It felt as if we had been laughing forever. I just wanted to stand there and let time pass because I wasn’t thinking about anything else. We were in this void where nobody else existed. It was just like old times before they went all wrong. The laughter died down as I looked toward the ground in hopes one of us would break the silence. Fortunately, Damien was the first to break it.
“Need a ride home?” he asked.
“Well, I kinda drove myself to school today…”
“I was hoping we could talk, if you don’t mind.”
The whole situation was still awkward for me. Something inside of me was telling me to forgive him, but something else told me that there’s still unfinished business that needs to be taken care of.
“We can talk at my house, if you want.” I wasn’t quite sure what the hell I was thinking with an offer like that.
“Okay, you lead the way.”
With that, we turned away from each other and scurried over to our cars. As I unlocked the door, I looked in the backseat to find my backpack still sitting where I left it this morning, wondering how I could’ve forgotten it in the first place. I then got in, preparing to turn on the car when I felt something uncomfortable in my back pocket. I lifted myself off the seat and felt around my left back pocket but only found my wallet, then switched over to the right one to find a pen; the exact same one Damien let me borrow this morning. ‘Is this some kind of joke?’ I thought to myself before turning the car on. Suddenly I heard Damien’s car horn going off behind me.
“Hey, you awake?” he shouted as he rolled down the window of his car.
“Yeah, I guess.”
I decided not to think too much of it.
The closer I got to my home, the more anxious I became. What would we talk about? What if things got ugly? Then something hit me; my parents! Surely they could not be home from work so early? If Damien eased on in and my parents were there, they would definitely kill me!
Luckily, as I spotted my house from afar, there were no other cars in the driveway. Pulling in, I saw Damien park his red pickup truck on the side of the road. I reached in the backseat to grab my backpack before getting off the car. Damien had already been heading for the front door.
“Wait!” I exclaimed. He swiftly turned.
“Are you stupid or something?” I asked as I opened the door. “Take your shoes off before you go upstairs.”
The whole walk to my room was a silent one. Neither of us dare spoke a word, and it was like I was breaking in to my own house. Once we got to my room, I shut the door.
“Was that necessary?” Damien questioned.
“Y’know, you’re starting to piss me off.”
Damien began to snicker like an eight year old ripping his sister’s Barbie dolls apart. “You’ve got issues.”
I was taken aback. “I’ve got issues? Do you know why I have issues?”
He looked out the window as he took a seat on my bed. “You don’t understand.”
“Don’t understand what, that you lied?” I couldn’t help but feel as if he was provoking me the whole time. On top of that, there was still a weird feeling in the room. I started having second thoughts about where I wanted this conversation to go. What kind of guy cares so much about something that happened years ago? I just didn’t understand why I cared so much.
“I was only a child,” he began. I leaned against the wall with my arms crossed. I tried to make as little eye contact as possible, and it seemed he wanted to do the same by the way he just kept staring out the window. “It was all just a big mistake. I didn’t mean for any of this.“
“Damien…” I slid down the wall until I hit the carpet. “I think you were the one who didn’t understand.” I closed my eyes in hopes that the tears wouldn’t escape. “Do you realize how much our friendship and families were damaged because of what you did?“
“I was broken, Seb. I didn’t fully understand what I had done.”
“And that gave you permission to let your lie slip away?” The pressure inside of me was killing me, and I could feel myself starting to choke up. “Do you know why I took the fall for you? You were my best friend. I expected you to come clean sooner or later. I waited, and waited. For days, for months; and then you disappear without a trace.“
My vision began to deteriorate as the tears silently streamed down my face. “Your mom wouldn’t even acknowledge me whenever my parents took me to visit you in the hospital, and your father would turn us away no matter how many times we tried to visit you.”
“I didn’t think you cared about me after what I did…”
Unbelievable. A child can only care so much. It’s difficult to think we could have suffered from a dilemma such as simple as “caring” yet in the context of our predicament it served as something as complex as an adult relationship.
I had been pushed over the edge. I stormed over to my bedside table with each tear hitting the carpet sounding like a beating on a drum. ‘When do one’s tears begin to run out?’ I asked myself as I dug my way through the drawer. There it was. It was more noticeable than anything else.
“I cared,” I sobbed, handing him the little blue box I had just picked up. “You don’t even know how much.”
He slowly began to lift the lid, looking at the box, then back at me. Once he could see what was in it, he dropped the box, and his crying grew louder. It frightened me seeing him so vulnerable like this. I couldn’t take it much longer. I walked over to my bed in an attempt to console him as my tears came to a stop. I wrapped one of my arms around his shoulders as he cried, cried all of the years of pain we went through as we were separated for something as foolish as it was.
Hours passed. I grew fatigued and slowly began to drift to a slumber, my head unknowingly resting on Damien’s lap. I could feel his fingers gently running through my hair and my eyes began to grow heavy. I was fixed upon him as he looked down at me and slowly rocked me, back and forth. He began to whisper my name lightly as if it were a lullaby, and the distance between us wore away gradually.
I sunk deep into his eyes, and rested my hands upon his neck. He blinked twice, and his eyes came to a close. I could feel my nose brush his face before his lips met mine, and I became filled with all of these emotions. What was this feeling? I couldn't just be okay with something like this, and yet, I did nothing to retaliate. This morning I hated him, and right now... I wasn't sure.
It was at that very moment I realized that sometimes you have to overcome all the obstacles to find the answers you are searching for. It was at that very moment I realized that not everything in life ends up the way you expect it to, and most of the time, it's for the better... right?
When I woke up in the morning, he was gone.