Chapter 28: Amaya
Shawn, Shawn,” I whisper out while shaking his muscular arm, trying to get him to wake up before Ms. Gorland catches a glimpse of him sleeping. “Wake up.”
“I’m not sleeping, I’m resting my eyes,” he yawns out before taking my hand in his own, squeezing it to his chest. “Give me five more minutes or relaxation before we have to write.”
“Come on, Wonder Bear, sleeping isn’t going to do you any good, we’re doing practice on writing college essays.”
Shawn sits up before turning his head upward, his puppy dog eyes making an appearance, and in a way, his personality is that way too. He’s loyal, kind, and one of the best people to have around, but I can tell the topic of high school graduation and going off to college is one he’s scared of having.
“I can’t believe we’re graduating in just under seven months. What are we going to do?”
“I don’t know, but whatever we get done, we’ll do it together. I love you.” That bright smile spreads across his face as he lifts my hand to his lips, kissing it twice.
“I love you too, and one day, we’re going to have this amazing place with a big pool, a big yard, and this giant yard so however many more children we have and Aaron can play in. Can’t forget how I’ll teach Aaron the rules to football so he can play one day if he decides he’d be interested in.” I smile at the image he places in my head before his arm drapes over my shoulders.
“Or really anyone else who wants to play. I can even show you the ropes if you want,” he whispers out as he scooches his chair a bit closer to me.
“Babe, I wouldn’t go to your games as much as I do and not know the ropes of football, and it’s not all too confusing to comprehend or call bullshit calls by the ref.” He lets out a low chuckle.
“I know you know the ropes… I just wanted an excuse to tackle you.” I smirk at him before lightly slapping his arm. “What? The cover story can be that it’s just a game, this seems like a win-win situation. “And please, don’t pretend like my plans don’t sound appealing to you.”
“You’re slowing me down on the essay,” I whine out with my head falling on his shoulder.
“Fine, get back to work, but we’re going to make up for lost time later, and speak more about that house.”
“Sure, now start your essay or go back to sleep, you’re a distraction.”
“A pleasant one I hope.”
“Yeah, a pleasant one,” I say as I hold his hand a bit tighter in front of us.
His eyes stay on them, a smile written across each of his features. In that moment, I can see it all, he’s in love with me and that’s not changing, it’s a small promise of its own, this one unwavering.
I stare down at the general area of where our hands would be sitting on the desk, but that’s not what makes sitting in this seat hard, it’s each time I catch a quick look of Shawn’s empty seat. He’s not here. He might never come back to this school which has shaped him in ways similar to how he managed to shape me.
I miss his presence beside me. I miss his hand holding my own along with not feeling like a total piece of shit when I think of how wrong I treated him.
“Why the hell would I do this to myself? Why would I do this?” I try forcing myself to take calming breaths as I hold my head in my hands, my leg bouncing up and down as the anxiety tears me apart from limp to limp.
I feel like I’m being thrown to the wolves. I want to be anywhere but here and this pain just won’t disappear, but instead I’m stuck to be smothered and attacked by the despair.
The whispers don’t help much either, it all puts me further on edge if I’m honest.
“You’re doing this because you love me and still feel guilty about Friday,” Xavier points out matter-of-factly.
“I seriously don’t want to be here right now. I want to be somewhere else, I already almost tripped down the stairs today when I saw a tall kid with curly black hair from behind. This is killing me.” Xavier places a hand on my forearm.
“I know this hurts, but you know you’re feeling some of what Shawn felt?” I look him in his eyes before he turns his head from my own, not wanting to look at me when his next sentence comes out. “You know how Shawn told you he was cutting?”
“Yeah?” I answer, but it sounds more like a question.
“Well, the main reason he was going to Mr. Orreia’s office is because some people thought he was at high risk of harming himself yet again.” I feel my leg stop bouncing before I’m staring at the desk, noticing the small carvings of Shawn and I’s initials. “Anyway, you know how teachers say they aren’t going to tell your parents something?”
“Yeah, half of the time they go ahead and do so anyway.”
“Exactly, so Mr. Orreia had Shawn write down his thoughts whenever he felt himself getting pissed off or when he’s about to have a mental breakdown or is in the process of having one. He’s supposed to write his feelings down for the times when nobody else is around to talk him down from a bad situation.” Mr. Orreia was there for Shawn when I couldn’t talk him out of a tough situation that I myself didn’t help in the slightest.
“Mom told me to read through what he wrote because she couldn’t convince herself to do it and she thought I might be able to relate more to him than she would. Saturday night I stayed up all night reading,” his voice gets a bit lower before he moves the folders and binder to the side to reveal a red spiral notebook. “Take it for the day, you can give it back to me some time at home.”
Home, the Harper household that is now down a Harper has gained one and a Wolff too. It doesn’t feel the way it used to when Shawn was still there and I could fall asleep in his arms, my head tucked in the crook of his neck. I know I’m not the only one who misses him.
“You sure Shawn would want me reading his most inner thoughts and feelings?” I raise an eyebrow even though he isn’t looking me in the eye.
“Amaya, please, you know good and damn well you’re one of the only people he wants in his thoughts, now can you please take the time to read it. Pay attention to the words on the pages too.” I glance up, nodding to him before I stare forward and notice how Ms. Gorland’s eyes land on me, but luckily, there isn’t any pity or anything along the lines of it.
“You alright, Ms. Wolff, Mr. Harper?”
“Yeah, we’re fine. Please, continue on.”
Ms. Gorland looks away, not wanting to push us, remembering how close we still are to the accident. I can’t even believe it’s been eight days with the heaviest heart I’ve ever had.
“Okay, each of you are going to write about someone or something that is very important to you. Explain your reasoning for choosing whatever or whomever you’ve chosen, the assignment is due tomorrow and presenting will be both tomorrow and Wednesday. If you can, include a photo of the person.
“I suggest you don’t wait for your lunch periods to start it.” Ms. Gorland is one of the only teachers I can say I truly respect.
I mean, I respect Mrs. Harrington now that she isn’t on my ass about being late to gym class and she even suggested that she would be down to help if some of the asswipe teachers were talking their mess about me. Then there’s Mr. Hedley, I never really had a problem with him and he never gave a reason to start having one.
“Hypothetically, what happens if we don’t do it?” Jake asks while raising his hand.
“Hypothetically, you take a zero for a quiz grade, Mr. Bryant, and I know some people care to maintain a good graded GPA.” I know I’m one of those people that care. I want to get into a good college, and schoolwork can be a distraction from life.
“Great, I’ve got to write a damn paper and present,” a boy’s voice from a row or two in front of me comes to ear.
“Now I’ve got to sit here and listen to people talk about how much Shawn means, why the hell should I listen to people bitch?” My hand starts to form into a fist before Xavier’s low growl echoes through the room. I throw my hand over his own as an attempt to calm him so he doesn’t end up suspended on our first day back.
“Brett, that-” Ms. Gorland starts.
“Shut the hell up Brett, there’s no need for you to be an ass.” My head jerks up.
“I’m not, but I find it to be complete and utter bullshit that people care when the captain of the football team/quarterback ends up in the hospital fighting for his life but don’t care when a not so popular kid dies. Every life should count, Kent should count too.”
“Kent Titus Claudy,” I voice the full name of the boy the Brett kid mentioned.
“You heard of Kent?”
“Yeah, Brett, I did hear about him. Kentwood Titus Claudy was born May 28, 2004, both of you were fostered together before being adopted by the same family. He was small for his age and this summer, on August 4, he was ran over by a so-called drunk driver.”
I sit up a bit taller in my seat.
“And just so you know, I’m on your side when it comes to certain people’s tragedies being handled differently. It doesn’t make sense how more people will occasionally speak about the more known people and letting the lesser known ones become forgotten.
“But Shawn wasn’t like that, he isn’t like that. Sure, Shawn can have days where he would be angry and stand-offish, but the majority of time he keeps me sane when I feel like giving up. He never cared about what my history is or what other people think about me or others, he always forms his own opinions on a person.
“Whenever he sees someone having a bad day he tries to help them, even when he’s having a terrible day himself. He always places others first and that’s only half of the reason I’m angry about my situation, and so you’re allowed to be angry about your situation too. Hell, I would be concerned if you weren’t. But you don’t see me lashing out, do you?”
Now if people took a glance in my mind, that’s another story.
Brett doesn’t say a word, neither does anyone else in the room, but I can feel the stares coming from every which direction, this time I choose to keep quiet and read from Shawn’s notebook. My eyes fall on the first page.
I feel like I’m invisible
Hiding behind a fake smile and laugh
You don’t see me, you never have, not really
I could be staring you down but you’d only see a friend
Not a person to fall in love with all the way
Let me love you in the ways that I do
Let me be there for you
How can’t you see that I’m the person to love you through thick and thin
I was there when you were alone
I’m always going to be there
I sit here thinking of the small sparkle in your eyes
I know part of you feels as alone as I do
Part of you feels like crumbling down and shattering
Just know that I’ll catch you when you fall
Kiss the pain away if you allow me to
If nobody else is there, I am
I notice how you sometimes smile even when you’re sad
You cry but never stop looking beautiful
I hold you even when I’m breaking too
I try to make you laugh when I’m sad
You make the pain go away
The self-loathing disappears for a few moments
But it reappears the moment you’re gone
You’re gone like everyone else and I’m left hurt
I break slowly and it seems like nobody cares
The hurt comes and goes but my thoughts of you stay
As I write this, you’ve got people when I’m all alone
People want you and you don’t even notice how precious you are
People see me, wanting to be there for a bit, eventually disappearing
You were there, but now you’re gone
I wonder if you ever think of me as much as I think of you
One thing is certain, I’m never forgetting you
Or the love I feel for you
I read over more of Shawn’s thoughts, being given more evidence towards myself being the cause of his life “falling apart” in his words. It almost brings me a small ounce of pleasure when a small voice whispers, “Can we… talk?”
My body swivels around in my seat before I’m met with the sight of Bethany standing in a California Republic sweatshirt and baggy sweatpants that would probably be falling off of her if it wasn’t for the draw string. From first glance I can see there’s definitely something wrong with her. Then her eyes. They’re dark brown pools of heartache and sorrow.
I’ve been in her shoes enough to be able to see it anywhere.
“Are you okay?” I find myself asking even though regularly, I’d overlook seeing her, pretending not to see the pain. But as I sit here I see a person that is hurting just as much as I am, we’ve both lost so much.
Even if Bethany has caused some of my losses, I helped her in doing so, not to mention that I think it’s about time for me to quit ignoring her. We need to have this conversation at some point and I guess now is the time for it.
“No,” she whispers in response to my previously asked question.
I knew it was a dumb question to ask, but I couldn’t not ask either.
“Can we please talk?” I find myself taking time to think about it. Sometimes it’s really hard to be around her or even to look in the same direction as her. How am I going to sit and have a conversation with her?
She’s caused a decent amount of pain in my life, but there used to be friendship there too. We once were good friends, her being my only girl friend until, ironically, I became friends with her sister.
It was May 15, 2013, one the day previous I was forced into the ring with a girl that happened to be only two years older than me, which was rare since Derrick enjoys giving me unfair fights. This fight wasn’t fair either, but not for me, but for that girl instead. She was small and lanky with her hair in a pixie cut.
Those blue eyes filled with horror when she saw me. I could tell she was scared of me because of the reputation I was forced to set by Derrick. He thinks the more people who end up scared of me and Jonah the better. It’s better to be feared than the one getting scared, at least that’s what he told us.
I wanted to throw the fight, but I couldn’t. Not if it meant Jonah getting hurt. I have to put him first, I’d die for him to get a chance. Mom hasn’t done anything for it, I love her, but she’s blinded by whatever love she feels for him that she won’t put her children first. It doesn’t help that he’s the leader of a gang with connections, there’s practically no escape for it and it’s suffocating.
I went as easily as I could without it getting Jonah or I punished which was me allowing her a couple of hits while I dodged them for the most part and took about half of what she threw me. One moment I was in front of her and then it was as though I disappeared, while she turned I stood behind her, mimicking each of her movements so that she was still searching.
We were in this cage and I climbed partially on it before flipping down and throwing my leg out before it snapped her left one. It was a weak kick though, I made it as small as I could for it to still look good, but her screams made me cringe before I punched her and knocked her out cold with a single punch. The pain from the broken leg most likely making it easier to let go.
It made me sick to my stomach. I did that to her. I made her scream and I hurt her. I didn’t want to, but Derrick always says to put yourself first and not think about others or else it’ll only screw you over. He isn’t wrong about it screwing you over but I can’t just look in the opposite direction.
I remember running into that girl before our fight. Jonah and I were walking side by side while not saying a single word though I continuously asked him if he was alright in that small room Derrick placed us in to get ready for our fight. As I wrapped his hands I noticed that girl, she reminded me of Tinker Bell.
She stood a bit taller than I am with her hands shoved into her black Nike basketball shorts that stopped at her knees. The shirt she wore looked a bit too big for her and that information alone told me her situation. When I looked at her arms I felt myself forcing a lump down my throat as I notice the slashes. The girl had to have been cutting herself.
Some of them look to be scabs meaning they were recent while I notice some scars on her too. They weren’t anything like my own though. I haven’t ever cut myself before, I just have injuries from being forced to fight these damn battles.
But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to survive in this world. When I looked up into her eyes we stared at each other without saying a word, Jonah looked too but when he opened his mouth to say something she ran off. Leaving us watching as she went. I hoped that I didn’t need to go against her but I’ve never been the type to get much of what I want.
I could only imagine what she was like before all the fighting came into her life, maybe she smiled a lot and wore pretty dresses while hanging out with her clique after school. Maybe she got involved in fighting later compared to me, it could be a recent thing that occurred and turned into something she can’t get out of.
So I told Bethany about her. I told Bethany almost every detail that came to mind while she brushed through my dirty blonde hair with the comb she told me to bring over. Whenever I’d make a face at her for pulling a bit too hard she’d laugh at me and say, “Get over it. It wasn’t that bad. Beauty hurts.” It’s funny, Mom used to tell me the same.
But I don’t really care about my appearances like that. I like letting my hair out or wearing it up in a ponytail while wearing one of my dad’s old hoodies. Mom has two of them hidden in the back of her closet that she doesn’t think I know about, I steal them when she goes to work. They’re comfortable, I don’t care what the story is behind it though I know she does.
Comfy is beauty to me. A person willing to be themselves in front of others is beautiful, but since she enjoys doing my hair I let her have this. I don’t know why she’s so obsessed with it, I mean, I’ve got some decent hair and her favorite thing to do with it is comb it before braiding it. Sometimes it’s a regular braid that goes down my back or a french braid that I’ve been begging her to teach me how to do.
She only says it’s a natural talent.
“So what about this girl, what happened to her?” Bethany’s voice is smaller than usual as I bite down on my lip and look to her in the mirror. A strand of her light brown hair falling in her eyes before she blows it away.
“I-I don’t know,” I admit while playing with my hands, “I’m a monster for it, Beth. I really didn’t want to hurt that girl. I wish I could have found a way to avoid it. I truly hate myself for it.” She places my hair down before making me face her and wrapping her arms around my neck. I sigh while wrapping my arms around her too.
“Don’t you ever say that. I know you didn’t want to hurt her, you aren’t the type to want to fight someone. You do what you need to do to come home safely and do the same for your brother, you’re trying to protect your family. There wasn’t a way to avoid it and I know you tried your hardest to go easy on her, so don’t say you hate yourself. I don’t hate you for it and neither do the boys. We love you,” her voice is strong as she holds me even closer and I allow her as I melt in her hold. “Got it, Wolff?”
“Yeah, I got it,” I tell her before she lets me go from the hold.
Bethany nods while running the comb through my hair once again and pulls it back into her hand. She parts my hair into three parts as I sit there quietly, her fingers weave through my hair and soon the braid is finished before she ties off the end.
It really is magical to look at. She’s got skill no doubt. I wonder if she’s ever thought about going into cosmetology, she has a great sense of style and knows how to do more than just braiding.
“Dad went off the horse of sobriety last night,” she blurts out.
I look to her and notice her chewing away at her lip. If she continues like that it’ll start bleeding in no time at all, but I get why she’s doing it. Her dad was sober for a whole month and she prayed it would stay that way but luck doesn’t come too easy for her either. We’ve both got it bad.
“Did he try hurting you?” I might just hurt him if he has.
“He doesn’t know what he’s doing when under the influence, A. It’s like he becomes this completely different person, he says sorry. He doesn’t mean it.” I feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins. It’s not fair that she has to suffer from this. From her father nonetheless.
“Beth, that doesn’t matter. He hurts you. An apology isn’t going to change the fact that he gets drunk and beats you. You’ve told me he’s beaten you until you’ve passed out before, maybe you should tell your mom…” She looks to me as if I’ve grown a second head.
I know she hasn’t been speaking with her mom that much since finding out that she was marrying again to her soon to be stepfather, Calvin. She doesn’t like talking about him so I don’t usually push the matter, not to mention that I know she’s hurt that her mother could leave her along with her father.
“I’m not moving to be with them, you know I can’t.” I look into her eyes and notice how broken her face looks.
“Why, Beth? It breaks me hearing what your father does to you and then when I see him I want to hurt him for hurting you. You don’t deserve to be his live punching bag, it doesn’t matter if he means to hurt you or not,” I croak out.
I wish it was just as simple as telling my mom this was going on to change the fact that my life is still going down the drain. Mom already knows, and I’m living with her and my stepdad which is the problem while my father is nowhere to be found.
“I can’t leave him like she did.” Her voice cracks at the end as I look to her with gentle eyes. My heart breaks looking at her like this.
“Beth, if this is about loyalty, you’ve got to know that you aren’t leaving him. You’re helping him by giving him the single bit of peace of knowing there isn’t a way he can hurt you anymore. I don’t want to get a phone call telling me that you’re in the hospital because of another ‘accident’ that mysteriously occurred,” I whisper as she lays back on her bed and I lay back too before turning so that we’re face to face. “If you don’t go tell your mom about this can you at least just make sure to watch after yourself as best as you can?” She nods.
“I promise I will, and thanks for caring.” I nod too. “Alright, you want to play Confession?” she asks. I shake my head. “Oh come on, please,” she gives me a pouty face while giving me these big puppy eyes.
“Fine, but only one round,” I give in before she sits up real quick and I do the same. She crosses her legs before motioning for me to do the same, so I do. “Okay, ask your first question.”
“Do you like anyone?” I find myself freezing while beginning to gnaw on the inside of my cheek. I haven’t ever lied to her, even in a situation where I really didn’t want to admit to something, and I’m not going to start now.
“Yes,” she nods.
“Who?” The one question I didn’t want her to ask she does. I bunch up the purple comforter on her bed while staring down in my lap. “Well go on, we haven’t got all day.” I force myself to look up and into her eyes.
“Shawn,” I whisper. Her eyes change to hurt before she moves.
“You like Shawn,” she repeats, making sure that’s what I’ve just admitted to. I nod while watching as she gets up from her bed and begins to pace. “Well that’s a problem,” she tells me before I get up too.
“What do you mean that’s a problem?” I could name ten reasons right off the bat why it was a problem for me to like Shawn, but as my friend, she’s supposed to support me and tell me that’s alright or something along the lines. She’s not supposed to say that’s a problem, that doesn’t work for me or sit well a tiny bit.
“Because I like Shawn, A,” she admits and it hurts to hear.
We can’t both like Shawn. That means problems will start. I’ve read enough to learn that even though a book isn’t always realistic that that single fact is true. When two friends like the same person it means pain is very near, especially if one of us is to ever date him.
“Well, what are we going to do? I really like him, and those feelings have been there for a long time,” I tell her while hugging myself. She looks over to me before her eyes narrow just a bit as they usually do when she’s really thinking about something. Those eyebrows of hers also get this crease before she holds up her index finger.
“I know they have, that’s why we don’t speak about it, but if he makes a move on either of us the other person can’t get angry at the person for it. I can’t get angry at you and you can’t get angry at me, deal?” she asks while holding her hand out for me to shake. I smile before taking it in my own.
“Deal. But wait, did you say you knew they’ve been there?” Bethany nods.
“You don’t hide it too well. You’re always ogling him, though I’m shocked he hasn’t put two and two together by now,” she admits while looking outside and pointing to the clouds in the sky. I move closer to her window as we look at the clouds but I don’t know what I’m looking at. She lets out a laugh. “Shawn is like the sky, he’s got all these clouds surrounding him, or girls in the grade chasing after him. But that cloud,” she points to the one furthest from the others, “is like you. The others go and try throwing themselves at him or make it obvious what they want while you are a silent observer, different from the rest. Instead of fighting for his attention you’ve just got it naturally. Being yourself, he sees you for you and that’s what he wants. I know he doesn’t want me. He wants you, Amaya, he wants what’s been his since the first time you met each other.”
I look to Bethany out of the corner of my eye before noticing her eyes are watering. When I open my mouth to say something she leaves me standing there and moves to the bathroom where I can’t follow her.
I miss the old Bethany, the one I could talk to, so I find myself going against my better judgment and nod to her before standing from my seat. I grab Shawn’s journal, putting it in my backpack. “Follow me, I know somewhere we can go.”
She nods slowly as I pull my backpack onto my back and take the quickest route to the school’s back doors. We move out and every few moments I make sure to check that nobody has picked up on the fact that we’ve left school early.
I head to the bleachers and fence that face the football field and squeeze through a hole in the fence under a specific set of bleachers. Under the bleachers is a small area where the boys and I stashed some chairs along with a pack full of junk food, water, and sugary beverages for the occasions when we decide to ditch class as a group but don’t want to actually go anywhere.
It’s pretty secluded as nobody can really get back here without squeezing through the fence and you’ve got to know where the hole is first. I sit down in the chair I usually take before pointing to the seat across from me.
I grab the pack with all the snacks before taking out two chocolate chip Chewy bars and a bottle of half and half Arizona before tossing it to her. She catches it.
“You need to eat something,” I tell her. She whispers a thank you. “So what exactly do you need to talk to me about?” I ask when she finally takes a bite out of one of the Chewy’s and I take another out for myself.
“I need to apologize, for all the shit I’ve put you through. I just- you know what, it doesn’t matter why I did anything. The point is that I’m sorry for everything, but my apology doesn’t mean a damn thing, an apology doesn’t change the fact that what I’ve done fucked you over,” I bite down on the Chewy bar before nodding slowly.
“I want to know why though,” I tell her, “I also want to know how the hell things got to this? We were such good friends, Bethany, we truly were. You were like a sister, then you left me behind, and on top of that lied to me about your siblings.”
“I didn’t lie about them,” her voice is small.
“My bad, you hid from me that they even existed. I’m not trying to fight here, Beth, we’ve done enough of that. I’ve already lost too much and right now, while Shawn fights for his life in that hospital, my son is left without a father. If drama is what this is gonna be then I’m not doing this with you. Just have a conversation with me.” Bethany sighs before nodding and staring down at her lap.
“It started when you said you liked Shawn…” she trails off on the end and I can tell there’s information she’s withholding but it’s gonna come out.
“I know you liked him too, but you also said that we wouldn’t get mad at each other if he asked one of us out, you even said you thought it would be me. I don’t get this,” I tell her. Bethany shakes her head before running her hands through her hair.
“That’s just it, Amaya, I never liked Shawn. I liked him as a person and friend, but I didn’t have those types of feelings for him. I still don’t have those feelings for him.” What the hell? What is she talking about?
“What do you mean you’ve never had feelings for him, you were chasing after him for so long that I barely remember a time when you weren’t.” She shakes her head again before taking these deep breaths as if preparing herself for the unimaginable.
“I was never chasing after Shawn, I just wanted you to believe I was. The truth is that I realized that I had feelings for you and didn’t know what to do, so I claimed to like Shawn. That boy has always had your attention and you’ve always had his, I knew it was only a matter of time before things kicked off with you, but that didn’t make it hurt any less.” She avoids making eye-contact with me and all I can think about is how Cody and Dylan might’ve felt being true to themselves which has made them both happy.
I know they were scared of coming out and Dylan was hurt for being who he is, but I’m so damn proud of them and everyone else that doesn’t give a damn about what others think about their life. They just live their best lives which even I’m scared of, because I had that with Shawn but just let go instead of holding on.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t think you’d want to know,” she admits while leaning back in her seat.
“Okay.” I glance up at the sky. “Now I’ve got a question for you. What happened between you and your dad that has you living with your mom and siblings?”
“Charlie hasn’t told you?” Her surprise is apparent in her voice.
“She didn’t think it was her place.”
Bethany licks her lips before turning her head away from me. “A few months ago, I came in late, only half an hour or so, and Dad was sitting in this chair across from the door with a beer in his hand. There were cans beside him, maybe five or so, then he started choking me. I couldn’t breathe which resulted in me blacking out.
“When I woke up he was gone before I called Mom, telling her everything from start to finish what happened.” Her eyes start to get teary; she wipes them away.
“Where’s your dad now?”
“They found him blacked out in some street, but now he’s getting the mental help he needs, and I guess it’s not terrible for me to be with Mom and Calvin.” I nod slowly.
“Are you getting the help that you need?”
“I could ask you the same thing,” she says in a small voice.
“Yes and no, I’m dealing with things the way that I have to.” It might not be the best way, but that’s a problem for later.
“I’m sorry about Shawn.”
“Yeah, I am too, and so is Aaron, who hasn’t spoken a word since the incident happened.” She doesn’t say anything, most likely not wanting to further agitate me. “Can we not talk about him? I’d rather not sit here and cry.”
Bethany and I sit there speaking for another hour or so before we make the choice to go our separate ways, refusing to go back to our classes. I make sure to text Xavier so he knows I’m heading over to see Shawn if he wants to meet me there. My thoughts set on only being with Shawn even if I can set things straight.