Leylah and I stood by each other, quietly looking afar. Her hands held mine as we continued to look down the hill. She figured this was the quietest place to talk right now and it was near the school so there was no problem.
After telling her that I remembered her and I was Jesse, her first question was “How?“, followed by “Why?” and “What happened?”
We sat by the soft green grass as the wind quietly passes by. I turned to look at her and she did the same, causing us to laugh together.
And all of a sudden, I blurted out, “The old me is dead”
That caught her attention and I looked at her eyes, seeing as they held confusion.
“I’m... Going to tell you... Everything” I whispered, feeling nervous as I try to skim through my past.
“I’ll be listening” was all she said. It took me awhile gather myself up and have the courage to speak about my past. The memories that haunted me are wanting escape free from me. And I’ve finally decided that maybe it’s time to release it.
“Remember when I came here to have a summer vacation?” I asked her.
“Of course you told us that”
“Mhm and after I went back to Canada. That’s when it happened,” I said. She looked at me as if asking ‘What happened?’
And finally, I blurted out, hearing my voice crack “My mom died.”
But I continued anyway, “It was all because of me. I was stupid. I never should’ve listened to them. My teammates had urged me to come with them to learn from these supposed ‘pro soccer players’.”
I inhaled and waited for her to say something but Leylah just nodded as if understanding.
“And I agreed, mainly because of peer pressure. We went and I knew I had a bad feeling as soon as we met them. It was a back alley too. And I remember my mom telling me not to go those kinds of places because they’re dangerous. Shortly after, a boy from my team named Miguel got into a fight with one of the older kids. I forgot how it all started but then it became a chaos once he threw the first punch. I screamed and told them to stop but they didn’t listen.” Like a movie on rewind, I remembered seeing all of the blood.
“That’s when a guy pulled out a knife and he aimed towards my other teammate, Steven. So in instinct, I pulled her away but then...”
“Oh my god” I heard Leylah gasp. She turned me to look at her and noticed my eyes getting teary eyed. “Jesse, don’t tell me...”
I nodded “I was stabbed instead. I don’t what happened after that. But when I woke up I remember hearing I was in a coma and that my mother has passed away. She was the one who saved me, Ley. She came but was stabbed too. That was pure bullshit there. And so they took her into a separate paramedic and some stupid drunk driver had to hit that certain paramedic van that my mom was on it. It was-”
I couldn’t take it anymore and so I felt the tears coming down my face as I brought my hands to cover my face. It was one stupid decision that killed my mother. I blamed myself for almost everything that happened.
Leylah hugged me and soothed me. She said I didn’t have to continue but I did. I had to.
“She... She died. I couldn’t believe it. Two of my teammates were severely injured. But one didn’t survive. And it was my friend, Eddison that didn’t make it.”
I clung hard to Leylah as I continued to sob uncontrollably. It was depressing whenever I thought about it. I remember the stares their parents and my students gave me when I came back to school. It was as if I was the one who killed him.
“Jesse stop it. You’re not at fault. You were just a victim. You were a kid! Jesus Christ..” she said shaking her head. After I’ve calmed down, I slowly slip away from her embrace and suddenly felt cold because of the weather.
“I was bullied when I came back. I cried so much and locked myself from everyone else. The incident shook me so much that when I woke up, I felt like I was a different person. It was also the reason why I’ve forgotten you.” I said, then turned to look at her.
“It changed my life. ” I said looking ahead and watching the skies. “It changed me”
“Oh, Jesse. I never knew. I’m so sorr-”
“You’re not at fault. Why are you apologizing? I’m supposed to be one to say that. I’m just really sorry. I didn’t mean to forget you and Tiff” I said looking down.
And then she chuckled and pulled me into her arms. “I miss you so much, you have no idea.”
“I wish Tiffany was here right now. That would be a legit reunion,” she said pulling away and then standing up. “The musketeers are back. Two of my best friends are back”
I laughed at her. “You would so be killed by Emmie if she hears that.”
After lunch, Leylah and I walked by to school and went separate ways. I had gotten her contact number and Tifanny’s. We also arranged that some day this weekend, we’d have a party or some dinner or something.
Once I arrived in class, I saw Sarah busily drawing in her hands using her pen. I noticed that she would that whenever she was bored.
Smiling, I took out the Pocky sticks I bought along the way and dumped it in front of her.
As soon as she saw it, she squealed like a little girl and immediately tore it open without even looking who gave it to her. I chuckled at her silliness and sat nearly in the corner.
We had five minutes left until class started so I figured doodling on my notebook would help me pass time. Shortly after, I heard a chair being pulled in front of me and then someone suddenly poking my arm.
I looked up to see Sarah looking at me.
“First of all, thank you for the pocky,” she said.
“Second of all..” she then leaned closer. “What the fuck happened to you during the dance, huh?”
I smiled sheepishly and scratched the back of my neck. “Uh thank you?”
“I mean thank you for uh...not squishing me like a bug on the road.” I suddenly said remembering what Emmie had told me.
“So what happened?” she asked seriously.
“We got time” she forced.
“There’s only a minute left,” I said.
“Make the story 30 seconds then”
I rolled my eyes at her.
“Don’t roll your eyes at me like that. You’re only allowed to do that on my bed” she said.
“Huh?” I asked confused.
She snickered and then laughed out loud. “Something you don’t know of course. Whatever. You owe me a talk and a dance.”
She then patted my head and went back to her seat once the bell rang.
After class ended, Sarah stayed behind for a bit because the teacher got mad at her for sleeping during class. And trust me, I did try waking her up but I figured she was a heavy sleeper.
I didn’t bother waiting for her since I was almost late for my next class. And I wasn’t feeling like it to have pre-cal next. The seniors found it weird to have a sophomore learning pre-cal 12 with them. But that, of course, didn’t bother Kristina or Nat. In fact, Kristina liked it so much because she got to annoy me and there was Nat, sometimes seeking help.
On the way to my class, I spotted Sabrina coming by. Seeing her brought back memories of the dance. She was happily talking to a girl and a friend from her group, which I forgot who it was. She smiled at me but I just glanced at her for a second before walking faster towards my class.
I felt like a bitch for ignoring her but I suddenly regret not smiling back. And I had no idea why.
Fast forwarding until school ended, I saw Carly waiting by my locker.
She lends a gift box in her hand and then shyly gave it to me “It’s for Emily. I figured it was her birthday next week. You can also say it’s an early Christmas present.”
I gladly took it and thanked her.
“Don’t worry. I’m still thinking about what getting you” she said
“But-” I was about to say ‘no you don’t have to give me anything’, but she held her hands up for me to stop.
“Oh come on Jessica. We’re friends.”
Right. A friend whom Sabrina likes. I shook my head, forgetting that thought
“Okay,” I smiled anyway. “Thank you again. I’ll make sure to give it to her.”
When Kris, Nat, and I got home, we found Emmie being car struck by Dennis who had just arrived as well and was parking by. I had given her the gift during that night also. I was curious to see what it was but I didn’t want to pry into her and Carly’s business.
Seeing as Christmas break was to start 2 weeks from now, I started thinking about to what gifts to give. It bothered me considering I never really know what to give them since I didn’t much know what they like or what they might need.
I thought so hard about it, I didn’t even notice that I had fallen asleep.
The next morning I told Sarah that we’d meet each in the library since I did owe her a ‘talk’. I also passed by the familiar blonde numerous times giving me odd looks but I continued to ignore that person.
Once it was lunch time, I hurriedly went up the library and greeted Mark whenever I visit there. While waiting for Sarah, he told me a couple of good reads that I should check out.
“Do you have a favorite quote?” he asks me as he continued to flip the pages from the book he was reading.
“I do. Not a lot though. Do you?”
“Fear doesn’t shut you down. It wakes you up” he says. I blinked at him. “Ever know what book did that came from?”
I shook my head. “That was meaningful...and I guess true.”
He laughed. “You need to expand your book knowledge if you ever want to become a true bookworm”
“Shut up Mark. I’m gonna go look around.” I said. He simply waved me off.
I looked around the library, remembering the familiar shelves. I smiled, seeing familiar titles, remembering each of the stories inside each book. It’s funny cause I never get sick of it. Don’t you ever just re-read a book that you read before because it was just really good?
I walked on the other side and saw magazines and students busily typing into the old computers. And there it was the little dark corner of the library where Sabrina and I first met.
Just then, someone grabbed me from behind causing my heart to jump a little.
“Wait wait wait. Don’t karate chomp me again!” I heard the person say.
Turning around, I saw Sabrina laughing nervously at me.
“Uh hey,” she says.
I didn’t expect her here.
I simply said nothing but just stared back while holding my books tightly on my chest.
“Why are ignoring me?” she asked.
“Huh?” I asked... Pretending to be confused. Suddenly my eyes started to avoid hers.
“Oh I know it Jessica,” she said confidently as if she knows something. Her hands on her hips while she flipped her hair.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about” I mumbled, trying to get through but she kept blocking my way.
I sighed. “Can you please move?”
She smirked. “Not until you talk to me.”
‘Oh, we are talking alright’. I glared at her and simply moved faster but this time she held onto my arms and pushed me back into the shelves. It hurt a little but I didn’t pay attention to it considering her face was merely inches away from mine. Then suddenly she blinked, making those cute puppy eyes.
“Notice me senpai,” she said cutely and then snickered. “Jessica”
Oh. My heart is beating. How the fuck is she so close all of a sudden?
I snapped out of a trance and looked at her. I noticed her mouth was moving and that her lips were simply attractive. The whole place was muted and all I could think of was her beautiful eyes. What the hell was she saying? I tried really. But I couldn’t make out what she was saying. It’s like all of sudden she was speaking some foreign language. Goddamn, her whole face was attracting. How in the world is she so pretty?
My eyes shifted back and forth from her ocean eyes that seem to twinkle whenever it met mines, to her perfectly structured nose, and to her soft looking lips.
What was the hell wrong with me?
And that was my last thought before Sabrina pulled me by my collar and sending me to heaven when she pushed those kissable lips into mine.
Was I dreaming?
Not Deja vu.
But just before I melted into the kiss, my eyes shifted to the right side, seeing Sarah dropped a book with a loud thud.
She looked at me, hurt written in her eyes, before simply walking away from us.
Definitely deja vu.
“Yo,” I heard a deep voice behind me making me turn back. It was John.
“Hi,” I said awkwardly. He smiles and sits next to me.
“What are you doing in here?” He asks. I waved him the book in my hands making him go “A-haa. Nice”
“What’s it about?”