As I slowly come to my senses from my wonderful dream about my exuberant undying love of my crush, Dylan, I lay waiting for the suns warmth to snuggle me back to sleep. However, I feel no warmth but a cool breeze giving me goose bumps. I hear no birds chirping out to wake me like Cinderella. Swiftly, I sit upright with my eyes wide open then adjusting to the dim light of my bedroom. Turning, I face the window to see the skies, clouds tears trickling down on my window panel.
I hear my mom warn out, “Claire, you’ll be late for school if you don’t get up soon!”
Startled, I run to get changed and ready for todays special event awaiting for me.
This dreary weather won’t come across the one and only Valentines Day!
I inhaled deeply then smacked my cheeks with both of my hands to pull me back to my senses, and exhaled.
I Can do this!
Wandering to my closet for any clothes that screams, dress to impress, I decided on a navy blue, thin red striped, crossed front long sleeved shirt, with a thin dark blue denim jacket over. Leaning down to snatch my black ripped jeans and fitting my legs through the holes. I cupped the blue neat chocolate packet I spent the night making for the one and only Dylan friesen, and set off. Humming full of delight, I slide down the arm beside our wooden glossy stairs, and let the scent of coffee and toast carry me off to the kitchen. I pulled out a chair for me and glanced up to see my mother stopping halfway at lifting her mug to her face. She kept her eye on mine with eyes wide open.
“Look at you! So beautiful! I guess the power of love really does change a person.” She exhales.
I feel my face heat up. I observed the mirrored image of the left side of my wavy brunette hair that flowingly settled on my shoulders; length just underneath my breast.
“What are you talking about mom, today’s just another day.” I say gracefully while playing with my hair, hoping she would buy it.
Closing her eyes, she laughs, takes a sip of her coffee and makes her way to the table. I peered at the clock to my right, and swore underneath my breath.
Shit! I was supposed to meet Dylan ten minutes ago.
Dylan, is the most attractive and well known boy in our school. I remember as if it was yesterday, younger Dylan was already famous for his formal and civilized actions. I should have expected that he would steal every loving gaze from most of the girls in our school, especially mine. Grateful I am, for he is also one of my closest friends then I get a head start and a bonus. We are in our senior years so I may as well confess before our ways part without contact. I chuckle from the thought and headed out as I quickly grabbed my favourite red umbrella to shield myself from the rain, wore my black converse, and ran out shouting a goodbye to my mom. Beaming from my thoughts in the morning to hear the squelch of water underneath my shoes, I caught a glimpse of Dylan waiting at the end of the block. He was staring out to the grey sky, as little crystal droplets fell to the earth, towards him. His blonde hair glistens and despite the sullen glum weather, I could find my way through the dark, as if he was the sun.
“Sorry, did I make you wait too long?” I speak while gasping for air.
His gentle blue eyes met mine almost as if without needing words, assuring me that he didn’t wait too long.
“No not really I just got here, but since you’re here now, mind if I share the umbrella with you?” Dylan requests formally.
His low gentle voice serenades me effortlessly. Flustered from the thought, I shook my head.
“Y-yes! I mean no! No! I don’t mind! Go ahead!” I Stuttered, holding out the umbrella rigidly to him with my head down praying he won’t see me blush.
Dylan accepts the umbrella and laughed. I felt my face grew hotter.
“Well then, shall we go?” He suggests.
I nodded energetically, and continued forward on the drenched side walk. Problem is, we don't even look like a couple underneath this umbrella. Well I'm glad he's somewhere six feet while I'm five foot seven, but I really wish I would stop growing. I can't even wear heels in dresses, they would only make me look like a giant. Letting go of the negative thoughts, I look up to the tree branches swaying above our heads, as if it were shielding us from the gentle crystals. On the way to school, we met up with Sarah, another close friend of mine. Sarah and I met in the first day of high school. Back then, I was having troubles adapting to the school, but she along my side, stuck to me like glue. I am quite aware of who I would be turning to, if I’m ever struggling. She may look naïve and gullible, but that girl is sharp as a knife. Sarah’s ginger curls bounces as well as her white cute laced top, on the moist air as she waves to us full of energy.
“Morning Claire!” Sarah says joyfully while stretching out to the clouds.
As I was about to wave back, I was suddenly interrupted by a forceful impact behind me catching my off guard to fall forward, but to only have Dylan hold me from the fall. Rubbing my head from the pain, I blush and turn, light headed to a short Dark haired steaming angry boy. His hazel eyes glaring towards me, it was Aiden. A close friend, no, used to be, until we parted on our own ways without a reason. As days progressed, our frequent chats reduced and before I knew it, a wall developed between us. Aiden now only pays attention to the negative side of me, and somehow always finds a way to tick me off. Reason is because of our love hate, mostly now hate, relationship concerning our height. Both of us yearn for each others height, because these days love his harder to grasp if your about four more inches tall or short from your partner.
“Oh Sorry, my bad, I couldn’t see past your long fat legs blocking the way.” He smirks crossing his arms.
My head was boiling, I stood up straight full of pride and anger. I could see his nose growing narrower like pinocchio, he was so full of himself.
“Oh I'm sorry I couldn't see you, you're so short and puny!” I rudely remarked as I pinched both of his cheeks roughly.
It was odd conversing with Aiden again. What a waste, he used to be so sweet during our childhood years, clinging on to me every time he was scared, I had the urge to protect him that time. Now, our times of avoiding each other increased, but insults shoot from our mouths like a daily routine. Here I stand looking down at Aiden with a five foot and seven inches tall, Aiden tilts his head upwards with only a five foot and four inches tall. However, he’s only turned to a snob, completely different from Dylan. Dylan is six feet tall so I’m thankful, after all, I would only like tall guys. Aiden opens his mouth to protest a comeback, until Dylan’s hand protectively blocked his way from me.
“If you have something to say, say it to my face, if not, then leave Claire alone. She has no time for any more of your incompetent insults” Dylan spoke up sternly.
My face started to heat up. Aiden looks up to meet Dylan face to face and raised his eyebrow, as if he was hearing a joke. He turned around to run after his friends.
“I’ll be going ahead,” Dylan reaches out, ”here, your umbrella.” He smiles with a hint of worry while handing back my umbrella.
Without saying anything back, I redeemed my umbrella to feel the warmth of the handle and looked at him smiling while hiding my blush. I waved goodbye, spun around and notice Sarah lifting her eyebrows up and down, teasingly.
“There you go again with Aiden,” Sarah announces full of confidence, “Are you sure there’s nothing going on between you two?”
Laughing from Sarah’s ridiculous questionable thoughts, I ran off to class without answering. Before the bell caught me, I enter the class to see organized rows of desks facing the chalk board and our loving determined teacher, Mrs. Jones. As she picks up a chalk to start out the day. I sat staring out the window admiring nature’s sight of beauty and gloom altogether, which lasted for a long period of time. Switching from classes to classes to the last period of the day, I was startled by Sarah’s hand on my shoulder, I must have missed the bell.
"I'm Going on ahead Claire, I'm meeting up with Dylan, don't space out too much okay?" Sarah rushingly say as she jogs out the class.
I wondered what Sarah needed to talk to Dylan about. I gazed out the window and it finally struck me.
Shit! my chocolate for Dylan!
I rummaged through my bag to grab my little packet of chocolates, and an umbrella to shield me from the pouring rain. I couldn't possibly missed the moment I stayed up for the night making.
Almost running into Aiden again, I dodged and rushed out the school halls to look for Dylan. I dash past dimmed lamp posts, and past the simmering like lake from the pouring rain. Desperate to express my yearning feelings for him from all these years, the cold gust of wind with the heavy rain made it harder for me to run any faster. Almost blown away by my umbrella because of the strong willed wind, my legs stuttered but finally gained strength and pushed through the wind. The freezing temperature dug into my cheeks that felt like needles puncturing pain through it, however, not as much as the intense constant beat of my heart. Passing through a field of dandelions, I stand facing a side of a small park with branches and vines blocking my view of a play structure, where Dylan and I usually had our long talks, and heard muffled voices. As I adjusted the branch away from my face, I saw two figures standing in front of each other.
“I have something important to say,” One of the figure says full of courage.
I was about to step in and call out his name until I heard the words I longed for in such a long time. The words I didn’t think would shatter me in a million pieces.
“I have liked you for a really long time now, Ever since I met you-.."
Words Blur and buzz in my head which I couldn't seem to register.
"Would you go out with me?” Dylan Subtly says, flustered and embarrassed.
The curly gingered haired girl blushes and nods her head, clearly accepting his confession, “I’ve liked you for a really long time too,” Sarah Giddily squeals as she hugs and steals a kiss from Dylan's lips.
Huh.. What’s going on..
Clenching my jaw to keep my tears springing off my eyes, a gust of wind swooped in and blew my umbrella right off my hands leaving me empty handed. It’s as if my purpose to love was being blown away to an unknown area, lost. Backing up slowly, I dashed the opposite way. I ran as fast as I could with my head down. Images of the both of them constantly flashed in my head. Feeling the edge of the knife impaling my chest, I shook my head, trying to throw away my thoughts. My hair danced on the heavy mix of rain and wind. I open my eyes to halt from a blur of a car zooming past me. Stopping dead on my tracks, my heart ceased. I frantically turn around gasping from the moment, grasping anything, but all I could hold on to was the pool of rain and tears. Hoping that I would avoid any contact with anyone I knew from seeing my tired pained sight, I had jinxed myself. I looked up to the least person I wanted to see. Head aching, with knees on the ground from the potential crash earlier, I look up.
“Are you oka- Claire?” Aiden uttered with a hint of worry while taking a closer look, and reaching out to touch me.
No! Don’t touch me!
My arms fling haggardly to block Aiden and I, but felt a forceful, gentle grasp of my cheek. Flustered, my face heats up, his hand felt warm and strong. He slowly lifts my chin to bring eye to eye contact. I flinched, it was as if I saw millions of stars dancing around me. I was at my limit, my heart ached as if it wanted to burst out of my chest. Seeing Aiden didn't pain me anymore, I was relieved, happy. My tears streams down like an endless river. I was expecting Aiden to laugh and satisfy himself from my cruel moment, but instead he stared deeply into my eyes concerned and angry to see me at my current state.
“Make fun of me all you wa-” I started breathlessly, fighting back the tears while holding on to Aiden’s sleeves tightly.
“Who would make fun of you at a time like this! Idiot!” Aiden exclaims sternly.
Aiden suddenly protectively wraps his arms around me. What is this feeling.. My heart is beating really fast.. Aiden holds me like a fragile artifact. Maybe it was all because of the excitement and rain that my heart is beating persistently. Cars zoomed past us, leaving streaks of light. No matter the drastic height difference between Aiden and I, Aiden somehow magically persuaded my thoughts with safety. As I lay my head on his shoulder to cry out my throbbing emotions, I held on to the warmth, to the strong compassionate protection that I barely knew he had. I caught myself explaining what occurred with Dylan to him, the least person I would want to explain to. Aiden took a hold of my hand, full of determination and removed me from my void, to places he knew would make me smile. To the movies, to the arcade where we screamed and argued like kids again, and my favourite, feasting on ice cream just like old times. Laughing beside Aiden on the way back home about our arcade arguments, I studied the dark night sky with stars scattered across each other, and wondered why we separated off to our own paths.
I gathered up my courage to ask, “Aiden, did I do something to make you hate me?”
Aiden stared at me confused then finally responded, “I never hated you,”
We stopped walking, “Just your height,”
Aiden ascends on our porch steps to appear taller than me. He tilts his head down examining my eyes with determination, but gentle with care and a yearn of something. However, I can’t quite grasp what he would be yearning for. I can feel Aiden’s warmth as he tilts his head closer to mine.
“If it were me..” Aiden whispers underneath his breath.
My heart skips a beat and I close my eyes waiting.
Waiting for what?
My eyes shot open to see Aiden taking a leaf out of my hair.
“You got a leaf stuck on your hair, Go get some rest I’ll see you tomorrow.” Aiden concluded while running his fingers through his hair, face beat red.
I blush from the embarrassing moment and tucked the front strand of my hair behind my ears. Noticing the walk home was mysteriously quick, as I'm staring to my front cream tanned house, I thank Aiden for walking me home and collapsed right away on my bed. Thinking about how I had successfully escaped from the flustering moment, I wondered why my heart wouldn't stop pounding persistently. Sleep took over me like a blink of an eye, leaving me to fall in a calming but confusing dream.
My eyes observed the bright sun after yesterday’s gloomy weather, and slowly took short steps on my way to school, past the green vibrant leaves curving inward where Dylan and I used to walk together. While fawning over natures beauty, feeling a little light headed from yesterday, I encounter Dylan with a girl beside him along the way holding hands. Dylan waved me over.
“Claire, has Sarah told you yet?” Dylan shyly says, “I know you guys are best friends and all...
I can't hear anything.
we just started going out...
and I thought I should let my best friend be the first to know.”
Dylan beat my heart out like a pulp continuously. Bearing the pain, I smile. Sarah nods nervously to me as if she longed for permission from me. I observed Dylan’s expression, both happy and hesitant over what I have to say. Stunned, I clenched my fist and let go.
“Of course! I’m really happy for the both of you! You have my support!” I pretended and exclaimed excitedly.
Dylan and Sarah smiled and leaned over each other depicting joy and relief. Guilt flooded over me for being selfish. We parted our ways and I sat on my desk. I found myself blankly pouring my emotions to a girl beside me I barely knew as if I had no effort to make about all the intensity from yesterday. She stares off the window along with me.
She mutters uninterested, “And you were alone?"
"No, I wasn’t alone Aiden wa-" I started.
My heart began to speed up without notice. Flustered and embarrassed, I try to push away the thought. What did I mean by Aiden, that’s just a horrible joke, I’m acting really weird. I grasp the left side of my sweater as if I could calm my heart down. Interrupted by the bell, I sank on to my chair exhaling wearily as if I came back from a rough work out, and saw Aiden across the room. Our eyes locked for a moment, nervously I was about to turn away until Aiden stuck his tongue out at me to make an ugly face.
What’s his problem!
Frustrated and oblivious to think we would become friends again lead me to the conclusion. I still really hate him after all. I stare out the window to observe the fine glisten of the raindrops sliding off the leaves, to find myself distracted by my thoughts of Aiden flooding until the end of class. The bell finally dismisses class. I pack my things in my bag and turned to face the window displaying the front yard of the school. The clouds seemed to be preparing for another long lasting battle. Mrs. Jones sets down her chalk and leaves the classroom satisfied with her accomplishments. I was startled by a hand on my shoulder and a feeling of déjà vu, looked up to find a pair of hazel eyes staring down to me.
“I want to talk to you about something,” Aiden mutters lowly, “It’s important,”
“Wha-” I replied, but suddenly been cut off by a group of people.
“Hey Hey Hey! Aiden Why didn’t you tell us sooner that you were going to take your ex back?” One guy started,
He’s going back with his ex..? Is that what he wanted to talk about? Why do I care anyways, it's not like he ever told me he liked me. Why am I so frustrated with the information.
“Yeah, that’s so unfair.” another protests.
I guess Aiden and I would look ridiculous beside each other.
I stood up making a loud ruckus which stopped all the comments from flooding in my head from confusing me even more.
Why is my chest hurting? What did I mean by Aiden and I being beside each other? Why can’t I concentrate whenever Aiden’s around me? Did it have something to do with yesterday?
“Claire?” Aiden asks with hint of worry, stepping closer to my direction.
“Don’t tell me she’s actually jealous,” One said as if it wasn't my business, “Aiden don't tell me you actually like her over your cute girlfriend?”
My head was aching, my heart pounded intensely against my sweater I shut my eyes forcefully. Aiden slams his fist on a desk which brought the crowd to a silent pause.
Then finally responded with anger, “Who would like a, a tall freak!”
Facing to see Aiden’s wide eyed regret expression scribbled all over his heated face, my heart felt clogged with ink; I couldn’t breathe. I sprinted out the school and ran as fast as I could while my visions blurred, ignoring Aiden calling out my name. The sky suddenly grew dim and dark, and rain started pouring down slowly. I ran anywhere away from his sight or any place that reminded me of him. So why, why am I standing in front of a pathway we first met? Branches without any leaves curved inward the sand road, leading to the unknown almost as if it was swallowing me whole. Remembering that time, vividly, I see a boy standing still motionless in front of a girl.
As I struggled to keep warm from the cold breeze and pouring rain, I stop to look up at the stars, how they twinkle so bright. Apart from the crunching sand underneath my shoes, I Stare out to a sandy road where the naked branches itself hovered over me inwards hopelessly, the trunks of the trees caged me. Pleased from my nature walk, I heard muffling voices.
“I’m sorry, but you’re too short and I can’t stand being made fun of any longer.” Mutters the girl lacking sincerity to a boy.
The boy clenches his fist, spouting nonsense and ways he can prove that he can love her more than anyone. After a final partway between them, he continues to stay in his place, like a lost puppy as if she would ever come back to his arms. I turn around to leave guilty of eavesdropping. However, I found myself approaching him to hover my red umbrella over his head.
“You’ll catch a cold if you stay here.” I shyly stated.
Then dark haired boy turned around for me to meet his hazel eyes.
I crouched down continuing to sob without embarrassment because, I have finally realized, found the answer to my persistent thoughts. Staring down the palms of my hands, I was finally aware of my current state, it was like history repeating itself. I ran away from Dylan, and now I’m running away from Aiden. The pouring rain continues on to dampen my hair, while the cold breeze continues to smack my face. Until the rain stopped over me, but somehow it was still raining. I lift my head from my arms to see my red umbrella above me.
“You’ll catch a cold if you stay here.” Aiden states breathlessly.
Astounded, I asked unconsciously, “How did you know I was going to be here?”
Aiden scratches his head embarrassed.
“I just had the feeling you were going go be here,” He gently explains
A long pause.
“Where we first met,” Aiden continues, “I found your umbrella stranded here too after I walked you home”
“Are you really getting back together with her?” I question, forgetting about the last statement.
Aiden exhales tiredly, “Are you joking, that girl broke up with me because of my height, you think I would want her back in my life?"
I chuckled, it was true. Even most girls would fall for him, he's greatly talented and smart, but would be disappointed because of his height.
“Look Claire, about yesterday, I don’t dislike you, a partial part is because of your height,” Dylan clarifies full of courage
That’s right, because I’m a tall freak
“But it’s because you treat me like a fragile object! You constantly have to protect me just because I’m shorter,” Aiden swallows a gulp of air, and continues on, “While you were busy with that, you never considered me worthy to stay by your side.
Astonished, I smiled to myself, took a deep breath, and laughed. Still turned back from Aiden I hid my head on my arms. My heart that used to pound with lingering grief, now only turned to the person standing behind me.
“Aiden, I know I may be taller than you, but these feelings won’t change the way I am today,” I declared, while shivering, “Because you have grown in me, I'm starting to love you,” I shut my eyes.
That’s right, I have finally come to a realization that Dylan isn’t the only one who was looking out for me this whole time. Aiden was beside me the whole time, I just didn’t notice.
Aiden exhales, ”Seriously, turn around and say it to my face, I want you to look at me when you say those words.”
The gentle wind now caressed my hair as I turn around and stood up to face Aiden eye to eye to find him red as a tomato. I stare at Aiden blankly, his expression catching me off guard. His eyes would glance around our surroundings, then revert back up to my eyes nervously. He then took a deep breath as if he were in a long thought.
He wipes the tears off from my cheeks and muttered lowly, "There may be another leaf on your hair."
I close my eyes to pick up the fragrance of rain and damp tree shavings. I feel the warmth of his lips gently pressing on mine. Our hearts beating almost as if in unison. He cups my cheeks with his large hand, while the other holds the umbrella, shielding us from the pouring rain. I wrap my arms around his neck, suddenly forgetting of my surroundings. My stomach contained more than a dozen amount of butterflies to exhilarate me. I can feel Aiden pouring his emotions at the very bottom of my heart because like him, I’m doing the same. Parting from his gentle affectionate kiss, I rest my forehead on his, and stare deep into his hazel eyes that once looked empty, but now bright full of energy. Maybe next time I’ll properly celebrate Dylan’s feelings, but for now, I fully bestow my attention to the person standing in front of me. I lost my love, but Aiden gave it back to me, just like my red umbrella.