Out In The Wind

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“Wait up Cory!” Mandy shouts behind me. I think about walking away faster, but it would be pointless. She’s already seen me and she probably knows I have been trying my best not to talk to her too much in the last couple of days.

I stop and turn around, waiting for her to catch up to me.

“What the hell Cory? You haven’t spoken to me all week… What’s going on?” she says all out of breath as she stops in front of me.

“We’ve spoken,” I answer.

“Like two words about the fucking weather,” she replies as she bends over and puts her hands on her knees, trying to catch her breath.

“You are really out of shape,” I say and I can’t help the smile creeping over my face. How long has it been since I smiled? A week? Two weeks?

“Yes, and you walk damn fast for someone with such short legs,” she answers as she comes back up to look me in the eyes. “Sit down.”

“What? Here?” I ask looking around me. We are right in the middle of the football field and the jocks will probably be here in a while for practice.

“Yes Cory. Here,” she says as she plumps down on the ground, indicating for me to take a seat next to her on the too perfect lawn.

“Okay,” I say sitting down, but not facing her. I look toward the school building, which I might not be able to look at for much longer. I cock my head between her and the school. Trying to take in the picture of both as much as I can.

“What’s going on?” Mandy asks, flipping her hair to the side. I think about telling her to put her hair back since her face is still red from running after me.

“I don’t know what you mean,” I say playing as dumb as I possibly can. How can I tell her what I’m planning?

“I’m not stupid Cory. We’ve been friends since forever. Out with it,” she says and just like that bossy Mandy who usually gets everything out of me is right in my face.

“We’ll be out on the street in two days from now,” I answer.

“Wait… What?” Mandy says. “Didn’t you guys just sell of your stuff to pay the motel and everything?”

“That was like over two months ago,” I mumble, looking down at the grass, looking for a blade of it that I can play with but everything seems so short.

“Seriously? Don’t kid me Cory!” she almost shouts before she screws her face into a bunch, thinking seriously. “It happened around the time when Brent and I… Fuck… Yes, that’s like two months ago. Maybe longer.”

“Yeah, time flies when you’re having fun,” I say and I can almost taste the bitterness in my voice. It’s not that I am bitter but I don’t know why she had to bring up Brent as well.

“Well you know Brent has been keeping me very busy,” she says apologetically. I should be glad. This is as much as a sorry as I will ever get from Mandy about things like Brent.

“Yeah, I’ve noticed the two of you are attached by the hip,” I answer. “In any case. It doesn’t matter. I’m glad you have someone that you care for.”

“But Cory… I love you too! Hell, this is terrible news. I mean you guys sold all that stuff. Wasn’t it enough?” Mandy asks with horror on her face.

“There wasn’t really that much. Mom sold a lot of things I didn’t know about when we were living with my Aunt. Barbara wanted more and more money on like a daily basis,” I say trying my best not to think about how little we actually did get for our stuff. It’s true what they say… Beggars can’t be choosers and what was offered for most of our things was pure daylight robbery.

“That bitch!” Mandy says loudly. “I’ve never even met the woman and I hate her guts.”

“You and me both,” I mumble as I finally find a piece of longer grass and pull it out, immediately starting to roll it up as tightly as I can between my fingers.

“So what are you guys going to do? Your mom still doesn’t have a job does she?” Mandy asks. I know she means well, but this is honestly the last thing I want to talk about.

“Homeless shelter,” I mumble. “They need to split us. I can’t go to the same one mom and Chloe needs to go to. Now my mom thinks we should just live in the car or something.”

“You could come and stay with me. You know my mom wouldn’t really mind. She wouldn’t even notice your there,” Mandy says as if she just found the solution to peace on earth.

“And my mom? What about Chloe?” I ask, my eyes probably flashing lightning. I can feel the anger that’s been building up inside me, but I try my best to push it down. “So they have to go to a homeless shelter or the car and I get to sleep in a cozy bed with proper food and shit, but they need to go out into the wind?”

I know I shouldn’t get like this. This is not Mandy’s fault. She is only trying to help, but true to her nature she never thinks too far about things like this. She doesn’t think that I won’t be able to take a bite to eat without knowing that my mom and sister had something.

“I can talk to my mom…” Mandy starts but I cut her off.

“No you will not. This is our situation and we will sort it out ourselves.”

“I just want to help,” Mandy answers. I can see I have hurt her feelings. I think I might have for the first time in my life actually made her nervous.

“Don’t. Nothing that nobody can do at this point can help. You’re just making me feel worse about myself. See, this is why I didn’t want to talk to you about it,” I hiss in her direction, getting up from the lawn and grabbing my backpack.

“Cory… Please…” Mandy pleads.

“Why don’t you stay here and cheer Brent on,” I sneer as I point towards the team entering the field.

“Cory. Don’t do this. Don’t walk away,” Mandy says, but I am already walking as fast as I possibly can. The further I can get away from her and my old life, the easier it will be to do the things I need to do soon.

“Cory!” she shouts, but Mandy does not come running after me. She doesn’t really try to stop me, showing me that she doesn’t really care after all. Maybe Patrick is the only one that cares.

Cory: Have you already left school?

I wait for the text to go through and then watch as he types on the other side.

Patrick: Nope. But on my way 2.

I think fast and reply quickly before I can change my mind.

Cory: Can I go home with u?

It takes about a minute before he replies.

Patrick: I’ll wait for u in the parking lot.

I change my direction walking back to the school, since the parking is on the opposite side of the school as the football field. I don’t go straight however with all the jocks on the field.

I punch my mom’s number into my phone and dial while I am walking to the other side of the school, trying my best to avoid any route Mandy could have possibly taken.

“Hi honey,” she answers on the other side of the phone. “How are you? Need me to come and pick you up?”

“Hi mom. Nope. Just wanted to know if it’s okay if I go over to a friend’s house. Maybe sleep over tonight or something?” I ask. I know she’s not going to love the idea, but whether she says yes or not, I know I am doing it in any case this time.

“At Mandy’s?” she asks.

“Yeah, sure,” I hear myself answer. I never lie to my mom as a rule, but that was just too easy.

“We still need to pack Cory,” she says on the other side of the phone.

I roll my eyes, not that she can actually see me, but I still roll them.

“I own like two boxes of stuff and my backpack. It’s not like there’s a lot to pack.”

“Do you even have clean clothes on you? I can come and drop it off for you?” she asks. I shake my head as if she can see me.

“Nope. I’ll be fine. I’ll see you tomorrow after school. ’Kay?”

“Okay Cory. Love you,” she says.

“You too,” I answer as I take the phone away from my ear and end the call, strutting to Patrick’s car that for some reason he parked on the far end of the parking lot.

“You had to park on the other end of town?!” I shout to Patrick.

He waits until I am at his car before he actually greets and answers me. He pulls me into a little bit of a man hug and starts talking to me before he has even let go of me.

“I don’t like parking where to many people park. Scared they’ll scratch my car,” he says.

“Listen Patrick… Would you mind me staying over at your place tonight?” I ask and I can see his eyes widen a bit.

“Yeah… Sure…” Patrick says almost like this was the very last thing he would have ever expected. “If you want to off course.”

“You don’t sound like you really want me there,” I answer, looking him straight in the eye. If he really doesn’t want me around him then he has to say it right now. Then I can really turn around and walk away from everyone and everything that formed a part of my old life. I’m not scared to do that anymore.

“It was just a bit… unexpected,” Patrick answers. “I don’t really take you for the kinda guy who does sleepovers.”

“Yeah well… A lot in my life has changed lately. I guess I can just as well go all the way,” I say as he starts smiling and I can’t help smiling with him.

“I think I might like this new Cory,” Patrick says as he pushes the button to unlock the doors.

I watch as he climbs into the driver’s seat. I follow suit and within a minute we are driving to his very big house overlooking the town.

“Your parents won’t mind that I’m there?” I ask as the street lights flash by the window beside me.

“They hardly notice that I’m there, so I’m pretty sure we’ll be fine,” he laughs as he stops at a red traffic light.

“Do you still feel confused about relationships and things?” I ask. I have seen Patrick getting very close to a guy named Jaycee at school. There’s been rumors.

“Are you talking about the conversation we had the first time you came over to my house or are you talking about certain stories that’s been making the rounds?” he asks, looking back at the road and pulling away again.

“Both,” I say. “Mandy told me things got really hot between you and Jaycee at last week’s party. Did you have sex with him?”

I know I shouldn’t ask him things like this. He might just stop right here and now and ask me to get the hell out of his car, but I really need to know. I need to know what to do next. I want to know if I can have a memory that I can take with me.

“Would it matter if I did?” Patrick answers only my last question, keeping his tone neutral and his eyes on the road.

“Probably not,” I answer, suddenly feeling stupid.

“Then why even ask?”

I think to myself for a moment. Why ask if it doesn’t matter? Would it matter if Patrick did it with the entire school full of boys? Does it matter if he is not confused about relationships anymore and now know exactly what he wants? Would it even matter in the end that I still feel the same about everything, but that I want to act out and not be perfect anymore and that I don’t give a shit if every lie I have ever told comes out tomorrow.

“I’m sorry,” I mumble.

“Well since it doesn’t matter… I had sex with Jaycee,” Patrick says as he turns the car into the gate in front of his house.

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