The one thing I wished I still had was my cell phone.
Dad, being the successful business man that he is, made sure that all of my ties to the outside world, mainly Alex, were gone until the end of August. I couldn't stand the idea of my dad thinking so badly about Alex. He had saved his youngest daughter and he had obviously saved me from deeper issues that my dad could never understand.
The night that I found Jacob's broken bracelet had been two nights ago, leaving me with only ten days to fix the mess that I had somehow let myself get into. I agreed to go with my parents on their little adventures, but for my first rebellious night I had a different plan.
My parents always stayed up to watch a movie with Angela. The movie usually ended at around nine o'clock at night and with a single knock at my door as a goodnight, they would put Angela to bed and soon be in their own room. This all happened slowly, so I would need to be patient.
But I needed to get out somehow.
So, feeling the adrenaline of Jacob's silent wish and my heart's beat of need I awaited the goodnight knock. I sat on my balcony, observing the sky but not fully staring as I had before, I was somehow awakened with the excitement of my escape.
Then it came, hollow and soft, knock knock. Not a word from either my mom or dad, but I knew that it had been them. I heard their footsteps creaking down the hall then down the stairs to the second floor, and their room. Then I waited for another long thirty minutes.
Gingerly, I opened my bedroom door. My black hair swung in a long braid against my back and I held my black flip-flops in my hand. I would have never done this before because I had never felt the need to sneak out, but things needed a change before I became suffocated in this makeshift world my parents were creating for me.
The lights in the house were all off, except for the eerie glow of the night lights plugged into random outlets and the bright, shimmering moonlight reflecting off of the ocean and into our living room. From upstairs I heard my dad's loud cough as I tip-toed my way towards the sliding door. Taking in a deep breath I slid the door open and walked out onto the cold patio.
The sand was bitter and cold under my toes as I walked over to the fence after taking a patio chair soundlessly with me. Jumping over the fence was a lot easier than I had imagined. For one brief moment I imagined what it must have been like for Alex whenever he jumped over. The sand on the other side of the fence didn't change in temperature, it was still the same, as if no fence cut its path off.
I straightened my red halter top and blue shorts before slipping my black flip-flops on. I had thought it through the whole day: I would visit Alex at the restaurant and if he wasn't there then I would... I then realized I had never been to his house.
I tried to think positive thoughts as I walked out of the beach and onto the street that led me towards Habana Vieja. In Toronto I had always felt too afraid to travel at night by myself because of all the reps that several streets got for the amount of violence, drugs, and other illegal activity. But in Pueblo I felt at home, almost ironically peaceful walking down the dark and quiet streets. The houses were small in comparison to the beach houses, but they were comfortable. Some were brightly lit, while others were darker than the night itself.
I stopped when I was across from Habana Vieja. It was busy tonight and, as I watched a couple stroll out of the medium sized restaurant, I prayed that Alex would be there. Out of habit I looked sideways and was not surprised to see that no cars were coming. As I pushed the heavy glass door of the restaurant open I told myself that it was either this chance, this risk, or never seeing Alex again. I wanted to have myself know that I at least tried.
"Welcome to--" Rosana stopped when she saw that it was me and corrected herself. "Hola mi hija, come in, I'll grab you a table!"
I smiled and followed her through the crowded space. "Is Alex in tonight?" I yelled over the loud Spanish music. Some men in one of the corners were playing what looked like dominoes and were smoking cigars, their pitchers of beer were nearly empty as a pretty blond teenage girl with a too-tight shirt rushed her way past me and over to them.
"No," Rosana answered and when she looked back at me I saw genuine regret, as if it were her fault. "But I will tell him that you were here looking for him."
"Thanks," I replied, trying to hide my disappointment. She stopped at a table near the bar and handed me a menu. The table was slightly different from all the other ones, newer in a way. There was a layer of glass over the wooden table top and a menu of drinks sat in a wooden centerpiece. There were only two chairs, new as well, and it felt cozy against the wall and beside the bar.
"Pick whatever you want," she winked at me. "It's on us."
I smiled as she left and looked down at the menu. Pictures of different foods promised me a full stomach, but I wasn't hungry for food.
It took me a minute or so to realize that someone had sat in the chair opposite from me. A flash of freckles and brilliant red hair brought me the sight of Amanda. Her blue eyes twinkled as she smiled wildly at me.
"So, you decided to come out and play?" She asked casually.
I nodded and smiled gently at the menu. "I wouldn't call this playing."
"Close enough!" She suddenly grabbed my hand that I had placed on the table beside the menu. "So where have you been? Don't you leave, like, super soon?"
I flinched, but hoped that she didn't see. "Yeah, the twenty-fifth."
"Well then, there's a lot to catch up on then." She waved her free hand in the air signalling me to begin the story that I had to apparently tell her.
I began telling her about my trips out of town with my family, how I had gotten in trouble with my dad, and that that was why I had been M.I.A for the last week and a half. She nodded then asked me the question I was hoping she would avoid, "Why did you get in trouble?"
I told her about Alex and the strangest thing happened: her expression sort of twisted and she dropped my hand. As much as she tried to cover what she had just done with a false smile and a loss of twinkle in her blue eyes, I knew that I had said too much.
She had left shortly after, claiming that she had an early morning, but I only smelled trouble. I walked back home, hating myself for speaking without thinking and for not seeing Alex.
So much for my adrenaline rush.
I found a tiny foot hole (that Alex probably used) and got myself over the fence. I quietly walked through the beach house and up to my room, where nothing but despair awaited me.