I was looking forward to coming back to pick Sarah up before I had even left the parking lot. I waited eagerly for several hours. Mum even asked me several times what was going on and why was I so bouncy. She was incredibly happy to have me back, however, she still had to deal with work and the sudden and recent loss of Dad, and because of that she didn’t have much time for me yet. I understood completely and for the most part I left her alone, there wasn’t any way I was capable of comforting her and she needed what little free time she had to just be by herself and work out everything that had happened. She was a physiatrist after all.
I spent the rest of the downtime before picking up Sarah chatting online and explaining what had happened. It took a while for my friends to believe me, and some of them refused to. I guess that was their problem; I was just telling them what was. Eventually though the time came for me to go pick up Sarah. “Mum! I’m going to go out with Sarah, would you like to come with us or do you want me to pick something up for you?”
“Oh, don’t worry about it, have a good time with your girl-friend. The cook will make me my dinner,” she replied.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come with us?” I asked, she sounded like she really needed someone.
“No, you go its ok.”
I hesitated at the door, maybe I should stay and try to comfort her as best I could…Sarah would understand…I went into the room mom was in. She was doing some paperwork and looked up as I came in. Her eyes were red-rimmed but dry at the moment. When she saw me she immediately pointed to the door. “Why aren’t you gone yet? Your girl-friend will hate you if you stand her up! Go!” She exclaimed. “I said go,” she ordered when I hesitated, “I’ll be fine!”
I finally went out and picked up Sarah. By the time I had pulled into the parking lot thoughts of being with Sarah again had already filled my head. I got out and waited in the reception, it wasn’t long before she appeared. She beamed when she saw me and I couldn’t help but grin as well. “Come on, we’re going Mexican tonight,” I said, motioning her out the door.
Sarah followed me to the Ferrari and we both got in. I drove us to a place I had only recently discovered when I was going out with Caleb. It was a small building that looked like it had been a house at some point long ago. It was all made from adobe and had ivy climbing up its walls. It was more what you would expect from a small Italian restaurant, but it was indeed Mexican. The place was owned and run by a middle-class family of legal Mexican immigrants who lived on the second floor. One teenage boy, one girl in her early twenties, and the two parents. They made some of the best Mexican food I had ever tasted. Not to mention they gave you huge amounts for a very good price…not that I cared about price all that much…I just cared about the amount per serving.
I sat down with Sarah and we both placed our orders. After we had been left alone—the restaurant was small so we were the only ones in at the moment—Sarah leaned against my shoulder and sighed happily.
“So, what do you think?” I asked, the right corner of my mouth curving up in a half-grin.
“It’s so nice! Thank you so much!” she replied emphatically. I smiled and put my arm around her back, pulling her closer.
That night went incredibly well. It was as if we had never had any problems before, that part had just been erased, and I liked it. The next day however, didn’t go so well. I decided to return to school that day, even though the doctors didn’t recommend it I felt fine, so I went. I met Sarah in the school-yard and we went inside just as the warning bell went off. As we walked past Amber, Sarah pressed herself up against me as if Amber was going to somehow hurt her. I looked quizzically at Amber, but she just smiled brightly at me. I shrugged mentally and continued on to the first class of the day. I went through the day with very little problems…except the inevitable people asking what had happened. When Caleb saw me his eyes widened and he turned white. “Y-you’re dead!” he stammered quietly when I walked up to him.
I grinned. “Do I look dead to you?” I asked.
Caleb shook his head. “But, your mom…she said…”
“The doctors were wrong,” I cut him off, not really caring to explain that I actually had been dead, that would just scare him.
Caleb shrugged…he couldn’t really call me a liar…I was here wasn’t I? We went to our next class together, it was the last class before lunch, and then went to lunch as well. On the way there I saw Sarah in the hall. She had cuts and scrapes and bruises all over her face and hands…and from what I could see they seemed to be all over her body. I immediately went over to her. “Sarah!” I exclaimed worriedly, “What happened!”
Sarah cringed and turned to the side, going down another hall. I started to chase her, but Amber stepped in front of me, blocking my view of Sarah.
“Don’t bother with her,” she spat. “She’s just another poor girl. They’re a dime a dozen.” Then her tone changed to one that was almost seductive, “Why don’t you come with me instead? We’re going to have a party at my ex’s…you can be my date.” She said that as if it was something special to go with her, I barely kept a disgusted sneer off my face as I pushed her aside and resumed my chase of Sarah. But she had disappeared. I looked all around the school for her, I even asked everyone around if they had seen her…but nobody cared enough to notice her, so no one knew where she had gone.
Eventually, utterly defeated, I went back to the canteen and just sat at an empty table with my head in my hands. It was happening again. I couldn’t take this. Not with Dad gone too. It was all just far too much. Eventually the warning bell rang and I headed off to the next class. I threw myself into the lesson—anything to distract myself—and I managed to finish the assignment far before anyone else. I was desperate enough to ask my teacher for the next day’s work, which she happily gave to me.
The next few weeks went by in a blur. I spent all of the time in between classes looking for Sarah. I piled more and more work on myself, both at home and at school, in order to keep my mind off of other, more dangerous thoughts. I started skipping meals…sometimes I didn’t even eat at all for two or three days at a time. I didn’t even care anymore. Mum was always too busy with either work, or her own loss to see past the thin façade I put up whenever she was around me so there was no help of council from that quarter. Through the whole time, I never, even once, saw Sarah. Not even a small glance of her retreating back or her head bobbing away from me in the crowd at the lockers. I thought of her often enough and she haunted all my dreams, but never once did I get to see her and whenever I stopped to think about it pain rushed in and I immediately stopped. I wasn’t a masochist.