"—and then I got off the phone, and when I turn on the TV, Kaixo Kitty is on!" Vivian squealed excitedly to Christine, whose face showed no excitement. "And I LOVE Kaixo Kitty! It's my—"
"I know." Christine said, interrupting Vivian's stream of words.
"What?" Vivian asked.
"I know that Kaixo Kitty is your favorite show in the universe. Give it a rest." Christine replied dryly.
"It's not my favorite show in the universe." Vivian said, in a tone that Christine found refreshingly calm. "…It's my favorite show in the MULTIVERSE!" Vivian declared, returning to her usual noisy, excited tone. "Even in universes where I don't love Kaixo Kitty, I love Kaixo Kitty!"
"That doesn't even make sense!" Christine protested.
Just then the bell rang, and it was time to go. "Finally…" Christine muttered under her breath, closing her locker. As she started to walk away, Vivian spoke to her.
"Yes?" Christine asked, annoyed.
"Since you're my bestest friend in the whole entire world, I think you should know that I won't be here tomorrow."
"Why not?" Christine asked.
"Because my family's driving into Poncet to pick up my uncle who just flew in from Edmonton." Vivian explained.
Christine stared a moment, then lied. "Aww! How sweet of you! I sure will miss you tomorrow!"
"Aww! I'll miss you too!" Vivian said, "But don't worry, bestest friend, I'll be back tomorrow evening and we can do all kinds of bestest-friend stuff together!" Vivian squeezed Christine as tight as she could and shook her back and forth before finally releasing her.
As she walked down the hall toward the exit, Christine was secretly celebrating in her mind Vivian's absence tomorrow. This would be great! She thought, a day without Vivian and all the bright colors, silly made-up words, cheesy songs, and constant Kaixo Kitty references that she came with. At last a day of peace!
The next morning, Christine woke up, got dressed, did her makeup and other feminine morning preparation rituals, had breakfast, and said goodbye to her mother before getting on the bus to school. Once there, she went to her locker. No Vivian, only her silent locker and the band geek on the other side of Christine's locker. "Perfect…" said Christine, blissfully enjoying Vivian's absence.
She continued on to first period, passing Susie and Chrome Bumper, saying good morning to them, and went into Algebra 2. She normally had Vivian sitting to her right, but today she had only Vivian's empty desk and the mute kid on her left who she expected to be a serial killer when he grew up. Mr. Lyndonbriar, their math teacher, told them they would be studying square-roots or something, Christine wasn't listening.
As class went by, Christine found it paradoxically harder to concentrate without Vivian constantly distracting her. She just couldn't focus. Oh well, it didn't matter, she hated math anyway.
Finally, after the usual 50 minutes, class let out. The students filed out of the room chattering about random things like the new rock album that was out, or what movie was playing, or who was on The Kenny Vornem Show last night.
There was no Vivian there to jabber gleefully about math or next hour or Kaixo Kitty's upcoming third season, just the silent noise of the school halls.
…And Christine loved that! No Vivian meant she could finally hear herself think. Now what to think about? Usually her head was awash in sparkles and a certain animated feline, but not today. I wonder what Vivian is up to? Christine found herself wondering.
—NO! She caught herself. Don't think about Vivian today. This is the one day you don't have to think about her she told herself.
Next was science class. The students walked in with the usually clumsy, chaotic ambience that the school had no shortage of. Christine, enjoying her day without Vivian, entered silently.
Today they would be studying mutations and radiation and such. The teacher put on a film to watch. No Vivian to get excited and say "Yay! Movie time!" Again, Christine found it difficult to concentrate without Vivian there to keep her focused by distracting her.
By the time third period came, Christine felt empty, like she hadn't had breakfast, only a different kind of emptiness. Normally third hour was the first class of the day she had without Vivian, and she enjoyed it partly because of that and partly because she liked English class. But this time, it just felt dry and dull and empty—
Then it hit her. I miss Vivian! She thought, horrified at herself for this. She just didn't get it. Why did she miss Vivian, the annoying girl who was way too happy and had a bizarre obsession with a cartoon cat who taught little kids Basque? She should have been having a ball right now.
Then she understood: She, Christine, was a cold, depressive, nihilistic goth with a rather misanthropic streak; Vivian was a happy, upbeat, optimist who loved basically everything and everyone. She balanced her out. Christine hadn't realized it before, but Vivian really was her best friend. Vivian was nearly always her partner in projects, she was almost always by her side, and it had been Vivian who comforted her when her parents divorced.
"Miss Peck, is something wrong?" Miss Clyborne, the English teacher asked, noticing the trance-like state Christine was in and snapping her out of it.
"Oh… I just miss my best friend is all." Christine said.
"I understand," Miss Clyborne said, "but for now, just focus on your work and it'll take your mind off of it for now."
Christine felt remarkably more at ease after realizing (and admitting) that she missed Vivian. She was able to get through the rest of the day fairly well. That afternoon, after school, Christine sat on the sidewalk outside Vivian's house waiting for her to get home.
Just then, the Clemmons' car pulled up, and a backseat window rolled down and Vivian's head (as well as most of her torso) stuck out and she called "Christiniy-weeny! You waited for me at my house!"
The next thing Christine knew, Vivian was out of the car and squeezing her painfully tightly. When she finally pried herself free, Christine said "I missed you today. Have fun?" This time she wasn't lying.
"It was great!" Vivian squealed eagerly (her preferred way of communicating information). "I love my uncle! He's such a sweetheart—check out the shirt he got me!" And she pointed to the grayish-white, loose-fitting t-shirt that depicted a skyline and read EDMONTON she wore over her dress.
"Looks great." Christine said, smiling (something she seldom did).
"YAY!" Vivian squealed. "Wanna stay for dinner? I can introduce my favoritest uncle to my bestest friend!"
"Sure, sounds fun." Christine said, joining her friend for dinner.