“I’m sorry. What did you say?” ,I asked, blinking back into reality.
My best friend, Rosemarie, stared at me incredulously and frowned, “Nevermind. Forget it.”
Instantly, I felt bad, “I’m sorry. I’ll listen to you.”
“No. No way. You’re always staring off into space thinking God knows what while I’m just talking to myself.” She told me, looking away angrily.
Rosemarie was right. I’m always daydreaming, always staring off into space, but… I couldn’t help it. It’s just who I am. I’m always scolded for being distracted. It annoyed my best friends and family many times.
The school bell rang, announcing the end of lunch time. As I began drifting off to dreamland, she asked, “What were you thinking about?”
Giving an unlady like snort, I replied, “My dream guy. Same old, same old.”
Her deep brown eyes became filled with sympathy, “You’ll find him. You’ll see.” This is where I turn away. As if. They only exist in books. This was why I’m always reading, always writing, always daydreaming. Heartbreak after heartbreak. It’s always been like this since 6th grade. I gave up. No more. It’s all in my head.
“Sure.”, I responded tersely. Rosemarie had something in her mind because she was fidgeting a lot and she pushed back her glasses. My eyes narrowed, she only did that when she was nervous. “What’s up?”
“Andre! He is so bae!” ,she exploded. Her eyes shining in excitement.
“Andre? The kid from Mr. Chang?” ,I asked puzzled, “The one that asked what a nepalese is?”
She sighed, “Yes, him. He’s just so bae. Isn’t he, Kindle?”
I wrinkled my nose, “Ummm...no. That was the stupidest question ever. Nepalese is a person from Nepal. How can he not know that?!?”
Her expression changed from sparkles to stormy, “At least I’m not chatting with strangers.” Even if I wasn’t an animal, I wanted to bare my teeth at her. It was a mistake. I wanted a guy for myself. I wanted to belong to someone and I was caught. It was my blunder.
“Go to Andre then and leave me alone.” ,I growled, storming away. Yeah, I have a foul temper and I don’t think I’ll ever change. Her footsteps became louder as she tried to catch up.
“Look, I’m sorry. It was wrong of me to bring it up but you have to admit that chatting with strangers isn’t good.” I paused and waited for her.
“Yeah it was.” I admitted. I disappointed my father so much… It pains me to think how much I had hurt him.
“So… Do you like anybody here?” ,she asked, trying to change the subject.
“No. Nobody’s even interested in me anyway.” I grumbled. It was true. No guy has ever looked at me in a romantic way and those who ‘did’ were doing it on a bet. That’s how it has always been for me. Nobody will ever look at me more than a brain or a friend.
“Hey, Earth to Kindle.” Rosemarie said waving her hand in front of my face.
Blinking, I looked at her, “So, Andre huh?”
Rosemarie gave me a sheepish grin, “Yeah. He’s so smart and nice.” I smiled at her, happy that she felt so upbeat. We parted ways when she had to go to Spanish and me to Trig. My other best friend, Angelina, noticed the usual spark in my eyes was slightly dimmed.
“What’s wrong Kindle?” ,she asked as we had to do homework for Trig.
“Nothing. Just thinking about all my failures. About how stupid I am to believe that anyone at all would love me. Especially those who aren’t even face to face with them.”
“Oh, Kindle.” ,Angelina said, hugging me. We worked together and she’d help me with everything I didn’t know. I am pretty stupid at math. Class went by kind of slow but it wasn’t so bad since my friend was there.
“Bye, Mrs. Lee!!” I called out as I walked out with my friend.
My other best friend, Noah looked at us slightly annoyed, “I’m getting old here.”
“Then you should leave.” I snapped.
He snapped his fingers, “Someone’s on their period. Get a life.”
Angry tears spilled down my cheeks, “Fuck you!” I ran away from both of them and stopped just before I went into Spanish. Taking deep breaths and wiping my face, I went in class. I know I might not be beautiful. I am not always kind and I don’t have the most beautiful laugh. I get it! I get it okay!!
Mrs. Hunter greeted me and I forced a smile. Well, it came out more of a grimace than a smile. Thankfully, she didn’t ask anything.
Noah and Angelina came in and I didn’t even spare them a glance. Angelina tried to spark a conversation but my way of answering was either a nod, a shake of a head or a shrug. Noah was getting more and more annoyed by my unresponsiveness.
“You know what?! Get your shit together. It’s not our fault you got caught. We told you that it was going to end badly and you didn’t fucking listen!” ,Noah hissed.
“Because I wanted to fall in love! Because I wanted to belong to someone!”, I yelled slamming a fist on my desk.
“Señorita Everdeen, salga para afuera.” ,Mrs. Hunter ordered me. The fresh air allowed me to clear my head, because if I had stayed any longer, I would’ve physically attacked Noah. Once, I was safely out, I burst into tears and screamed. I screamed at the top of my lungs. Nothing I ever did was right. And nothing came out right. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of life itself. I walked towards a solitary place with shade and sank down, pulling my knees to my chest. I rocked myself trying to calm myself down. Was there any way I could remove my emotions? I don’t want to feel pain, affection or anger or anything anymore.
Campus security found me and escorted me back to Mrs. Hunter, Mrs. Hunter tried to get me to talk but I wouldn’t… I couldn’t. She made me return to class and work with my team. I helped, of course, but it never went beyond that. I nearly bolted when the bell rang. My dad was waiting for me at the school gate and I ran into his arms. He hugged me tight and kissed my forehead.
“What’s wrong, Kindle?” ,he asked noticing my tears.
I sniffed and said, “I’m sorry, Daddy. I wanted to fall in love. For some guy to love me but it was wrong to look in some place where I’m not face to face with him. It was stupid of me and I am sorry. I don't even think I'm even ready for love yet.”
“Oh, Kindle… You need to forget about about it. Just learn from your mistakes. “
“I have learned! But… I can’t forget, what I did was horrible and irresponsible.”
He stroked my long hair and said, “What is done, is done. You can’t go back in time… at least not yet. Try not to think about it too much, okay, Kindle?”
I hugged him tighter and replied, “I’ll try.”
“ ’Atta girl.” ,my father said with an enormous smile on his face. His smile was infectious and my own smile appeared. My slightly younger brother, Timothy, arrived and we went home. That night, by the way my heartbeat erratically, making me toss and turn all night, I knew that something awaited me. Something life changing was right around the corner.