I've been waiting for you
He just sits there, playing his harmonica, eyes closed and a smile at his lips. He makes it so hard to stay mad at him, and I really love him too. But I have to go. He's my best friend, and I don't want to go. But I have to go. I can't give up my dreams for him. I can't give up my dreams for anybody.
I want to be a world class actress, and there's no way I'm going to get there sitting around in this old bum town, sitting on a street corner and listening to my best friend, Hunter Jay, play his harmonica.
There's just no way, and so you see why I have to go. I've told him and told him, but he just doesn't get it. Oh, he gets it that I'm going to be away for quite some time, and he's not going to stop me. He just doesn't get the implications.
The implications being that we won't see each other for three entire years.
The harmonica drops into his lap as he sings the song that he was just playing, "Oh will you still need me, and will you still feed me, when we're sixty four!" He always sings this song, it's his very favourite. He only sings it to me, and it's like a joke between us. More accurately, a joke for him.
Because it's not a joke for me. Because I love him, and not in the way he loves me.
The kind of love that isn't meant to come between best friends and the kind of love that's even worse because it's unrequited. In a way, moving so far and for so long will be good...maybe I'll get over him, once and for all.
He picks up his harmonica and starts playing it again and I snap. Stupid harmonica, stupid Hunter, and his stupid, stupid oblivious and eternally happy mind.
"God Hunter, will you put that damn harmonica down for one second?" I hiss and he drops the harmonica, flinching and turning his head to me. His face looks so cute and fills with concern and yet, he still seems happy go lucky all the while. I feel like shaking him sometimes. Make him feel something.
"Aw, Cam, what's wrong?" he wants to know, slipping an arm around my shoulders. One which I quickly shove off. I can't be mean to him when he's touching me. It would be like kicking a dog that just brought you the newspaper. Completely and totally wrong.
Which my heart is already saying it is, but my brain and mind are angry and frustrated with him.
"Hunter, tonight I'm going on a plane to another country," I tell him, sitting on my hands so I can resist the urge of shaking him, "and you won't see me again for three years."
"I'll visit you." He says with a shrug, not looking at me. My lips quiver, and I shake my head at him. He can't visit me. His parents are poor. He is poor. He doesn't have enough money to visit me; I don't have enough money to pay for him to, and I also won't have the time up there to come visit him.
"You don't have the money," I say.
"You can come to me," he says, and I already have the answer for that question.
"I won't have the time," I tell him, feeling bad for telling him that I won't have the time for him. But it's just the truth. I won't. "I have classes, and I'll have to study, and then, then I'll be famous."
He is silent and he plays with the harmonica, picking it up and moving it from hand to hand, rubbing it to make it shiny again.
"Hunter," I say, impatient. I'm only angry at him because it feels so much better than being mad. Later on I will hate myself for acting like this. But it has to be done, the duo that have stayed together, forever, have to part. Forever. I have to get that through to him.
He turns his head back to me, face expressionless, but still that happy go lucky aura about him, like it'll all be okay just because he thinks it will. Just because he wants it to. "I'll wait for you," he tells me.
"Three years, Hunter, you'll wait three years for me?" I inquire dubiously. Hunter never lies, but it's not just that; I don't want him to wait for me. It's not fair for me to let him. He needs to find some other best friend, find a girlfriend. Someone that's not me, because I know I'll never be that girl for him. He doesn't want me that way.
"Yeah," he says with a nod, and looks up to me, "I'll wait; I've waited for you before."
"For a week on Summer camp?" I ask incredulously, crossing my arms. A week isn't that long – well it was at the time – especially compared to three years.
He shrugs and grins, looks me in the eyes, happy go lucky. Always happy go lucky.
"Worst summer vacation of my life," he tells me, tapping his nose with a wink.
"So what makes you think you can wait three years if you can't even wait one week?" I demand, biting my lip. It was the worst summer of my life, too. I hated the girls on camp, everything we did was stupid, and I'd missed him like a bitch. I was supposed to stay a whole three weeks, but I ran to the camp counsellor and cried and cried until she let me go home.
"I can wait, it'll be hard," he grimaces, "and I'll miss you," he says solemnly, and I want to hit him because he'll in no way on Earth miss me as much as I'll miss him, he can't, "but I can wait." He looks at me, twinkle in his eyes. "I will wait."
A lump rises in my throat and I swallow a sob. Why does he have to make it so hard for me? I don't want to leave him as is, and he has to go and be all sweet on me.
I have to tell him. I have to tell him not to wait. But the thing is; I don't want him to 'not wait'. I want him to wait. But that's just not fair to ask of him, and it's also pretty damn unrealistic. Things can change in a moment, and how much would change in three years? It will be better to stop it now, when it's bearable, than later, feeling guilty for drifting apart.
I suck in my breath and scrunch up my eyes, "Don't."
"Don't what?" he says, and he's started playing his harmonica all over again, looking bored.
"Don't wait." I say simply, but the words hurt, and it's going to hurt even more hearing him agreeing with them. But he has to agree, he just has to. It's the reasonable thing to do.
He looks at me, harmonica to his lips, and he's gawking. "Are you on crack?" he says into the harmonica and I frown.
"No, I'm not on crack." I say, standing up and putting my hands on my hips. I can't believe him. Crack! Me! "I'm just trying to be reasonable about this Hunter, three years is a long time and let's be reasonable; won't we drift apart?" I ask, and then answer my own question since he seems incapable, with the glaring and the lip twitching. "We will. Be reasonable!"
"That's not being reasonable," he says, crossing his arms, and shaking his head, "that's just taking the easy way out."
I suck in my breath again. Okay, so maybe it is? Taking the easy way out, I mean. But like Logan says in that episode one time, break up now and it will be bearable, break up later and take the unbearable break up then. Even though we aren't a couple, and never have been, the principles still apply.
"Well you know what," I say, shrugging my shoulders, "I want the easy way out. I don't want us to drift apart, I don't want it to hurt that bad. I want it to be easy."
His expression is stony, "Too bad, because I'm going to wait, right here," he points to the cement, "at this corner, forever."
"No you won't," I say bitterly, and kick his knee, lightly but angrily. I turn and start to walk off.
"I will," he calls cheerily, "see you in three years!"
My ass he'll still be sitting there in three years.
Two and a half years later...
"Cameron, what is up?" my boyfriend wants to know, slamming his fists into the table and seeming very angry with me. I look at him, chewing at a piece of nasty garden salad. I hate the stuff, but it's better for me even though I have decided not to go the actress route, and instead, going the journalist route.
"What's the matter?" I say, even though I know exactly what the matter is.
"We have been together three months and you barely hold my hand," he spits out, incredulously, "we haven't even kissed."
I ignore his question, and point to his soup, "it's going to get cold."
His name's Hayden and we hit it off during our first class together, and finally, a month ago, he asked me out. I had felt a pang in my heart, and it didn't feel quite right. But there was no point in saying no because of a guy ages away who had probably already moved on on me, so I said yes.
He's a great guy, but every time I go to kiss him; I end up kissing him on the cheek instead. It doesn't feel right kissing him on the lips.
But now he's getting frustrated with me, and to tell you the truth, I really don't blame him for it. He probably thinks I don't like him. But I do. Just not enough, and not the way he wants me to. Not enough to kiss him, and not enough to want to hold his hand.
"I don't give a damn about the soup, Cami," he says exasperatedly, "just kiss me, right now."
I look to him, and swallow, closing my eyes. I feel ill. Oh God, I feel ill. I shouldn't feel ill. I haven't seen Hunter in two and a half years, and I'm still not over him. But oh, I should be. But instead I feel like I need to go to the bathroom.
"Can you excuse me?" I say and he looks at me, his lips apart and his eyes disbelieving. It's just a kiss, they're saying. It's no big deal, they're saying. I know it's just a kiss, and I know it's not a big deal. But there's a big difference between knowing and feeling. I give him a sorry look, "I just need to go to the bathroom."
He sighs and nods, "Go ahead, come right back though," he narrows his eyes and goes back to eating his soup. I pat his hand, and get up. I walk into the bathroom and bend my head over a toilet, but nothing comes out, and a song is playing in the background.
I blink. It sounds familiar. I sit up on my knees and listen.
When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now...
Definitely familiar. I know this song, I know this song.
Will you still be sending me a valentine? Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
Oh God. It can't be. Not that. Not now when I'm trying to get my head on straight.
If I'd been out till quarter to three, would you lock the door?
Now I really feel like throwing up that bit of lettuce and salad dressing I ate for tea. But the trouble is with eating so little for tea is that there isn't anything much to throw up into the toilet when your date asks for a kiss.
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty four?
Oh God. I'm crying, and now I'm going to have to clean up the toilet seat because if the next person comes in she's going to think I peed on the seat. I grab some toilet paper and wipe the seat, and then blow my nose on it.
"Oh!" I cry and blubber into the toilet seat some more, trying not to think about how many asses had planted themselves on the seat my face is currently resting on.
"Mummy someone is having trouble in the toilet," a little girl's voice says as two pairs of feet step into the bathroom, "maybe we should help her, maybe she can't get it out."
Oh no. The last thing I need is for some mother and her child thinking I'm constipated.
"Shhh," the mother says, sounding a little panicky. Probably embarrassed, or thinks I'm going to haul ass because her daughter is caring and perhaps a little blunt.
I wipe up my tears and flush the toilet paper down the toilet, and step out. "I'm not constipated." I tell the girl's mother and she nods, giving me a funny look as I wash my hands. I hiccup in response to the look and walk back out to my table.
"I'm sorry," I say, my eyes all red and blood-shot, I'm sure of it. "But I think we're going to have to break up. I really like you, but not in the way you want me to." I pause and rethink for a moment. "Oh, and tell your friends you broke up with me, if that's what you want."
He sighs heavily, bringing his hands to his forehead and looking up at me, "Cami..."
"I'm sorry," I say and put the money in the middle of the table for my nasty salad, and leave with a wave over my shoulder and a sorry smile. I don't deserve him. I don't stay and fight, and that's what it would take to get me to move on.
But I think I'll just keep running away.
Three and a quarter years later...
I hold my microphone, and look around. I'm on the job, Journalist Cameron Reynolds, professional at work. Looking for some guy who's stationed at a corner in my hometown, coinkydink? Anyway, so I'm interviewing a few people, trying to find out some more about the guy. Hoping I don't run into an ex best friend.
I love my work. My work is my life, and ever since I found out that boys just don't do it for me (not that I'm into girls or anything like that) I've thrown myself into my work, and look where it has gotten me. Working and getting paid well by A Current Affair.
"So, is he homeless?" I question one of the residents, Mrs Bonaire.
"Oh, I don't know dear, that's what people say." She says with a shrug, "The corner's down there if you want to see, and I asked him just before if he'd mind an interview and he said he would love one."
"Alright," I say and start walking in the direction of where she'd pointed. I spot a guy sitting there, his head tipped and his hands at his mouth, his black hair falling across his eyes to a certain extent.
The camera men bump into me when I stop and drop the microphone.
"Reynolds," one of them says, surprised. "What do you think you're doing? We're trying to film, here."
I hear a whisper of the harmonica float into my ears, and my heart starts to race. He's sitting there, harmonica at his lips, black hair hanging longer than it used to, skin tan from sitting out in the sun, and his pretty blue eyes...I can't even see them, but I can't help but want to, and at the same time...I don't want to.
"Reynolds," they say irritably and I start walking forwards, my feet working by themselves and my brain mentally cursing at them, threatening that they'll chop them off with a steak knife as soon as I get back to my apartment. I leave the microphone behind me.
I hear the music clearly now, and he's playing the same song he used to play, the same one I'd heard in the bathroom where I'd been dry reaching in the toilet. The one that was, and is – obviously – his favourite, and the one he sung and played for me.
He looks up and spots me, walking towards him, and he smirks, "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?"
I can't believe it. They'd told me the guy sitting out at this corner had been sitting there for three and a bit years, and he was always, always there.
And it'd been him.
His expression softens and he shoves his harmonica into his pocket, and stands to his feet, "I've been waiting for you."
Oh God. I feel tears spring to my eyes and I barely hear the confused cries of my camera crew, all I see is him, standing there, at the corner, like he said he'd be. I told him not to wait around for me, but has he listened? No. He waited for three and a bit damn years for me, and it's breaking my heart.
"You are such an idiot," I cry into a palm, looking blurry eyed at the boy who has been my best friend for so many years, and who I threw mud at, and who I squealed at, and who I laughed with, and who I cried with. I loved him, I love him, and I certainly haven't gotten over him.
He's still smiling though, with that happy go lucky way about him. He looks me over, "You've gotten thinner, Cam," he says with a shake of his head, "I'm going to have to fix that, you know."
I choke back a sob and a laugh. He's the only one who would say something like that.
There is no easy way, and I've learned that the hard way. No matter how hard I've run from him, I've never quite been able to escape him.
"Look, I made you laugh," He says, stepping a little closer, "that's got to count for something, doesn't it?"
"How could you have waited there so long, why didn't you give up?" I sob, wanting to hit him in the face for always being so nice and keeping to his word. It sucks that I love him this much, and it sucks so much more because I know he deserves it.
"I'll never give up on you, Cam," he says with a smile, and I know he's not lying. Because Hunter never lies, and that's why I know he doesn't love me. He told me so back in grade five.
"I want to hit you," I inform him, "this is so unprofessional, I'm supposed to be interviewing you – you homeless bum. What have you been doing, sitting out here and letting your hair get long? What about a job! What about your life?"
He smiles at me half amusedly and half indignantly, "For the record," he says with a roll of his eyes, "I don't sit out here all day, I take night classes, or took, rather...I'm a PI, hon."
He always wanted to be a PI. Said he'd find out where I'd hidden his Spiderman figurine (which is sitting at the very back of my wardrobe in a shoe box with my Barbie doll; they were married) and who stole the cookies from the cookie jar.
"Still, why wait for me? I gave up on you!" I shriek at him, tears spilling down my cheeks.
"I also recall you liking my hair a little long, more to play with, you said back in fifth grade," he says giving me an odd sort of smile that sent chills up my spine and gives me the nillies. "I cut it off, embarrassed, and as I said before. I stayed because I promised."
"You never have broken promises, or lied." I say with a sigh.
"Oh hell no, that's not true," he laughs and I stare. What has he ever lied about?
"Cameron," one of the camera crew cries out, bemused. I turn to them and wave them off, mouthing sorry.
"Can we just catch up for a bit?" I ask.
"We're on the job here, Cami," one of them says irritably and then another nudges them and whispers something to them. The guy lights up and says, "Oh sure, we'll just, be around..." and I nod and walk up to the corner, and sit down, sniffling. I look to him and he sits himself down beside me.
"I need to tell you about something, a big fat lie I told you ages ago that wasn't in the least bit true, and still isn't." He tells me, wrapping his arms around his legs and pressing his face into his knees. He seems, for reasons unknown to me and the rest of the world, highly embarrassed.
"They're watching us," I say pointing across the street where the camera crew has set up and is now filming us also for reasons unknown.
"I don't care," Hunter says to his knees, and when he looks up I see his face has turned fire engine red, which is funny, because I don't think it's ever gone that colour before in his life. He was a permanently unembarrassed person, but apparently, this has changed.
"Oh my God, is it heat stroke?" I say. I don't know the symptoms of heat stroke, but I know people are getting hot when they're faces are getting red.
He ignores my obviously stupid question and starts explaining himself, "You remember when those guys kept teasing me back in the fifth grade so I walked up and announced that I didn't love you, not one tiny bit in the way they insinuated?"
"Yes," I say, recalling the events with horror. It was a sad day, and I'd gone and ate three ice creams and swang on the swing until tea time, avoiding him. We were back and talking the next day though, as if nothing had happened.
"Well, that was a lie," he admits, and my heart skips, and then skips again.
My head swings in his direction and I can't believe it, he's looking at me, all earnest. It can't be the truth, can it? Why would someone like him, love someone like me? It's impossible, it just doesn't happen in the real world. Only in my dreams!
"What?" I splutter, and now my face is flaming flamingo. And before I can say anything else he's brought me into his arms and is kissing me, him and his harmonica pressing up against me.
I'm kissing Hunter. Hunter, my best friend, whom I've never before expected to hold any feelings other than platonic for me, is kissing me. He started it, and now he's sticking his tongue into my mouth. Which, by the way, isn't a very best friend-like thing to do.
I feel giddy and weak and oh so glad Hunter had waited for me after all. I also don't want it to stop, because I'm sure this has to be a dream.
Hunter's totally pressing me down on the pavement in front of the public and apparently, video cameras.
His lips move a little away from mine and he sucks in his breath, breathing hard and ragged, his eyes closed, "You get it now?"
"I – I get it." I say into his cheek, my eyes rolling back into my head the tingles were getting that bad. I want my best friend, and he wants me back. "But I l-love you more," I breathe.
"I missed you, God I missed you," his tears splash onto my cheek and sits his back up against the building on the corner, wrapping his arms around my waist and pressing me to him, letting my head rest on his chest. "And I didn't want to 'not wait' because I never have wanted anyone else but you, and that's how it stays."
"I went out with someone," I admit to him, "but we barely even held hands and I wouldn't let him kiss me, you're my first kiss. My first everything."
"Not everything...yet..." he corrects and pulls his harmonica out of his pocket, and starts playing his favourite song to me.
I close my eyes and listen, relaxing.
He stops for a moment, "this was always for you, you know; I'll still want you bad when I'm an old, old hair losing Viagra needing man." Ew. I couldn't help but grin giddily to myself, though. "So, will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty four?"
"Oh yes," I say and tilt my head and pucker my lips, "and you?"
"I can cook you bacon and eggs tomorrow morning, and I'll need you forever, and I bet you'll make the hottest old lady ever," he moves his head down to capture my lips and we kiss for a while before he's back to playing the harmonica, and I fall asleep in his lap.
The camera crew filmed it all, and it got made into one of those sweet stories they put at the end of the news shows to lighten it all up.
And for the record he still needed me, he still fed me, when we were sixty-four.
Hope you like! Because it sure was fun to write!
And um. Aren't we SO glad Serena and Blair are friends again, all? Because that was totally sweet. And I like Serena better nice.
I need someone to need me and feed me when I'm sixty-four! Eeesh! Book characters get all the good men in the world.
Buhbye, me tired.
You know you love me,