Chapter 12: Bowl of Cheerios
He found her in the cafeteria, stirring a bowl of cereal.
Life is wonderful, Joey professed.
No it isn’t, Amarea shot back.
Whoa! Who peed in your Cheerios this morning? Joey asked.
Why do you always say that? Amarea snapped. She threw her spoon into her bowl of cereal and milk spewed across the table. Who in their right mind would pee in someone’s Cheerios?
Exactly, Joey smiled.
What? Amarea was confused. Usually she was the one annoying Joey, not the other way around.
Exactly, Joey replied. He took a napkin and began wiping up the spattered milk. No one in their right mind would pee in someone’s Cheerios.
Why would someone eat Cheerios that somebody peed in? Amarea frowned.
I don’t know, but it would put you in a bad mood. Hence the thought: you are in a bad mood because someone peed in your Cheerios. Joey felt philosophical. He reached out to clean up some of the spatters that had landed on her shirt.
She grabbed the napkin away from him. Whatever, Amarea rolled her eyes. That’s stupid.
What gives? Joey asked. Patience. He had to be patient.
Give what? Amarea snapped back.
Stop, Joey commanded. Why are you in such a bad mood?
Who said I was in a bad mood? Amarea asked innocently.
You said life wasn’t wonderful, Joey replied.
So? Amarea asked.
So what’s wrong? Joey was genuinely concerned. He could feel her sadness and it was overwhelming for him.
Nothing’s wrong; I was just stating a fact. Amarea rolled her eyes. She began to dab ferociously at the milk drops on her shirt. Why did he care anyway?
Life is wonderful, Joey said. Amarea imagined Joey sweeping his arms in front of him, but she didn’t look up from her shirt.
Maybe for you, she snapped back. Your life may be wonderful.
And yours isn’t? Joey retorted.
Nope. It sucks, she said flatly.
Whatever, stop feeling sorry for yourself, Joey said in disgust.
Who said I was feeling sorry for myself? Amarea asked.
You did, he replied, when you said life isn’t wonderful.
I’m allowed my opinions, Amarea said dryly.
They’re wrong, Joey stated flatly.
So? Amarea rolled her eyes and threw the napkin at him. She waited for the next bit of wisdom Joey felt he needed to impart on her.
So cheer up camper, Joey grinned as he dodged to miss the napkin.
I’ve never been to camp, Amarea said simply.
Really? Joey asked.
No. Have you? She asked incredulously.
Come to think of it, no, he admitted, an idea beginning to form.
So how do you know camping makes one cheerful? Amarea asked sarcastically. She picked up her spoon and began stirring her cereal again.
I don’t. But it sure sounds fun. Maybe we should go sometime, he challenged.
Bugs? No bathroom? Sleeping on the ground? Amarea scrunched up her face in disgust. No thank you.
Yup, the wide open sky, camp fires, toasted marshmallows, Joey replied, the plan coming together quickly.
Have you ever had a toasted marshmallow? She asked.
No, Joey admitted.
So how do you know they are any good? Amarea was growing tired of this conversation.
I don’t, he admitted.
Boy, you sure are assuming a lot, Amarea said flatly.
So let’s do it, Joey said excitedly.
Do what? Amarea asked, as she raised an eyebrow and glanced at him. He looked so adorably happy. Amarea groaned.
Go camping, Joey said as he took out his cell phone and began texting.
Um, I’d rather not, Amarea replied, staring down at her cereal.
Why? Joey asked.
Because of the afore mentioned items, Amarea said dryly.
Afore? Like a five? Joey smiled.
Shut up, Amarea smiled.
So, let’s do it? Joey encouraged.
You’re crazy! Amarea exclaimed. Her spoon shot up out of the cereal and splatter milk on the table.
Seriously, Joey said, we should do it. He picked up another napkin and began wiping up the milk droplets.
Where would we go? Amarea asked. I don’t know of any camp grounds around here.
I know of a great one! Joey exclaimed.
Where? Amarea asked doubtfully.
Aunt Judy’s, Joey proclaimed.
Your aunt has a camp ground? Amarea rolled her eyes. She didn’t even notice that he was wiping the milk from her shirt until it was too late. She swatted his hand away and blushed a deep shade of red.
She has a patch of woods and a rock fire pit in her back yard, he said.
I don’t know…Amarea began. She was looking down at her shirt, wiping off the remaining milk.
Come on, it’ll be great, Joey cut in. He dabbed a bit of milk off of her cheek.
She blushed a deeper shade of red. Do you even have a tent? Amarea hoped the answer would be no. She began stirring her cereal again.
We’ll sleep under the stars, Joey beamed.
On the ground? Amarea smiled, no way her parents would let her sleep outside on the ground.
Where else? Joey asked.
I don’t know about that, Amarea replied.
We can get you an inflatable mattress, Joey shot back
What about bugs? Amarea asked, her skin itched at the thought.
Ever hear of bug spray? Joey asked.
What about the ones that crawl? Amarea itched her arm and milk from her spoon, sprayed across the table.
You’re not afraid of a little spider are you? Joey laughed. He took the spoon out of her hand and moved the cereal bowl to the other side of the table.
Yes. Especially, if it decides it wants to sleep in my bed! She shivered at the thought.
Great! Joey called out, as he ran out of the cafeteria; back to class.
What? Amarea asked, somewhat hurt at the fact he thought having bugs crawling on her as she slept was “great”. She reached for her bowl of cheerios. She jumped when Joey’s thoughts popped into her head.
My folks and Aunt Judy both say it’s ok, Joey smiled.
How do you know? Amarea asked doubtfully. She shifted nervously in her seat.
I just texted them, he replied.
You’re going to lose your phone, Amarea smiled. She pushed her bowl across the table.
It’s in my pocket, Joey said as he patted his pocket. He looked around to see if anyone had seen him.
So how did you read the message? Amarea asked.
I didn’t, Joey replied. He had the feeling he looked incredibly guilty; like someone who had been texting in class.
What? Amarea shook her head.
I didn’t read the message, Joey stated. His teacher circled around Joey’s desk. Joey smiled weakly at him.
So how do you know it’s ok to go camping? She asked.
I told them to write back if it was ok, and I got two messages, so it must be ok. It made sense to Joey.
What if it was just your mom telling you not to text her during school? Amarea smiled, some times that boy didn’t think.
Hum, good point, Joey admitted, I better check.
Amarea reached for her cereal bowl, as she stood to leave.
Crap, Joey said.
She sighed a breath of relief! No camping trip?
No, Joey replied.
Oh well, maybe another time. Amarea sighed, relieved she didn’t have to go camping. Bugs, YUCK. She dropped her uneaten cereal into the garbage.
The bell rang and Amarea gratefully hurried off to class.
No, Joey replied, I have detention.
Sorry, Amarea giggled.
A couple minutes later Joey said, I have news.
The price of tea in China? She asked.
No, the camping trip is on, Joey clarified, my dad has an old tent we can use.
Do I get my own room? Amarea asked.
What? Joey asked, totally confused.
I don’t know if it’s a good idea to share a room with you, she confessed.
Why? Joey asked.
You might take advantage of me, Amarea smiled.
Joey laughed, Crap.
What? Amarea asked
Now I have another detention, he stated. That’s the second detention you’ve gotten me today.
Shouldn’t laugh or text in class, Amarea giggled.
Thanks…a whole lot. Joey couldn’t help smiling.
You’re welcome. She was still grinning. I don’t know about going camping.
Why? Joey asked.
I don’t know if my folks will let me, she admitted.
Joey laughed loudly, Crap.
What? Amarea asked.
Another detention, he replied.
Quit laughing, Amarea giggled.
Quit making me laugh, Joey retorted. When have your parents ever NOT let you do something?
He was right. He was always right. Fine, I guess I’ll go, she conceded.
Great! I’ll pick you up at six, he replied.
Wonderful, Amarea said flatly.
Boy, feel that sarcasm, Joey replied.
Amarea laughed, Crap.
What? Joey asked.
Now I have detention, she said solemnly.
Joey stifled a laugh, I’ll see you in detention.