my tongue bathe in the creamy, smooth, sweet flavor of strawberries mixed with cream and ice-cold water. I open my eyes to see everyone almost halfway done with their drinks.
“What's wrong Abby? Do you not like it? I thought the Pink Drink was your favorite. You’ve only taken one sip.” Emmie asked, sounding a little offended although I’m sure she didn’t mean it.
“I do, it is my favorite. I just like to let every one of my taste buds get the flavor, to let the drink coat the sides and roof of my mouth, to let the strawberry chunks slowly slide down my throat as the taste buds at the back of my throat get all the flavor as well. Ya know?”
Everyone stared at me like I was some goth girl reciting the most beautiful poem which I had written. I looked around at all my friends' faces and saw the same reaction from everyone.
“What?” I asked in an innocent but also worried voice.
“Ab, are you okay??!” Caroline asked.
I thought it was a joke with how much concern was in her voice, but then I took a long hard look at her face and saw real concern for me.
“Why are y’all so worried?”
“Abby, you’ve never talked like that before. I mean you've been sappy at moments, but you’ve never been like…”
“Poetic.” Mia chimed in.
“I’m fine you guy–”
“See! Somethings wrong! She always says ‘y’all,’ she never says ‘you guys.’ Ab, what is wrong? You can’t hide it from us anymore? Are you moving?! You’re moving, aren’t you? Why didn’t you tell us? I can’t believe you’re moving. Where are you going? Does it have a beach and can we visit when we hav–”
Mia started ranting on and on. She needed to be stopped.
“I’m not moving. And of course, you could visit on breaks. I don’t want to worry y’all more.”
“Ah-hah! There is something!” Mia said as she had just cracked the last clue to a murder crime scene.
“If I tell y’all, you have to promise not to tell anyone. Got it?”
At the same time, every single one of my friends right there, right then, looked at me with those joking puppy eyes and said,
“We promise that if you tell us we will not tell anyone until the day we die.”
“Or until it's over.” Caroline just had to chip in.
“No. Even after it’s over, you can’t tell anyone.”
A hush washed over everyone like an ocean wave coming up to a sandy beach and lingering.
“So? Are you going to tell us or not?” Jess asked very eager to find out the cause of why I am so reluctant to tell them.
After contemplating for far too long about if I should tell them all of it or not, I finally decided to tell them everything. I mean, what are best friends for?
“Please don’t overreact.”
“We won’t,” Caroline said like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“Have you met y’all?” I said like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
I wasn’t expecting that to make everyone laugh, but it did.
“Okay okay okay. So a few weeks ago, when I still had my old phone, I got a text from a random number that said ‘I thought I’d never see you again.’ And I was a little creeped out at first, and then I remembered that I was getting a new phone and didn’t worry about it too much. I thought that since I was getting a new phone and a new number, the mysterious message would disappear and the person who sent it would realize it was a mistake and text the wrong number.”
I paused to take a sip of my glorious drink.
“Then, once I got my new phone along with my new number, everything was fine until a few days ago when the message appeared again. Except for this time, it said 'Why do you push me away? You really shouldn't do that' and then I was really freaked. But I'm not going to do anything about it because they probably just texted the wrong number and don't know it. I'm going to text them telling them they have the wrong number, okay?"
My friends didn't seem too pleased that I was going to ignore this, but I pull out my phone anyways and start texting the unknown number:
I don't know who you are, but please stop texting me. You probably have the wrong number.
Not more than a second after the message was delivered, I got a text back saying:
No, Abby. You don't know who I am, but I know who you are.
My phone drops like a brick from my hands as I stare blankly at my friends.
"What? What is it? What happened?" Everyone exclaimed at the same time, before getting a worried expression on their faces after I didn't reply.
Can’t Get Enough of You
**SLIGHTLY MATURE CONTENT**
She had always been a good girl. She was well-behaved, she didn't make trouble, and she always did what her parents told her to do.
But then one day, during her last year of high school, she met the boy of her dreams: Alexander. He was tall and handsome, with dark green eyes that seemed to see right through her. He knew how to talk to girls like they were grown up--he could make them feel like they were the most important thing on earth.
And he made her feel like that too! They started dating soon after they met and soon after that they were making out in secret everywhere they went: in class; at parties; even in bathrooms! Every time they got home from somewhere together, they would kiss--and kiss and kiss again until they couldn't even think about anything else but how much they loved each other. They spent every moment together and it was the happiest time of her life.
They would kiss for hours at a time until their lips were sore from all the kissing and sometimes even until their teeth hurt from biting down so hard on each other's lips when they got too excited about whatever subject was being discussed at the time (like whether or not flowers have feelings). She thought he was the most amazing thing since sliced bread. He opened her up to new ideas, like how carrots are actually quite tasty when you add them to sandwiches and how much fun it is to roll around on the ground with someone else's tongue in your mouth. She loved him so much--but how could she tell him?
She loved him so much, she thought she might burst. Every time they got home from somewhere together, they would kiss--and kiss and kiss again until they couldn't even think about anything else but how much they loved each other. She wanted to tell him so badly that her heart hurt every time he looked at her with those green eyes of his and smiled.
She wanted to tell him so badly that she could taste it, like a piece of licorice stuck in the back of her throat. Every time he looked at her with those green eyes of his and smiled, she felt like someone had kicked her in the stomach and stolen her breath away. She couldn't wait until they got home so he could kiss her again--and again and again until she couldn't even think about anything else but how much she loved him.
She wanted to tell him that she would do anything for him. She wanted to tell him that she was sorry for everything she'd ever done wrong in her life. She wanted him to know how much he meant to her--how he was the only person who would ever understand what it was like to be so lonely that your heart ached from the pain of it.
He was the only boy she had ever loved, and he was all she wanted in the world. She wanted to tell him so badly that sometimes it hurt. She wanted him to hold her and tell her that everything was going to be all right. She wanted him to make her want him so bad that they were just two people who loved each other more than anything else and would do anything to keep it that way. She loved him so much that when she thought about kissing him, her heart felt like it would burst. She couldn't wait until they got home so he could kiss her again--and again and again until she couldn't even think about anything else but how much she loved him.
The only thing that could have made it better was if he had said those three little words. She wanted him to say them so badly that she thought she might burst. But he didn't say anything, and as the days went by, her heart grew heavier and heavier with disappointment until she couldn't even think about anything else but how much he loved her--and didn't love her enough to tell her so.
But then, one day after they had been together for a year, he told her that he loved her. It was the most romantic thing she had ever heard and she couldn't wait to tell him how much it meant to her, later that night.
Her name was Emily, and she was a beautiful girl. She had long blonde hair, which she would often pull back in a ponytail. Her eyes were blue and her skin was tan, giving her an exotic look that made other people stare at her as she walked down the street.
She had a boyfriend named George who loved her very much. They had been dating for two years now, but their relationship wasn't perfect because George always wanted to try new things with Emily--and sometimes those new things didn't end well for him.
One day when they were walking home from school together, George suggested that they go somewhere quiet and make out in the bushes by the school parking lot. He told her he would wait for her there until she came back from class, so he could kiss her all over again until they both got dressed again and walked home together like normal people do when they're dating someone new who isn't their parents' friends' kids who've known each other forever! But then something happened--something unexpected--that changed everything forever: Emily said yes.
She was shocked she even said yes. She was surprisingly interested in going to the bushes and making out with her boyfriend, who had told her that he wanted to do it for the first time with someone who wasn't his parents' friends' kids who've known each other forever (and also maybe because she'd heard about those bushes before). Emily was so excited, she couldn't believe it! She had never been so happy in her entire life.
So they went to the bushes and made out with each other. It was nice. They were both virgins, so they didn't have much experience making out in the bushes, but Emily definitely liked it more than she thought she would have liked it if someone had asked her before that night if she would like to make out in the bushes with her boyfriend who hadn't known anyone longer than he'd known her since he was born because people always say "you should wait until you're married" but that's stupid because why should people be expected to remain virgin.
She wanted to tell all of her friends about how much fun she'd just had with her boyfriend but also maybe because they'd heard about those bushes before. But she didn't want to tell anyone about it because maybe they wouldn't understand how much fun she'd just had with her boyfriend, and also he was a virgin so he didn't know what it was like to have sex before. She knew that if he did have sex before then it would be more fun than making out in bushes but she wasn't sure if he would agree with her or not. He seemed pretty happy with the way things were going right now, though; Emily liked it too.
She was a little embarrassed, though, because she'd never made out with a boy before. She didn't know what they wanted from her or if they wanted anything at all; it wasn't like she'd ever had a boyfriend before so she didn't really know how this whole thing worked. But it seemed like everything was going pretty well so far and she didn't want to ruin it by saying something stupid.
Let’s Go For Pizza
It was the first time they'd been alone together.
The sun was setting, and they were sitting on the couch with their feet kicked up on the coffee table in front of them, watching a movie. They had been talking about everything under the sun--their jobs, their families, their friends--but it wasn't long before they started to get restless.
"I'm getting hungry," said Jack. "How about you?"
"Yeah," said Emma. "I could go for some pizza."
They laughed at how ridiculous it sounded that they would be hungry at this point in their relationship (they'd only been together for two months), but when they looked at each other across the room, they could see it in each other's eyes: They both knew that hunger would drive them crazy if left unanswered for much longer.
"Let's go out," said Jack. "There's an awesome restaurant right around the corner from here."
"Okay," replied Emma. "But first we should probably shower."
Simple Joys in Life
I was sitting at home, watching TV. I had just gotten off work, and I was feeling pretty tired. My boyfriend came into the room and said "Hey."
"Hey," I replied.
"So what are you watching?" he asked.
"I don't know," I said, "something mindless."
"Oh come on," he said, "I'll tell you what it is!"
He grabbed my hand and pulled me over to his lap so that we could watch together. The show ended up being something about a woman who falls in love with her best friend's husband. It was pretty sappy, but it made me happy anyway because this was exactly what I wanted: someone who cared about me enough to make sure that my life wasn't just about work all the time--but also about fun things like watching stupid shows with them when they weren't working late hours or going out for drinks after work ended early again because some guy called in sick today too many times already this week.
I’ve Had 5 Years to Forget *Unfinished; final/end chapter once all completed*
And then I saw him. The man I hadn’t seen since the last day of senior year.
“Micheal, I can’t believe we are never going to see each other again,” I said glumly looking into her eyes as I try not to think about the future without her.
“I know! We’ve known each other since kindergarten. We’ve had a few disagreements here and there,” she says while laughing and trying not to cry at the same time, “but overall we’ve had so many amazing memories together.”
“Hey, don’t look now, but you know Joey Farewell??” She added with a bit of mischievousness in her voice.
“Yeah…” I say hesitantly.
“Well, he’s coming over here. Probably to talk to you,” she said that last part was the way the girls in the movies do when they are talking about boys or gossip when their voices get all high.
“Ugh! No! Can you shake your head or something to tell him I can’t right now?”
Before I can even finish, Micheal is nodding her head up and down and uses her hand to signal Joey over. When he makes his way over I give a slight glare at Micheal, that only she would pick up on, only because we’ve known each other for so long.
“Hi, Joey. Long time no see,” I said with as little and close to no clue or hint of any emotion at all.
“Look, I know I’ve loved our friendship and I know you still blame yourself but you can’t keep doing it. Nobody could have known that Jessic-”
“No Joey. Stop,” I said backing away while putting my hand on the sides of my head.
I couldn’t think about this right now. Not when I’m leaving all my friends and packing up to leave for New York.
“We both know nobody at this school will be able to forget what happened. And if we forget what happened, we will jus-”
“JOEY! STOP IT! NOW!” This time I’m yelling, trying got push away the painful memories.
“Okay okay jeez. I wasn’t trying to-” Joey started before Micheal butted in.
“No, nobody ever tries to. Nobody ever tries to remind her of what happened!”
As tears start to form in my eyes, Micheal embraces my shaking body.
“Okay, I’m sorry,” Joey says as he walks away, with his head down looking at his feet.
Before he is out of earshot I mumble, “It’s not your fault. It’s mine.”
He stops and only looks back at me before continuing on his way.
“Hey!” I say as I am walking up to him.
“Been a while,” he says while running his finger through his golden curly hair, “Hey, I don’t know if this is still a sensitive topic, but I’m sorry about the last day of school senior year. I didn’t mean to hurt you or anything I just-”
“It’s okay. I’ve realized that no one could’ve known it was going to happen,” I say while putting my hand on his shoulder.
“That’s good,” he looks as if he has more to say, but instead closes his mouth and says, “How’s Chloe?”
I simply smile and say, “She’s doing well. Haven’t seen since graduation huh?”
“Uh, no. I haven’t,” he says while stuffing his hands into his pants pockets.
“Want to come over to our apartment and catch up?”
It’s Just A Memory *Unfinished Chapter*
Sand spreads between my toes as I walk along the shore, as gentle waves roll in and off the beach.
“Hey, guys let’s stop. It’s almost time.”
I glance at the horizon and sure enough, it’s almost time for the most magical and amazing moment that I could watch over and over for hours.
“Don’t get sand in your phone case this time Micheal,” I say right as she is about to place her phone right in the middle of a pile of dry sand. Jessica lets out a small laugh at the memory of Micheal finding sand in her phone case still days after she dropped it, and thoroughly got almost all the sand out.
“Haha. You two will never let me live that down. Will you?”
“Nope,” we both say in unison as we let out a huge, bubbly, infectious laugh that Micheal couldn’t resist joining.
The three of us sit in a row on the warm sand, hugging our legs to our chests as we watch the sunset.
“I will never get sick of this,” I say, looking out into the fluffy clouds which are just beginning to be painted over by the most beautiful shades of pink, yellow, orange, and red you could ever imagine.
“Me too.” Jess and Micheal say at the same time.
They both lean their head against my shoulders, and I wrap my arms around each of them as we watch nature’s most beautiful and magnificent movie. Before long, the gorgeous array of bright colors turned into a deep blue with white speckles and spots sprinkled around everywhere, all over. I take in a deep breath of the suddenly cool beach air before closing my eyes and letting it all soak in.
I wake up in a trance, not wanting to let go of the priceless memory. I pick up my phone, only to see the message last night from my mother still there. I sigh, put it down, turn the other way, and curl up even more into my warm blanket. I allow my eyes to slowly close shut, enveloping me in my own state of conscience. Completely blocking out anything the world outside throws at me.
I sleep for about 2 more hours and wake feeling ready for the day. My phone buzzes as I receive a follow-up text from my mom.
‘I’m sorry if I made you mad or irritated, I was just thinking that it might be nice to see you again. I know your father has been wanting to see you for a while now.’
Memories Stay Forever
Groggy from a late night with Chloe, I roll over to the other side of my bed where my phone is buzzing.
I pick up the phone to turn off my alarm and see how many I’ve slept through.
Okay… I slept through 3 alarms, so that means…. it’s 8:00. IT’S 8:00!!
I shoot right up to a sitting position and quickly scramble out of my bed to my closet.
What to wear… what to wear!! I thought eagerly to myself.
Without really thinking about it, I grab my slate blue blazer along with my favorite flowy cream blouse to go with my white wide-legged pants. I throw my hair up messily into a clear hair clip and throw my phone into my handbag and hurried out the door. As I am closing the door, it occurs to me that I don’t have shoes on, so I quickly put on a pair of crisscross sandal flats I saw lying by the door. Seeing as Chloe is still asleep, I decide to quietly close the door.
My phone buzzes in my pocket, but I don’t have time to look at what it is.
I yank my phone out of my pocket to see many texts from Chloe.
‘hey… ummmm where did ya go??’
‘where’s the orange juice?’
‘where are your fuzzy slippers?’
‘where are you????’
I stop and think for a second to process everything.
‘uhhh…. wdym where i go?? in the fridge behind the milk, hidden somewhere you won’t find them because they aren’t yours. i woke up late this morning so i am trying to get to work on time.’
I take a few more steps before pondering the texts from Chloe. Before I can ponder too long, I receive another text from Chloe.
‘girl. you forgot its saturday. didn’t you?’
‘omg…. i did lol’
I push send after adding an emoji with a hand on the face and an emoji laughing with tears. With a sigh of relief, I put my phone back in my pocket and turn around to start heading back to the apartment. Luckily, I only walked about a block away from my apartment, so it wasn’t too far to walk back.
I open the apartment door and see Chloe sitting on the couch, with her gray fuzzy blanket she refuses to let me use, smiling. Waiting for me to walk through the door so she can taunt me about forgetting today is Saturday. I look at Chloe and narrow my eyes, tighten my lips, and add a slight curl at the corners of my mouth, so she knows I am joking.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Did I forget today was Saturday” Chloe can barely make it through half the sentence before she gives a little laugh, “and rush off to my precious new job in utter fear of being 5 minutes late and losing my job?”
She’s now up from the couch and walking over to the kitchen to get some more tea. But not before she over dramatically stopped and put her hands on her hips as if she was trying to prove a point. At this, I couldn’t hold it in anymore and let out a laugh. And then it occurred to me, she doesn’t have a job. So I decide to make that a point.
“Aren’t you the one who doesn’t have a job??”
Her jaw drops and she just stares at me like I have offended her moral values somehow.
“Oh. Umm. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean t-” I start.
“OMG! Olivia, I’m joking,” again, she barely makes it through a few words before giggling. Always one for theatrics, she flips her hair and continues getting her tea while smiling the whole time.
Before she has a chance to suck me into something, I quickly walk to my room to change back into my pajamas and lay back in bed to try and sleep some more before Chloe thinks of something that will occupy the day.
“Liv. Liv. Liv!!”
I open my eyes to see Chloe leaning over my bed staring at me, saying my name.
“What?” I say groggily, trying to regain my senses and make sense of what is happening.
I hear Chloe giggle a little.
“You’ve been sleeping for 4 hours. It’s almost 12:30,” she pauses for a bit before adding, “I’ve waited for like an hour for you to wake up so we could do something. Maybe get some lunch?”
“Chloala bear, we just went out for dinner last night. I have a new job but haven’t received a paycheck yet. We can’t be eating out a bunch.”
“You sound like mom,” Chloe says, sounding like an annoyed toddler.
“Well somebody’s got to do it to make sure you don’t get too crazy.”
I crawl out of bed while Chloe stands up from leaning over my bed. I rub my eyes to adjust to the light of the room, to see Chloe still just standing there.
I pause and stare at her back, “What are you doing?”
“I dunno, waiting for you,” she shrugs it off and starts walking out of the room.
I open the fridge to see if there was any orange juice left and not to my surprise, there isn’t.
“Really? You drank the whole jug?”
“Whaaat… You know I love orange juice. If you don’t want me to drink it,” she says in a sweet innocent voice the younger child always uses, “then you should have labeled it.”
“We both know that you would still drink it anyways,” I say with a slight roll of my eyes.
“Yeah, you’re right. Like always,” she mumbles under her breath.
Knowing I could hear her, she lets out her signature goofy laugh. The one that could make the harshest of rain storms go away as if she were simply wiping water beads off a waxy surface.
I look at her bright sunshine yellow pajama shirt with ‘Radiate Positivity’ in the middle, and can’t help but join her.
In the middle of her laughter, she stops and says, “Hey. Have you and Remi talked recently?”
“No. Why,” I ask, questioning this random inquiry.
“I was just wondering if you two made up yet?”
“No. We haven’t okay?! Why do you care anyways, it’s not like it affects your life at all.” I said sounding a bit too irritated than I should’ve been.
I think Chloe picked up on my irritation and stopped bugging me with any more questions. I was able to sit on my bed in my room and cool down for almost five minutes before she waltzes in and sits next to me.
“I think we should go to the mall to clear our minds,” Chloe says with her little girl tone again.
“Okay,” I say stubbornly, “but only because you need to get out.”
The mall isn’t that big and doesn’t have as many stores as the one we used to go to as kids. When we get to the mall, Chloe immediately flocks toward the shoe store and buys yet another pair of sneakers. She claims she needs a pair of coral and peach high-top sneakers completely different from the coral and orangeade regular sneakers she already has. I grab a bit to eat at the food court and sit down at a bench, while Chloe looks for more items she doesn’t need.
“Jessica, wait up,” I yell back while trying to keep up, “your going too fast. Slow down!”
Her long blonde hair flows in the wind as she looks back and smiles.
“Jess, stop. What if we get caught?”
She stops and looks back at me, “Liv, we won’t get caught. And besides, what’s there to get caught for? We aren’t doing anything wrong.”
She has said that many times, but I still have this feeling of uneasiness like someone was going to find out.
“Both of our moms said we could go to the beach after school,” she says reassuringly.
“I know that, it’s just that-”
“Olivia. What are you worried about? Why are you so anxious all of the sudden?” Jess says in an almost pitiful tone.
“You know they wouldn’t like us doing this.”
“Doing what? Having fun? Playing in the ocean? Come on Liv, live a little,” she says, giving a little giggle at the end.
“Jess, you know they don’t like us going out this far. And we don’t have Micheal with us this time if anything happens. I’m getting a bad feeling about this,” I say in a worried, pleading tone.
“Alright fine, if you really feel like something will happen we can get out,” she says sounding like a little girl whose mother told her to put away her toys.
“But not before one last body surf!” She throws herself at an incoming wave, hugely misjudging its size.
“Jess! No!” I yell, hoping she’ll hear me.
In my blurred vision, I see Chloe waving her hand in front of my face.
“Hmm? Yeah, what?” I ask, shaking away the memory which had just consumed me.
“I’m done. Are you ready to go back to the apartment?”
“Uh, yeah sure. Let’s go,” I say as I quickly gather my senses as well as my things and stand up to leave.
As we are walking out of the mall exit doors, Chloe starts to say something but I don’t completely hear or register what she is saying.
“OLIVIA! WATCH OUT!” She yells as she yanks my arm and pulls me into her.
I see a small blue car, whose driver wasn’t paying attention, zoom past where I stand, seconds after Chloe pulled me away.
“Th-thank you,” I mutter as I fully embrace Chloe while crying on her shoulder a bit.
Chapter 1 *Undecided chapter title*
I’m now briskly walking along the busy streets of New York, trying not to be late again for my new job. Suddenly, my phone begins to buzz in my back pant pocket. I yank the device out of my pocket to see my mother’s contact on the buzzing screen.
“No, no, no, no, nooo… I don’t have time for this right now!” I say, murmuring under my breath.
Wanting not to be any ruder than the night before, I pull my Air Pods out from my handbag so I don’t have to hold the phone to my ear while walking. When I hear the familiar ping of the successful connection between the phone and AirPods, I click the green button on the screen and put one in my ear.
“What do you want mom?” I say, sounding rather impatient, “I don’t have time for this right now. I’m already going to be late for my new job again and traffic isn’t making the crosswalks any better.”
“I just wanted to say,” my mother gently expresses on the other end of the phone call, “that I think you should reconsider the job in North Carolina.”
“MOM! I already told you! I’m not moving back to North Carolina for a job I don’t want. Plus, I know that you want me to take the job only because you want to move back closer to you and dad.”
I bet I look ridiculous, practically running on the sidewalk of Washington Street at 6 o’clock in the morning, yelling into the air, with my Air Pods connected to my phone and my mother on the other line, I think to myself.
“Now, Olivia, there’s no need for that tone. All I was saying was that-”
“No mom. I know what you were saying. And I am saying no. I am a grown 23-year-old woman who is just fine by herself.”
“I know that, Olivia. I-” she started to say. Sounding gentle still, but now more stern.
Why does she always have to do this? You tell her something about your life, and then she wants to make the decision or change the decision already made. You should tell her that. Today is the day you finally tell her what you’ve been thinking, I think while my mother is still rambling on the other end of the phone.
“-if you did take the job, as I’ve said before, you would be closer to your family and all your old friends. Plus I don’t think-”
“Look, mom, I have to go, I’m at work now. And I don’t want to talk about this anymore. I’ve already made my decision.” I say, exhausted.
“Okay. But we aren’t done with this conv-” my mother starts to say before I end the call by saying,
“Yes. We are.”
And with that, I end the call and start to walk up the 6 flights of stairs to my new job office.
After the workday, I begin yet another long walk home from my workplace to my apartment. I finally reach my apartment room and find a sticky note on my bedroom door.
Hey girl!! I went out for a snack and I didn’t know when you would be home, so I figured you could just text me when you got home. Wanna grab a bite to eat for dinner when ya get home?? Luv ya! - Chloe
Chloe is the best friend anyone could have. For as long as I can remember, she has always been there for me and she’s the one who has understood me the best and know what I needed when I needed it. When Chloe and I were 7 years old, we built a fort in our backyard and slept in it overnight. We stayed up all night laughing and giggling about typical things a 7-year-old would laugh and giggle about. In the morning, we had waffles with berries, whipped cream, buttermilk syrup, and orange juice. And at 7 years old, let me tell you that having all of that on one waffle is like eating Mt. Everest.
After I set my handbag down on the black, circular, metal nightstand to the left of my bed, I shoot Chloe a quick text message:
hey!! dinner with you sounds awesome rn! where do you want to go??
Without much thought, I throw my phone onto my pistachio-colored bedspread and kick off the caramel-colored slide-on boots I got last week from a Dillard’s 15% off sale. I walk into my closet with the boots in my hand and put them away. I come out and go straight to my dresser in the corner of the other side of the room. While I am rifling through my baggy shirt drawer, I hear a buzz from my phone on the bed. I walk over to the bedside and pick up my phone to see what the notification was about. It was Chloe:
omg!! you know i’m not good at deciding things like that. besides, it sounds like you’ve had a long day. you choose.
Before I even give her the chance to send something else, most likely completely unrelated, I respond:
lol. i have had a long day! let’s do that cute little mexican place on the corner of the street a few blocks down. what time?
I immediately click the power button on my phone and throw it back onto my bed. I head to my closet to put my clothes in the hamper then back over to my dresser. Without looking I grab a baggy tee and throw it on. I select a pair of black leggings to go with the shirt. Right as I am about to put on my fuzzy socks, my phone buzzes with another text message from Chloe:
sounds great! 6:00 work? i’ll meet you there
I put on my fuzzy gray socks, text back a thumbs up, and check the time.
Okay, so it’s 5:47 and we’re meeting at 6:00. Wait, 5:47 already?! It takes 15 minutes to get there, I think to myself while sliding on my white Birkenstock sandals.
I lock the door behind me and start running down the stairs (because the elevator is broken) while trying not to trip over myself on and in between staircases. Once I reach the sidewalk outside the apartment building, I start running like a mad person to get to the restaurant in time. It doesn’t seem that far away but it is, between all the stoplights and crosswalks that take forever, not to mention all the people clogging the sidewalk.
I finally reach the restaurant and make my way inside to try and find Chloe. Before doing so, I take a quick glance at my watch.
5:59. Right on time.
I open the glass door to get inside. Once inside, I see Chloe facing me at a table near a window towards to back, with a menu held up by her glass of water. I quickly walk over to the booth she has reserved and slide into the opposite side of the table.
“Have you been waiting long?” I ask, hoping she’ll say no so that I don’t feel too bad. I mean, I was one minute early, so what do I have to feel bad about?
Phew, I sigh an inner sigh of relief that she wasn’t waiting long.
“I just sat down about, what? A minute or two ago, so not too long.”
“Okay good,” I say sounding oddly relieved. “Can you believe it only took me 12 minutes to get here from our apartment?! I mean especially with all the-”
“individuals on the sidewalks!” we both say at the same time while erupting into silly laughter halfway through the last word.
I pick up a menu and get ready for a wonderful evening with my best friend.
Getting back to the apartment, we collapse on the couch from eating too much.
Chloe turns to me and says, “Wanna watch some TV while we wait for all this food to settle?”
“Sure! What were you thinking of?” I ask while sitting up beside Chloe on the couch, hoping not to signal to her that I was going to grab the remote before her.
As if she is reading my mind, Chloe snatches it off the pillow on which the remote was resting.
“Ah! How do you always get the remote first?! You’re so fast. You’ve got to be cheating,” I say while jokingly pointing and crossing my arms. “Alright, fine. You have the remote, you can choose what we watch. But I’m going to get it first next time.”
While Chloe turns on the TV, I leap off the couch to grab a warm blanket for me and one for Chloe as well, then settle back into the navy couch which occupies our living room.
Up. And up. And up. And up.
I watch as it floats away.
Out of my reach.
Out of my control.
I let it go.
I let it slip away.
What do I have to show?
But an empty hand
And a lost goal.