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Tulips - Part one
Sweat rolled down your forehead. You were so out of breath you were mere seconds away from passing out on that field. You were my hero. You grabbed the ball and you ran past all those players. I cheered my heart out for you when you scored that winning touch down on Friday the 16th. Your team members crowded around you. And your coach, he praised you like a dog. I never would have treated you like a dog, you were my hero. I worshiped you, I understand you. I thought you were my best friend.
I grip the picture of Tom. Tears escape my eyes, and I let them. I lean against my bed frame, using it as my support. Its finally starting to sink in. Tom's DEAD. I say the words over and over in my head not wanting to except the fact. My heartaches; He can't be dead I just saw him yesterday. I went and sat through his two hour long practice. I pull my long legs close to my chest. What am I going to do without Tom? This question haunts the back of my head, and I can't seem to give it an answer.
There's a knock on my door. Mom peeks her head in. "Honey, how are you holding up?" Mom asks. I can tell shes been crying, even dad cried when he found out. And he doesn't usually show a lot of emotion. Mom's hair is frizzy and un kept. Her face is free of any makeup, making her look pale. I can't form words. Mom moves towards me and sits on the bed. She rubs my back, while I sob into her shoulder.
I don't go down for dinner. I'm not hungry. Mom brings up a plate filled with comfort food anyway. It sits untouched on my dresser.
Mom and Dad insists on taking a vacation "to get away". But I know they mean so we can "forget about Tom". Which I declined, and said I'm saying here and going to school, followed by some door slamming.
"Lluvy, honey?" Mom asks coming in Tommy's room. I have his blanket around my shoulders. The smell of his cologne, fills my nostrils. Its overpowering, but comforting. "Yeah." My voice is scratchy and dry from not being used. "Honey are you sure you wouldn't enjoy a couple weeks in the Bahamas?" Mom sits in the chair across from his bed. I try to picture myself in the Bahamas. Blue skies, warm water, golden shores, where do I fit? Me in a bikini on the beach? NOT happening. I'd stick out. Mom stares at me awaiting an answer. "No." my voice is harsher then I want it to be. "Think about it." She says standing. "Promise me you'll just think about." When she leaves I go back to my room, carrying his pillow and blanket. I pull the blanket over my head and let the smell overwhelm me.
"Karen, she can't stay in his room forever." Dad's voice is stern, like he's talking to a child. "I know, I know. But Eric she's just trying to deal with..." "So are we, but we aren't sleeping in his room, are we?" Dad says. I can't believe dads being so cold. "She needs to find some friends, leave the house, move on." Dad tells Mom. She nods. "I know."She whispers. "What are we going to, Eric." She asks looking in his eyes. "We'll think of something." He grabs her hand and pulls her up the stairs to their bedroom. I move from my hiding spot behind the entry wall leading into the kitchen. After their up the stairs I move to my room. I don't feel like moving anymore. I lay down, pulling Tom's pillow close to my heart.
I take in my new environment. The wind blows a chilly breeze across my face. I pull out my jacket from my bag. The house looks old. Used. Lived in. Probably because it is. Its a bright, popping yellow color. And in the green, green grass sits three blue metal chairs. The porch that wraps around the house holds more blue chairs and two tables and a porch swing.
I slip my shoes off and lay in the grass using my bag as a pillow. My plane arrive four hours ago and then my parents drove the rest of the way here. I've been here about forty-five minutes, I haven't seen the inside. I imagine it's just as colorful as the outside. I'm not sure I want to. I mean venture into the unknown. I'm not ready, I don't know if I will ever be. I'm scared, Tommy. And your not here to protect me anymore. I close my eyes.
We were at the Dandy Memorial Park. We were racing to see who can 'Catch a Cloud'. I loved doing this with you. I pumped my legs harder, and I was inches away from the cloud of my choice. Your legs were pumping so fast they blurred. You could have caught your cloud. If it wasn't for Randy and his crew. Their van pulled up at the park squeaking to its stop. You stop swinging and ran to meet them. Words were exchanged and you jumped in. You left me. You didn't tell me bye or where to tell mom you were going. I was scared and alone.
Tears spill out of my eyes. They're gushing when she comes out of the House. She only looks to be five. And she's hiding behind golden curls that hang around her shoulders. She clutches her powder blue dress as she walks to me. She plops down in the grass right next to me. She leans on my arm when she asks,"why you cry." "I'm sad." She looks at me. "No sad. Be happy." the little girl throws her arms around me. She smells of baby lotion. "I'm Kay-la." she says hugging me tighter. "I'm Lluvy." "Llu-vy."Kayla says. "Close enough." Kayla releases me, she stands up holding my hand and she pulls me to the House.
Kayla introduces me to the family. It was her idea, not mine. I would have rather went in my new room and slept. Kayla drags me from each room telling anyone who will listen my name. Daniel's friends laugh. I can't tell if its at me or her. He looks embarrassed.
Daniel lifts my bags. One's filled with Tommy's stuff, and the other one is with my clothes. He lets a grunt loose and I grab Tommy's bag. "No, I got it." He says but I'm already up the stairs. He leads the way to his room. I lay Tommy's bag down. Daniel drops the bag next to mine. His room is sorta cramped, since his mom put a twin mattress in there. There's a crowded dresser and a messy closet. This should be fun.
Kayla rests her head on my stomach as we watch Blues Clues. Its her favorite. I have to start school tomorrow. Brook Dale High. I wish I was a child again. No problems. Blues Clues all day. Sippy cups. What a life.
I sit in the back with Kayla on the drive to school. I feel closer to her than I do to Daniel. He twists the dial on the radio to a rock station to block his mom out. Kayla sucks her thumb and holds my hand. Faith pulls into Brook Dale High. Daniel jumps out not waiting for me. I don't care. I say goodbye to Kayla, grab my purple bag, and hop out.
The students of Brook Dale High, I look nothing like them. My brother's baggy football hoodie and worn out jeans can not compare to their heels and minis.
I move through the line to get my lunch. Pay. Find an empty table. I can't eat. So I look at my schedule. I have Ms. Powers next. Creative Writing. I look up from my schedule to find a guy moving in my direction. No he's not coming over here. Surely he's going over to her table. But he walks right past the beautiful blonde in a mini skirt til he's standing in front of my table. His tray hits the table and he slides into the chair. "Your at my table."he says. He stares at me. I try to pretend he's not there. Maybe he'll go away. The bell rings sinaling that lunch is over and I dump my tray.
Creative Writing is written across the white board. Ms. Powers comes in the class and goes into a long speech about what she expects this year. I've heard it over five times already so I tuned her out. Her speech lasts the whole period. "Remember bring pens, pencils, and paper to class!" Ms. Powers says to the class as we leave.
I walk to my locker and find Him standing there. In front of my locker, blocking it. "That's my locker. Could you move?"I say. But He acts like I'm not there. Great. "Oh. Sorry did you say something?" He asks. "Can you move? You're blocking my locker."I say again. "This is your locker."He points to it. I nod because if I say one more word to this jerk I'm gonna.... He moves and I turn the knob. CLICK. I open it, and put my books in my bag. When I close my locker he's still there.
"Is there something you want?" I ask. "Yeah, your name would be nice."He says. If this is his way of flirting, well it sucks. I ignore him and head to the front of the school. He follows me; He doesn't give up easy. When my hand hits the glass door he says,"I'm sorry. I probably sound like the biggest jerk." I turn to look at him. "I've heard bigger." "I'm Blake."He says. "Lluvy." I look out the door Daniel's standing to get in Faith's Mini Van. "Lluvy.Lluvy.Lluvy."Blake says over and over. "My ride's here."
"Where are we going?" "Surprise."Kayla says, leading the way. Only it sounded more like suprise. I step carefully over tree roots. Kayla lets go of my hand and runs ahead of me. "Kayla!!, Kayla!!" I scream, chasing after her. She giggles as she runs between the trees. I run as fast as I can without slipping on the slick moss. Kayla's a yellow blur in the distance. I try to increase my speed, but I slip on a root that sticks far out of the ground. I bite my lip making it bleed as I fall down. Its not broken, maybe sprained at the least. I wiggle my foot in small circles. It seems fine so I use the tree to get up.
I walk in the direction Kayla was. My foot hurts, but it's manageable. I find Kayla staring in a river that runs through the forest. "Surprise."She says, "Let's go home."
"Lluvy Marks." Mr. Penner calls. "Here." He continues down the list. Something jabs at my back; I try to ignore it. But the jabbing gets harder. "Psst!" Blake whispers. I turn around and I'm staring at him. "What?" "You wanna have lunch?" "Blake Zanio." Mr. Penner calls. Blake doesn't respond, and he calls again. Mr. Penner sees him and says," Blake do you have something to share." It wasn't a question. I could tell by the way he looked. Blake clears his throat. "We're wanting, Mr. Zanio." "I was asking Lluvy if she wanted to eat lunch with me." Blake says. Boys hoop and holler, and tell Blake that they hope he does, so he can tell them about it. Girls act disgusted, grossed out. Mr. Penner calls his classroom in order. "So...." Blake whispers as Penner writes notes on the board. Before I can answer the bell rings and students merge into the hall.
I grab a tray and head to the Media Center. I'm the only one, expect for a couple students who always eat in here. It's silent expect for the sound of pages turning and books being re shelved. I bite into my sandwich, making the jelly squirt out the side. I lick it with my tongue, it tastes sour not like Faith's. "Lluvy." He whispers walking up behind me. I take another bite. He sits next to me, his knee barely touching mine. I want to ask him all theses questions. Why? Why me? Why not Amy, in her tight skirts? Why can't you just leave me alone? My eyes watch as his knee bobs up and down. Its making me paranoid, I want to slam my hand on his knee so it will just stop. His knee brushes mine. And tingles run down my spine. I look at him. His tray is empty. He didn't buy anything. His eyes trace over the book titles. "You wanted to have lunch, but you didn't buy one." I say with a smile. Blake says "I was going to hide in the gym till lunch was over. But then I saw you in here." "Why were you going to hide?" "Because I said I was eating with you. And when you didn't come, the guys started to..." "Oh." "Yeah. Why are you in here?" Blake asks. I bite my lip. "Come on. If we're going to be friends, no secrets." "I don't have any friends." I mumble. "What?" "I don't have any friends."I say zipping my jacket. "Now you do."
Blake comes to the park with Kayla and Me. She yells and runs around, climbing on the monkey bars. I sit on a concrete bench. "Seriously, come swing." Blake says pulling me to the swing sets. I sit in the swing and Lucy takes over. My legs pump, but I'm not here. Tears turn to sobs as I remember Dandy Park. Tom. Tears come faster when Tom invades my memories. "Lluvy!!, Lluvy!!." I feel Blake's hands on my shoulders, shaking me. Kayla's trying to hug me, but she can't get to me. She screams. When I stop crying I grab Kayla and pull her on my hip. I head to the House. Blake runs to catch up. "I thought no secrets. What was that?" Blake asks. "I've got to go." Kayla hugs my neck.
Mom calls. She says she wishes I would've come with. I don't. They get back in a few days. Mom said" that's when we'll take care of Tom". Those are her words not mine. She doesn't care. She talked about cremating his body. I don't know what he'd want. I know I wish this didn't happen.
I lay my head on Tom's pillow, pull his cover over Kayla and me. Elmo's World. That seems better than Earth right now. I stayed home with Kayla. I couldn't get out of bed. Every little thing makes me cry, or reminds me of him. So Faith let me stay with Kayla. Her head lays on my stomach and I watch it rise and fall. I smooth her curls. She looks at me and smiles.
Blake was waiting for me at my locker when I got out of Ms. Spoc's class. "Hey." The words sound natural. He stares at me. "Hey." Awkward. I swap my books and start walking to the lunchroom. Blake follows not saying anything. I get today's special and grab a table. Blake buys chips and a water. "So what was that about?" I try to play dumb. "What? You mean me talking to you kindly and then you blow me off?" It doesn't work. "No at the park." I stir my green beans with my fork, avoiding his eyes. "Lluvy." I look in his eyes, blue oceans. "I don't like to talk about it." "You can tell me." Blake says. "My brother, he...he.." Tears swell in my eyes. I haven't said it out loud before now. Blake waits. "Died." I grab my tray and run out of the lunchroom.
I slip into my seat in Mr. Quia's class. I pull my notebook on my desk and start to write down the assignment on the board. Blake sits next to me. He stares at the board, but doesn't say anything. Mr. Quia slams the door and walks angrily to his desk. "The assignment is due Monday. I'm leaving early to take care of personal business." Mr. Quia grabbed his bag and headed to the door. The sub, Ms. Ellis came in the door almost colliding with Mr. Quia. His face turned a reddish color, only a shade darker than his vibrant orange hair. He introduced her and hurried out.
Ms. Ellis is old. And I mean prehistoric. She sat in Mr. Quia's desk and fell asleep within minutes. The class volume rose. My Social Studies Human Understanding Book lays on my desk I scan the required pages. "Lluvy, hey..I'm sorry." Blake leans toward my desk. I stare at page 465. I can hear him sigh.
I look over at him and he's talking with a group of boys now. One with a red jacket looks my way, and I glance at the clock. When I look back Red jacket is looking at me, this time I don't look away. He says something that I can't make out, and one of the other guys in a green shirt looks over here. My face turns a crimson color. I look back at my social studies book.
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