Chapter 1 - Leaving Home
However, to a freshman in high school being moved literally across the country from her boyfriend and best friend it sure felt like it. Mark leaned down until his forehead touched mine and sighed, “How am I supposed to live without you?” I made the slight move to bring my lips to his and laid a soft kiss on his mouth, “The same way I am going to have to learn to live without you, day by day.” He looks unconvinced, but tries for a smile, “Well at least I can look forward to talking my parents into spring break trips to sunny California right?” I laugh and say, “Leave it to you to find a way to get in some beach time. So are we good?” I ask softly. Mark kisses me, he moves his face into my long dark hair, and takes a deep breath.
“Yeah, of course we are. Nothing is going to come between us this time remember, we promised.” I remembered the teary reunion that we had shared when we decided for the millionth time that year that we could not really stay broken up because we were perfect for each other. We had sat in our booth at Grady’s Drive-In and promised that we would never again break up with each other when all we really needed to do was talk through our problems instead of fighting. “We better get back before someone misses us.” Mark says as he stands and helps me to my feet. I look around the courtyard and wonder if my new high school will have one where I can go when I need a minute to myself. Looking out the door into the hallway Mark grabs my hand and hurries back into the hallway over to the lockers where I work my lock open to get what I needed for the next class.
“One of these days you two are going to get caught and when you do I hope they suspend you both.” The whiney voice of the girl four lockers down floats through the hall to us. “Shut up Heather, you’re just pissed because he wouldn’t stay with you and came back to me.” I smiled vindictively back at her. “Whatever, I couldn’t care less!” Heather, the bane of my existence since Mark took her on a few dates during one of our breakups, slams her locker and stomps down the hall. “On that note I’m heading to class.” Mark laughs, “Grady’s after school?” I think about how I can get out of packing my room up to make it the two blocks to Grady’s without being noticed. “I’m supposed to pack up my room tonight, but I’ll really try ok?” Mark shoots me a dark look and says “And so our separation begins, and you’re not even gone yet!” As he starts stomping away I holler back to him, “Hey, don’t worry, I’ll be there, I just have to figure the best way around mom, relax!!” with a quick flash of my favorite grin he’s back in a good mood and walking away from me to class.
If there is one thing I learned over the next few weeks, it was the harder you try to slow down time, the faster it moves. This is why I find myself standing outside the car with tears streaming down my face with my best friend and Mark in front of me. Elizabeth hugs me hard and makes me promise to write before running to get in her mom’s car and driving away. All that is left now is to say goodbye to the one person I feel like a need to have to be able to breathe. “I can’t believe this is actually it.” Mark looks down at me and I can tell he wants to cry. “I’m so sorry, I wish this was just a dream.” I lean my head onto his shoulder and try to find it in myself to say goodbye with at least some of my dignity intact.
“Smile, give me a kiss, and say see you then.” Mark says, “Remember, this isn’t the end, just a bump in the road until graduation.” Therefore, I smile our special smile, even though I am crying. I reach up and slide my hand around his neck and kiss him softly, even though I feel like I am dying, and murmur, “See you then.” As quietly as possible to try to keep the wobble out of my voice, I get in the backseat and blow him a kiss and we are gone