4 MAR 17

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
I just had to get this out there. I'm not very good at writing but I hope to improve through feedback and practice. Thanks for reading!

Submitted: March 04, 2017

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Submitted: March 04, 2017

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Joe sat upright in his bed. It was about ten in the morning, and the sun leaked through the closed shutters of his bedroom window. Joe hadn’t had gotten much sleep that week, for his job required him to be up early everyday. As he sat in his bed, he wished he hadn’t been woken on this beautiful Saturday morning. Things like this happened often, but less as of late: Joe would have a dream, not just any dream, but a dream about her. Then he’d be woken, just to have his whole day ruined because his thoughts revolved about one person and one person only. Pretty foolish, but Joe honestly had no idea why the illusions had to focus on this person, this someone, who had been nothing but a jerk to him the past year. Lies, rejection and prejudice. How did Joe let her do that to him? Because he wanted to keep her as a friend? Because of a stupid idea that she’d be important to his future? Even Joe’s girlfriend couldn’t help him. This was something that he had to figure out himself, despite not having any clue about what was so important about her. Joe got out of bed and straight to his dresser. Being in his delusional state, he opened the wrong drawer. Inside it was something he forgot about. A Captain America plush toy looked up at him.

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He heard a car door shut out outside, and he knew right away that Carla would ring the doorbell at any second. Joe ran downstairs and set some papers on the table. The papers were her gifts. He fumbled through his kitchen cabinets and drawers to find a pen. Joe ran back to the table with the papers and used the ballpoint to sign the corners. The doorbell rang as Joe finished his last scribble on the last page. Joe opened the door, “Carla! Hey, what’s up?” Joe noticed a small present wrapped up in Carla’s hand. “Hey, Joe!” Carla walked in and Joe closed the door, “I know you said you got me a gift and I felt bad I didn’t have anything for you. So I stopped by Target on the way and got you something small. I hope you don’t mind.” She handed Joe the small present as they sat down at the table. The papers were there, but face down so Carla wouldn’t notice them. “Carla, I told you not to get me anything,” Joe said with a genuine smile. Joe unwrapped the gift as Carla watched. He felt warm inside. He didn’t get many surprises from the few friends he had. He always felt that he thought more about his friends than they did him. As the wrapping fell, Joe found himself holding a Captain America plush toy. It was small, and the tag was still on it. Joe chuckled to himself and looked at Carla. “Oops.” She smiled. The toy was so simple, yet Joe didn’t know why he loved it so much. “Thanks, Carla, I love it,” Joe smiled and set the toy aside, “Now time for your gifts.” Joe flipped the papers and revealed the other sides to Carla. “Merry Christmas!” Carla dropped her jaw and gaped at the papers. “Joe! You did this? They’re amazing!” On the papers were two different hand drawn images. One was a caricature of Carla dressed in her costume from the school musical last year, and the other was a collage of Carla’s last few Instagram posts. “You’re so good at drawing, Joe!” Carla pulled out her phone and opened the millennial-popular app, Snapchat. She recorded a video and narrated, “Look how amazing Joe is! These are amazing!” Carla panned across the papers, then pointed the camera at Joe, “What do you have to say for yourself, Joe?” Joe didn’t have anything to say for himself. He just smiled and laughed a bit. So did Carla.

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Joe set the toy aside and dug deeper. This was what he called his ‘whatever drawer’, because whatever he didn’t want to see for awhile, he stuffed it in amongst the other items. He placed the plush toy in this drawer about half a year ago, but the ‘whatever drawer’ contained things from years ago, as well. Joe picked up old High School papers he turned in and got a grade for. Assignments from his freshman year, sophomore year, and junior year. He didn’t keep anything from his senior year due to the reason that he hated most of it. Something caught his eye. He pulled out some poorly organized notes from his Algebra II class from his sophomore year. His handwriting looked the exact same, and he laughed to himself knowing that he had used the same black, bold pen he still uses to this day. The ink was so dark that it looked as if the notes had been printed from a computer. It wasn’t the pen or the handwriting that caught his eye, however. On the top corner of the paper, written upside down, and in a thinner ballpoint pen, was someone else’s name. Carla.

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“Joe, I love all your beautiful doodles on the side, but you really need to start paying more attention to the content of the notes.” Ms. Kristen had pulled Joe to the front of the class to talk about his poor grade. Joe had turned in his notes to get credit, and he was rather proud about them because all the doodles on the side had made his handwriting look more interesting than just words. “Next time, I need you to actually learn the information so you can pass the test,” said Ms. Kristen, “You can’t graduate in two years if you don’t pass this class.” Joe nodded. “I understand, Ms. Kristen.” “Good, now go and use the rest of the class time to finish your homework.” Joe sat back in his seat. He hated Algebra II. He hated everything about Algebra. Numbers and equations were meaningless. Would he ever need to know what ‘X’ equals when he’s an adult? No. Would he need to know how to graph a parabola when he’s drawing comic books? No. The only reason he loved this class was because his best friend Carla sat right behind him. They made fun of Ms. Kristen all the time, as well as all the other students in the class. Joe felt that it was them against the whole class. Joe turned around in his seat and saw Carla was calculating some numbers. He looked around the room. Most everyone were talking and doing homework, and Ms. Kristen didn’t bother to stop everyone exchanging papers to copy each other. Joe grabbed a small piece of paper and crumpled it up. He glanced behind him and tossed it at Carla. It landed in her thick, brown, curly hair, and stuck there. Joe faced forward and held in a huge laugh. He quickly made a couple more pieces of paper and threw them. They all landed in her hair. He was having a blast. Joe made one more, but this time he missed and hit her face. Carla looked up at Joe and smiled with her eyebrows creased. “What are you doing?” “Nothing,” Joe snorted, “Just having fun.” He flipped his desk around to face Carla. “I’m just bored, and we both know this class is a waste of time for me.” “Yeah,” said Carla, “but your notes look way cooler than mine.” Joe noticed they were on his desk and he hadn’t put them in his backpack. “Oh yeah, Ms. Kristen said that I need to stop doodling on them.” Carla looked surprised, “What? But they’re so good! She loves your drawings.” “I know!” Joe looked at Carla, “You can keep my notes, I don’t need them anyway.” Carla looked at the notes and said, “No you keep them.” Joe got a notification on his phone and glanced at it. Carla scribbled her name on top of Joe’s notes, something most kids did as their way of sabotaging fellow classmates. Joe looked back at his notes, “Hey!” Joe made a faux mean face at Carla, and turned his desk around.

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The light coming from Joe’s bedroom window wasn’t as bright as when he first woke up. He now sat on his chair, feet up on the bed, typing away on his laptop. He thought about the dream he had last night, as well as the dreams he’d been having frequently. They were about Carla. They felt so real when he was in them. The dreams felt like flashbacks, although the events that took place never happened. The dreams started last summer, and Joe couldn’t stop them from happening. They kept coming. He would finally start to forget Carla, but then he’d have yet another dream about her. All the visions Joe had, had one thing in common: No matter the scenario of the dream, whether realistic or fantasized, Carla and him were still best friends.

************************************************************************************************************* Senior year came around, and Joe and Carla weren’t as close as they used to be, due to them both getting into relationships of their own. They still talked once in awhile, and occasionally went on a double date, but other than that, they never hung out anymore. Joe happened to be in one of the same classes as Carla, and one day during Winter, Joe overheard Carla talking to some other girls in the class. “Yeah, we’re not together anymore.” Joe waited for Carla walk past him and then whispered the best he could, “You’re not with him anymore?!” Carla shook her head, “Not anymore. It happened awhile ago. Also other things happened, but yeah.” It was that day when Carla and Joe started talking again, and their friendship restrengthened. But by the time Spring came around, there was something that Joe had noticed. It seemed as if Carla had a different best friend every month. In the beginning of senior year she had her boyfriend, then they broke up and the next month she had her gay friend who seemed like their bond was inseparable. The next phase she had the girl who looked up to Carla. The next ‘phase’ was Joe. It wasn’t until after Carla started hanging out with her gay friend again that Joe was just another phase. Carla then continued on to others as the year progressed. Did she not remember anything they used to have? She said she still loved Joe, but Joe was too hurt to care. Feeling rejected, Joe finally confronted Carla at the end of the year. He told her everything about her ‘phases’ and how he felt that she threw away their friendship, leaving him in the dust. Carla, being as almighty as she is, didn’t do anything to fix it. By summer, they no longer talked to each other.

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Joe shut his computer and grabbed his wallet and keys. He needed to get out of the house. He drove around his small town, enjoying the Southern California weather. The sun was bright and shone on everything beneath it. Maybe Joe thought too much about Carla. He knew he did. But he blamed the dreams. It didn't make sense to him that these dreams kept reoccurring. He had no control. Maybe it was his fault they fell apart. Maybe it wasn’t. He didn’t know what to think. Every part of him wanted to be blame her for everything, but every time he did, he would regret it. All he wanted was to rekindle their friendship. It meant more to him than blame or anger. The sad part was that Joe and Carla could never be best friends again. They had gone their separate ways and there was no way of going back. Joe hated the thought of that. Despite all these thoughts, and all these feelings, Joe wondered what lies ahead of him, and if he’d ever have a best friend like Carla ever again. He kept driving.


© Copyright 2017 Jared Fink. All rights reserved.

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