How To Be Straight

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Phone Call

The thing about being adopted is that you spend the rest of your life wondering what would have happened if you’d ended up with your biological family- or with a different adopted family, and you can never tell your parents, because you don’t want to hurt them. It’s all luck of the draw though. You could get put into some terrible family, or in a great one like mine.

I’m sitting at my desk, pondering this, because my English teacher wants us to write a paper about something we had no control over, and I was thinking I would do being adopted- unless I could think of something better, because that was kind of lame.

I was just about to start when my phone rang. I jumped, then picked up, not glancing at the caller ID. “Hello?”

“Hey Gracie.” It was Jamie.

“Hey. What’s up?”

“Um, was our paper for English supposed to be 300 or 400 words?”

“400. Why didn’t you just text?”

“You don’t always answer right away and I wanted to know now since I’m at my computer typing.”

“Oh.”

“And I wanted to hear your voice.”

I was suddenly glad she couldn’t see me blush. “Oh.”

“Um, yeah.”

“Yeah.”

“So…”

“So, bye.”

“Bye,” she responded simply, then added, “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Bye.”

And I hung up.

I closed my eyes. I couldn’t think with them open, the world got in my way. But today, I was having a really hard time focusing, so I opened my eyes again and made a list on a piece of scrap paper I had lying around.


Jamie just said she wanted to hear the sound of my voice.

Is that flirty?

She called instead of texted

Just to ask about a paper.

I stared at the list. I was going down a dangerous road. I could feel it. It was possible I was all wrong, I had been wrong before. It was possible she had never seen me as more than a friend.

I sighed and closed my computer. The paper could wait another night. Instead, I picked up my phone. I needed to figure this out, once and for all.

So I called Abbey.

“Hey,” she said when she picked up.

“Hey,” I responded.

There was an awkward silence between us for a second before she said, “what’s up?”

“I just had the weirdest conversation with Jamie.”

“Oh?”

“You’re being weird.”

“I am?”

“You’re being very… I don’t know how to describe it. Mellow, I guess. Very… like you don’t care, you know?”

“Sorry.”

“Is everything okay?”

“Yeah. Everything’s fine. What happened with Jamie?”

“You’re changing the subject.”

“I am?”

“Yes.”

“I thought you called to talk about Jamie.”

“Tell me what’s wrong.”

She sighed. “You know me too well.”

“Yeah. I know.”

“I don’t really want to talk about it.”

“Abbey…”

“Grace. I’m fine. If you’re not gonna talk about your juicy gossip, I’m gonna hang up, okay?”

“Okay… but I’m always here if you need me.”

“Yeah. I know.”

“So she called me,” I began, “And asked me about the paper for English.”

“Mhm.”

“And I answered her question- she wanted to know how many words it had to be, which is unlike her, cause she writes everything down in that fancy planner of hers. But then I asked her why she didn’t just text. And she said that I take too long to answer my texts, and I said oh, and she said that she also wanted to ‘hear the sound of my voice’! Like, what the heck is that supposed to mean?!” There was silence on the other end. “You there?”

“Yeah. I’m just thinking.”

“So what do you think it means?”

“Um…” Abbey hesitated. “Okay. So it was definitely flirty. Like you don’t just say that, but it also isn’t necessarily loaded with meaning. Like, I wouldn’t think it means she wants to elope or anything.”

I laughed. “I’m not that stupid.”

“No but, it might be...flirty but not meaningful, you know? Like Derik.”

“I keep telling you, Derik actually liked me.”

“And I keep telling you he’s insane! I mean, you’d make him look bad!”

I laughed.

“Actually,”she added, “you’d make anyone look bad.”

“Same to you, sis,” I replied, referring to our nickname for each other back in second grade.

She laughed. She seemed to be in a better mood now than before. “So, Princess, how was the rest of your day?”

“Princess?!”

“I don’t know, it just seemed to fit!”

“Well, fine maiden, my day was fine, how about you?”

I settled onto my bed, my phone to my ear, talking to my best friend.

This day has been good. It began with an extremely interesting first period math class where we spent the entire time debating pay phones. Yes, pay phones. Then we had a couple of normal classes, watched a movie in Social Studies, and then went to lunch. Which is now. More importantly, Abbey has been in a good mood ever since our phone call last night, which of course greatly improved my mood.

So she’s chattering away about her family’s Thanksgiving plans and how she’s going to get out of them as we round the corner into the loud, annoying lunchroom.

“Hey let’s eat outside,” she says suddenly.

I blink. “It’s like, 40 degrees out.”

“C’mon…. It’ll be fun! An adventure! Pleaaaase, Graceeeee?”

“Fine. If you can convince all of them,” I gestured vaguely to our table, “then we can eat outside.”

Her face fell. “No, I don’t want to eat with them. Just us. A special date. Just the two of us. Come on! We’ll eat with them tomorrow! Please Grace? Please please please please please please please?!”

I laughed. “Okay! Fine! You win! Jesus, Abbey!”

“Yay!” she said. She seemed so happy. And she was in such a good mood today. I supposed I could survive one lunch without Jamie, and it had been a while since I’d had a lot of alone time with Abbey, so why not?

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