“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” Lao Tzu
Sometimes, the past can stay behind. Others, it will haunt you. I’ll never forget my mother’s death. I wish I could, but it’s all etched in my mind.
“Rain, you with me?” I jolt out of my trance. My brother and I are moving to my grandmother’s house in Florida.
“I’m here,” I said as my brother, Leo, places his hand on my knee.
“Good. We are almost there. New town new us right?” he gave me a sad smile. If only that were true. I returned his smile.
All of the houses we were passing were beautiful. They were much bigger than our home in New York. As I think of home, tears form in my eyes. We had gone through so much with our dad, then when my mother died, we up-and-moved. We left almost everything behind. Our home, friends, everything. Sniffing, I wipe my eyes before Leo can see the tears, but I’m not fast enough.
“Hey,” he said soothingly, “it’s ok. He can’t get us here. I know we left a lot behind, but you’ll make new friends in no time.”
“What if the news reached this state?”
“It didn’t. If anything, it might have reached Pennsylvania, but no farther. It was local news, there’s no way it reached here. Just relax, OK? I’m here to protect you.” he was so calm about this, and I believed him. He was so strong. He was always the strong one, and I’ll never understand how he remains strong after what happened to us. I stare out the window as the car slows to a stop. A woman with greying hair ran towards us.
“Hey, Auntie Kay!” Leo exclaimed as he exited. I had never seen her before. Mom must’ve brought him here before dad went bad. Cautiously, I exit the car.
“Rain! Your mother told me so much about you!” she held her arms open like she was expecting a hug. I didn’t move. She looked a lot like mom. Her hair, although greying, might have once been dirty blonde, her eyes were a dark brown.
“It’s alright dear, I don’t bite. Tell me, how did you get your name?” she laughed. Leo answered for me.
“It was rainy when she was born, and her eyes were dark blue like water. Mom thought it would suit her. She was right. Rain is a fairly calm, go-with-the-flow kind of person, and when she was younger, she loved water. Particularly, rain. I don’t know if she still does, but that’s the history of her name,” he spoke quietly.
“I do, a lot actually.”
“Ah ha! It speaks! I’m kidding dear, come let’s pick out your rooms,” she said as she walked towards the house. ‘It speaks’, really? Yes, I speak. I follow Leo and Auntie Kay.
The house was more beautiful on the inside than on the outside. The floors were real wood, the wall had a white trim with a blue wallpaper, and there was a gorgeous gold chandelier. She laughed.
“Don’t get too impressed now, this is only the foyer!”
We walked into the living room. Once again, the floor was wood, but now the walls were red with gold trims.
“I made the foyer blue so it’s a little more welcoming. I like things to be simple, and to me, blue was as simple as can be,” she said as she closed the window. “Come. The stairs are this way.”
We walked up the stairs and she stopped at the top.
“You pick out your rooms. I’ll be back in five minutes to check on you, I need to check on dinner first,” she said quietly. I watched her retreating back until I couldn’t see her anymore. I walked around and opened a few doors. One had pink walls, another white with purple flowers, and the last one yellow. I open another door and find belongings in there. The walls were blue, my favorite color. This is probably Auntie Kay’s room. There was one thing out of place, however, there was too much dust for someone to have been living in here. I walk over to the dresser and pick up a picture. I blow the dust off. There were three people in it. Two of them looked like my mother, but I didn’t recognize the third. She wasn’t much older than the other two, but she looked different. Her eyes were purple, her hair goblin green, and her smile crooked.
“This was your mother’s room. That girl in the photo was our best friend- Rose,” I turn and see Auntie Kay standing in the doorway, her eyes wet.
“It was hers until she was 15.” Until she was 15? What did that mean?
“What do you mean? What happened when she was fifteen?”
“It was a rainy night, two months before her birthday. Dad, your grandfather, had gone scuba diving at a beach not too far from here. He had been gone for hours longer than he said he would be, but this wasn’t too unusual, it happened from time-to-time. It was around ten o’clock when the phone rang. It was Dad’s diving buddy, Rodger, calling and he was saying he never surfaced and they had sent a team down to find him. They said my father had drowned and his body was at the hospital. The police wanted a positive recognition, so my mother went. She never made it,” her voice cracked, and then she continued. “She had been crying, and between that and the rain, she couldn’t see. Her car spun off the road and hit a tree. My sister and I found out an hour later when he body was found. My sister and mother were closer than the rest of us, so naturally, it hurt her a little more. I think that is why she called you ‘Rain’. To honor the night of her death.”
“How did he drown?” I asked.
“An octopus had grabbed his respirator and pulled it off. Then it took it with him and Dad couldn’t get to the surface in time. After about a month, Katrina ran away, saying that she was going to start a new life. A few years later she came back with your brother. Then she told me about you when you were born. she kept apologizing saying she couldn’t bring you down, but she never said why. Now I know when it’s too late,” tears began running down her face. “She was all I had for a long time, and I know she was all you two had as well. Your mother was a beautiful person and shouldn’t have died like that,” she sobbed. I looked down at the ground. Maybe she deserved a chance. She wiped her face.
“You can take this room if you want.”
“I will, thank you.”
“I’ll be up after dinner to help dust everything, I’m going to check on your brother now,” she said. She walked away. I began to unpack and dust everything. Within ten minutes, I had the room almost completely done. Auntie Kay called us down for dinner. The food smelled delicious.
“I hope you guys like this, it’s lasagna, made with an old family recipe. I’m sorry if I make food you two don’t like, just let me know,” she spoke hurriedly. I took a bite, it was delicious.
“Thank you, Auntie, we love it,” Leo spoke for both of us, I was eating faster than I ever had before. They both laughed. It was weird, eating dinner as a family. It was almost just as weird to be eating a real dinner. We didn’t get those often back home. After dinner, Auntie Kay had emptied the closet, and the dresser, helped me sweep the floors, and replaced the bed. She had gotten me new bedding as well, all in a little over two hours.
“Well, here you are, your new room! You should get ready for bed, you have school tomorrow!” she said. I groaned, I wasn’t even here for a week and I was already going back to school. “The bathroom is just down the hall if you need to shower.” she walked off. I showered and went to bed, already dreading the next day.
I woke up at seven. I could smell breakfast already. I rolled out of bed and stumbled to my closet. It was my first day, so I had to make a good impression. Seeing as it’s October, I decided to wear a long sleeve burgundy dress with some boots. I threw my hair in a braid, did some quick makeup, and went downstairs. Leo had beaten me to breakfast as usual. I grabbed a pancake and some sausage.
“I love your outfit and makeup! Nice to see you inherited your mother’s fashion skills. She was amazing at piecing together outfits, and she was so good with makeup, she might as well been a makeup artist,” she laughed.
“Thanks, she taught me all I know,” I replied. After taking care of our dishes, we went to Auntie’s car and she drove us to school.
“Bye, love you! I’ll pick you up at four!” she kissed each of us on the head and drove off.
“Hey, so I have gym first period and from what I’ve read, I need to be extra early. Sorry for leaving you alone on your first day,” Leo spoke hurriedly.
“It’s cool, I don’t really care.”
“Cool. See you after school!” I watched as he walked off. I looked down at my schedule as I walked. I bumped into someone, dropping all of my books.
“Ughh, watch where you’re going loser!” I look up and see I didn’t bump into one person, but rather a group of people. I could tell just by looking at them that they were the popular ones. There were three girls and two boys.
“Sorry,” I mumbled as I gathered my stuff. The one who had spoken to me made a disgusted face.
“Where’d you get that dress, the dump? Look, sweetie, I’m sure Goodwill has some clothes for you that are more fashionable than that,” I look at her outfit. She was wearing a bubblegum-pink shirt with neon green shorts. She had no right to declare what was fashionable. I stood up.
“Well, sweetie, I’m sure there’s some five-year-old wearing that same exact outfit,” I said, taking care to mock her when I said ‘sweetie’. Her face turned pink. One of her friends spoke up.
“Well I’ll have you know that she has a stylist that make her outfits, so this is totally in right now,” she announced.
“Yeah, if her stylist is her Great Grandmother, maybe. Perhaps your friend finally decided it was time to dress herself,” I said. This was my first day of school and already I had made an enemy. The girl in pink sneered.
“Listen, sweetheart, you don’t want to mess with me, I can make your life absolutely miserable,” she spat out her sentence while jabbing her finger at me. At home, I was known for never knowing when to shut up, and for the longest time, I never knew what that meant, until now. I tried to stop the words from coming out of my mouth, but it was too late.
“Try me,” they were out of my mouth before I could even comprehend what she had said. She moved towards me, and one of the guys spoke up.
“Oh crap! Hey, Justine, I think I left my binder in Art, English, or maybe Homeroom, I don’t remember bringing it home yesterday. Would you guys mind checking for me? Coach is gonna kill me if I don’t have those drills,” he flashed her a smile. She smiled back.
“Of course, come on girls!” she looked at me, “this isn’t over,” she growled as she smacked my books out of my hands. The guy spoke again.
“Logan, can you tell coach I’ll be a few minutes late, say I had an emergency,” he spoke as he dug in his book bag. He pulled out a binder. “Tell him all the drills from last year are in here,” he said as he gave the binder to his friend. He nodded and ran off. I bent down and began to gather my stuff, and then I noticed an extra set of hands. I look up and it’s that guy. I stand up, and he follows suit.
“Here, I’m sorry about Justine, she’s a little messed up,” he said as he handed me my things.
“You must be new here, I’m Caleb, nice to meet you!”
“Rain, nice to meet you too,” I said with uncertainty. He seemed a little too nice.
“Rain, that’s a pretty name.”
“Really? Most people find it stupid or weird.” it was true. I was bullied all the time at home because of it.
“I think it’s unique and beautiful, and between you and me, most people don’t know what they’re talking about anyways,” we laughed.
“Why’d you tell them to look for your binder when you had it all along?”
“Justine was about to hurt you in some way. See, she thinks I’m her boyfriend, so she gets very territorial.”
“She thinks she’s your girlfriend?” I laughed. To me, that was hilarious. I mean, how do you not know if someone’s your boyfriend or not? It only shows how stupid she is.
“She’s head of the Cheerleading squad, she likes me, I’m head of the football team, I’m too nice,” he laughed.
“You’re head of the football team?” I remembered Leo saying something about football. I know he really wanted to play before our dad went bad.
“The one and only.”
“That’s funny, you didn’t strike me as a football player.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not like most stereotypical players I guess. You know, I’m charming, smart, and nice, Nah, I’m kidding. I mean, I’m all those, but my point is, I’m much nicer than most people would’ve guessed.”
“My brother wants to join your team, he’s new here too. His name’s Leo, and he’s a great QB. He’s good at everything else, but he’s amazing as a QB,” I said, trying to put in a good word for my brother.
“Well, I’ll keep an eye out for ’em. So what class do you have right now? I’ll be more than happy to show you around,” he said as he looked at my schedule.
“Ah, English with Mrs.Lee, right this way.” As he walked me to my class, he pointed out the cafe, some bathrooms and water fountains, and the gym. “Well here we are, I’ll meet you after class to show you to the next period. See ya!” he waved.
“See ya later!” I can’t believe it. My first day and I’m already friends with the head of the football team. I walked in, gave an introduction, and sat down. I always loved reading, for me, it was a way to escape reality and my father. Naturally, I enjoyed English as well, but my absolute favorite part was reading.
The bell rang and Caleb was already outside the door. He walked me to my next class.
“Hey, so you want to sit with me for lunch?” he asked. It’s not like I had anyone else.
“Cool, see you then.”
I sat through history taking notes when a piece of paper landed on my desk. I open it up, and in it was a drawing that looked like a pregnant tomato. It was from Justine. Thinking nothing of it, I crumble it up and put it in my book bag. Justine raised her hand.
“Excuse me, Miss Chong, the new girl was passing notes,” she shot me a smug smile. I looked at her.
“Yeah, I just felt it was important to ask Justine a question, seeing as she’s so smart. Since she called me out, may I ask her properly now?” I asked. I knew she knew nothing, but she declared war, a game I know how to play.
“Of course,” Miss Chong said. I smiled at Justine. I decided to go to the basics.
“What document did the French National Assembly complete in 1789? Was it the Declaration of the Rights of Men, or the Vindication of the Rights of Women? My memory seems to be failing me at the moment,” I asked. The one with women was a book, it was obviously the first one, but she’s too stupid to know that. She looked to her left for a bit, like she was trying to think.
“It obviously wasn’t either one of those. It was the Declaration of Independence. They were trying to break away from Russia at the time. I’m more than happy to tutor you,” she had a pleased look on her face. Everyone started to laugh.
“Thanks for your offer Justine, but I’ll have you know it was the Declaration of the Rights of Men, and it established principles similar to that of our first amendment. Oh, and France was never a part of Russia. I’m available Tuesdays after school from four to six,” everyone was laughing at her.
“If you already knew why did you ask?” Miss Chong asked.
“Well, she said I’m passing notes, so I wanted to prove how fake they both are,” once again, I didn’t think before I spoke. Everyone started cheering and laughing.
“Enough!” she barked. “And that’s more than enough from you two,” she said, pointing at me and Justine. When lunch came, I spotted Caleb sitting at a table with what I presumed were the other football players with a handful of cheerleaders. Amongst them was Leo. I sat between him and Caleb. Leo rubbed his knuckles on my head in greeting.
“Ow!” I exclaimed. I stomped on his foot really hard.
“Ow!” he exclaimed as he grabbed his foot. I smoothed my hair. They laughed.
“Are you guys always like this?” Caleb asked.
“It’s routine,” we replied in unison. We glared at each other. He laughed.
“Well I guess we have a lot of entertainment to look forward to!” everyone laughed.
“Thanks for the tip on your Bro Rain, we already got ourselves a great QB!” Caleb said patting me on the back. Leo looked down at the floor, his ears pink. He probably thought I forgot about his love for football. One of the girls spoke to me.
“Hi! I’m Madison Brooks, nice to meet you!”
“I’m Rain, nice to meet you too.”
“You know, we could totally use someone like you on the squad. Tryouts are this afternoon, you should go!” she said. One of the other girls popped in.
“Yeah you really should, I mean Justine won’t like it, but she isn’t there today. Once you’re accepted, she can’t do anything about it, I’m Ruby by the way,” she said as she extended her hand. I shook it.
“Sure, I’ll be there. Someone has to slap some sense into Leo anyway,” I said jokingly. He punched me in my arm and we both laughed.
“We might as well introduce you to the rest of the team,” Caleb said. “Ronnie is the one across from you, he’s the jokester.”
“Sup Rain Brain!”
“He likes to give everything nicknames as well. The one to his right is Joe you met him this morning. He’s the quiet one. The one to his left is Tyler. The two next to him are Lester and Lucas. They’re triplets. They are the partiers. Ever need a party, they’re the ones to call. That’s Ethan,” he said pointing to a short plump kid with red hair.
“Hi!” I reply back.
“We call him Gingersnap for short!” Ronnie said bursting into laughter at his joke. I smiled.
“Then the two over there, they’re both Jacob. Both are super creepy, don’t worry, it’s all on purpose. The final two are over there, Joey has blue hair and Zach is next to him. Say hi to the team Rain,” everyone was looking at me, I waved my hand. “Hi!” they all cheered. For the first time in many years, I had friends.
After lunch, I went to cheer tryouts. When I was younger, I always wanted to be a cheerleader because my brother always wanted to play football. Our father never let us do anything like that though so we would stay during tryouts or some of the practice and watch them. This went on for several years. After tryouts, Ruby came up to me with another girl.
“Kathy, this is Rain, she’s a new member of our squad!” she said smiling at me. I couldn’t believe it, I actually made it! Kathy looked at me with an odd look on her face.
“Well, we haven’t seen you around before. Ruby, we haven’t even tested all the others, it would be unfair to prematurely place her on the team. Besides,” she said squinting, “she doesn’t look like she’d be useful. She looks like an absolute loser!” she laughed coolly.
“Well then you can go tell Caleb that his new friend here is a loser,” Ruby said with a smirk.
“Oh, you’re friends with Caleb? She can be on I guess. Don’t disappoint us,” she said jabbing a finger at me before walking away.
“Don’t worry about her, she’s friends with Justine. She’s gonna treat you like absolute crap for a while,” Ruby said as she wrote my name on the board.
“Thanks for putting me on early,” I said as I followed her for my uniform.
“Oh, it’s now or never Hun. You had some skill back there, and if I didn’t put you on while Justine isn’t here, you’d never get a place. There’s no need to thank me. Heres your uniforms, the first practice session is next Wednesday. See you there!” she chirped as she placed the uniforms in my arms.
As I’m walking to art, I bump into Caleb again.
“Lost again?” he asked laughing.
“Well, it sure looks that way. Do you know where the art room is?”
“Oh yeah, I’m going there now! It’s right this way,” he said taking a right. I follow him. When we get there, I see that Caleb sits by himself.
“Do you mind if I sit here?” I ask.
“No, not at all. I’m mostly here because everyone else bothers me, but you’re fine,” he said moving his stuff. I sat down. The art teacher, Mr.Lee, gave us an assignment. We had to draw our happy place, but we had to show the good and bad side of it. My happy place when I was younger was our garden, so I decided to show it during the summer when it’s alive, and during the winter to show how it’s dead and lonely. I look over at Caleb’s and my mind is blown. It shows a wave, from the inside, and underneath it, you can see fish and coral. Then you can see a wrecked boat on shore, with gray clouds. It was beautiful.
“Wow, Caleb! That’s amazing!” I say. He stops and looks up.
“Yeah, thanks. I like yours too, what does it represent?”
“It shows how nothing truly dies as long as it is remembered. What does yours show?”
“It shows how the most beautiful things are the deadliest.”
“So Caleb, what’s a talented artist like you, doing in football?” I asked.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be an artist, but my Dad believes that’s a job for junkies. He’s really powerful and rich and wants me to take over his company. He wants me to have good grades and everything. So I told him that if he lets me take art, I’ll go to the college of his choice. He agreed, but said I also had to do a sport, so my friends and I joined football,” he said. For a moment, we looked at each other, and I noticed how his eyes were light brown with gold and green specks. I look away. He cleared his throat.
“So what’s the story between you and your brother?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re like super close. All my siblings and I manage to do are yell and scream at each other,” he said laughing.
“Leo and I have been through some really tough times together and it made us really close.”
“Ah, that makes sense. Hey, can I give you my number? I already gave it to your brother.”
“Yeah sure,” I say as I give him my phone. I pack up my things. He hands me back my phone and packs up.
“Here you are, I’ll text you later. Are you taking a bus?”
“No, I’m getting picked up.” the bell rang.
“Care if I walk you?” he asks.
“No, that’d actually be really nice, the last thing I want is to be lost in school after hours,” I say. He laughs. He walked me to the front of the school. Leo was already there.
“Well, I’ll see you guys tomorrow. Oh, Leo, next Wednesday is our first team meet. It’s right after school,” he said as he walked away.
Leo and I stood in an awkward silence.
“Why did you tell Caleb about me?” he eventually asked.
“Did you think that I forgot? I remembered that you said you wanted to try out for football, so I decided to tell him about you.”
“Thank you so much! When tryouts started, he called me out first. I was the first for everything. In fact, the first thing he did when he got on the field was looking for me. I can’t believe you remembered,” he mumbled.
“Well that’s what siblings are for,” I say as he pulls me into a hug. Just then, Auntie Kay picks us up. After dinner, I shower and go to bed. For the first time in many years, I actually looked forward to school.
The next day, we all decide to meet up in the front of the school.
“Yo, Rain Brain! I heard you completely exposed Justine yesterday, good job!” Ronnie said laughing. Caleb looked a little lost. Apparently, someone had recorded our little ordeal and posted it. Ronnie showed him the video, and Caleb started laughing like crazy halfway through.
“That’ll teach people not to mess with you!” he said, still laughing. Someone cleared their throat.
“Well if it isn’t Mrs.Wannabe,” Justine said with a smirk. Before I could say anything, Caleb yelled at her.
“Listen, Justine, she’s my friend, so you’ll be nice to her or else!”
“How can you be friends with someone like her? For God’s sake, her name is Rain!”
“You mess with her, you mess with us,” Ronnie said, giving her a look that took any and all friendliness out of his eyes. I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at Justine. She laughed coolly.
“It’s ok, you’ll see soon. She’s gonna drag you all down, and you’ll all see I was right,” she said as she stormed off.
“I’m so sorry about her, really, really, sorry,” Caleb began to apologize quickly.
“It’s alright, I don’t really care, I’m used to people like her. Besides, it’s not your fault,” I said reassuringly. I look over at Ronnie. The same cold, empty look is still in his eyes, and it reminded me of my father's eyes. They were a little different, unlike my father, whose eyes were always cold and menacing, Ronnie’s were a little more defensive, and they look instantly vanished when he looked at me. He looked at Caleb.
“We need to cut her out of the group you know.”
“I know, but it’s much more complicated than that and you know it,” Caleb said.
“How’s it so complicated?” I interrupted.
“Look Rain, most people here are very rich, and it just so happens that Justine’s dad donates the most money to this school every year, and because of that, she gets to do whatever she wants. Without us, she wouldn’t be as popular, and as you can guess, all she cares about is popularity. If we were to stop being her friend, she’ll hurt you or whoever she feels is responsible for her loss. You see that girl under the tree over there?” he asked pointing. I followed his gaze and seen a person standing under a tree. She was beautiful, she should have been very popular. She had tan skin, long, curly black hair, and coffee brown eyes. There was one problem though, no one would go near her. There was at least a ten-foot radius around her. She looked sad and alone.
“Yeah. why isn’t anyone going near her?”
“That’s Becca. Last year, her and a guy named Davis were dating. They quickly became the most popular people in the school, and they deserved to be. They were the perfect couple. Justine got jealous, see, while she likes me, she likes to ‘fool around’ with other guys. She really, really wanted Davis, and Becca was in her way. So, she got rid of her. She caught Becca hugging one of her relatives one day, and they looked nothing alike. He tried to kiss her on the cheek, Justine took a picture and showed Davis. Naturally, he was really hurt. Her and Becca used to be friends, so everything Justine told to Davis, he believed. She said she was cheating on him with other guys and that she was only with him so she could sleep with him. Justine went and started spreading rumors about her, starting with her relative. People began to call her an incestuous pig, basically a prostitute, and then Davis wanted to get revenge. They took some pictures when they were together and he showed everyone and began to say he was only with her to sleep with her sister. He said that she was the ugliest girl he ever saw, no one would ever want her, and that she was horrible in bed, even though they had not slept together. After that, no one talked to her,” he concluded. My blood was boiling. How could someone do that to anyone?
“Why don’t you guys talk to her since you know the truth?” I asked.
“Justine would only make that poor girl’s life even more miserable if we were her friends. Trust me, we're doing her a favor,” Ronnie replied.
“Well, what if we proved Justine tried to sabotage their relationship?”
“That’s a good idea actually,” Caleb replied.
“Awesome, I’m gonna go talk to her,” I say as I begin to walk off. Caleb grabs my arm.
“Do you want me or someone to go with you?”
“No.” he looked away.
I made my way over to the tree. The girl looked at me with a surprised look.
“Hi, I’m Rain! What’s your name?” I ask.
“You must be new here. No one talks to me, I’m the weirdo. Please do yourself a favor and leave me alone,” her eyes were wet with tears.
“Alright, then I’ll cut straight to the point. My friends told me your story with Justine. Well, I happen to hate both people like her, and her. My friends know she was lying and we want to help you get your revenge,” as I say this, her jaw drops.
“Thank you for trying, but you can’t beat her, she has too many sources.”
“Well, we could if you get her to admit to her crime and I, oh I don’t know, broadcast it over the intercom,” I say as a devilish smile creeps across my face. She starts to laugh.
“Yes, thank you so much!” she continued to laugh, she was almost crying.
“Great, we’ll start Monday. I’ve got to lay out the game plan and buy some equipment.”
“Yeah, I’ll meet you here Monday.”
“See you on Monday. I have a feeling we’ll be great friends,” I say as I walk off.
I run back over to my friends and explain the plan.
“Finally, once we get her confession, we broadcast it over the intercom. What do you think?” I ask as my devilish smile returns.
“I had no idea you were so naughty Rain, I’m in!” Caleb said. I laughed.
“Neither did I, I’m in,” Leo says with an amazed look on his face.
“This is my kind of game! I’m so in!” Ronnie says. Everyone agreed to the plan. The rest of the day flew past until I found myself next to Caleb in art at the end of the day. We both finished our drawings early and were just talking.
“So you have any plans for the weekend?” Caleb asked.
“Well, I was going to go surfing. Do you want to come?”
“I’ve never surfed before.”
“Oh my God! Please come, I can teach how to surf! It’ll be really fun!” he pleaded. The way his eyes lit up was kind of cute. I laughed.
“Of course I’ll go! What time?”
“I’ll pick you up, just text me your address. Hows five?”
“In the morning!?”
“We have to get there early or it’ll be too crowded.”
“Cool. You can invite your brother if you want,” he said.
“I’ll see if he wants to go, but he’s not a morning person,” I said. He laughed.
“Why not? The morning is one of the most beautiful times of the day.”
“Well one time we had to get up early in the morning and I set his alarms about an hour early. I covered his doorknob with vaseline and put saran wrap in his doorway. I also put a bunch of makeup on his face. It was April Fools Day by the way. I also put saran wrap on the toilet. I yelled fire, and once he finally managed to open his door, he got all tangled in the saran wrap. After yelling at me, he went to go to the bathroom, and well, you can just say there was a big mess around the toilet. Then I made it all up to him by giving him toothpaste filled Oreos,” I say.
“God, remind me not to get on your bad side,” he joked.
“Yeah, that happened about five years ago, and I did it three years in a row.”
“I can see why he wouldn’t like mornings too much,” he laughed. The bell rang, and once again, he walked me to my brother. As we waited, I decided to ask Leo.
“Hey, so Caleb is gonna teach me how to surf tomorrow morning. He wanted to know if you wanted to go.”
“You know I’m not a morning person. Oh no, you didn’t tell him the story did you?” he groaned.
“Maybe,” I said laughing. He punched me gently in the arm.
“I really hate you sometimes. No, I don’t want to go, how long will you be?”
“I don’t know, all day probably. What will you be doing?”
“Well, I really hit it off with this one girl, maybe I’ll hang with her. Hey, no funny business you hear? If he hurts you, tries anything you don’t like, touches you or-”
“Relax! He’s too nice for any of that, besides, we are just friends,” I interrupted. He raised an eyebrow.
“Really? Would a friend-”
“Yes, a good friend would try to hang out with their other friends, girl or guy. He doesn’t like me like that,” I interrupted again, raising my eyebrow back. He sighed.
Just then, Auntie Kay’s car pulled up, and that was the end of the conversation.
We brought home Chinese food for dinner. As I ate my Lo Mein, Auntie Kay spoke.
“So, tell me, how was school today Rain?” she asked. I hesitated.
“Nothing interesting happened?” she inquired. I shrugged.
“Auntie, can I ask you something?”
“Anything,” she said as she put her chopsticks down.
“A friend wants to teach me how to surf tomorrow at five in the morning tomorrow, can I go?” I asked. It didn’t matter what she says, I’ll go either way, but I feel better asking first. She stood up.
“Follow me,” she said as she exited the dining room. I followed her outside. She led me to the garage.
“So tell me, who wants to teach you?” she asked. I looked down at the ground shyly.
“Caleb,” I mumbled. She leaned out.
“Ohhhhh! Tell me all about him! Is he cute? What does he look like?” she asked as a smile crept across her face.
“Yes, he is. He’s tall, maybe four inches taller than me, he has warm, light-brown eyes, he has a tan, plays football, has dark blonde hair, and he’s really, really nice,” my cheeks burn red as I say all of this. She laughs.
“Oh my God, you noticed everything about him! How adorable!” she squealed. “I knew who he was the second you said his name Dear, he’s quite the gentleman,” she laughed. I blushed. She went back in and came out with a blue board.
“Your mother loved to surf, I kept her old board. It carries so many good memories, but it’s yours now,” she said as she handed it to me. She had a slight smile, and as she handed it to me, my eyes filled with tears. She came over and hugged me tightly.
“It’s OK,” she whispered. I wasn’t crying of grief, but rather joy. She stroked my hair. “You are so much like your mother,” she mumbled into my hair. I wiped my eyes, thanked her, and placed my board against the side of the house. I dug through my closet for what felt like hours before I found my bikini. I texted Caleb my address and told him that I owned a board. Just the simple thought of tomorrow filled my stomach with butterflies. I got changed, set my alarm, and went to sleep.