A Little Taste of Heaven

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"Romantic dreams must die." (3)

Chandler and I check out some booths from seniors (the 60s and 70s aisle section) and other establishments in attendance near the football field. Just two ninth-graders parading, my arm linked with his, dressed in our Edwardian era couture. We see a stall from one of the seniors hosting a 1970s style boutique. Their booth is full of cute dandy stuff. Of course, I rush towards it gleefully, looking at the pieces of pre-loved vinyl, key chains and peace signs decors.

Chandler walks next to me as I check out the pieces of jewellery and says, “Which reminds me, you have been nagging me about not giving you a gift for your birthday —”

I giggle, “Er, which happened two months ago.”

Chandler beams at me when I face him. “I’m sorry. I just want it to be special for you, so I’ve been taking too long for the perfect gift!”

I wave my hand and tut. “Chandler, you don’t have to put so much effort! I should be the one apologizing for making it impossible for you!” I laugh. I remember this. How can I not? He looks so adorable right now. “Anything would do, seriously!”

He chuckles and looks around, moving away from me to make it secretive or surprising somehow.

I shake my head as I scan through the clutters of stuffed toys, chains and accessories in front of me. I control my smile, so my lips twitch. I probably look mental right now. I remember that I called this week ‘The Love Week’ because it was all about Ryan and, a little of, Chandler giving me pretty noticeable hints about the signs they fancied me. But, my full attention was making Nate like me, who stared and looked away whenever I saw him. But, being here now, back to being fifteen, I suppose I can say that I have the chance to do differently, better than what I did (for not acting on it) before, which is exploring my options and finally setting my foot down to who I like most.

I look up to see Chandler now on the other side of the booth. He stretches his neck as if he’s looking around for me. When he finally sees where I am, he shows his excited smile as if he found ’the one’ that would be the perfect gift for me, the one that would satisfy me. I guess I am hard to please. I have to admit, even now, but what the heck.

I make my way to him. “So, have you picked one out yet?”

He nods and then holds out the little angry pig stuffed toy, the exact same one he chose and gave me before.

I couldn’t help but smirk. “Are you sure that’s the one you want to give to me?” I know what will happen in a few days’ time, but I won’t let it occur again. Hopefully, it won’t come to that.

He shrugs and says the exact same thing. “What?” he looks at me. “It’s cute. It reminds me of you, especially when you’re mad at something.”

Good-humouredly hitting his arm, “ugh, you’re so mean!” but I didn’t mean it, of course. “Are you absolutely sure that is the one you want to give me?”

Without answering my question, he walks up to the cashier and pays for it. After the toy was packed, he took my hand and dropped the small paper bag on my palm. My eyes never leaving him, I open the bag and take out the stuffed toy to push its belly.

“I wuv you!” it says with a squeaky voice and a kissing mwah sound.

He looks shocked. “Hey, I didn’t know it could do that! I mean, I uh,” he starts to stutter. “I don’t love you, of course! I mean, we’re too young for that kind of feeling,” he continues, babbling.

I laugh at how embarrassed and red he is. I touch his forearm, and he stops to take a breath, but before he could speak again, I cut him off. “Thanks for this, Chan. I will treasure it,” and make sure I won’t make the same mistake ever again towards this poor, sweet, innocent stuffed toy.

Oh, what happened to it, you ask?

Of course, being at such an unripe, naïve stage of life, I thought everything I could control revolved around me. I was angry at Chandler, but I don’t remember now why. April gave me this idea of torturing or trashing the poor stuffed toy. Stupid me, I lashed at it in the doorway. April handed me pens, and I wrote a bunch of unflattering and foul words on the plush. I put angry eyebrows and a frown on it too. The last and most horrid thing I did to the poor thing was stomping my feet hard on it, and Chandler saw the whole thing. My heart broke at the sight of his upset face, and the most awful thing I had to encounter was the beginning of our friendship being awkward.

I WILL NOT DO THAT AGAIN. I will make a note to remind myself: I must remain calm when the time comes to Chandler and I get into an argument or a disagreement. Or I will hide the toy. I’m sure the real 15-year-old-me will not remember this. I HOPE.

Right, back to the present!

Bashful and cheeks reddening, Chandler doesn’t meet my gaze when he says, “I can change it!” he tries to get it back from me, but I’m faster since he is not directly looking at me.

What’s up with these boys taking back what they gave me when they think I don’t seem to like their gifts? Really, am I hard to impress??

Shaking the hideous thought away from my mind, I smile and make him look at me. “Chan, it’s fine. Thank you for this.”

He nods, “alright, if you’re sure.”

I raise my eyebrow and smirk. “I am.”

“Let’s head back,” he says, checking his wristwatch. “Our teachers will be checking and grading the homerooms soon.”

Nodding, I let him lead me back to our room and search for some of our friends roaming around the different aisle of eras, laughing and talking as we go.

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