The next morning was frantic. Halfway to my place, Ino remembered that her favourite show was on and she hadn't set her TV to record it, so she tried to persuade me to stay at her place so we could head there instead in time for her to watch it. I didn't agree, but then again, she was the one with the steering wheel, so I ended up sleeping in her guest room while she watched her show which was celebrity gossip. Not my thing, so I cheerily woke up on time today after a good night's sleep while Ino, well, woke up late.
"FOREHEAD! WHY DIDN'T YOU WAKE ME UP?"
"Sonova…!" I swore under my breath, having nearly spilled hot coffee on my shirt (Ino and I often slept at each other's place so I had some clothes here), startled. "Jeez, woman, tone it down!" I yelled back at her, covering my poor ears which were left ringing after her screech.
"WELL, I WOULDN'T HAVE TO YELL IF YOU WOKE ME UP!" she shrieked, running around her apartment double- and triple-checking everything, remembering something else that needed to be done, having a spazz attack on what she should wear, and just being Ino.
"Ino, for the love of God, you're on time!" I yelled back at her. She either didn't hear me or decided to ignore me in her panic, so when the blonde whirlwind (her) zipped by me, I reached out with my arm and seized her by the shoulders, stopping her.
"What are you doing?" she screamed at me, and I swear by the time she leaves I'm going to be deaf in at least one ear. "Let me gooo!" Alright, this was getting ridiculous. My eight-year-old class behaved better than this, as a class. I was really struggling for patience.
"Not until you listen to me," I growled, and pulled her into the kitchen and forcefully sat her down on one of the chairs. She shot me a glare, but knowing that I was stronger than her kept her seated. After a second of sharing annoyed looks, I said, "Look, it's a little past ten in the morning. Your plane leaves at four. You have to be at the airport by one to one thirty. Do the math. From ten to one it's three hours. No, don't interrupt me, I know what you're going to say. Think about it, even if it is a little over half an hour from your place to the airport, that's still more than two hours to get ready. So stop. Freaking. Out."
She was obviously more calm now, but stubborn as she is she was still glaring at me, though mildly. After an extra second more, she sighed dramatically, deflating, and ran her hand over her face. "Fine," she sighed, "I get it. I'm on time, there's no reason for me to freak out, yada, yada,yada." My eyebrow twitched at that, but I kept silent as she pinned me once more with her gaze. "But you still have to help me."
I laughed, and the tension evaporated. Leave it to Ino to make a comment like that after we nearly came down to a catfight. "Sure, sure, Ino-pig. Go shower and get dressed while I make us some breakfast."
She sniffed. "I'm not a pig, Forehead."
"You'll always be my piggy, Miss Piggy; now get moving."
She smiled at me before standing up and leaving the kitchen, sashaying her butt as she walked. Yeah, she was a piece of work.
As I heard the shower turn on, I opened her fridge and rummaged around, not really having anything specific in mind to cook, but wanting something tastier and more filling than just cold cereal. Ah, here we go. I took the egg carton and a box of waffles, with some turkey sausages still in their package. I grinned. Ino would either hate me or love me for feeding her this, but either way her reaction was going to be amusing.
Knowing that she would be done soon, I quickly opened the box of waffles and popped six into the toaster, and took out a handful of sausages and put them in the microwave oven to cook as I prepared for making some scrambled eggs.
Oh yeah, this was going to be good.
"Run, Pig, run!" I all but screamed at my blonde friend as we hurried to find the line-up for her plane after unceremoniously yanking her (oversized and waaay over the weight limit) bags out of her car, wondering what went wrong to make us arrive at a quarter to two – well past the time for signing in.
"This is all your fault, Forehead!" she screamed back. "If you hadn't fed me all the junk, I would be light on my feet and on time!"
"Oh, you're not blaming this on me!" I growled at her, dodging a stroller with a set of twins who were fighting over a rubber band ball their older brother probably made. "I only made breakfast, you are the one who wanted seconds!"
"Augh! You knew I wouldn't be able to stop eating that stuff! So it's you fault for making it – and extra of it, too!"
"What do you want from me? This was the last time we'd eat together for at least two months! What, did you want some cereal? Because honestly, that sucks!"
"My cereal does not suck! Take that back, Forehead!"
"Pig! You're defending your cereal, for the love of God!"
"It's good cereal! Quality, perfectly healthy cereal!"
"Forehead! If you're so smart and wanted to make me a special breakfast, why didn't we just get something on the way?"
"Because like the pig you are, you can never choose anything in less than half an hour! You always want everything!"
"Why, you -!" At this point, people were no longer discretely staring at us – they were openly gaping at us like the lunatics we are. I swear I saw some people take out their phones to take pictures and more likely than not videotape us. I was going to have quite an unpleasant surprise at school soon, no doubt courtesy of YouTube.
"Enough," I said, and stopped at the section of the airport that was assigned to Ino's chosen airline, Comet Airlines. "We're here. I think it's that line over there that goes to Sydney."
"Which one?" she asked, raising to her toes (a feat, considering she had three-inch heals on) to look over a ridiculously tall group of young men who blocked out sight to the screen.
"Third to the left, I think."
"Yeah, you're right; that's the one. Come on, there's no line up so this'll be quick."
I nodded and followed her, her heals tapping the polished marble floors with a determined tok, tok, tok.
As I stepped beside her and we shared a smile, glad that we were at peace once more, I was inwardly struggling not to laugh at the faces of our spectators. They were no doubt expecting us to go at each other's throats at any second; now we were walking calmly, cheerfully in fact, side-by-side, looking like we could hook arms and skip merrily down the Yellow Brick Road. I turned my head just in time to see two policemen take a last glance at us before scurrying away once they realised I had caught them staring at us.
Ino giggled quietly beside me, and I knew she had seen the policemen as well, and had the same thoughts as me. We shared a smile once more as the lady at the sign-in counter waved us over, and I realised that for all our fighting, yelling and bickering is worth, I was really going to miss Ino.
Once we were done with that – with a brief argument and huffing with indignation over the excessive weigh of her bags, with a quick scolding for being so tardy – we were free to walk to security, were we would part ways. Ino and I wanted to spend some more time together, but we finally agreed that it would be better if she passed through security now and find her gate than risk being tardy again.
So, fighting to not be emotional, I hugged her, and she nearly choked me as she all but broke my neck and smashed my face against her chest. First of all, she was stronger than her thin arms let on, and second of all, I was never a tall person, which made her three-inch heals making our height difference all the more noticeable.
After holding our embrace for a few more seconds, we parted, and we shared a smile. We didn't say anything, because really, what could we say that we didn't say or know already? So I let her go, and watched her back as she handed her passport and ticket to the security guard who pointed to a scanning line. I watched her put her bags on the X-ray machine before waiting for the security guard at the other side to call her through the metal detector before I decided to turn away.
I had not yet taken four steps when I heard her voice, loud and clear call, "You better keep your phone charged and with you at all times, you got it? Because there is no way you're getting rid of me that easily, Forehead!"
I laughed, and turned back to see Ino poking her head back and grinning back at me, the security guards at the gate looking somewhere between amused and WTF-is-wrong-with-this-chick?
"I wouldn't dream of it, Pig!" I called back, and she laughed, once again sashaying her butt with confidence as she stepped though the metal detector, and I lost sight of her.
As I walked back to her car, which she had entrusted to me until I too left, I thought, Leave it to Ino to kill the mood. But you know, it was better this way. We were getting way to sombre back there.
Once I paid the parking fee and pulled away from the airport, another thought passed my mind. I hope my trip isn't as hectic as this. But then again, maybe it's better if it is. Life just has more flavour that way. Satisfied with that thought and a new hope blossoming in my chest, I grinned to myself and turned on the radio, singing aloud the words to the song that came on and humming out the tune when I didn't know the next part. It still sounded awesome even when I didn't know what came next.
Kinda like my life.