I awake to the sound of my alarm and groan. I hit the snooze and roll over on my back, staring at the ceiling. Today is the day when the goodbyes begin; it's the day when everything ends just so I can start over. My dad had promised me we wouldn't move again, but just like the last time he said that, it isn't true. My brother Kale doesn't mind as much as I do, he makes friends easily and he like change. For him it isn't even a big deal this this time, he's graduating early from school. He is halfway through his senior year right now, but he already has all the credits he needs to graduate. I on the other hand, am only halfway through my junior year, and unlike my brother, i don't plan on graduating early.
I get out of bed, arousing my cat Lucy from her sleep, and begin to get ready for my last day ever at Rosedale High. There's an unsettling in my stomach as I get up, this move isn't like all the others, and I've spent my entire high school years at the same school. I have grown close with all my friends, and to start anew again? It just doesn't seem fair is all.
I stare in the mirror at my reflection. I have long, blonde hair and big green eyes that are starring back at me. "Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in times of trouble and never stop praying." I whisper to myself. It is a bible verse my dad use to tell me as a little girl, and I remember it every time I am struggling or upset. It reminds me that even in the bad times, to be patient and be happy that there is a future. I sigh and look away from the mirror.
Someone knocks on my door and asks to come in. It's Kale, his full name is Kaleb but we have always called him Kale for short, even though Kaleb isn't even a long name.
"Come in," I say
Kale walks in and sits down on my bed; he is exactly one 12 months and one week older than me.
He looks up at me. "How you doing?" he asks.
I breathe out loudly and look at him. "Okay, I guess. It could be better you know." He sighs and shakes his head, confliction showing in his dark blue eyes. "What's wrong?" I ask. It's not like my brother to be in a bad mood.
He folds his hands in his lap and looks at me. "It's my last day of high school. Ever," he states.
I sit down next to him, I didn't think about how this might affect him. I've been so upset for myself that I forgot how graduating high school might make Kale feel, he is most likely a little anxious about the whole thing.
"Yeah," I heave. "Now you actually have to grow up." I give him a half smile, trying to lighten the mood.
He laughs one short laugh and I nudge his shoulder with my own. His gaze has dropped down to his hands. Kale and I have been close our whole lives, we have always talked to each other about basically everything. I remember when we were little and my dad helped us build a tree house in our back yard, it was when we were around seven years old, so we were living in the Brogden house at the time. We were always up there together, our parents had to force or bribe us to get down half the time.
"I guess I'll let you get ready now," Kale gets up and walks towards my door.
"Hey Kale," I call him back.
"Yeah?" He turns around to look at me.
I'm not sure what the right thing is to say to comfort him, so I just say, "You're gonna be fine, you know? Don't worry so much," I smile at him, hoping he takes what I said to heart.
"Thanks Kass," he returns the smile and then walks out of my room.
Big change today. Big change for the both of us.
I continue to get ready, slowly going through the motions of the morning. I go downstairs to the smell of coffee and the sound of my mom humming while she starts to prepare breakfast. Everything so familiar and right.
"Have time to eat today, Kassie?" my mom asks, turning around to look at me as I enter the kitchen.
"No, I want to get to school a little early today," I reply.
My mom looks at me with her bright eyes that seem to claim me, a soft smile always on her lips, and her blonde hair in waves framing her delicate face. People have always commented on how much we look alike. My mother, always calm and patient; kind and understanding; sometimes I fear I take advantage of that.
I smile at her, "I love you, Mom."
"I love you too, sweetie. Have a good day."
I walk out and yell at Kale to hurry. I don't want to be late today, after all it is the last time I will probably ever see most of my friends.
Kale and I arrive at school ten minutes early—perfect. I walk in the front entrance of school, the smell of body odor and perfume tint the hallways and excitement buzzes in the air. Winter break is finally here. My stomach turns—it's only the end to a new beginning, as my father would put it. I give Kale a hug and we part ways for the rest of the day.
"See you after school," he says, and walks off to find his friends.
I walk off in the opposite direction in search of my friends.
"Kassie!" I hear my name throughout all the shouts and chaos. I turn to look for the source. Charlie.
She runs up to me and gives me a hug. My eyes spark with tears. No I can't cry, not right now, I refuse to cry.
"Hey, Charlie!" I try to say in a light tone, but Charlie knows me too well.
She puts her hands on my shoulders and looks me straight in the eyes. "We will not cry today. We will not pout or mope, you want to know why?" she asks.
"Why?" I ask, holding back the tears.
"Because this isn't the end and we will be friends forever—that's why!" her milky brown eyes determined.
I laugh, out of everyone in Miami; I will undoubtedly miss Charlie the most. "Friends forever," I promise. We wrap our pinkies together and shake on it.
"You guys starting the party without me?" Liam says, announcing his arrival.
Liam is tall so he stands out compared to most of the people in the crowded hallway. He is also exceedingly attractive with his ashy blonde and gold speckled eyes. He walks up to me and Charlie with his signature goofy grin. A wide smile starts to spread across my face. Liam opens his arms up to me and I walk into them. He squeezes me, burying my head in his shoulder.
"Hey giraffe," I say, pulling back to look at him. He's still smiling but he has a doleful hint in his eyes.
"Hey shrimp," he replies, forcing his smile to stay in place. Neither of us mentions that today will be my last day; I don't want to ruin the moment. But it's still there, no matter how much we want to avoid it. I wonder if he will miss me as much as I know I'm going to miss him.
Charlie coughs as if acknowledging that she still exist to us. Liam looks at her. "Hi Charlie!" he says amused. She smiles, now satisfied.
"So where's Nathan and Larissa?" I ask.
"Probably making out somewhere," Charlie says.
"Yeah, you know, getting frisky!" Liam adds.
Charlie and I both laugh, and with that the bell rings, sending us to class. Charlie and I part ways with Liam and start walking to our first period. She grins at me with a knowing look.
"What!" I say. She always gives me that same look every time we have been with or around Liam.
She moans. "You guys totally got a thing going on! And don't deny it because you know it's true."
"We do not," I mumble looking away from her gaze. "We are just good friends, that's all"
"Yeah, like, he wants to be friends with your lady business!" she says.
I hit her arm. "Charlie!" I say. I can feel the blood rushing to my face. "We are just friends!"
"Whatever you say, but he is so into you," she says casually.
"Yeah like my fist is going to be so into your face if you don't shut up," I retort.
Charlie laughs. "Mmhm."
I roll my eyes and keep walking. I've been friends with Liam for a long time now, I mean sure I think he is gorgeous but I guess I never thought he would like me in that way.
I go on with the day as if it was any other. At lunch I sit with Charlie, Liam, Larissa, Nathan, Ally, and Zac. I see Kale but I don't bother him. I want him to spend this day with his friends as I spend my day with my own. We all wait until the end of the day to say our goodbyes, like Charlie said, I don't want this day to be sad and I don't want everybody else to be sad either, but we know the goodbyes are coming soon.
Faster rather than slower, the school day draws to an end and my stomach begins to turn again. Goodbyes are just another part of life, at least another part of my life. I guess you could say I've almost gotten use to them. I wait outside near the quad for everyone and stand with Ally because we had last period together. It is an exceptional winter's day. The sun shining warm against my tan legs, the air calm with a slight breeze, not too humid. I'm going to miss days like this; I hear it isn't as warm in Oregon as it is here in Florida.
I see Charlie's light brown hair with streaks of blonde coming through the crowd of people, everyone is charged with energy for the start of winter break and Christmas so near.
"Charlie!" I yell, waving my hands so she can see me.
Her wondering eyes rest on me and she starts to run over, Larissa trailing close behind.
"Okay, so I have a plan!" Charlie announces as she's coming up to us.
"And what would that be?" I ask.
"If I kidnap you, then you can't move! Problem is now solved. Hold the applause."
Ally and I exchange looks and giggle.
"I don't know if that will work so well," Ally says, looking amused
"It's always like you to rain on my parade Ally." Charlie rolls her eyes.
"I think it was a good idea," Larissa adds with a smile.
Just as I'm about to ask where all the guys are I see Liam, Zac, and Nathan marching towards us. Nathan approaches us first and gives Larissa a kiss on the cheek, wrapping is arms around her waist from behind, making her smile. Nathan and Larissa have been together since freshmen year and are the cover couple for most likely to get married.
Zac comes charging at me, throwing me over his shoulder. I half scream, half laugh. Zac is like a big teddy bear, I've always viewed him as a brother type figure.
"Geeze Kass, have you gained weight?" he teases.
I hit him in the shoulder. "Shut up!" I yell. "And put me down."
Zac sets me back on the ground. "You know I'm joking, what are you anyways? Like, 90 pounds?"
I roll my eyes. I've always been petite. Zac laughs and gives me a hug. "I'll miss you," he whispers in my ear.
"Yeah, me too," I whisper back. He lets go and I smile at him.
Larissa comes up to me and gives me big hug. "I love you, Kassie," she says. "I'm really going to miss you."
"I'm going to miss you too," I try to stay smiling when I look at her. I need to stay strong, I can't cry.
Nathan gives me a hug next and says bye, then Larissa and him leave. Ally is next in the line of goodbyes.
"I wish I could stay longer, but I have to get to work," she says. She gives me a hug and then is on her way. I wonder if I will ever see her again.
I look to Liam next. He tries to give me his signature smile but he can't. My heart drops and I sigh. I go up to him and wrap my arms around his waist. He squeezes me tight and then looks down at me. My eyes start to spark with tears, I don't want this to be the end, I don't want to say goodbye. Liam brings his hand up to my face and rests it against my cheeks, giving me a small smile. He leans down and kisses me softly on the lips, my heart skips a beat. Now I really don't want to leave. He pulls away and then kisses my forehead lightly.
"See you around, shrimp," He says using the nickname he gave me years ago.
"Yeah, I'll miss you," I say breathily.
"Me too," he gives me a half smile and then he's gone, walking away with Zac. The last time I will probably ever see him.
I look over at Charlie who's wearing a big grin. My face floods with color and I smile down at my hands.
"I told you so!" she shouts. "Ugh, you guys would have been so cute together…." she sighs.
I laugh; Charlie is the last person to say goodbye to, and I know she's going to be the hardest. We have been through so much together these past few years. My beautiful best friend with her kind brown eyes and tan skin that glows in the sun. My eyes start to water and a small tear trails down my cheek.
"Kassie!" she frowns at me and begins to cry too. "We weren't supposed to do this!" she says wiping her tears away.
"I know," I sigh. "But did you actually think we weren't gonna cry?"
Charlie laughs shakily. "No, I guess not."
We both exchange sad smiles and then I give her a giant hug.
"We will still be able to visit every now and then," I sniffle. I know it will be difficult though, considering that I'm moving all the way across the country, but I don't tell Charlie that.
"Duh! And we can call and text all the time, I might even send you a letter if you're lucky," she smiles and I laugh a little.
"Okay, well goodbye Charlie Evans, I sure will miss you."
"Goodbye Kassie Taylor, I will miss you more."
We hug one more time and then part our separate ways, I start remembering all the good times we had together. One more tear escapes me and I wipe it away and keep walking forward. Goodbyes are hard, but to start the next chapter of my life, I can't keep re-reading the last one.