Lunch with Jeremy | Teen Ink

Lunch with Jeremy

February 13, 2009
By Emily Chang BRONZE, San Francisco, California
Emily Chang BRONZE, San Francisco, California
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

He sat across the dining room table from me, avoiding eye contact with his black hoodie pulled up and his side swept bangs kept over his eyes. Gosh when did he have so many pimples, it’s almost like a strawberry field on his face. Bad thoughts, Mia. Stop it. I glanced over and saw that it was a quarter till the Black-Capped Chickadee on the bird clock that hung on the tangerine colored kitchen walls at my aunt’s house. Ugh, when will this lunch be over? My attention went back to my sulking cousin across from me. I remembered a time when the lifeless form had color in his cheeks, emotion in his voice, and was fun to be around. It wasn’t that long ago…was it?
My cousin Jeremy and I used to be the best of friends. No. We were partners in crime. My favorite childhood memories were with him. We used to climb the old tree in his backyard, pretend that we were pirates and fight with stick swords. It usually ended up with one of us jabbing the other with the stick, which resulted in 5 minutes of hysterical crying, 10 minutes of the silent treatment, and then finally realizing that we were bored, so another hour of sword fights until the cycle repeated itself again. We would harass the neighbor’s Rottweilers and then flood the trash can with the garden hose in order to flush out the spiders and ants. Oh how Jeremy always hated spiders. We would hide in the attic when our moms called us to each lunch and think of new ways to entertain ourselves. Once we put white sheets over our heads and pretended to be ghosts in the attic. Then we tried scaring the cars that drove by, but I think we ended up scaring ourselves a little bit more in that old dusty attic than the people that drove by.
As I stared at the person in front of me, it was hard to imagine him being the same little boy I had spent so many summer afternoons and holiday weekends with. I remembered one summer afternoon. We had been playing in my room and we had built a castle made of blankets, pillows, couch cushions and chairs. We laid in our masterpiece and a silence came over us. I said to him, “Let’s live here. Forever. Just the two of us, we can get food from the fridge at night and sleep under the covers.”
“Yeah, that would be nice,” he replied, but there was something strange in his voice that I couldn’t decipher at the time. I was too lost in the moment and too carefree to think about anything else but that moment in our castle. When the time came for him to leave, we pulled every tactic there was to avoid the departure. He hid in my closet, we stalled our parents, and we even tried cooking for his parents so that they’d have to stay for dinner.
Soon those days became a distant memory as I became lost in the world of clothes, makeup, and boys, and Jeremy became lost in the world of computer games, emo bands, and black clothing. We drifted apart. The family gatherings that were once filled with pranks and laughter became awkward silences as we tried desperately to find things we still had in common. After a while, we gave up and summer afternoons and holiday weekends were spent with friends and not each other. I think Jeremy knew that afternoon that we didn’t have many more days like that.
The Black-Capped Chickadee sang, and my mom looked at the clock.
“Oh goodness, we’ve stayed for so long, time to go. C’mon Mia get your stuff.” I had already been clutching my purse in preparation for our departure two hours ago. I glanced over at Jeremy. He was listening to his ipod and was bobbing his head to loud music that I could faintly hear from across the table. I tried shaking off the nostalgic feeling, but it was too strong to resist. It gave me some comfort thinking that maybe in some weird parallel universe, Jeremy and I were still in our castle; a place where emo music and puberty had not yet stolen my cousin. Then my phone beeped and read “One new text message,” and life went on.

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