“You know that scarf doesn’t go with your jacket.”
“Since when do you have an eye for fashion?” she asked.
“Oh honey, I have an eye for that sort of thing, fashion just comes to me naturally.” I said sarcastically.
“Says the guy wearing cargo pants.” she scoffed.
“There’s a time to catch people’s eyes and there’s a time dress with convenience. Such convenience happens to be carrying a bag full of sugar cookies, care to mock me more?”
“Shut up and gimme the damn cookie already…”
I liked it when when she got a little feisty with me. She wasn’t like that with anyone else. I reached for the Ziploc bag and handed her one of my mom’s signature sugar cookies. It was something that always came with the falling leaves around this time of year. That and the resurfacing of the long lost hot cocoa that goes missing during the other seasons.
“We should get a trampoline for the camp.” She said.
“Already thinking about summer?”
“I was just thinking about a conversation I had with Isa and how all she ever dreamed of was to bounce really high on a trampoline.” She said as she glanced up towards the clouds.
“Then we can launch tiny children into the pool.”
“You're why we'd have to get one with a safety net.” She sighed and rolled her eyes.
I liked camp more than school. I didn’t do much during the school year. The tasteless weekends would blend together. I would occasionally enjoy lurking in the presence of acquaintances accompanied by shitty mix drinks and mediocre music. Not as much as I enjoyed the walks home with Jess after such events. Great conversations are had on walks after midnight. There’s something that makes things feel different with the presence of the moon and stars. Especially with a light breeze to add a little sound to the atmosphere. Words bouncing off the street for no one but ourselves. The shaking of the leaves from the trees telling you that they were alive.
“Earth to Scott, can you please quit spacing out on me?”
“Sorry… bad habit I know.”
“Hey, would ya look at that, we might actually make it to class on time today.”
“Maybe I won’t have to hide the tardy notice in the mail this week. You know I get an ass whooping for those.”
“Trudy would never lay a finger on you!” she said appalled.
“She makes me hide the bruises and scars with long sleeve shirts. You couldn't possibly understand the pain.”
“No, you’re just self-conscious about the size of your arms.” She said as she picked up the pace.
“So you’re saying my arms are small? I guess you’re into guys with big arms then?”
“Maybe, I am. Why do you care? In love with me, are you?” she said with cute eyes hiding malicious intent.
“In your dreams.” I said as I looked away missing the facial expression she made as she heard my response.
“Well, Natalie needs some help setting up for the fair after school and I’m sure she’d be happy to take you on your first ever date in exchange for an hour of your time this afternoon.”
“First date? Come on, you think this work of art has never gone on a date before?” I said confidently.
“Dates with your mom don’t count.”
“Your words penetrate me like swords.”
“Does the idea of that turn you on?” she sneered.
“Not answering that.”
The rest of the day went like any other. Staring at a white board filled with notes and words I’d forget in an hour. The daily 9:23am battle to keep my eyes open. The thoughts about how I’m going to fix my act tomorrow and actually get a good night’s sleep for once. The anticipation of the bell that would trigger the mouthwatering of 400 high school students tired of trying to figure out why they would need to know all of this in the future. Natalie joined us for lunch today. She usually hangs out with her other friends unless she needs us for something.
“Just one hour is all I’m asking for! Pleeaase?” she said putting her hands together and giving us her best attempt at puppy dog eyes.
“I have an English paper I need to finish but I’m sure Scott has nothing to do. He would love to help you out! Wouldn’t you Scott?” Jess said giving a slight smirk.
“Not fair you get to get out of this that easily.”
Natalie squealed as she attempted to hug me, said 'thank you' ten more times, and ran off to her other friends.
“Didn’t you finish that last night?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She said as she stuffed her mouth with sandwich.
I sighed and stared at my food daydreaming about something. I don’t remember what it was but Jess noticed before my mind could wander too far.
“So how was class, Jess? Oh, it was great! I learned that polar bears live at sea for many months of the year and can swim for ridiculous lengths without breaks!” she said sarcastically enthusiastic.
“I wonder if polar bears ever get cold.” I said without looking up from my plate.
“They probably cuddle together on their ice boats.”
“But what if they don’t have anyone to cuddle with? I feel like their fur can only do so much. It’s probably pretty lonely out there on the ice. Nothing to see for as far as the eye can see except water and ice.”
“Please don’t make me sad thinking about a lonely polar bear.”
“They probably need someone to keep warm during certain parts of the year. I wonder if that’s why humans experience love. Why does love exist? Looking at it from a logical standpoint, what does love make you wanna do? Cuddle up and feel safe next to the person who makes you feel that way. You in turn keep each other warm with each other’s body heat. It’s how humans and probably other animals survive during the colder parts of the year.”
“I just wanted to share my new knowledge about polar bears, not get a life changing lesson from deep in thought dad.”
“Makes you think, doesn’t it?”
“You should continue your philosophical realization after school with Nat. For now, you should remind me how to take a derivative!” she said as she plopped her math book and paper down onto the table.
“Did you only take calculus because you knew I would basically do your homework for you?”
“Now now, this is called team building. We're working together to get a job done more efficiently.”
“I feel like I’m doing more of this working together you speak of.”
“So you won’t help me succeed in my studies?” she said giving me her puppy dog eyes.
I sighed and acted like I had to think about it.
“Let me see the book.”
She smiled and scooted over.