I noticed my friend Trent was already at the stop-sign that marked my bus stop, tossing a rock. He usually got to the bus stop early because of his rough home life: his parents were constantly bickering, and he was worried they would get a divorce. Seeing him there worried me that he had quickly ran out of his house again, signifying another argument.
He stood up when he saw me. “Coming right at ya,” he greeted me as he threw the rock. I snatched it out of the air as it arced towards me
“Nice catch,” he said grinning.
I passed it back and he caught it was just as much ease “I guess you’re alright too,” I joked.
Trent was the same height as me and just a month younger. He has blue eyes that look like they desperately wanted to be green, a mouth that couldn’t help but twitch into a smile every moment of the day, and dark brown hair. He always wore a T-shirt unless it was extremely cold. Today’s high temperature was twenty degrees, but he just didn’t feel the same as usual I guess; he wore a black sweatshirt with short sleeves.
He moved into the neighborhood during preschool, and when we met we instantly became friends. We both shared an interest for sports and reading, as well as enjoying hanging out with people. He even had the same sarcastic sense of humor as me, which was a rare thing to achieve. Fast forward to high school and he was still the same, basically.
Trent was one of those kids that was incredibly kind, but stuck to the background and really didn’t socialize with people. He wasn’t shy, he just didn’t really like too many people. I never knew if it was just insecurity that held him back or he had other reasons.
“Why’d you come down so early?” he asked me, tossing the rock back.
“Babysitter,” I said. Trent mouthed an “oh” and said no more on the subject. He knew all about Carrie’s weird personality and antics.
“Did your parents get in another fight?” I asked. Most people don’t ask him about his home situation, but Trent and I know each other like we were brothers; we shared a bunch of stuff with each other.
I could tell by the frown on his face it wasn’t good. “Worst fight they’ve had in a while. They’re even mentioning me now and bringing me into their arguments. I don’t think anything’s going to happen… but it’s making me nervous.”
We didn’t say anything after that statement, just kept tossing the rock. For about two minutes there was just silence. I felt as though the temperature had dropped a few more degrees.
“I just want them to stop. Just shake hands or something, and be done with it.” His eyes met mine. “Is that so hard?”
I couldn’t find the right words to say. I shrugged. “I guess it’s difficult for some people. It can be stressful to live with someone you don’t reserve the same feelings for anymore.”
“Must be,” Trent sighed. “Just gotta wait for a rainbow to crash into my house or something, splash some color around.” We both shared a smile.
The conversation died off once again and we kept throwing the stone around. Of course, who should come to brighten things up but Harry?
“Helloooo guys!” he called. Even though he was about two houses down the street, we could hear him fine.
Harry was the shortest of us: barely five foot five tall with short black hair and dark skin. His face was roundish, with brown eyes and a mouth that was open a lot of the time, spewing jokes and whatnot.
“Sup, Harry,” Trent said, tossing the rock at him.
Harry, who wasn’t the best at catching, dropped it. Trent shook his head and frowned in mock disappointment.
Harry held up his hands. “Don’t get upset: I’m getting better.”
He noticed Trent seemed a little down. “I won’t ask, for your sake,” Harry said.
Trent nodded. “Thanks.”
He walked over and joined us at the stop. “So what’s up?”
“Waiting for the bus, like any other sophomore without a license yet,” I replied.
“Why wait? Steal a car, why don’t you?”
“Unfortunately, they have laws against that now,” Trent said, throwing the rock at Harry.
“And against violence too!” Harry said, dodging the object.
“I’m sorry, Harry. How are you?” Trent said with fake politeness.
Harry laughed. “You’re an ass.” He turned to face me. “You got soccer today?”
I nodded. “Yeah. Still going through the state tournament after the local championship last week. And I am really not feeling completely alert today.”
“Well I always did want to use the ‘dunk-your-head-in-cold-water trick.”
“Do that, and I will kill you.”
“Hey look, you sound pretty alert now.”
“Best of luck, man. Go kick ass,” Trent encouraged, smiling. “I wish I could see it, but I don’t think I can get a ride out that far.”
It wasn’t something I minded; athletic events traditionally took place miles away from our school. We had to travel all over the state every week.
Harry shrugged. “I guess you’re not a true fan. Where’s your jersey, damnit!?”
“Says the guy with zero school spirit,” Trent disputed.
“So, when’s that bus coming again?” I asked teasingly.
Harry wrapped his arm around my back, laughing. “Ah, come on, you know you love us!”
“That’s one way to put it,” I supposed.
Our conversation was interrupted by the arrival of more students. I turned to see Hannah Stoffer walking down to the bus stop. As per usual, like the idiot I was, I began focusing on her and her alone.
She looked as gorgeous as she usual, her light-reddish hair swaying in the light breeze. She was sporting a as always, and the sun seemed to perfectly shine on her slightly-freckled face. I could never stop staring at her whenever she showed up. To me, she was just… perfect, for a lack of a better term. Damn, I can sound really stupid sometimes. Even without speaking.
In contrast, Tinna, the girl flanking Hannah, was about a head shorter than her with dark skin and long curly hair, and always had some jewelry on wherever she could put it. She does a lot of after-school activities, and she was one of those girls that always expected perfection out of people and thought she was entitled to be famous. Personally, she comes off to me as annoying.
I looked back at Hannah. We had been friends for a long time, hanging out mostly every day at school. We just don’t see each other often enough anymore because of some… complications.
Harry followed my gaze and couldn’t help but make a comment. “Do I need to grab a mop for your drool?”
I casually punched him on the shoulder, causing him to just laugh even harder.
Trent was looking at me, laughing as well. Was it really that obvious?
By now, Hannah had arrived, joining us by the stop sign.
“Hi,” she said, smiling at me.
“Hi,” I said, returning the smile. I didn’t know if we would talk more than that.
“I heard Romeo and Juliet is the school play this year,” Harry said. I turned on him, and he was smart to back off from another remark.
“Do I need to leave you two alone?” Hannah responded, laughing a little.
“It’s just Harry being Harry.”
“I can’t apologize for who I am,” he said, shrugging.
“You should consider it,” Trent countered.
The roaring sound of the bus’s engine interrupted my thoughts. Slowly the big yellow vehicle came down the hill, gradually approaching our stop. The windows were still fogged up by the early morning conditions.
As usual, conversation halted as everyone began to unenthusiastically file into the bus, practically dragging themselves into their seats. On the first day of school, I had been able to snag a seat at the back of the bus, which is basically the VIP section. Trent and Harry sit in front of my seat, and Hannah sits next to theirs.
Harry lightly slapped me, seeing that I was looking at Hannah once again. “Caught you staring, boy,” he said in mock anger. I could hear Trent laughing along.
I couldn’t help but ask, “Is it really that obvious?”
I probably never should have asked, especially when Harry’s around. “NASA can spot you as easy as a star,” he snickered.
Sighing, I leaned back in the surprisingly comfy seats and waited to arrive at Rueger High School. I needed to let go of any thought concerning Hannah already. This seemed to happen every day without fail.
“Hey, don’t worry about it,” Trent commented, still grinning from earlier. “I think she’s cute.”
“Stop it Trent, you’re making me feel like I’m in a high school romance flick,” I snickered, though I agreed of course. I was that particular character that gazed at the girl from afar. Comparing myself to poorly-written Hollywood teenager dramas made me feel sour.
I almost fell asleep at one point, but I caught myself and shook my head a few times to get more focused. I really needed to wake up or else soccer would be a disaster. Then came my usual soccer stress; constantly worrying about the match no matter how far away it was.
The bus entered the school parking lot a few minutes later, getting in line with all the similarly drab, yellow automobiles. A steady stream of students was already crowding the entrance of the school, slowly filtering through the doors.