Smile for Me
I stepped out of the shower and wrapped my favorite fluffy pink towel around my not exactly slender 5’7 ½” frame.
That ½” never fails to piss me off.
½ and inch and I’d be 5’8…1/2 and inch…
I had just begun to towel dry my long brown hair, when someone knocked on the door.
“Shayla? Are you ok in there?”
I sighed “Yes dad…I’m fine”
“Okay honey, I was just checking” I listened to his retreating footsteps.
Ever since mom offed herself 2 months ago he’s been super over-protective.
I guess he’s afraid that I will too.
I pulled on a bra, some underwear, a pair of old Levi’s and one of dad’s old t-shirts.
As I looked in the mirror I realized the one impact mom’s suicide had really had on me…
I didn’t smile anymore.
As I stepped out of the bathroom and made my way to the kitchen I saw dad peek out of his office…paranoid freak.
“I’m fine dad! God…stop looking at me like I’m gonna slit my wrists and post the pics on Facebook!”
My dad flinched and slammed his office door.
I grabbed some toast and my book bag and headed out the door.
As I made my way to the bus I put on my headphones—I’m old school—and cranked All That Remains up.
The bus was late—as always—but somehow we managed to get to school on time.
I had 1st period English, as I sat in my seat in the back row I could feel the stares burning into my back.
But I didn’t care.
I mean really? Doesn’t anyone have anything better to do?
In the midst of my pointless doodles the teacher moved to a ‘new’ subject.
“Class…meet Simon Rook…he’s our transfer student from Chicago…you can take that seat”
She pointed to the seat next to me.
“Miss Lawrence? Raise your hand please”
I watched as a boy about my age with short blond hair wearing all black walked towards the desk next to me.
He was kinda cute.
As soon as class was over I started to grab my crap when the blond guy—Simon right?—grabbed my hand.
“Hey…uh…Lawrence right? Where you headed next block?”
He looked down at his schedule “Biology”
I nodded “I’ll walk you over”
On our way to the science hall he grabbed my hand again “Hey…wanna go out sometime?”
I blushed….a boy was asking me out…that had never happened before…
It might be hard for you to believe that a 17 year old girl had never been asked out before…but…well I hadn’t.
But I nodded “Sure…when?”
He smiled…perfectly white teeth “How about this Saturday?”
“7 good for you?”
I almost smiled…almost “You don’t even know where I live”
“Good thing I have your phone number”
“Oh really? What is it then?”
Just then the late bell rang and we both dashed to our classes.
Lunch…my favorite time of day…no classes…Just crap food and relaxation.
Then the intercom shrieked in my ear “Shayla Lawrence! Come to the main office immediately!”
I took my sweet time walking to the office until the school psyche ran out and hugged me in the middle of the hall.
“Oh Shayla…I’m so sorry”
I just stood there confused “huh?”
Then she told me…my dad had OD’d on his antidepressants and was in the hospital.
The psyche drove me to the hospital herself.
I sat next to my father’s bed…
Sometime during the night…I fell asleep.
When I woke up…I was 18…legally an adult.
“Happy birthday to me…”
About an hour later…my father died.
I refused to see a shrink and demanded to go back to school.
As soon as I walked into English class...I knew…everyone had already heard.
As I sat down Simon leaned over “I’m sorry Shayla…”
I was so tired of hearing that phrase…I’d been hearing it since mom died…
I jumped up “Well don’t be…its not like I need your pity!!!”
I ran all the way back home.
“I’m so tired of all their crap!”
I thought of what my mother used to say “Never accept pity Shayla…only the weak do that”
That was about the only thing I had ever done for her.
The next day when I went to school…I held my head up high.
I was in my senior year…I was going to graduate with or in this case without my parents.
Like dad always used to say “An education is something no one can take from you…you’d best get a good one”
I planned to…I was going to get a master’s in computer science.
Simon walked up to me in the hallway “Yesterday…I didn’t mean…well…”
I put my hand up “It doesn’t matter…but FYI I will die before I feel sorry for myself or let someone pity me because of what happened…it was their choice.”
He looked hurt “They were your parents Shayla”
For the first time I looked into his hazel eyes “No…they were two idiots who killed themselves for no real reason. Besides I’m almost positive I was adopted.”
“That doesn’t matter! You lived with them…grew up with them…you could at least show some remorse…mourn or something!”
“Only the weak mourn the dead…I simply accept it as part of life”
By this time the tardy bell had rung and we were the only ones in the hallway
“You know what?” Simon finally said “I’ve never even seen you smile…are you a robot with no feeling or something?”
I thought about that…really thought.
I wasn’t a robot…I had feelings…I just accepted life…and death as a part of it.
I felt the tears as they rolled down my cheek…for the first time since mom died.
Simon pulled me closer to him “Come on…smile for me”