Author: InLoveWithHP PM
Friendships take a lifetime to make, but only a second to break. They can be pieced back together, but they'll never be the same.Rated: Fiction K - English - Friendship/Drama - Words: 2,158 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 03-04-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3002480
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Back and forth. Back and forth. Creak. Creak. Creak. The rusty squeaks coming from beside me fill my ears. I look over, almost expecting him to be there. He's not. He won't ever be.
Sunshine beats down on my face. Alone. That's what I am. Creak. Kicking up dust, I drag my feet against the ground as I rock back and forth, getting my old flip-flops filthy. Still it continues to move. Back and forth. Creak.
The swing hasn't always been empty, but empty is how it shall stay. I guess everything has to end sometime. Creak. At one time, the sound would've been like music, filled with life and comfort. Now, it brings loneliness.
The first day we found this place, vines and leaves covered the swing set. Grass and weeds covered the dirt, and it reminded me of Greek ruins. I remember him smiling. "Let's fix it up," he said. We did. It took months, but we enjoyed the work.
Now, grass has begun to regrow. Weeds overpower the once smooth dirt, and the vines we spent so long taking down begin to reappear, climbing and entangling the swing set like a snake. The rust begins to start afresh. Creak. Creak.
I guess he found someone better. I don't know, maybe he decided I'm not good enough anymore. He promised me forever. Creak. Forever sure is a lot shorter than I thought.
Creak. The creek across the clearing dried up long ago. Sometimes, I pretend that's why he left. Maybe our paradise didn't suit him anymore. Creak. I think it was more than that.
I remember the way he used to tell me everything. We had no secrets in this place. The late nights we'd spend out here when home just didn't cut it. The day his parents got divorced, we stayed out here all night. Creak. Maybe he's forgotten.
I remember the night I ran away. When I couldn't take it anymore. He found me here, held me tight. Unafraid to cry in front of him, I made him promise he'd never leave. Creak. I guess his promises don't mean much.
This place used to be our secret hideout. Hidden from the rest of the world, we swore never to tell another soul bout our sacred place. I kept my promise. Creak. I wonder if he did. Maybe he didn't find it worth sharing.
The way the trees create a perfect circle somehow makes the stars seem brighter. He used to love the stars. Creak. I winder if he kept the telescope I gave him all those years ago, if he still looks for our star. The one he named after me.
The tree right behind me still holds the carving. The one we spent weeks making. Our promise to each other. I remember when he made me help him. How excited he was when we finished. "For as long as this carving is stuck in this tree, you and I will be together," he said. "Break this oath, and you die." The intelligent words of a ten year old. Creak. The carving's still here, and he's not dead. I guess he lied about that too.
The funny thing about it all is I never expected it. I should have seen it coming. Creak. I saw the way he watched them, longing to be the same. It was only a matter of time before he decided to move on.
Three years is a long time to go without your best friend. Creak. I remember the fight. The last day I ever spoke to him. It was stupid really, and I've long since gotten over it. At fourteen, you don't know what you want. You get caught up in the popularity, and you forget about everything else. It's a big game, and everyone's fighting to get to the top. I dropped out the day he left.
It started as a normal day; we were fishing in the creek, using our homemade fishing poles. Everything seemed the same as always. Until he spoke. "I asked her out," he said. I didn't answer; I was used to him obsessing over her. I tried to tell myself she wasn't good enough for him, anything to hide just how jealous I became at the mention of her name. "She said yes."
My first reaction, to scream, cry, something, caught in my throat, and I forced myself to smile through the pain. Like the good friend I was, I said, "I'm happy for you." He didn't look at me. I got that feeling in the pit of my stomach, the one I always get when I know he's going to say something I won't like.
"She wants me to try out for the football team," he said. I looked at him surprised.
"You hate football," I said. "I thought it was for people who only cared about popularity." He shrugged.
"Maybe I'm sick of always being at the bottom," he said.
"Who said you were at the bottom?" I asked. "You have me, your best friend." He shook his head.
"What if I want more?" he whispered. "What if I want to be on top for once?" I stared at him.
"What?" I asked. "Am I not enough anymore?" He hesitated, and it felt like he'd just stabbed my heart with his fishing pole.
"Kenzie, we both knew this wouldn't last," he said slowly. "It was fun, but we've grown up now. It's time to move on." I was shocked to find tears running down my face.
"Oh, so now you've got a girlfriend, I'm not enough anymore?" I accused. "You're just going to throw away our friendship?" I stood up.
"No!" he said. "You're still my friend. I just think we should spend less time together. Macy gets jealous."
I didn't answer, afraid I'd choke on the words. He stood as well, dropping the fishing pole. It made a loud splashing as it fell into the water.
"Don't get upset," he said. "We're still friends." I gasped lightly and shook my head.
"No," I said. "No, we're not. If you want to go off with your girlfriend, fine. Just don't expect me to be here when you come running back after she dumps you." I wiped away the tears, as anger replaced sadness.
"Fine," he said coldly. "If that's how you want it." He began to walk away. I forced myself to nod, though I wanted, more than anything, to scream at him to stop, to tell him the truth. He never even turned around.
Creak. Now, the anger is gone. It's been replaced by a dull throb in my chest. Something that can never be fixed. He never came back after that, and, for a long time, I didn't want him to. We went our separate ways. He chose the popularity; I chose solitude.
Creak. I've returned everyday since the fight. Sat in this swing and listened to the empty swing squeak, serving as a painful reminder. I wish I'd told him. Maybe it would have made a difference. Maybe if he knew, he wouldn't have run off with her.
A twig snaps, and I look up. Creak. Maybe he did tell someone. Maybe he's brought them to ridicule me even more. He steps out from behind the tall bush that marks the entrance to this broken world. Dressed in a jersey, he's sweating. His dark hair sticks to his forehead. Must have just finished a football game.
I don't say a word, too afraid to speak. Afraid he'll disappear. He hesitates, as if he feels unwelcome. Creak. He did it to himself. "I thought I'd find you here," he murmurs. "It's like nothing changed."
I shake my head. "Everything's changed," I say. Creak. The sound alerts him to the empty swing beside me.
"It still squeaks," he notes. "Would you kill me if I sat down?" I shake my head and deliberately look away from his piercing blue eyes.
Creak. Back and forth. For a moment, I convince myself nothing's changed. That he never left. The familiar sound fills the clearing. The comforting kind, though the comfort is gone, replaced by awkwardness.
Creak. "I'd almost forgotten what this place looks like," he says. How can he be so calm? How can he act like nothing happened, like it hasn't been three long years since we last spoke?
"How's Macy?" I ask, pretending to care. Three years together as of today.
"She's fine," he says. "She's over the jealousy." I chuckle.
"What's there to be jealous of?" I remind him. "You left. I'm out of the picture. Not that I was ever really in it." He sighs.
"You were never out of the picture," he says. "I still look for our star. Every night." Once, the words would have brought joy, to know he still thinks about me. Now, they bring emptiness.
"Sometimes I wonder if it even exists," I say looking up at the sky, as if expecting it to appear. "Or if it was all a joke."
He pulls a piece of paper from his pocket, a squashed up, folded piece of paper. "It was never a joke," he says handing it to me. I unfold it. It's a star adoption form. Dated back to six years ago. The night I gave him the telescope.
"You kept it," I say. "Why?" He shrugs.
"I guess I never saw it worth getting rid of," he says. "I always thought, maybe someday, you'd forgive me." I fold the paper back up but don't give it back.
"Do you regret it?" I ask. "Choosing her?" He runs a hand through his hair in his nervous way.
"No," he says, shaking his head. "I love her, but I love you too." I laugh.
"Just not the way I always wanted," I say. He nods. "If you came here to be forgiven, go away. I forgave you a long time ago."
"I came here to apologize," he says. "I miss you. I miss all this." He gestures to the clearing.
"You gave it up," I say. "You wanted to be on top, remember?" I don't mean to sound bitter, but that's how the words come out. He doesn't seem to notice.
"Maybe, I don't want that anymore," he says. "We all make mistakes. Some bigger than others."
"Some easier to fix," I say. Creak. He gets off the swing. His hand traces the outline of our carving, our promise.
"I really messed up," he says. "I'd take it all back if I could, find another way. I never wanted to hurt you." I get up too.
"It's over with," I say. "We're seventeen, almost eighteen now. Everyone's gotta grow up sometime." He shakes his head.
"I wish I'd known that earlier," he says. "So many years I wasted fighting for something that doesn't even exist when I should have been living for what mattered."
I touched the carving lightly. "Maybe," I say. "It's time to start over, fight for something else."
"We graduate in a week," he says. "After that, who knows what's gonna happen."
"If there's one thing I've learned," I say. "It's that the future is never clear. Any moment something you love can be ripped away. It's better to live in the moment, than to plan for a future you can never be certain on."
"When did you become so smart?" he teases.
"When I realized there are better way to spend my life than mourning over you," I say smiling. "You're not worth it." He gasped dramatically.
"What happened to the girl who fell in love with me all those years ago?" he asked in mock outrage.
"She grew up," I say. "Found someone better." He raises his eyebrows.
"And who would this better guy be?" he demands. I shrug.
"Wouldn't you like to know," I say. He looks at me for a moment.
"I know I can't take back everything I did, and I know things can't ever be like they were," he says. "I'd like to start over though. Start living in the moment." I smile.
"I guess I can live with that," I say. Creak. Creak. Creak.
Friendships take a lifetime to make, but only a second to break. They can be pieced back together, but they'll never be the same.