Hold My Hand

"That… sucks," David said.

"I know," I mumbled.

We were sitting on the swings of the dilapidated wooden swing set in the field behind the elementary school we had both attended. We came here a lot. The school district had produced the funds for a new state-of-the-art jungle gym to be built, but we never went there. It wasn't where I had knocked out nearly all my baby teeth falling off the slide, or where David had broken his arm trying to do a flip off the highest point of the swing set. The new jungle gym seemed foreign to us, but maybe it was just a playground.

"Wow… You're moving to Nebraska. Ellen, that's a long way away."

"Tell be about it," I said, rolling my eyes.

It was getting late, and the summer sky was turning a burnt orange. David and I started to walk home. I was holding my sandals in one hand, and the warm concrete of the sidewalk felt pleasant against my bare feet. We were silent for most of the way home, but then, David awkwardly reached out to hold my other hand.

At sixteen, there shouldn't have been anything too awkward about holding hands with a member of the opposite sex, but this was David. My next-door-neighbor-slash-best-friend-since-first-grade David. When we got home, the awkward handholding was followed up by an awkward hug.

After I had told my parents goodnight and gotten my pajamas on, I spotted my walkie-talkie at the bottom of my pajama drawer. David and I had saved up our lemonade stand money to buy the walkie-talkies when we were ten. We used to stay up late to talk on them in secret. On a whim, I turned it on. At first, there was just static, but after a few minutes I thought I heard a break in the white noise.

"David? Over," I asked.

"Meet me outside. We can stargaze or whatever. Over," David replied, much to my surprise.

"Um, okay. Over."

I took the quilt off my bed and quietly crept out the front door. David was already on my front lawn. I spread my quilt on the grass, and we both laid down on it and looked up at the sky. You couldn't see any stars because of the bright city lights, so we looked for patterns in the clouds instead.

"You only have two years of school left. Can't you just stay here?" David asked abruptly.

"I don't think that's an option, Dave."

"I'm gonna miss you, Ellen. A lot. You're my best friend," he trailed off uncharacteristically.

"Same here," I replied sadly.

He took my hand again, but it wasn't so awkward this time. For hours we laid there, looking at the stars and reminiscing about "that time when…" We didn't think about what was to come and just focused on the times that had led up to it.

A/N: Just a little thing for another contest. The requirements were that it be under five hundred words and that it be fiction.