3. I Almost Called Him Kevin
“Who’s that girl? You sit behind her in class too.” I heard Scott ask.
I turned to him. We were in the cafeteria at our usual table for lunch and I’d been staring at Alana for the previous five minutes. She was sitting with Kendra and Connor after one table from us. The cafe was pretty big and we were sitting near a window so they were basically amidst the crowd.
There was something about her and everything she was doing that attracted me a lot to her. I swear it wasn’t even exactly her looks. But there was something about her that you can’t get enough of. It was as though her entire being, her entire presence, her entire fact of an existence was pulling me to her like gravity.
And you just can’t stop it.
Maybe, just maybe, I still like her or maybe even ten times more than I used to.
“Xavi’s childhood sweetheart,” Matt answered in my place.
Scott craned his neck in a bit of a surprise. “Dude, really?”
“I had no idea you’ve dated,” Hunt said, pushing his tray aside and leaning forward on the table with his arms folded.
“Crush,” I corrected, “Elementary crush.”
“What was her name? Allina or something?” Scott asked as he looked over Hunt to Alana.
“Alana,” I said.
“Right. Alana Lancaster,” he said and leaned back on his chair. “You’ve been staring at her like . . . Forever. You still hitting on her?”
“This will be the third time I’ve been asked that same question,” I replied.
“Uhh . . . Actually, dude. That wasn’t the answer I was looking for.” Scott stared at me expressionless with a fry in between his lips.
I shrugged in response.
“Ayeeeee!!!” Scott broke into a wide, teasing grin. “Look who’s unsure about a girl for the first time. Like . . . At least you don’t think you’re not hitting on her at all.”
“Guys. Guys. She’s looking at you,” Hunt tapped me on my shoes under the table.
“How’s she looking at me?” I asked.
Scott glanced over at Alana from the corner of his eyes without turning his head and said, “She’s looking at you like she’s tryna figure out . . . what color is your underwear.”
Matt choked on his soda and started coughing, leaning away from the table. Hunt was already chortling like an idiot. I kicked Scott under the table and he leaped up, laughing.
Somehow, we all know whos legs is it under the table.
I looked at Alana but the moment I looked at her, she whipped her face away, avoiding my gaze.
I felt a smile grow on my lips.
After school, while I was driving back home, I stopped in front of a store to get something to drink on the way. Just as I was coming out of the store, a kid slipped on the road and fell on his bump in front of me with an ow.
“You okay?” I asked as I went over to him.
“Yeah!” he answered, getting up and dusting his pants.
He kicked the bottle cap which he had slipped over and looked up to me, adjusting the black rimmed glasses he was wearing and that shut me up. I stared down the little human in front of me - dark hair, glasses and behind those glasses, a pair of gray eyes were staring back at me. I almost called him Kevin.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“What are doing here alone?” I asked again, eyeing the backpack he was carrying. It was quite too big for his size.
“I’m returning from school?” he answered.
“No one’s picking you up?”
“My sister is. I’m going to go wait for her there at the bus-stop,” he replied, motioning his head towards the bus-stop in a distance.
“Are you new in town?”
“Yeah,” this time he was starting to blink rapidly and this particular way of blinking reminded me of someone in particular.
But pushing aside the thought of Mongrel, I leaned in slightly and asked David secretively, “Do you have something like a paper bag that can fit your backpack in?”
“Damn. It seems you don’t know since you’re new here. You see, here in Los Carlos, we’re not allowed to carry big bags. If the cops find us with one like yours, they’ll arrest us.”
He threw his hands to his head worriedly and gasped, wide eyed. “I didn’t know that!! What do I do? But why?”
“You see, bad guys kidnap children and carry them in big bags that’s why?” I said, nodding.
“But I didn’t kidnap anyone! They’ll let me go, right?”
A cute little nerd.
I laughed and ruffled his hair. “I’m just kidding. There’s nothing like that. See ya around.”
With that, I walked back towards my car. I saw him blink rapidly a few times again just as I left. When I looked back after sometime, he was already standing at the edge of the road at the crossing, waiting for the light to turn red.
The bus-stop was at the other side of the road. I stopped walking and watched him for another minute. By the next minute, I found myself standing next to him at the crossing. I wasn’t going to let a third grade kid cross the road all by himself.
“So are you eight, David?”
“Do you like your new school?”
“Yeah, I’ve made new friends.”
I looked down at him and smiled. He slowly smiled back.
Life had felt exactly like falling into one fucking abyss, aiming straight for hell – or worst – ever since I found out I was losing my brother. That hatred towards life, fate, everything I ever knew . . . You can’t imagine.
And now, looking at this boy who was standing next to me, it’s funny how I felt closer to Kevin. The feeling was kinda bittersweet but I liked it. So I decided to stay for a while and talk to this little guy.
“What’s your name?” he asked me.
“I’m Xavier. Nice to meet you, buddy,” I gave him my fist.
At first, he just stared at it for a while. Later on, pressing his lips together, he slowly fist-bumped me nervously. I think he was a little afraid of me because of the prank I played.
The light changed. Guiding him with my hand on his back, I let him across the road. He thanked me really well like a grown-up it amused me. We talked about his new friends, new teachers, new classroom as we waited for his sister and he kept me entertained the whole time.
It was cute that he answered every question I asked him with that geeky and adjusting-glasses way of speaking. I couldn’t help but wonder how he could remind me so much of Kevin. Especially the way he spoke; slow and nerdy.
“David!!!” A shrill voice cut through the air and pierced my eardrums.
Jesus, what voice.
I assumed maybe the sister was here but David didn’t seem to hear. He kept talking to me. When I looked towards the sound of the voice, the so called sister practically dropped her shoulders and face palmed herself.
Well, well, well, who do we have here?
Miss Alana Lancaster.