I stared at the night sky thinking about what I’d been told, I was told aliens were real. I didn’t believe it. I was told it had to be true because of how big the universe was, and for Earth to be the only place with life was just unlikely. I still wasn’t convinced. I always find it weird to think that that was the last time I saw her, when we were having a stupid argument that we both got so worked up about, but sadly that was the usual for us. Becca was a science geek, always talking about the planets and alien life. She was the kind of person who had a telescope in their backyard to look at the stars. Every. Single. Night. I made fun of her then, (in a joking way of course) but now I miss it, because for the first time in my life I lay under the stars in my backyard alone. Why? Because Becca is dead.
I have to go to school today. I tried to get out of it but my dad has no empathy for anyone, and my mom is away on a business trip, so I knew there was no getting out of it. I hate school. I’m not naturally intelligent like Becca was, so school is hard enough with her helping me, I don’t know how I’ll continue without her. I figured this would be my biggest problem, it didn’t even occur to me that people would ask questions, and they asked a lot of questions.
I walked towards the school, my head down. I stared at my new black Converse, my mom had gotten them for me when Becca died, as if new shoes would make me forget about her death. THUD! I felt a metal pole slam into my body, I stumbled backwards. When I recovered I looked ahead of me, I felt like complete idiot. I had run into lamp post. I heard some girls behind me chuckle. I put on an expressionless face as if to say, I run into lamp posts all the time, don’t you?
I walked through the doors of the school, (looking ahead of myself this time) when the bell rang. How could it ring now? It’s too early, all I did was run into lamp post, that shouldn’t delay my time! I started to run to class, I wasn’t suppose to run in the hallway but I figured since the bell rang all the teachers should be in their classrooms anyway.
“Addison!” I turned around to see who had shouted my name. It was Mr. Smith our guidance counselor.
“I’m so s-” I began to say but I was cut off.
“I would like to see you in my office.” I stared at my black Converse again as I walked. Thank goodness there’s no lamp posts in the school.
I sat in a chair across from Mr. Smith’s desk. I always thought he should have been a gym teacher, he loves to yell and is built like a wrestler, who likes to eat McDonalds and watch Netflix in his free time. Maybe when he was applying for the job he applied to be a gym teacher but that spot was already taken so he took the only job he could get. As I was thinking about this Mr. Smith was talking so I decided to tune in, it’s not like I had anythng better to do.
“So is there anything you’d like to talk to about?” Mr. Smith said in an attempted -but failed- caring voice. I didn’t listen to the first part of his “speech” but I didn’t need to. He was talking about Becca, I was annoyed, but relieved that I wasn’t in trouble.
“No” I responded then I got up and walked out of the room, because talking about my emotions was the last thing either of us wanted to do.
I began to walk to my first hour class, my footsteps echoing in the silent empty hallway. That’s what life felt like now, silent, empty, alone. I hadn’t been in Mr. Smith’s office too long, maybe 10, 20 minutes, so there was still half a class period left. As I pushed the door open into my math class, I could feel everybody’s eyes on me. I don’t blame them I was half an hour late to class and had an indisputable dead friend in my past. So once again I stared at my Converse as I walked, I had become very familiar with them now. I wasn’t even all the way to my math teacher’s desk when she announced,
“You’re late.” Thanks captain obvious.
“I was at Mr. Smith’s office” I stammered.
“Oh right cause you're dead friend.” I’m surprised they didn’t hire you for the guidance counselor, I thought, you care even less than Mr. Smith, which is definitely saying something. My math teacher is Ms. Lance, she’s in her mid-twenties, she has dark purple hair and I’m pretty sure that “water” she brings everyday is really just vodka. I found myself staring blankly at the wall.
“Um... you can go to your seat now.” Ms. Lance said probably wondering what in the world was wrong with me. I sat down at my desk and asked a girl next to me what we were doing.
“Answering the problems on the board.” I began to copy down the problems on a sheet of paper.
“So how did Becca die?” I pretended not to hear her. SMACK! Her friend slapped the girl on the shoulder.
”You don’t ask someone that!” The friend hissed.
“Oh sorry.” The girl muttered. I still pretended not to hear, I could hear them whispering to each other as I finished my math problems, then rang the familiar sound of the bell telling me it was time to go.
I went to two more classes before lunch. Lunch was the worst, but I did make it to the cafeteria without running into any light posts or being harassed by questions about Becca. Becca and I always sat with a bunch of girls, that now that I think of it, I can’t even remember the names of. We would always joke around by ourselves, I stopped myself, thinking about Becca gave me the same sad, empty feeling I’ve felt all day. I hated that feeling, it made me feel weak and vulnerable. That wasn’t me. I was strong, I don’t think I’ve cried since the summer of 6th grade, It’s January tenth of 7th grade now. My mom says I get it from my dad, I told him that once, he didn’t care, said he was to busy to talk to me, what he always says. That’s when I realized I didn't want to be like my dad, that night I went up to my room and cried. That was last summer, the last time I cried. I snapped myself out of my thoughts. This has been happening a lot lately, me getting lost in my thoughts, I think this is because I don’t have Becca to talk to so there is only one person left I enjoy talking to, myself.
So I come to the conclusion that I should also sit by myself, but of course that doesn’t last long.
“Hi I’m Jessica,” says a girl that decides I don’t want to be sitting alone. I’m about to just get up and leave when I remember what my mom told me a few days after Becca died, she told me that even though I didn’t want to, I had to make new friends. I wasn’t convinced, a common thing for me, I didn’t think it was possible to move on from Becca, but I took her advice anyway, I guess I was feeling hopeful.
“Addison,” I replied
“I heard what happened to to your friend, Becca, I’m really sorry.” I liked Jessica , but I didn’t want to, you can’t just replace your dead friend like that, so I began to ignore her, and talked to myself in my head about how ugly her shirt was. Then another girl sat down, next to me this time rather than across from me like ugly-shirted Jessica.
“Sorry if this is like disrespectful,” said the girl sitting next me, “but how did Becca die?”
I could tell Jessica was trying not to listen, but who wouldn’t be eavesdropping right now?
It’s not that I didn’t want people to know how Becca died, but I don’t think Becca would appreciate it if I told everyone how it happened. She didn’t die rescuing a kitten from a tree or anything like that, it was simply that Becca had a very severe peanut allergy, but peanut’s also happened to be Becca’s sister, Melissa’s favorite. So one day when Becca got home from school she found some “sugar cookies” that Melissa had brought home, so Becca cluelessly grabbed a cookie off the counter and took a bite. I can safely say that was the biggest mistake of her life. Of course the “sugar cookies” were really peanut butter cookies, so Becca falls to the ground, doesn’t have her epipen, mom comes home and Becca’s dead. That’s why I didn’t tell anyone, because it’s an embarrassing way to die.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” I said. The girl sighed and wandered away, regrouping with her friends. I watched as her friends crowded around her, probably asking what I said, I saw the girl shake her head disappointedly then sit down already talking about something else, probably Jessica’s ugly shirt.
RING! I began to walk to my next class with Jessica trailing close behind. My next class was science. I hated it. All I could think about was how much I wished Becca was here, and it didn’t help that everyone was bombarding me with questions, so how did she die? So about Becca… Were you there? Did she turn into a zombie by chance? I didn’t answer partially because they were stupid but I also didn’t want people to know. So I raised my hand, thinking of only one way out this.
“Yeah, Addison?” The teacher said in his ususal monotone voice.
“I don’t feel well, can I go to the office?”
“Sure.” That’s the one good thing about teachers who don’t care, you can go to office because your sick anytime you want, then you just have to hope your parents play along. Oh right, parents. My dad can’t come to school to pick me up, he’s at work, and there’s no way he’d leave just because I’m “a little sick”. I then remembered I was still in science, now staring blankly into space. Jessica stood in front of me, staring at me expectantly, what did she want?
“Are you coming?” Jessica asked, a smile she was trying to hide forming on her face.
“To the office.” Jessica said, her smile now becoming more visible.
“Umm...Ok.” I said, and we walked.
There was a whole lot of awkward silence at first, when I broke it.
“Can you give me a ride home?” I asked. I expected a no because I barely knew the girl and her mom was probably working.
“Yeah that’s fine,” she said to my surprise. So we told the people at the office to call Jessica’s mom.
“Hi, is this Addison?” Jessica’s mom said as soon as we got in the car.
“Yep,” Jessica replied.
Jessica’s mom smiled at me. I smiled back. The car started and the radio turned on. The end of a song I didn’t know played. Then it came on. Our song. Becca and I love this song. We would always listen to it together. And here it was playing on an almost stranger’s radio, in an almost stranger’s car, and here I was bawling in the backseat, I could feel my cold wet tears streaming down my face, I could feel Jessica her mom staring at me, exchanging looks and mind messages saying, what’s wrong with her? But I no longer cared, there was no stopping myself. I hated myself in that moment. I felt like a cliche in a bad romance movie. I’m pretty sure I cried through the rest of the song. The rest of the car ride was more awkward silence and it wasn’t too hard to figure out why.
We pulled up to my house when something strange happened. I looked Jessica straight in the eye, “Will you come with me?” I don’t know why I said it. I definitely didn’t expect it. She exchanged a look with her mom then said yes, maybe out of pity, but I didn’t care. So we went inside the house, sat on the couch and watched our favorite shows.
It was the first time I’d enjoyed myself since Becca died. Oh right, Becca. I felt bad about even forgetting about her for a second. I looked out the window at the dark night sky. We had been here for awhile.
“Can we go outside?” I asked.
“Ok,” Jessica replied. I liked how she agreed with everything.
We walked outside and layed under the stars and we talked. It felt like another romance movie cliche, but that was okay, I liked our talk, I liked Jessica, I liked this, even though it wasn’t Becca. So for the first time I believed what I didn’t want to believe. I was convinced.