I look up at the cloudy skies when I hear the first clap of thunder. It didn't seem like it was going to rain when I left the house earlier.
Oh well, I think unconcernedly as I sit down on the park bench. He's coming any time now, anyway.
And just like every positive prediction I'd ever made when it concerned him, it is wrong. I wait in place, rooted to that spot for an hour and a half, gazing blankly at the flowers that dotted the park and the trail of ants going up a nearby tree's trunk, until the rain starts. I remain there for a couple more minutes before deciding that getting sick isn't worth it.
Why did I even think that this time is going to be any different?
I stand up from the hard bench I'd sat on, and stretch my arms above my head, feeling the rain on my hair, hearing it pattering down the grass. Once again, I glance up at the sky, taking in the blue grey color and the heavy clouds hanging overhead. At least the weather is agreeing with my mood.
I sigh heavily then turn around to head home, but I am stopped short by the sight of a tall boy walking down my way.
There he is. My best friend since elementary because of a secret passion we both had – comic books. He is also the big man on campus at school, but a total mama's boy at home. At least, that had been the him that I became friends with. I don't even know him anymore.
The short seconds it takes him to walk over to where I stand allows me to take a trip back to our elementary days.
He was reading a comic book when I entered the otherwise empty classroom.
"Hi," I offer to say first, inexplicably drawn to this messy-haired, brown-eyed kid. And it wasn't just because of the comic book which he was now frantically trying to hide, although that's 80 percent of it.
He finally sticks the comic book between the pages of a thick Science book before answering back, half-defiantly. "Hi."
"So," I was determined to know what he had been reading, because I'd never seen it in my life, and that was saying something. I was a master collector of comic books and manga alike, and damned if I was going to let a good one get away from me. "Great morning, isn't it?" I said innocently, never one to be direct.
He peers at me suspiciously. He probably thought I was going to tease him for being a comic book reader. After all, it's not the cool thing, and I vaguely recognized him as one of the 'cool' ones. You know, the ones who lumbered around school looking like they owned it. Or maybe he was just wondering why I said it was good weather when – "It's raining," he replies.
"I like rain showers," I answer as I glance out the window, "even if the thunder gets annoying after a while. I mean, at least it's colder, you know."
"Uh-huh. Sure," he answers warily, still uncertain as to what I wanted.
I go for the kill. "So… what were you reading?"
"Come on. I saw that. I just want to know what it was. No, I have to know what that was." I walk closer to his desk as his expression turns panicked. "Is it any good? Because I can tell you about this new comic book just out and it's amazing, you should try it if you're into this stuff –"
That was probably the time he understood I wasn't and wouldn't laugh at him for being a comic book reader, and that I was, in fact, talking to him for it. And that marked the start of everything.
When he finally reaches me with the purple umbrella he is holding up, I'm suddenly struck by the fact that this is not helping anyone any. I mean, I'm acting like a lovesick girl waiting for her crush, and that is something I most definitely am not. I'm wasting my time trying to fix this thing which is so obviously beyond repair.
"What are you doing here?" I ask him, raising my eyes to meet his. I keep my face carefully blank of emotions, and damn, had I gotten good at it.
He looks confused for a moment. "What? We're going to that convention, right?"
"You mean the comic book convention that's ending in ten minutes?"
"What do you mean –" he slaps himself on the forehead. "Oh crap, I am so sorry! I totally forgot the time, I thought –"
"Yeah I know what you thought," I cut him off. How many times have I heard that line?
His soulful eyes look beseechingly at me, using his old tricks. "I swear, I am going to make up for this. Let's go to the amusement park. Tomorrow."
"No it's okay," I shrug. "Your life, not my business. Besides, it's raining," I say pointedly, feeling myself getting drenched by the second.
"Oh, sorry," he quickly steps closer to share his umbrella with me.
"So, where have you been?" I ask nonchalantly, trying not to seem interested. I just want to know what the trend is this time.
"I, uh…" he stammers as he scratches the back of his neck, trying to get his words out. "The guys I met over the weekend and I went to this arcade and…"
I raise an eyebrow as I start walking towards the direction of my house. He hastily keeps up as he continues explaining, looking everywhere but at me. "I got carried away. But they're a bunch of cool guys. You should have been there."
"Why wasn't I there?"
The words come out before I can censor them. No, no, please let him still be as dumb and deaf and dense as he is. Please don't let him hear what I just said.
"I don't – I didn't think to invite you because – I, uhh…." As he struggles to form his words which basically mean he just didn't think, I feel a lump forming in my throat. God, I am such a crybaby.
But with startling clarity, I realize that this is it. The inevitable moment. The farewell I'd known was coming since I felt the first droplet of rain on my face.
I refuse to be a doormat any longer. I am supposed to be his best friend, not some random chick he knows. And I am glad that I am his "best", because he and I have been through some great moments together. But if continuing on means putting up with this crap, well then, I'm sorry. It's just gone on too long too much.
I stop walking so suddenly he stumbles. "You know we haven't hung out together in the past couple of weeks? And that we haven't spoken for longer than five minutes in the past four months? And that you've ditched our plans more times than I can count?"
He opens his mouth to reply, then he closes it. He opens it again, and I smirk without mirth. "I'm not expecting you to answer that. I just wanted you to know."
I've gotten my answer anyhow.
Confusion and guilt war across his features. "It's just that I've been busy…" Right. With other people. He sighs. "I'm sorry – "
"Could you stop saying that?" We both know you're not. "Anyway, I've got to go," I say abruptly, trying to get away as soon as I could. "I only asked my mom permission to be out… well, until this hour."
"Without an umbrella?"
"I'm half wet anyway. Nice going, dude," I force myself to grin up at him.
For a moment he looks confused at my sudden change in mood, and then he smiles at the comment that was practically tradition every time we shared an umbrella. That's when I know all the drama had just been forgotten by him. I know he won't be giving a second thought to anything I just said. He'd assume it was just me being a girl.
But I know better. This is the last time he'd be standing me up, and the last time I would foolishly wait. I don't know why this is happening, but I'm letting it go. I'm letting him go. So much for being best friends forever, huh?
All those ideas of a fabulous future of us going on this great adventure of life. I'd thought that maybe seven years of being best friends would be enough. I had thought that maybe the promises meant something. I guess they didn't. And I should have seen it coming. After all, it's not the first time he's left me cold. This month.
As I step out from under the umbrella and into the pouring rain, I let my tears finally fall. I feel them merge with the rainwater, and I smile to myself, knowing that I picked the right weather to cry in. I allow myself these few seconds of melodrama, knowing that this would be the first and only time I'll be doing it.
"Are you really sure?" he calls from behind me. Don't act like you really care. You only want to make sure your homework provider will show up tomorrow.
I turn around fully, hot and cool water still trickling down my face. "Yeah," I answer. "You… go on and do your thing."
"Okay. Bye, then. I guess I'll see you tomorrow." He slowly walks away.
And I guess we're only friends until the novelty wears off.
I look up at the gray skies and let the cool rain wash over me. Rainy season has officially started.
A/N: She's half in love and won't admit it to herself. So it's not really a best-friends-in-love story… LoL :P This was kind of inspired by something that happened in my life, only this confrontation never happened. Thank heavens for that, too.
Anyway, please review! I'd really like to hear your feedback. ;)