It was hard to believe that the end of the school year was quickly dawning upon us. I could delve into my memories and observe just how much this time period had in store for the group we have now established; but I thought that I had done enough of that already. That was the past now. The whole point of the past was to form the present, so now that the present was formed, I decided not to reminisce.
Of course, one last obstacle blocked us from the freedom of summer. It wasn’t anything personal that affected our group emotionally, no. It was the end-of-the-year exams, the ‘finals’, or the ‘death run’ as many people seemed to have coined it. Naturally, we had to study hard. While we do so on our own, being in a group sidetracked us.
However, once I got out of school, I knew what was going to happen. Just a few weeks into our long break, Claudia and I would be off on a trip to remember. I couldn’t wait to see the clear blue Caribbean waters. Not only that, I was going with the one I love. I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.
In terms of the before-mentioned gatherings, we basically used our study days to hang out. Day after day we ended up doing something different. One day it was hide and seek. On another account, we played a heated game of Monopoly. I ended up winning, though according to the others (i.e. Daniel) I had cheated, which may have been an accusation crafted due to the fact that Claudia was the banker. Some other time I brought Galaxy Quest over for a more comedic movie as opposed to some of the others we had been watching recently. Bottom line, nothing productive occurred, but something fun and enjoyable did.
I was glad that we were able to accommodate Sarina into our group. I knew it was difficult because of how she hadn’t been with us nearly as long as ourselves, but she was getting along with it. I remember when I caught her making out with Daniel in the slide, and how long I waited for them to stop. Of course, I skewed my view so that it sounded as though I actually hadn’t been there. In reality, I figured out where Claudia was, but I decided to find the others first since I had deduced where they were too. I loved being sarcastic and pretending to lie while actually lying.
There was another thing I didn’t tell Daniel. But I did tell Sarina.
Back in the hospital, I wanted her to come back in the room so that I could share a talk with her again. I had something personal I had to settle. Nothing angry, no, just a little… talk. Go figure that she was so suspicious about it that Daniel began to pester me about exactly what I had said that seemed to have changed her behavior. Since it was probably something that would be too awkward to confess to him, I withheld the information. Besides, it was better off as a secret.
Eventually, I caved, but not in an immediate manner. In light of the coming exams, I made a bet with him. I had decided to spend the night at his house, so while I was there, I gave him the only offer that I could give that would be fair to us both.
“Tell you what” I said, turning to face him. “How about a friendly wager?”
“I don’t know. Depends…what are the terms?” he responded, instantly intrigued, though he tried to disguise that mannerism.
I thought for a moment, and then the idea of the exams popped into my mind. “Alright… whoever gets the superior overall grade on their exams… wins. If I win, nothing happens. But if you end up being the victor, I’ll tell you exactly what I said”.
“Word for word?” he inquired.
“Down to the letter” I answered.
He paused for a moment, but he replied quickly, his curiosity overrunning him. “Okay, fine. You’ve made me a deal I can’t refuse”.
So that was that. When I started driving to school the following day; a Monday, as cruel fate would have it; I felt prepared for the grueling test. Not because of the bet, but I had been studying hard for weeks. I wanted to get good grades to make myself presentable to colleges. Claudia told me I was thinking way too far ahead, but I didn’t change my ways.
As usual, Claudia sat next to me in the car. She had almost completely recovered, but I still decided to play things safe, so she was still in the wheelchair. She didn’t mind much anymore, since she knew that it would only be a few weeks until she could say goodbye to it for probably forever.
I recalled how she had made plans with Sarina to stay at our house while I went out with Daniel. “How was your girl’s night out?” I asked her in a half-jokingly manner.
“Oh, it was fun. We watched a few movies and messed around. Something else happened though…”
Her voice trailed off, leaving me to ask the obvious question. “What?”
She laughed, then turned to face me. “If you get a higher score than me on the exams, maybe I’ll tell you” she said jokingly. We shared a laugh, then went on. “Yes, Daniel told me. He’s gotten so obsessed over whatever you told Sarina. What did you say?”
“I wasn’t anything bad. I just wanted to talk to her on some things” I responded. It seemed as though she understood what I meant. “What did you mean by what you said earlier?”
She looked off into the distance. “It… it was the wedding dream again. But I didn’t feel weird about it. It felt natural”.
I remembered what that dream was; she had told me about it long ago… when I was locked in a holding cell. Saying what she just did made me wonder if we really could go that distance… no, no… that’s too awkward to think right now. Though not as much as it would have been to most people.
Afterwards, the boring set in; the exams. They weren’t as hard as I thought, but still exhausting… and because our district did them all on the same day.
The first thing that happened when I got out of the last classroom was an ambush from Daniel. He was immediately ready to see what I had earned.
“You first” I said, grinning.
Overall scoring for the exams was different than the individual scores for some reason. “180” he replied, a really good score.
“181” I responded, doing one better.
It was easy to tell he was disappointed. In that moment, I wondered; why did I withhold this from him anyways?
“I told her… that you were worth it. That you had sarcasm and an amazing sense of humor. But… I also said that you could be difficult. You could lose your cool or snap when you really don’t mean to. I told her… to stick with you. Because… he needs someone to keep him alright”.
On finishing those words, I walked away with a smile on my face.