“Melita!” Senora Carter yelled at me from the front of the classroom. “Please translate la frase to Ingles.” She said, pulling me from my daze.
Mrs. Carter got on my last freaking nerves. Translate this, translate that! I don’t know any of the f-ing vocabulary! You don’t teach us anything; you just talk about different cultural aspects of Central America! Geez, get your head out of your ass.
I bit my lip from saying a string of colorful cuss words. Goodness, I didn’t know any of the words. Why the hell did they give us all this hard stuff? I’m only in Spanish II, for goodness sake.
“Uh, que significa…uh, ‘afeitarse’?” I asked her.
I swear, Mrs. Carter literally rolled her eyes at me. “Clase, que significa afeitarse?”
Barely half the class mundanely answered, “To shave,”
Okay. Well, why couldn’t Mrs. Carter just have said that? Because seriously, and I’m sorry to all those education planners I’m disappointing out there, but I’m really not learning anything. She should have just told me the answer, because I’m really not gonna remember it. And Mrs. Carter acts like if she makes us look it up in a dictionary or something, we’re gonna remember it. Uh, no. I remember words if she just actually TAUGHT ME THEM. But whatever, my mom says I need to be bi-lingual. Which, in a way, I already am. If an 80 year old comes up to me asks what LMFAO, I’m going to be able to tell him what it means.
“Er, does it mean, ‘I shave myself every morning?’” I said, taking a guess.
Mrs. Carter gave me a slight frown and rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Not exactly. You see, it’s two-verb construction so—,” Her voice was drowned out by the bell, and my legs instinctively sprang up.
“Oh, look at the time,” I exclaimed, getting a few laughs from the people around me. I was walking out the door, just towards the hallway and escaping from the Spanish hellhole, when Mrs. Carter called me back.
“Melita, could you come back here?” She called to me.
I stood there, in the doorway, and closed my eyes shut. Did I really feel like going back there and facing her? No, definitely not. But if I walked off, she would just probably catch me at my locker and drag me back to her classroom to do some sort of re-teaching or something. So, reluctantly, I dragged my feet back to her.
“Yes, Mrs. Carter?” I wasn’t able to hide the boredom in my voice.
“Melita, your grade is dangerously low. You have a C minus right now,” She said.
To be honest, by that moment, I didn’t really give a shit. To my knowledge, I might drop out of Spanish next quarter and have Study Hall or something. Maybe it was just my mood that day; I just didn’t feel like dealing with teachers or anything having to do with school. Or maybe my mind was preparing me for the mental anguish I was about to endure.
I eyed Mrs. Carter dubiously. “Don’t worry, Mrs—, er, Senora Carter. I’ll redo my work and turn it back in. Okay?”
She nodded back at me. “Okay. Just make sure to do so, okay?”
“Sure,” I called behind me, since I was already walking out the door. I know, I was being totally disrespectful and everything, but I just felt so…tired that day. And achy. Almost like I was about to come down with the flu, and my body was starting to prepare for it. My legs felt kinda bunched up too, like I had Restless Leg Syndrome or something. I don’t know, I just felt off.
As I walked to put my stuff in my locker for lunch, my mind began to wander aimlessly again. After we watched the video in Myths and Legends, we had to take a pre-test on water creatures. It sounds completely weird, taking a pre-test over some myths. But that’s the reason I chose Myths and Legends; it was easy and I’ll have to admit, a little fun. The whole time though, Dre and I shared cartoon notes about Lynne trying to tempt Mr. Michaels. It was pretty funny until Mr. Michaels almost intercepted it, which would have been completely embarrassing.
I put in my combo and shoved my stuff in the locker carelessly. I was grabbing my lunch card when I felt some come up from behind me.
“Interviews are like confessions. Get the fuck up out my dressing room confusing me with questions like,” The voice said, quoting the song “Hyfr” by Drake.
A smile spread across my face I recognized the lyrics. “Do you love this shit? Are you high right now? Do you ever get nervous? Are you single? I heard you fucked your girl; is it true? You getting’ money, you think them kids you wit is wit you?” I said the next continuing line.
“And I say hell yeah, hell yeah, hell yeah,” Dre laughed and he shut my locker door. “I guess that one was too easy, huh?”
I nodded. “Yeah,” I didn’t really say anything else, since I was too busy staring at Dre’s arms. God, everything about him was hot. If I ever got my hands on him…
“Somethin’ wrong?” He said, noticing my ogling him.
“Oh, nothing,” I said, snapping out of my trance. “I was just thinking about stuff,”
Dre linked his arm through mine (yes! I got to touch him) and we started walking down the hall. It may have seemed weird to someone else, him making physical contact with me. But that was just the way Dre was. He was really friendly towards me, but nothing else. No more, no less. Always just friends, every single freaking day of my life.
“About what?” He asked.
“Not much,” I said. In a way, it kinda was true. My life was uber boring. I mean, I was a slacker at school, I’m not talented at anything, and most of the friends I’ve made over the years – besides Brite – have moved away from me. I’m kind of a loner now, unless you include Charlie and Dre and Brite.
“Alright then,” He concluded. As we reached the loud cafeteria, we [unfortunately] unlinked arms so we could grab trays. It was either pepperoni pizza or chicken nuggets. I wasn’t trusting the chicken nuggets, which felt soft and looked dark gray. It was pretty disgusting, actually.
“How’s Derek?” I tried to make small talk as we walked through the line. I picked up a bread stick.
“He’s a’ight. He’s been staying at his friend Eric’s house a lot now because apparently, I’m unbearable to be around most of the time,” He muttered bitterly under his breath.
I was taken aback by Dre’s comment. He loved his little brother, even though Derek could be a little stubborn sometimes. Dre was too, but I don’t think he really even noticed it.
“Is there something wrong between you and Derek?” I said, genuinely concerned.
Dre shrugged as we walked back to our table near the corner of the cafeteria. I noticed that Lynne was giving me a dirty look, and I couldn’t help but laugh. It caused her and her lackeys to all give me death stares, but it didn’t bother. I’m not a wimp, and I’m pretty sure that Lynne wouldn’t be able to go through with something other than a mean prank or something. Like I hadn’t seen my name written on the bathroom stalls right next to Dre’s name.
By the look in Dre’s eyes, I finally noticed something there. His eyes were still cloudy, and I realized that his eyes had been like that all day, and the whites of his eyes were red. I thought his hair being in tufts was just another hairstyle he was trying to pull off. But maybe he just looked all distraught because something was going on at home. And here I was, complaining about my stupid problems with Lynne. God, I was being a douche today.
“He’s not the same kid anymore,” Dre finally admitted to me. I was about to sit down so I could face him, but he patted the seat next to him.
Was it normal for my heartbeat to quicken when he did that?
“What do you mean?” I replied, even though I kept staring at Dre’s hand. It was rubbing up against mine, and he kept playing with it like it was a toy. It was odd, but I knew that it was a sort of gesture that Dre did when he was nervous. But he had never done it with my hand before.
“I mean, I know it’s hard for an eight year old kid to deal with a mom like ours, but since he’s been about 12, he’s just been different,” He said uneasily. He dropped my hand and started tracing circles on my arm. “He just ignores the whole ordeal with our mom now, and he just basically ignores me too. I’m not tryin’ to be a wuss or anything, but it’s getting under my f-ing skin. He’s not my brother Derek, he’s this stranger that lives in my house now,” He said.
I didn’t really know how to respond that. I mean, no one in my family had to go to rehab for crack abuse. The worse thing that’s happened to our family is probably the night when my mom and dad had this huge fighting match in the kitchen, and mom stormed out afterwards. I was pretty distraught about the whole thing, and after that, Marshall developed a little animosity towards Dad. I’m just glad Mya hadn’t been born then, because she probably would have developed child depression or something.
“That’s…some heavy shit,” I sighed. “I don’t know what to say, man.” I said lamely. I looked at Dre, and realized that he was looking at me with a bemused expression on your face.
I took a bite of my salad – because really, I for sure wasn’t going to choose gray chicken nuggets – and looked back over to Dre. I was sure that his odd expression was just a figment of my imagination, but he was still looking at me weird.
“What?” I said stupidly, ranch and lettuce spilling out my mouth. “Oops,”
Dre started laughing his face off. His laughter was literally jolting, since it sent the lunch table rocking back and forth. I dropped my fork on the floor – damn! – and looked down at my lunch uneasily. What was I gonna eat now?
“Sorry,” He apologized as I picked up my fork. “It’s just that…” He trailed off again and started wiping away the tears from his eyes. “You’re just…well, you just amuse me.” He finally said, and smiled at me.
I involuntarily smiled back, without ranch spilling out my mouth this time. “Well…thank you. I’ve never been told I amuse someone,” I said, and I appreciated the crap out of Dre’s compliment. He may not have known how much I loved the compliments he gave me, but if Dre wasn’t my friend, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be alive by now.
Brite came with Charlie a little bit after that, along with Drew (a girl) and another one of our friends named JD. The whole time though (Brite gave me half her lunch since I had ruined mine) I thought I saw Dre looking at me from the corner of his eyes. I thought he was trying to half a little private conversation with me, so I would turn all the way towards him, but then he’d just turn away and laugh at something Drew said. In fact, the more I noticed it, the more I realized that Dre was paying a lot of attention to Drew. A little more attention than I was comfortable with, I realized.
I felt a nauseous wave wash over my stomach. I wasn’t so hungry anymore. I pushed Brite’s tray over to her and laid my head down on the table. I felt a prick at my eye and then I realized I was…crying (???)
“Shit,” I cursed when a tear began rolling down my cheek. I quickly wiped it away. I turned to see if anyone had saw, and I noticed Dre looking concerned at me.
“Dude, you okay?” He said, looking strangely at me. I didn’t blame him, really. Dre had never seen me cry, or even Brite even though she was my best freakin’ friend. The last time I cried was when my mom and dad had that epic fight in the kitchen, so that was about 10 years ago. I was six then.
“Uhm, yeah,” I said, but the “yeah” came out like “yernh” because my throat was getting all choked up. “I mean, I’m fine…”
Dre raised his eyebrow like he didn’t believe me. He turned to Drew and JD. “Can you guys dump my tray? I have to go with Mel to work on our Myths and Legends project,” He excused us. Wait, Dre was making an excuse for us to leave? What was going on?
“Myths and Legends project?” JD whined, apparently not paying attention about the part of him dumping Dre’s tray. “I thought you said we didn’t have any homework,”
I thought Dre was gonna be busted by our group of friends and then they would be all like, “Oh my gosh, Dre and Mel are hooking up!!!” Which, believe me, I totally wouldn’t mind. But I guess Dre must have had a lot of practice lying because he just said, “No, it’s just an extra credit project.”
It was then that Dre took me by the hand – while flashing a smirk to Lynne – and dragged me into the hallway. It may have seemed a little degrading to someone else, but it just made me feel all warm inside. Ah. The feel of Dre’s hand.
We stopped in the hallway, but by then, I felt tears running down my face. I tried to wipe them away, but they just kept coming. I dropped my head and looked away from Dre so he wouldn’t see me crying.
“Melita?” He said, sounding worried. I knew he was serious because he used my full name. When I didn’t respond, he pushed my chin up to look into his eyes. “What’s wrong?”
“I, I don’t know…” I said, and regretted from even speaking out loud. My voice sounded wimpy and weak, like I was about have some spaz-breakdown. “It’s just, I don’t know, I just really care about you, Dre.” It’s just that—,”
“Mel, we don’t have to talk about this right now,” He said, trying to comfort me.
But I knew that we had to talk about this now. I knew that I had to get it off my chest.
“No Dre, listen,” I said. “I really care about you, okay? I mean, a lot. When you told me about your mom checking back into rehab, I wanted to be there for you. And when your grandma died last year, I tried to be there for you. And when you just said that Derek has been acting strange lately, I wanted to comfort you. Because you mean a lot to me Dre, and I don’t wanna lose you. But, if you can’t see what I’m trying to say, then I guess I need to let this go and just go back to being friends.”
He opened his mouth to say something, then snapped it back shut. He took in a deep breath, and looked straight at me. “Mel, I don’t know exactly what you’re talking about but…”
I held up my hand to stop him. I already knew where this was going. He was going to say that he didn’t want to be anything more than friends with me, and truthfully, I wouldn’t be able to handle that. Not now. Probably not even ever. And if I couldn’t accept what Dre was about to tell me, then I couldn’t go through with him.
“Dre, you’re one of my best friends,” I said, and I started to feel a little better since I finally stopped crying. “But I…I have liked you more than one of my best friends for a long time. And I know that you’re going to reject me and everything, but you could you spare me from that? I don’t think I can—,”
My sentence was smothered as Dre leaned in and kissed me. I was so startled at first that I stumbled back, and made a weird groaning sound. I felt Dre starting to let go, since the noise I had made sounded like refusal, but I put my hands around his neck and pulled him forward so that he wouldn’t leave me.
What can I say about my kissing experience with Dre? Well, how about
MORE AMAZING THAN I EVER EVEN BEGAN TO THINK IT WOULD HAVE BEEN.
We kissed for like a full on minute, and the whole time, I could just feel Dre’s heartbeat beating against mine. I could feel his body and his warmth right next to me, and he was just so close with me. I swear, we were almost melding into one person. I could feel him right next to me, and the whole time he held me even closer to him. It was absolutely wonderful, more than I expected than ever, and just…perfect. I don’t think that any other experience could have been better…
The bell rang. (Damn that freaking bell!) Dre stepped away from me, his hands dropping from my waist to his. He just stared at me, kind of bug-eyed, like he was totally freaked out from what he just did.
“Did I…did you…,” He stuttered. “Fuck!” He yelled, and then ran off right behind him.
Uh…WTF? I mean, WTF had just happened? He just randomly kissed me, and then randomly ran off, completely frightened. Was I that bad of a kisser? I mean, what, did my kiss turn him gay or something?
I really wanted to run after him or just break down crying again in the middle of the hallway, but everyone was streaming out of the cafeteria since lunch ended. So instead of waiting for Brite or even Drew (I guess I forgave her, since she had just moved her a few months ago and probably didn’t know that I would stab anyone that tried to get in my way of getting to Dre), I began walking casually to the end of the building. I always liked that part of the building the best because that’s where the art and music rooms were.
I love music. It’s one of the greatest things in the world, really. I don’t like many different genres of music, though. I only really like rap and r and b. And even though people think I’m crazy for saying this, but I don’t like Lil Wayne. I just like Lupe Fiasco. He’s so amazing; in fact, Dre kinda looks like Lupe Fiasco, the more that I think about it.
Anyway, I walked past the art room and the music room, and right out the doors.
And screamed at the top of my lungs.
It’s always so much easier to get angry than sad. It’s easier to let yourself be mad instead of sad. But for me, it’s not much of a choice. I just get mad at just about everything, you know? So that’s why I snuck outside, screamed my lungs out, and slid down the school wall and burrowed my face in my knees.
Was it wrong of me to skip two periods? Yeah. Would my mom probably kick my ass when she found out? Hell, yeah. But I did I care? Not even a bit. I mean, what’s the point of doing anything when the guy you love kisses you, and then runs away basically screaming. Well, Dre didn’t scream, but you get the point. It wasn’t normal for someone to do stuff like that.
So I guess that Dre and I couldn’t be anymore than friends, so I couldn’t be friends with him either. Because if I couldn’t take that chance with him, then I wouldn’t be able to face him anymore. Hell, I might even want to move to another state, just so I wouldn’t have to see his face again, rejecting and squashing me at the same time.
I don’t know, I guess that’s how love is.