They Were Playing Telephone

All of Sunday went by, and I didn't hear anything from Sam.  Mom left for work early in the morning, like she usually does, and I was left home alone.  I went through the same routine as the previous day, and I even text Sam once or twice; he never replied, though.  Later in the evening, I went out onto the fire escape, hoping he might come out and join me.  But he never came.  There was no light on in his window, and part of me was worried.  But I shrugged the feeling off, and went to bed early.  I caught my first good night's sleep since Wednesday night.

Now, I was sitting in my third hour Biology class.  I had this class with Sam, and I saw him sitting on the other side of the room.  He wouldn't look at me, and he slumped--which is something he rarely did.  When the bell rang, I tried to catch him on his way out, but he was too quick.  I wondered what was going on with him, but I figured that if he didn't want to talk to me, that was okay. 

At lunch, I spotted Sam, but his table was already full, and so I resigned myself to sitting on the opposite end of the table I usually sat at with Lucy and Gill and the others.

I ignored the dirty glares Lucy threw at me, the whispered chatter going around from ear to ear, as if they were playing Telephone.  I ignored the pained gaze Gill fixed on me, and ate my pizza in silence.  Finally, when I couldn't take it anymore, I got up unexpectedly and threw what was left of my pizza away--which was pretty much all of it.  Lunch had barely begun.  I snuck out through the back doors and into the art wing.  I made my way for the band and choir rooms and sat alone in a practice room for the remainder of lunch. 

Later, when I was walking home, my phone rang twice.  The first time it was Gill, and I sent him to voicemail.  The second call was from Sam, and I ignored that too, which surprised me.  All day, I'd wanted nothing more than to talk to him.  But now, I just wanted to be left alone.  I turned my phone off so I couldn't get any more calls.


I was outside on the fire escape with a small canvas, a plate of colors, and my paintbrush.  I was painting the Manhattan skyline, but my heart wasn't in it and my hand slipped, blacking out the eighty-third, eighty-fourth, and eighty-fifth floors of the Empire State Building.  I sighed in frustration and was ready to turn back inside when I heard my name called from somewhere in the alley below.  I looked down to see Gill.  I thought about dropping my plate of paint on him, but didn't for two reasons.  First, that's just a poor waist of paint.  Second, it probably wouldn't land on his face anyways.

"What do you want?" I called down.  I was two stories above him, which wasn't all that far, but I wasn't complaining right now.  Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Sam's light had been turned on.

"Come down here, please.  I really only want to talk, I promise.  I'm sober, I won't hurt you."  His voice sounded genuine, and he wasn't slurring or staggering.  I figured it would be safe enough for a minute or two.  I climbed down the fire escape until I was maybe seven feet off the ground, where the ladder stopped.    I let go and landed on the lid of the dumpster just a foot below me.  Gill helped me down from there, and when I was firmly on the ground, I turned and looked him in the eye.

I was still wary of him, though, so I kept a good six feet of space between us.

"Look, I'm sorry about Friday.  What I did was terrible, and you didn't deserve that.  I was a little buzzed--"

"A little buzzed?  Gill, the smell of alcohol radiated from you.  I could smell your breath from just a few feet away.  And what you did was terrible!  I don't owe you anything, Gill.  Not an explanation, not an apology, nothing!"  I told him, my anger rising into a simmer.

"I know.  I came here to apologize for everything.  For causing us to break up, for hitting you.  I broke it off with her.  I'm never going to see her again.  I just hope that there's some way you'll forgive me,"  Gill emplored.

"Keep hoping."  I spat.  I turned and jumped back up onto the dumpster and began my climb up the fire escape.  Gill didn't try to stop me, or to say anything more, and that took me by surprise a little.  He was never the silent type.  When I got to the landing in front of my window, Sam was leaning out of his window.

"What was that about?"  He asked, nodding his head down at the alley, where Gill was no longer standing.

"None of your business," I snapped, and slammed my window.  I left my paintbrush out there, which bothered me for the rest of the night, but I knew it'd be okay for just a few hours.

My phone was charging next to my bed, and I picked it up, checking all of my text messages.  There were ten, four of which were from Lucy, two from Gill, three from my mom, and one from Sam.  I deleted them all without bothering to read them.



The End

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