One of the main reasons that my rebellion increased when I was younger was because of my insomnia. Neither one of my parents knew because they had always been busy with Zack, and Karly never really tried to find this weakness of mine. Every night I yearned for an escape, but never found the courage to find my own way out.
When I first met Julie, my best friend back home, she had told me of this place that she always went to at night by the beach because she couldn't sleep. It didn't take a long time for me to find myself down there more often. At first it had been fun and relaxing times with the girl that I had secretly liked, but knew would become nothing more than a best friend, until it started going downhill as we entered high school and our group expanded.
But at the moment I didn't really hate my inability to sleep because running out of her front door was Laurie. I was sitting on one of the metal deck chairs that mom had ordered in from some Spanish country, trying to be quiet so as to not attract attention, when I'd seen her.
Seconds after she had run out of her house the same guy, that I had seen a few weeks before in their kitchen window, walked out quickly. He looked around and I tried to hide in the shadows of my porch. After a minute the guy shook his head and swore loudly. Behind him an older, but attractive woman stepped out, followed by an older man that closely resembled the younger guy and they looked at the teenage boy with curiosity.
After they were gone I stood up. I should have been thinking that I'd finally found some entertainment, but I didn't. All that I wanted to do was find Laurie. I ran down my driveway and started in the same direction that her angry and hurt silhouette had gone. The winding streets of this suburban neighborhood were lit by the eerie glow that only night can offer and I feared that I would get lost before I found her.
Back in the neighborhood that I had lived in, I could have walked the streets at night as well as in the day. I knew all the short cuts, where every road led, and knew the best roads to take so that no one would notice me sneaking out to find trouble. Here though, in this quiet, secluded, and protected neighborhood I was lost. I didn't know its secrets and the turns and corners held none of my memories. But I found her.
"Laurie." I said as I reached her. She was sitting against a tree with her legs pulled up to her chest and her forehead was pressed against her knees. Her long chestnut hair swam over her legs and her bare feet looked out of place against the dark lawn beneath her.
I sat beside her and heard her muted gasps as she looked up at me. Her eyes were now an unforgettable blue and her cheeks were slightly pink from her crying. She wiped her eyes with the back of her right hand before speaking to me. "Why are you here?" She asked.
"I saw you run out. What happened?"
She shook her head and looked down at a patch of grass between us as a fresh set of tears rolled down her cheeks. "It's complicated."
"I'm a complicated type of guy."
She looked up again and I lost my breath for an instant, what the hell?
"I mean, if you need someone to talk to..." I shrugged and tried to look nonchalant, though my heart was beating irregularly.
"My life's a mess." She said. "Everything is falling apart."
I nodded and looked up at the shadowy tree branches above us; the moon was slightly visible through the breaks in the leaves.
"I lost my only friend, my family is falling apart, and I..." She sobbed for a moment before continuing. "I... can't do anything about it."
She stirred beside me and I looked down at her crying form. Why had I chased her out here? Why hadn't I ignored her silent plea for help when she had left her house? What made me so special that I would think that I could possibly help her?
"Kelly, my best friend--well she used to be my best friend, hates me. Dad is leaving my mom for--" She cut her sentence off and yanked hard at the lawn beneath her. "I hate him!"
I watched this girl go through the radical transformation from a shy girl to an angry one and back to a lonely one within seconds. "Life's tough."
She looked at me and her expression told me that she was wondering whether I was real or not.
"Sometimes you just have to deal with it 'till it cools off, you know?"
"My life's hard enough," she admitted, "without this all happening at once."
I patted her on the back and she tensed under my hand as I let it sit there. "That is commendable, but like some famous guy once said, 'In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on'."
I felt her back tremble slightly before I noticed her small, tear choked laughter. "Robert Frost."
"He was a famous poet. Robert Frost said that."
"Right." I said, "Well that Frost guy was right."
She turned towards me and I removed my hand. I saw no more signs of shyness in her face and for some reason looking at Laurie's tear-stained face made me nervous. She was faintly smiling and she had pulled a strand of her hair behind her ears. "Thank you--"
"—for coming after me, even if you barely know me." She looked down then and started to get up.
"Wait!" I said louder than I had intended and a dog in the backyard of the house, whose tree we had just borrowed, started barking.
"Yeah?" She looked back at me as I stood up quickly.
"We can fix that."
"Trust me, my life is too complicated to fix."
"No," I said. "We can fix us not knowing each other."
"Oh." She said and I couldn't help but notice that her back was straighter than it had been the first time I had seen her, indicating that she was not shy in the situation.
"How about tomorrow?"
"Yes," I said. "I'll take you out to ice cream before it gets too cold."
"I'm sorry, I don't think--"
"Please, let me."
The dog barked on in the background and several lights came on in the house beside us. My head was asking a million questions, but I ignored them all. I registered that she was wearing a thin shirt over her pajama shorts and that she must be cold.
"I just don't think this is the right time." She said and slowly turned around and headed back to her house.
I had learned long ago from being the twin of a famous actor that rejection always came swiftly: you never had the chance to fight. In front of me this new girl that had so unexpectedly walked into my life was rejecting the chance at something that I knew I would never be able to feel with anyone else.
In L.A. when Julie had rejected me and had sworn me to be her best friend I had admitted defeat, letting go of the possibility of holding onto her hand forever. When Zack had won a gig when we were nine, my parents had been blinded by his success and I in turn had turned rebellious a few years later. But now was different, maybe it was the humidity, or maybe it was that I wouldn't let life kick me around anymore; whatever it was made me do something out of character.
"Laurie!" I called to her and she turned around to face me, she looked so far away from where I stood. "Tomorrow, I'll pick you up at five."
She stared at me for a few seconds before turning around and continuing her route home. This was my chance to do something for me. I wouldn't be running from life anymore with this and I wouldn't be accepting a negative outcome.