Felix didn't have a place he went to when he was upset, since he was the type to hold all of his negative emotions in. That made the job of finding him rather tricky. I checked the place I thought most likely, a particular bench in local woods. He wasn't there. I tried his house, where his mother looked at me with sympathy shining in her eyes. This only made me feel worse. I was on my way to the beach, thinking that maybe he had gone there for the peace of it, when my phone rang.
Since I was at a stop sign on a side street with no other cars in sight, I shifted into park and glanced at the screen. I was greeted by the sight of Padric's name flashing up at me. I almost didn't answer- I was still really upset with him. I didn't want to be petty, though, so I answered. "Yes?"
"Natalie, hi. I was worried for a minute there that you wouldn't answer."
"Is that what you called to tell me?" I asked, knowing that I was being mean but not wanting to stop. He was the reason I wasn't with Felix right now.
"No. I want you to know that I found Felix. He's at the park by your house, laying on the grass by the swings."
I allowed myself a flash of grin. "Thank you, Padric."
"Of course. And Nat? I'm sorry."
"I know." I hung up and started the car. It was a quick drive. I saw Felix laying exactly where Padric had said he would be and I walked over, not allowing myself the luxury of hesitation. I lay down next to him and wondered whether this would be easier or harder because we could not see each other's faces. Felix's hand found mine. I felt better for that. This was a strange situation. It was like I was the one who had been wrong, not him. I resisted the urge to apologize.
"Natalie, will you explain to me what just happened?" Felix said quietly.
I watched a cloud moving toward the sun. It wasn't until the sun was swollowed up by it that I said, "I hardly know what happened. You were so upset."
"You were alone with your ex- the same ex that Padric said you have been trying to get closer to- on our day. It was like what happened with Claudia all over again, but Nat... I never expected that kind of betrayal from you."
"Even if it was what you tought it was, you'd have no right to be so mean to me. We're not together," I said. I don't know why I did, knowing as I did that it would certainly make the situation more tense, not less. I think that maybe it was bount to come up. This had been something I thought of often, the fact that really he and I were no more than friends.
"Natalie, you know that's not true," Felix groaned. "You how easily you.. you could hurt me if you wanted to."
I squeezed his hand. "I don't want you to hurt. Look, Toby came over because he's my partner in Biology and we had a take home lab assignment. That's all. We were working in this terrible silence and then you should up and Felix, I was relieved until I saw how mad you were. It was terrible."
He had the grace to look abashed. "I should have trusted you more. But Natalie, it was exactly like last time. I didn't really think before I acted."
I rolled my eyes and even though he couldn't see it, the motion made me feel better. "Clearly." There was more, so much more that I wanted to say to him. I could feel the words bubbling up in me, trying desperately to rise to the surface. I refused to give them voice. Felix owed me a little. Maybe he thought that I hurt him today, but really he was the one hurting me.
I didn't have to wait long. "You did make one good point, Nat," he said. "I was acting like I'm your boyfriend."
"A little bit, yeah." I sat up and clutched at my head. It spun from the sudden change. "Woah," I mumbled.
Felix eased himself up in the grass, perching on his elbows rather than going fully upright. "Just to avoid any confusion in the future, let's go on and call this a relationship."
I glanced at him, smirking. "That might just be the most romantic thing I've ever heard."
"Is that sarcasm? No fair. I'm putting my heart on the line here."
I snorted. "Hardly. You know that I want to be with you, and if you don't then you're hardly my type anyway. I like 'em smart."
"Uh oh," Felix replied, laughing. "Looks like I'm going to have to give my Calc tutor a call. I'm going to need to shape up." I snickered along with him, remembering that that was how this all started, the tutoring.
I knew my brain was good for something.
That's all I have to tell you, I'm afraid, and I think you'll be disappointed with me. I don't want to tell you anything more about our story. I want to leave some part up to your imagination because that will make me feel like something out of a story and what nerdy girl doesn't dream of that?
I can tell you just a little, though. As I write this, Felix and I are still together and have just celebrated an anniversary. No, I won't tell you which. A month? A year? A decade? Doesn't matter. I'll tell you something else: life is good.
Okay, that would be a terrible end, wouldn't it? If I want to treat my life like the kind of story involving a vaguely happy ending, I have to also give it some moral. Luckily that isn't such a hard thing to do. This is what I took from all of it: Trust is hard, but being trusted by someone can be even harder. It takes a lot of work. Everything that we look upon as being wonderful and positive can flip on a dime. It's lucky that things worked out in our favor, Felix's and mine, but do you know how easy it would have been for him to pick up one of those girls who would use him in the end? No? Well I'll tell you that I know it would be very, very easy. They still look at him when he walks that fantastic walk of his, when he smiles. Heck, I do too. Felix is magnetic.
Right. The positive can go bad fast and we all know that negative is... well, bad. The worst thing about negativity is that it clouds your vision, makes it impossible for you to see the wonder that can be found in even the most ordinary of things.
Do you remember that day when I was really upset and I walked home in the snow? It was so incredibly cold, but I couldn't think about that through my angsty misery. Now when I look back on that day, I remember more than just Felix standing me up; I remember him waiting for me when I got home, then caring for me. I remember how beautiful a walk it was and I know that I could have enjoyed it if I had only bothered looking past my troubles and taken a moment to see the beauty that ordinary things can have.
I remember the way that the sun dazzled me, creating the illusion of glitter in the snow.