“Don’t talk to Amy today, she’s been having a bad case of Pissed-off Men Syndrome lately,” Matt scoffed.
“Shut up Matt,” Amy snapped at him as I cracked up on the couch beside her. “It’s not that funny, Lilly! Besides Matt’s implying that you’re a male by saying you shouldn’t talk to me.”
“Oh yeah…I didn’t notice that,” I turned around to glare at Matt.
“Hey come on girls, don’t turn against me,” Matt said, raising his hands up in defense.
“We’re sparing you because of pity, you should know that,” Amy muttered.
“You guys are unbelievable,” I said with a laugh.
Matt smiled at me, his gray eyes dazzling, and leaned towards me and gave me a quick peck on the lips.
“Awhh,” Amy cooed with fake delight. “That’s so cute Matt. You finally got your annoying side off.”
Matt stuck out his tongue at her and they both started squabbling non-verbally.
“I’m going to go get the cookies,” I said, getting up from the couch and heading toward the kitchen. They barely noticed. Matt and Amy had always been a handful to me whenever we were hanging out together as they always going into some sort of bicker. It’s always fun to watch them like that since the outcomes can be hilarious but it can also get annoying.
“Fly me to the moon and let me sing among the stars, let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars.” I started singing to myself unconsciously as I took out the cookies from the oven. Matt is going to drool from the smell of these cookies, I thought to myself, smiling.
“Cookies ready!!!” I yelled and almost in an instant, I found Matt by my side, inhaling the smell of the double chocolate cookies.
“Mmm…this is…this is…”
“Heaven,” Amy murmured, finishing his sentence. Amy was on my other side and was doing the same as Matt, smelling “heavenly” cookies. I rolled my eyes at them and carried the tray to the living room as they both followed me like puppies. Once I got myself comfortable, I tried not to laugh at their expressions when I yelled, “Dig in!”
I honestly should have sneaked some off for myself because in the end I had only eaten two of my own cookies. Matt and Amy had both finished them off by the time I’d finished my first one. They both grinned at me impishly as I glared at them.
“Your cooking skills are too good to be true,” Matt said.
“Flattery won’t get you any more cookies.”
Honestly, these guys always think they can get past me by buttering me up, and the problem is…it usually worked.
“Anyways, now that Lilly’s accepted our apologies, which you have,” Amy muttered, “it’s time for the photo shoot.”
“I’m out,” I said at once.
“No you’re not,” Matt said and then dragged me out to the front yard of his house.
Our parents had already spent the half hour taking photos together and now it was our turn. Eventually, I’d have to give in because of the death glares I’d receive from Amy and my mom.
“Alright, fine. I’m in.”
“Yay!” Amy shouted in happiness and then linked arms with me and Matt as we posed in front of the camera.
It was so much fun, to my utter surprise. I’m not exactly a cam-addict. I hate taking photos of myself and usually tend to jump behind a tree and hide when people bring out a camera. But today was the total opposite. I found myself loving myself and the people around me in these moments.
“Okay, last shot!”
Matt’s father was the photographer of our grand shoot and he’s a pretty good one too since in real life, he’d been in the industry of Film for some time. So I definitely knew that the photos would come out well.
Amy sat down on the swing in front of us and said, “Let’s make this a nice one so I could hang it up in my room.”
Matt smiled at her and put an arm around my waist, just like I did around his. I rested my head on his shoulder and smiled at the camera, wishing that just like the photo would be frozen forever, I could be in this moment, with Matt and Amy by my side, for eternity.
I woke up, gasping for breath with tears in my eyes. I rubbed them away and got up, heading to the bathroom. The photo I’d seen in Amy’s room had triggered back memories that I hadn’t invited. I should’ve expected it nonetheless as I haven’t gotten any good times of sleep since Matt had gone.
I splashed my face with cold water and looked up at my reflection. The photo flashed in my mind as I looked at myself in the mirror. In that memory, I’d been more like my real self then how I am now. Back then, I was considered beautiful with my long, wavy, scarlet hair and lively hazelnut brown eyes. My rosy complexion went along with my hair color and my lips were usually pulled into a wide smile. But now, looking into this reflection, I didn’t look like myself at all. My forehead was beaded with sweat and my eyes red from crying. My face was pale, my hair unruly, and my lower lip trembled. This isn’t me and I can’t even identify myself as a human being anymore.
I stumbled out the bathroom towards my mother’s bedroom. Slowly creaking the door open, I peeked in and saw her under the covers, sleeping on her side, curled up into a ball. I tiptoed inside and went under the covers with her and put one of my hands around her waist, hugging her. I didn’t want to sleep alone tonight, not knowing that I might get another sweet nightmare and wake up crying. Resting my head against the back of hers, I closed my eyes and drifted off to dreamland, hoping that it might hold for me in store, something less bitter then sugar and lighter then dark chocolate.