I shut down the computer; gathered up my books and stuffed them into my bag and got up from the desk. It had been along day and I just couldn't wait to get out of there. The hours just seemed to be dragging by, but now it was finally the end of the day.
I walked slowly through the halls, Ignoring the noise and confusion, as I made my way to my locker. As I twisted the dial on my locker. I opened the door and three old lunches fell out. Whilst I was deciding whether I should dump them back in my locker or to go look for a trash can, a pair of warm hands reached around from behind me and closed over my eyes. Finally a voice, presumably belonging to the hands, said, "Guess who?"
"Alright James, what's going on?"
"Nothing," he said.
"I just wanted to talk to you for a few minutes. I have soccer training this afternoon. We've hardly spent any time together this week.
"I know," I sighed.
I put my stuff down and turned to face him.
"You know how important my activities are to me," I replied. "I like to be busy. Sometimes our schedules don't fit with our plans...Do you have to go to your grandmother's party to night?"
I staggered against the lockers and took his hands in mine.
"Yeah, you know there's no way I can get out of that. It's her seventieth birthday, a big deal."
He stared into my eyes. I lowered them to the floor.
"Listen, Annie,' he went on. "What are you doing tomorrow?"
"Hanging out with you?!" I asked hopefully.
"Sounds good to me. I'll be home around ten thirty call me, okay?"
"Okay" I answered.
I grinned and kissed him on the cheek.
My smile faded as I watched him walk away. For James, life was a big joke, he never took things seriously. Actually James could be very serious, when he wanted to be. Which was not very often. It was almost as if he was afraid to let anything matter to him. Sometimes I wondered if he really did love me, did he see our relationship heading anywhere or was it all just a joke. But there was a lot more to James. He was a Kind and compassionate and capable of showing great concern towards others. Sometimes when the two of us were alone, he was sweet and tender.
I loved James - most of the time, but sometimes I felt bothered about him. Something was not right, something was not clicking. How could I love him (Was it real love anyway?) and be annoyed by him all at once? I wanted to spend time with him, be with him. I knew buried somewhere deep inside him was the feeling that my activities kept us apart. It angered me. He just never understood how important they were to me. He just didn't care.
I slammed my locker door shut and kicked it with great force. I hoped I had dented it. Clutching an armload of books I headed down the back stairs and headed out side.
Feeling very light headed, despite everything, I walked down toward Stonington Primary school to collect my younger sister Betsy. Today I was late because of talking to James. The school looked deserted, it usually did on a Fridays. I saw Betsy, sitting on a swing in the playground. Her overstuffed schoolbag was at her feet and she was reading a book. She looked terribly small and alone - a little old-fashioned girl, long braids with tied ribbons, wearing a plain dress, navy knee socks and sneakers.. I kept trying to buy her jeans and sweaters. But she would have none of them - she would do things her way. Add being very outspoken and intelligent to wearing funny clothes and you come up with a sensitive little adult child, who had very few friends. Oh well she was my sister and I loved her.
"Betsy!" I called.
She looked up and waved solemnly. She gathered all of her things and trotted over to me.
"Hi," I said. "How was your day?"
"Oh you know the usual" She replied. "My subjects were ok. I got an A on a spelling test and an A plus on a maths test. I got everything on the test right including the extra credit, which explains the A plus. Otherwise how else would you get an A plus, that would mean doing better than everyone else and that's impossible"
"I guess so" I replied.
. As soon asBetsy and I arrived home, Alice headed over for the cookie jar.
"Just one," I reminded her.
At five o'clockBetsy and I were curled up on the on the couch in the living room, buried deep in our books, when the front door slammed. We both jumped.
"Hello!" Erik (my brother) yelled. "I'm home!"
"No kidding," said Betsy.
He dumped his bag, helmet and a pair of sneakers and left everything in a heap in the living room, grabbing his soccer ball.
"Heads up!" He yelled.
"No!" I yelled. Too late.The ball was already in the air. It bounced of the wall and smacked Erik right in the face. "Ow! My nose!"
'Serves you right!" said Betsy.
They started to argue.
"Come on", I said to both of them. "Let's start dinner"
Dinner reparations were progressed as usual; we had everything down to a science. Even though, we always seemed to make huge mess. But somehow dinner was already made by the time dad got home. We had a good meal and at seven o'clock we were still sitting around the table, lazily sipping tea. I then got up and started to clear the table, my sisterBetsy joined me. Ever since mum died things had changed forever. Suddenly we had to look after ourselves and take care of the house. It was so much harder now, sometimes I even found myself crying at night. I'll never forget that night. It was raining that night; we were all in bed asleep, when suddenly the phone rang. Dad answered. I could actually see the blood draining from his face. Then he hung up, he was almost at tears.
"Kids" he said. "I'm afraid I've got some bad news"
We looked up at him anxiously.
"What's wrong dad?"Betsy said
"Um… I'm afraid your mother has… been involved in a terrible accident……. He stopped suddenly.
"She'll be alright won't she?" I asked.
"No she……..the doctors did everything thing they could do to save her."
Betsyburst into tears, dad went to comfort her. I could feel the tears forming in my eyes. I couldn't believe what I had just heard. This morning she seemed so alive, so full of life it was hard to imagine what it would be like without her. That was three years ago. It brought back feelings of being scared and alone, so alone that all the people in the world could not have comforted me. I had thought I would never be happy again.
At ten forty five pm
I was curled up in bed reading to kill a mocking bird, my all time favourite book. I was waiting to talk to James. I tried ringing him at ten thirty and had gotten no answer. I tried again a minute ago but still no answer. This was killing me!
I tried again.
One ring, two, three, four.
A breathless, "Hello"
"Hi, James. It's me," I said.
"Hey", he said.
"Tried calling before but there was no answer"
"Yeah, we just got in. I'm so exhausted, I can barley stand"
"So, what about tomorrow?" I asked.
"Huh?" he said.
"What did you want to do tomorrow?' I repeated my self, feeling rather agitated.
"Oh, yeah. Want to take the kids on a picnic?"
"That sounds like fun", I said brightening up a bit. "Call me around ten okay?"
"Okay. Good night" He hung up.
"Good night James," I whispered to the dead line.
"I love you, I think.