"Hi, I'm Drew, what's your name?"
"Marie." I was new, and horribly shy. Which is why I was standing by myself on the sidewalk near the playground.
"We're playing tag, come on" He grabbed my arm and pulled me into the middle of the game.
"Drew! We got the same teacher again!" I wasn't shy anymore, but Drew was still my best friend.
"Yes! I didn't wanna be at a new school without you." He smiled but didn't return my hug; it wasn't cool for guys to hug girls. "Hey look, new girl." She looked scared. I remembered how I felt a couple of years ago, and walked up to her.
"Hi, I'm Marie, what's your name?" The girl looked up at me. She had on a pretty sundress. "I like your dress." She was obviously looking at my well worn jeans and plain t-shirt.
"I'm Anna, and I don't like your clothes." I felt my eyes start watering and walked away without another word. Drew was right next to me immediately.
"Don't worry about it Marie, she doesn't look like any fun anyway." I smiled at him.
"Hey Drew, wanna sign my year book?" Drew was still my best friend, but I had a major crush on him and it made me a little bit shy again.
"Only if you sign mine." I nodded and we traded yearbooks.
I waited until after school to see what he wrote, I wanted to be able to sigh over it in private. There in bright green ink (Drew's favorite color, the one he only used for special stuff) was "U R 2 Good 4 Me" I must have sighed over that all summer.
I had to wait until recess to see Drew, for the first time we didn't share the same teacher. I didn't know how I was going to survive. "Marie!"
"Drew. It's not fair!"
"It'll be okay Marie. We'll still see each other at recess…and I was wondering if you wanted to come to my birthday party?" Drew's family thought birthdays were family time, so he'd never had a party that friends were allowed to come to.
"I'd love to! What are you doing?" I couldn't wait…I was already thinking about finding a party dress.
"Mom's letting me take 5 friends to the movies and then the pizza parlor. I picked you, Rob, Tom, Zek, and Jeff." No dress then, not for the movies, and not when I was the only girl.
"Sounds awesome. Mom will want your mom to call her first though. I'll give you our number at lunchtime."
Ring ring! "Hello?"
"Drew!" I was doing my homework, but Drew was way more interesting than pre-algebra. I never had gotten over that crush on him. He'd been calling more and more often lately, I was secretly hoping he'd ask me out.
"You'll never guess what happened…Shelby asked me out!" WHAT!
"That's great Drew, where are you going?"
"The movies. There is that new Disney film playing." We were supposed to go see it together.
"I hope you have fun. I gotta finish my homework. Should I call you back later?"
"No I have to eat with the family and then do my homework, I'll see you at school."
Freshman Year (9th Grade):
"Drew, you found my locker." I shoved notebooks in my locker, pulling out a few for the first couple of classes. "Did you get first hour honors English?"
"Yep, did you finish the book?"
"I never want to read To Kill A Mockingbird again. If I wasn't such a bookworm, I'd burn it." I mostly said it to make him laugh, and was pleased when he did exactly that. "Seriously, it lacked any form of plot until the last 100 pages or so…a complete waste of trees."
"I agree, but don't say that in front of the teacher, I've heard she loves it."
"Obviously, she assigned it…Remember back in sixth grade, how scared we were to be middle schoolers?"
"How could I forget…you clung to me between classes like some sort of monster was going to drag you away." He grinned as I blushed. "I'm a little scared too Marie, it's part of growing up I think." He always understood.
Sophomore Year (10th Grade):
"Drew, I got a part, I got a part!" I was scanning the play cast list. Last year I was only an extra, but this year I had a real part, with lines and a song and everything.
"Congratulations Mrs. Sowerberry." He bowed.
"Why thank you, Mr. Bumble" I pretended to curtsey, lacking the skirts to do it for real.
(Two months later)
"Meat madam! Meat!" I was soaking wet, lying in a fake coffin, and getting poke with a broom handle by Drew…and I'd never had a better time. It occurred to me that there was probably something wrong with me. I waited for the curtain to go down and the lights to go off before I climbed out of the coffin. I winced slightly at the bruises on my back where I'd fallen a little too hard.
I was the last one in the girl's dressing room, hanging up my costume when Drew walked in. "Damn, did you have to poke me quite so hard? I'm gonna have bruises on my front as well as my back."
"I could kiss them better for you." Drew offered with a smile, if only he were serious, I still had that hopeless crush on him. But I'd finally recognized it as hopeless. We'd almost gotten together a couple of times in the last two years, but something had always gotten in the way. There was nothing more frustrating than knowing he had a crush on me too, but refused to do anything about it. He hadn't dated anyone since his disastrous relationship with Shelby in the 7th grade. "Ready to go home?"
"More than. Play week seems like forever." He had his license since December, and I had to wait till the summer. So Drew gave me rides when it would be inconvenient for Mom to come pick me up. I perked up a little thinking of the guy I'd met in the greenroom, maybe I could get over my crush.
Junior Year (11th Grade):
"Hey Drew, I just got a letter from Todd this weekend. It was so sweet, he wants me to start wearing his class ring, it's too bad he has to be in New York during Homecoming. I wouldn't feel right asking anyone else to go with me. Anyway, sit with me at lunch?"
"Actually I kinda told Anna I'd sit with them." I was really surprised. I didn't know he even liked Anna. As silly as it was I'd never forgiven her for being so mean to me her first day. More than that we were just total opposites, we didn't talk because we had nothing in common. Still I tried not to let him know I was hurt. My crush on him was gone, Todd has a large part in finally eradicating it, but I always considered him the best of my friends.
"Fine, leave me to be tortured by the details of Kate's latest make out session. I see where you're loyalties lie."
"You could always sit with someone else." That really hurt. He knew there was no one else. I wasn't shy anymore, but I didn't socialize easily either I had a small collection of friends from the jazz choir and the drama club, and that was about it. "Whatever, have fun." I tried not to stomp as I went to get my lunch.
Senior Year (12th Grade)
I'd graduated a semester early. I didn't have anything to really tie me to the school, so it made more sense to get some college classes in instead. But I'd come back for graduation, at my mom's insistence.
I was sitting in my seat, listening to the principal, just wondering when we could get out of there. I didn't know anyone anymore, the few friends I'd had had moved on, and I couldn't blame them. They all had their best friends within our group, and I had Drew. I used to have Drew, I corrected. I never knew what went wrong, but at some point he'd just pulled away.
I'd made it easier by losing my cell phone and having to get a new number, one he didn't bother to try to get. I still remember trying to talk to him the day I left the high school. Before he had just been rude, I could deal with rude, I didn't want to give my friend up. But that day, he was so civil, so polite, I knew it was over. I walked away to get in my truck and watched him chat with Anna as I pulled away. It felt like my heart was breaking. I'd lost my best friend.
"Congratulations to the graduating class of '08." That was our cue to go absolutely crazy. Well their clue. I stepped back and watched Drew over the crowd. I watched him hug his parents, and his friends, almost crying because I wasn't one of them. I started to walk forward before I even really knew what I was doing. I was in front of him without anything to say. He stood there just looking at me, waiting. It reminded me of how horribly polite he'd been the last day. There wasn't anything left to say…except:
"Goodbye Drew." I barely whispered it. I don't know if he even heard it. Maybe he read my lips. He sort of nodded. I gave him a sad little smile, and walked away. The pain in my heart would fade…eventually.
I know I should have been working on one of the stories I had going, but this was in my head, and needed to be written. There really isn't much else to say.
On the off chance that he should come across this…to the guy Drew is based on, Goodbye. May life bring you luck. I miss you.