Three days went by and I was still pissed at her. I stayed most of the time in my room and at dinner and lunch I wouldn’t go and sit with her like before. Sometimes I felt her staring at me from across the canteen, and I had to make a huge effort not to scream in her face to stop it. I could tell she was miserable by the way she walked, her idly movements and her not-so-cheerful smile and dull eyes, but it didn’t make any sense because what she said to me was way worse than what I said to her, so I should be the one hurt, not her.
What happened between the two of us was yet another warning for me not to get attached to anyone, and I was now determined to succeed. She opened my eyes, she made me realise that what I was doing was a mistake. I have to admit, it felt good to talk to someone and to laugh a bit, but I was being stupid.
I had just finished lunch and I was now wandering around the school, walking aimlessly and with no rush through the endless halls. I looked at the black and white pictures on the wall of former students that had left long ago. They all looked so happy and vivid. Hansen was present in some of those pictures, way younger than he was now. His hair was completely black and this features softer, his smile was genuine. I vaguely remembered his warm smile and open arms when he came to visit us. He always brought a chocolate bar for me and I loved it back then: everything was perfect and I didn’t have to worry about a thing, unlike today.
When I turned around to walk away from the picture, a door opened and almost hit me in the face, but I jumped back just in time.
“Hey! Watch out-” I said instantly, but when I noticed it was Summer and I shut up.
“I’m so sorry, I-” she looked up at me and also stopped talking, surprised to see me there. She shrugged her shoulders and took a step back, looking at the floor.
We didn’t look into each other’s eyes. I could feel the tension build around us. Why was I still standing there? Why was she still standing there? Was she expecting an apology? Hell she was going to have it.
I turned around without further due, and just before I started walking away from her, Summer tapped her finger on my shoulder.
“What?” I hissed harshly once I turned my head to the side.
Her face was no longer pale and sick-looking, but red and puffy. Her eyes were glossy and her bottom lip was trembling.
“Harry,” her voice came also as a whisper. “I’m so sorry Harry, I really am. Sorry.”
As she spoke those words, she bowed her head as a single tear ran down her face. What?
“Why are you sorry?” I asked as I took a step closer to her. She looked broken, sad, yet she was the one saying she was sorry.
“Because- because I never wanted to hurt you, okay? You’ve had enough,” She said and I was taken aback. “You’ve done bad things, very bad things, but you have been punished for them. I don’t want to keep reminding you of your past. I don’t want to be that person.”
I didn’t know what to say. I thought she was mad at me for what I said about her friends, but she was actually mad at herself, she regretted what she said to me. This was a completely new territory for me; no one had ever felt the need to apologise to me, because no one had ever felt sorry for me. Everyone saw me as a cold-hearted, emotionless person, so why should I care if someone apologises to me? I found out I actually did.
All the anger I felt towards her vanished. Summer was still crying, waiting for me to say something, but instead I reached for her and hugged her. That action made me remember the night in the infirmary when she had the nightmare. I held her until she calmed down, and so that was what I did this time.
During the time when we were locked in each other’s arms, I couldn’t stop thinking about the promise I made to myself. Whenever she was around, I forgot who I was and what was happening and I could be happy. I truly wanted to make that a constant, but I didn’t know her intentions exactly, but one thing was for sure: no one, not even the best actor in the world, could be faking all of this. Her feelings had to be true and the only thing I could do was trust her. Besides, Hansen would never tell her – he also had things to lose if the truth came out – so the only way she could find out was if I told her.
“Summer,” He said in a low voice. I tilted my head upwards, just inches away from our noses touching “Follow me.”
We broke the embrace and I followed him just like he asked. I was so relieved that he forgave me, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. In the last couple of days, I was dreading that I would spend my Christmas alone, and my birthday which was almost here. I would ever make that mistake again, I would not let anger take over my actions and I would think before I talked.
Harry took me outside, and when I asked him where he was taking me he responded “You’ll see”. To my surprise, he took me to the gym, and from there he guided me to the equipment room. That room was designed to store equipment such as baseball bats, jumping ropes and so forth. The equipment was a little old, and it smelled like mould in there.
“Harry, what the hell are we doing here?” I asked once more. He didn’t respond and reached for a metal cupboard and opened it. Inside it, you could see a tonne of ice roller skates with shiny blades perfectly in line.
“Harry, are we going ice skating?” I guessed.
He gave me a half smirk “Yup.”
“What? No, what if we’re caught?”
“We won’t. Nobody comes outside when it’s this cold. And even if we are caught, what is the worst thing that could happen?” He looked at me, waiting for an answer, but I had none “Exactly.”
He gave me a pair of ice roller-skates and took ones for himself. I assumed we were going to the frozen lake, which wasn’t very far away from the gym. We walked for about five minutes in the thick snow when the lake came in sight. We sat down on a wooden bench and started to put our roller-skates on, which was no easy task.
“Can I ask you a question” Harry nodded, concentrated on tying the laces of the roller-skates “Why ice-skating?”
“Because I was running out of ideas and I haven’t attempted to ice skate in this lake before. Seems like the perfect occasion.”
“So you know how to roller skate then,” I concluded.
“Yeah, since I’m eleven years old. And I assume you do to0, right?” I could feel my cheeks blush. I have never tried to ice skate before, for the simple fact that I couldn’t afford roller-skates. Harry smiled, making his eyes shine “You haven’t?!”
“I never felt the need or interest to do so,” I explained, obviously lying. I have always envied my friends for knowing how to ice skate.
“If you want we can do something else-”
“Now that we’re here we are not turning back,” I stood up on my feet. The ice shoes made me taller, and surprisingly enough, the blade at the bottom of the shoes was incredibly easy to stand on. “Also, I’m always up for a good challenge.”
I got inside the lake before Summer, just so she could see how it was done. I was sure she had already seen people ice skate before, and although I didn’t want to admit, I was secretly trying to impress her.
I made a complete circle around the lake, passing through the small – and in my opinion ridiculous – bridge and back to her. My movements were fluid and effortless. It felt like I was flying through the ice. My long and warm overcoat almost reached the floor, and I was afraid it would make me slip, but luckily I didn’t.
“See, it’s easy,” I said to her as I helped her up. She was also wearing a dark grey overcoat, almost identical as mine, but it looked so much better on her. She had a dark green scarf around her neck and her golden hair was loose, her cheeks perfectly red. I helped her get in the lake and balance herself.
“This is not that hard,” she said smiling as she looked at the ground.
She hadn’t even started moving yet, but I didn’t want to turn her down. “Maybe this is your hidden talent,” I said with all the sarcasm I could muster. She gave a look and I smiled widely.
She stepped forward, steady but slow. There were moments where I thought she was going to fall, so I held her hand all the time. Once we reached a reasonable speed, I started to lose the grip on her hand, and I let go. She was so concentrated in what she was doing that I think she didn’t even notice.
“Keep going Summer!” I cheered for her. She looked up at me and when she did so, she lost her balance. I reached for her immediately, trying to stop her from falling, but I lost balance too and we both fell on the hard and cold ice.
Seconds after the fall, I looked at her for any signs of injury, but I was surprised by her hysterical laughing. I laughed along with her and the joyful sound was like music to my ears. Her happiness was really contagious. To get me to laugh is a hard thing to pull off, how did she do that?
“Okay, I think I had enough of ice skating for today,” she said as she struggled to get up on her feet.
“Yeah, we should get going,” I said to her and hopped out of the lake. Once we changed our shoes, we headed back to the gym to put the ice roller skates were they belonged. After that, we said goodbye and headed in opposite directions to our Wards to get ready for dinner, knowing that we wouldn’t be eating alone at last.