She walked down the hallway following the smell of mass produced chili.
'Never again' Angie thought, 'Never again'.
For months, Angie had been carrying a stone around in her pocket. She got it at a Native American gift store when she traveled to visit a college she was looking into for after high school graduation. Last night she decided it would be a good time to give it away.
Angie met George the day she went to his house and watched a home-made video in his bedroom. She was with a boy she was dating at the time, for just a few days, but couldn't believe how neat she thought George was. That first afternoon as they all sit in his messy teenage boy bedroom, he played a Louis Armstrong tape and sang to it- baritone and all. Something about his not-based-in-reality-huge self confidence was irresistible. She switched gears that day and decided to pursue skinny, awkward self confident George instead.
The stone she had been carrying had a picture of a butterfly on it, and it had meaning. It was supposed to ease transitions in life- make change smooth, like the transition from caterpillar to butterfly.
Georges family was moving to a different town. His father had recently been diagnosed with parkinson's disease. His mother needed to move to to a larger city so she could find work; there wasn't a lot of business in such a small town for divorce lawyers, husbands and wives were staying together no matter how miserable they were in the conservative community. His father had been providing for their family as a surgeon. His symptoms were worsening every week making it almost impossible for him to perform.
Angie had talked to George online for hours last night.
It was Friday, and Angie got up early to make sure she was at the school waiting outside the entrance so she could catch George.
Around 7:56am she saw George walking down the road with his hooded sweatshirt and scarf wrapped up, hands in his pockets. She pulled out the stone and a note as she waved him down.
"George!" Angie said.
"Yo" said George.
He was avoiding her eyes, he must be upset, Angie thought.
"I have something I want to give you. Do you have plans for tonight?"
"Yep" replied George, short answer once again. Angie started to feel her heart sink. She handed him the stone and the note, smiled and walked away.
The conversation they had the night before was important. She was trying to convince him how much she cared for him; that she was there for him, no matter what, through anything and that he could talk to her. Sure, she wanted to kiss him and such- but it was most important that he let her into his life as his friend.
Sometimes you didn't get what you want, Angie thought. She knew waking up this morning that George could respond to her in one of two ways this morning. She hoped he would look her in the eye and smile, knowing he had something great. Instead, he chose to forsake any closeness they had forged.
I'm tough, thought Angie. I can give my heart away and get nothing in return.
By lunch time, she was a mess, so sad she could hardly hold her head up. As she walked down the hallway towards the lunch room, she felt like an idiot. 'Never again, No, I am not tough, and I will never let this happen again' she repeated like a mantra, convincing herself to do something that had always been unnatural for her.
Angie found a bare table in the lunchroom and sat down, putting her head in her hands. A kid from her social studies class saw her and walked over to tease her about beating her in their last WWII Jeopardy game.
"Hey - I got you with that answer about Denmark's resistance to Hitler didn't I?" said Allen as he sat down across from Angie. "Whats going on? You look like someone killed your cat!"
Angie thought about what he said for a minute, then answered " I just lost something this morning that was important to me."
"It can't be that bad - You are here, you're alive and I heard they are giving away cream cheese muffins leftover from Home Ec. class...." chided Allen.
Maybe he was right. What she had given away hadn't cost anything... Butterflies are free.
My comments: I realize that when I write stories, they mean more if I describe what it is I was meaning to convey. Often times, the reason I love writing is because of the challenge of trying to communicate something complex, creatively. I think life is pretty serious. The idea that we can give so much of ourselves that it hurts has always been a theme I find myself coming back to. The challenge to turn that pain into a gift is something I will always subscribe to. It's hard to turn pain into a gift! and I don't think I communicated that well with this short story, but mostly I was trying just to write something. Adolescence is hard - and the love story part of this story is her friend from social studies class, not the boy who she was sad about. Often times I think people put the label of love on all sorts of wrong relationships, but it is the moments in life when we are touched with kindness and humor that really breed love.
On a separate note; I AM NOT FEELIN THE LOVE OF NATURE RIGHT NOW. I live in pollen=death valley.
I never thought I would be okay with walking around in public looking like this.
Well, the level of misery has astonished me - hello mask and safety goggles, goodbye pollen!
Minnesota Veteran Stories - Plains Story Share is operating out of Minnesota now - unfortunately, the plains are not where we live but something I will always carry in my heart. Soon, ...
1 year ago