Star of Youth

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Chapter 4

Ari walked through the hallway, glaring into his notebook with his songs. While not glancing his way, he bumped into a group of schoolgirls and he let go of the notebook. And then, before Ari could react, one girl picked it up and read it. She turns page after page of lyrics and notes and laughs into her classmate’s face while Ari just looks in shame.

“Could you please give it back?” Ari mumbled.

With a quick glare, the girl tossed his precious notebook at Ari and whispered to other girls about Ari’s dream.

The group laughed it off and headed to their class as the daydreaming classmate hugged his notebook of ideas.

And then later he enters his class, afraid of the rumors and gossiping. He glared into the corner of the class where the girls from earlier stood and whispered the juicy information to each other.

The girls giggled and covered their mouths from the laughable and impossible dream Ari had of becoming a musician.

On the other side of the classroom, a boy asked if the tidbits were true and one girl just couldn’t handle her emotions and opinions and yelled: “Yeah, you won’t believe how shit the song was!!!”

The same boy then noted that Ari had his notebook in his arms and asked if he could peek into it. Ari stepped back and then the boy snatched the notebook and started pulling. The helpless Ari pulled back, trying to hold on to his ideas as much as he could, and then, out of desperation, pulled his arm back and punched his classmate.

The boy was furious and responded with a hook punch to the face, and Ari fell on the floor.

Later that day, Emma called Vanessa from work when she was busy with work. At first Vanessa couldn’t answer the mobile phone herself by not knowing how to, clueless. Susan looked over Vanessa’s shoulder, confused, and she picked up the phone for her granny.

“Hello?” Susan asked.

A disappointed and furious voice shouted through the phone as Emma pleaded with her daughter to pick up Ari from school because of a fight that occurred. Susan nodded and hung up and then said that she will go pick up Ari from school to her granny.

“Can I go with you?” Vanessa asked with an awkward smile.

Meanwhile, as Vanessa was on her way to the school principal, then gave Ari a pep talk that his behavior was not appropriate in the school.

Soon after, Susan and her granny arrived, and Susan walked into the school for her brother. And then, as Vanessa tried to set her foot inside, they stopped her because she wasn’t Ari’s family member.

“Wait, what?! I’m his grandma!” Vanessa said, frustrated.

The woman at the entrance then raised her eyebrow while glancing at Vanessa in confusion. Then the young grandma realized she was in her youthful body and then she let out a little cough in front of the lady and awkwardly smiled with her hands behind her back as she waited for her grandson.

Susan then takes Ari out of the school as his classmates point and laugh at him. Disgusted, Vanessa takes Ari by the hand and tries to comfort him.

They walk from school and Susan asks what happened.

“Nothing.” Ari replies.

“Nothing?!! Are you kidding me?!!” Susan replies, and she tells him that mom is going to kill him for getting in a fight.

Ari then becomes more quiet and tears come from his eyes, knowing it was they who provoked him.

They get home and Ari throws his backpack and runs upstairs to cry. Vanessa then looked at his bag with concern and headed to his room. And then as Vanessa walks into the room she sits down and asks him: “Do you want to talk about what happened?”

Ari was curled up trying to let his emotions out and he explains: “They provoked me!!! They laughed at my songs and I just couldn’t take it anymore!!” he said, frustrated.

Vanessa patted him on the back while she got frustrated by her grandson’s classmates. And she asked what he would like to do.

“Go for a walk.” the poor teen responded.

“Can I go with you?” Vanessa asked with a warm smile.

“Sure.” Ari agreed without thinking.

He then grabbed a jacket from his closet and headed downstairs to leave for some peace.

And as when he left, Vanessa let out an excited “Yes!” with her clenched fist. Then scuttled downstairs.

And when Ari is at the front door Susan asks him, he is going and Ari leaves without a single word. Vanessa then quickly left as well, but came back to wave at her granddaughter. Susan raised her shoulders, and she shrugged it off to mind her business.

Vanessa scuttled to her grandson, who was waiting for her in front of their house. She then asked with excitement in her voice: “Where would you like to go?”

Her grandson sighs, and he tells her he wants to visit a place he holds dear. Vanessa follows him and asks where they are going. Ari keeps quiet, looking bothered by something. Vanessa kept her mouth shut, and she just hummed while she followed Ari. They walked into a forest and then they emerged and saw a bridge. Close to it was a small little hideout composed of twigs and pieces of wood.

Ari stares at it, mute at the verge of tears.

“What’s wrong?” Vanessa asked while resting her hand on her grandson’s shoulder.

“I used to play here with my friend.” Ari said.

And then Vanessa asked: “Did something happen between you two?”

The troubled Ari explains his friend is now in a different city and has lost touch with him.

“We used to call, but those calls were pointless because he met people more valuable than me.” Ari explained with a heavy heart.

“I wish I had a best friend.” He added, and then kicked a twig and looked around the hideout.

Vanessa crouched and put her hand on Ari’s shoulder and said: “I’ll always be your friend.”

And she gives a welcoming smile.

Ari then hugged his grandma and thanked her.

Vanessa couldn’t believe it, but she embraced back and patted her grandson on his back.

“Do you want to get ice cream?” She offered it to her grandson.

“Sure.” Ari replied with a fragile smile.

Minutes later, after the walk, Vanessa ordered a magnificent New York cheesecake and Ari ordered a glass of ice cream. Ari digs his spoon in the delicious raspberry and chocolate dessert but he then notices her grandma being somewhere else with her mind.

“What’s wrong granny?” Ari asked, concerned.

Vanessa then snapped out of her thoughts and told him that everything was okay.

“It’s just that I used to eat a lot of cheesecakes with your grandpa.” she tells with a heartbroken smile.

“How did you two meet?” Ari asked curiously.

His grandma giggled and said: “We knew each other since we were children in school, but he started fighting for me when we were seventeen.”

Ari smiled at the cute story and Vanessa continued: “Then after military service he grew a beard, and I was in love except I wasn’t used to seeing him with a beard.”

Ari smiled while taking a first spoon of his dessert.

“But he never wanted to shave it because of his pimples.” Vanessa said with a little chuckle.

Then Ari’s phone rang, and he answered the phone. His mother then yells: “What the heck did you do?!? You are in big trouble, young man!!”

Looking down, being ashamed of himself, Ari prepares to explain his situation but Vanessa quickly grabs the phone from his hand and she explains, knowing it’s difficult for her grandson.

“It’s not his fault.” Vanessa says, confident of her grandson.

“I’ll take him to school tomorrow.” She adds as Ari sparkles from joy and hugs his grandma and he whispers: “Thank you.” And gives a pleasant smile.

Later that day Susan washes the dishes in the evening and thinks to herself how nice her granny must be by acting so kind to Ari and her. She then sees a couple on a bench lying on each other while looking at the stars.

She sighed and said: “I wish I had someone like that.”

Susan asked herself if her being single is her destiny. Her chest felt hollow without a life inside her body.

Then Vanessa comes through the door with Ari, and she laughs at her grandson. Susan looks over her shoulder and then swiftly glances back at the dishes. Vanessa notices something is off and tells Ari to go upstairs and get ready for school.

She goes to the kitchen and sits down and asks: “What’s troubling you, Susie?”

Susan sits down and vents for a bit while gripping her hair out of pure stress: “I’m so worried because everybody has somebody to love and feels happy. I want to feel happy, just like them.”

Vanessa smiles and tells her granddaughter: “One day you will find someone for sure, but it’s in time’s plan to give you a genuine lover, not some boy you will stop talking to in a week.”

Susan rolls her eyes and says that Vanessa shouldn’t say the same things over and over, like a broken record. Vanessa chuckled and replied that we must love ourselves before we love someone else cause that person will not see our real value.

Susan sighed and rested her head in her hands.

“Just promise me that one day you’ll understand, okay?” Vanessa begs.

She got up from the chair to stretch her back and she asked: “Wanna go to a shopping center after your shift is over?”

Susan then agrees, and she tells her grandma that she is tired and heading to bed. She then stands up and leaves the room.

Vanessa looks, gives a thumb up to the heavens to Edward. Letting him know she is on the right course to getting closer to her grandkids.

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