Ch. 4 - Don't Walk Away Right Now
“Do what? What are you trying to tell me right now?”
“I have to go to Bangladesh for one month. There are some problems with our property back there and I need to be physically present in order to solve them.”
“Okay, good luck. But what does that have to do with me?”
“Because that’s not all, Akira. I’m going to be in a different country which means I can’t drop you off or pick you up from your current school. Your mom doesn’t have a license and your brother is always at work or college. I’m sorry but you’ll have to go to a different school that’s closer to our current house so that you get a bus or can walk there.”
“But I basically grew up in this school.“, I spoke sadly. “I’ve been going there since day one of kindergarten.”
“Don’t be so dramatic, Akira. Deal with it.“, my mom suddenly snapped. “It’s not even that much of a big deal.”
That’s because you guys just won’t understand.
“O-Okay, whatever you guys say.“, I said before going to my room, feeling dejected inside.
The only that went through my mind was Mateo.
One month without him? How would I be able to do that to both him and I? Just the thought was enough to bring me to the brink of tears.
It was already around the end of the year and I knew that I probably wouldn’t get to see him anymore after we graduated. We were going to two different middle schools. He was going to Washington Middle school, but I was going to Thomas Edison Middle School. He said he wanted to go to Edison as well but he got put on the waiting list for it.
Besides Mateo, I was also thinking about Liam. Surprising right?
He’s been sitting in front of me at the lunch table for the last couple of months and we grew closer. We’d talk during lunch a lot, but he was also in my STEM class so we spent a lot of time in that too.
I was hoping that Mateo and Liam could become good friends, but I don’t think Mateo was ever really fond of him, especially every time he saw that Liam and I were near each other. I never understood why though because Liam was a good friend of mine and always made me laugh.
Not having an appetite anymore, I fell asleep without eating dinner, knowing that I’d have to stop going to my school in a couple of days.
I went to school the next day feeling down, and during lunch time I sat with Sunny, Bella, and Grace since our assigned seats were recently changed and Mateo sat a bit farther away from me now.
“Yo Akira!“, Liam called out from in front of me. “Look at this banana. It looks like a fucking penis haha.”
The second those words left his mouth, he started breaking the banana and making fake, over exaggerated moaning noises.
“Oh my god Kiki, I accidentally broke my penis...“, he whispered, looking at me for a good three seconds before the both of us burst out laughing, our faces turning red.
This is how lunch always went with Liam, I laughed more than I actually ate my food most of the time. Sunny and Grace were both looking at me and laughing too, but I could tell they were questioning why they were friends with me at the same time. As for Bella, well she was too busy flirting with Grey, who just happened to be sitting next to her.
After around ten minutes, I felt someone intensely looking at me, making me search for the person till my eyes met Mateo’s.
Why does he look so mad for?
When we were at the computer lab today, Mateo sat down without even sparing me a glance.
I guess it’s not the right time to break the news to him.
“Mat, what’s wrong? Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.“, he answered bluntly with an attitude.
“No you’re not. Tell me, what’s going on?“, I asked in worry.
“You seem to have a lot of fun with that Liam guy. Why don’t you go back to him and leave me alone right now?”
“Wait...Mat, are you by any chance jealous of Liam?”
“So what if I am?“, he muttered under his breath, not bothering to tear his eyes away from the computer screen in front of him, which clearly didn’t have anything that interesting displayed on it.
“Did I just hear that right? The great Mateo Morales is jealous?“, I questioned in amusement. “But why would you get jealous, and that over me?”
“Who wouldn’t? You’re amazing.“, he answered. “You’re fun to be with, you’re cute and pretty, and you always make me laugh. Who wouldn’t get jealous of someone near you that’s not themselves?”
“Aww, that’s so sweet of you to say, Mat! Thank you. I didn’t know you cared about me that much.”
“Of course I do. You’re my best friend Kiki and I’d do anything for you.”
I felt my heart flutter at what he said and our eyes connected for a short moment, when all of a sudden the teacher said it was time to go back to class.
I immediately jumped up from my seat and started speeding out the door, ignoring both the smirk he gave me before I left, and the perplexed look on the teacher’s face.
The next day I decided that I should finally tell Mat about me leaving, and chose to do it when we were at the computer lab again.
“M-Mat, I have to tell you something.“, I stuttered, the sadness evident in my voice.
“What’s wrong Kiki? Did something happen? Do I need to fight someone?“, he asked in a serious tone.
“No it’s just...I’m leaving the school after tomorrow.”
“What do you freaking mean? If this is a joke, then stop it right now.”, he lightly laughed.
“My dad has some business problems in Bangladesh so he has to go back and if he’s not here he won’t be able to give me rides to and from school. I have to go to a different school. I really don’t want to but I can’t do anything.“, I said, trying my best to stop my voice from shaking, but of course I failed.
A lump formed in my throat as I swallowed it back down.
“You can’t leave me Kiki...please. You’re the only person who understands me and doesn’t label me as just a fuckboy. I’ll be so alone if you leave, and what are the chances that we’ll even get to spend time together after this year? You can’t just leave right now.“, he said in both anger and frustration.
He looked at me as if he was in so much pain. I couldn’t bear to see him like that, and it broke my heart.
“I-I’m so sorry, Mat...I really am. You think this is easy for me to do? You know very well about how hard it is for me to stay even one weekend without you. I myself don’t know how I’ll live after leaving.”
I felt Mat’s hand lightly touch the side of my head and absentmindedly stroke my hair while he looked into my watery eyes, his eyes mirroring my own.
After realizing what he was doing, Mat quickly pulled his hands away and just walked out of the computer lab. Ms. Reneé went after him but I never saw him again that day.
Today I walked into school, feeling miserable knowing that it was my last day. I found Mat sitting by himself in a corner, his face not bothering to hide how he was feeling.
I walked up to him but he just looked at me with a blank expression before getting up and walking away to go sit somewhere else.
Don't walk away from me right now, Mateo.
Liam on the other hand, he didn't ignore me. Quite the opposite actually. Every time we were both together today, he gave me all of his attention because he wanted to spend as much time with me as he could.
I felt a little bit better because of his affection, but I could tell that even he was upset.
Before I said goodbye to him, there was one thing that I couldn't just shake off. His gaze towards me was different today from how it always was, making me wonder why. Even so, I ignored it and returned his high five before leaving.
I said my farewells and hugged the rest of my friends at the end of the day, forcing a smile on the entire time. But the truth was that my heart hurt so much, not only because I would miss all of them, but because Mat didn't give me the chance to see him one last time and say bye.
Arriving home, I jumped on to my bed right away without bothering to change, and just cried. I already missed everyone and was terrified about going to a new school, and that around the end of the school year.
My dad left a few hours ago with his friend, who would be dropping him off at the airport.