I heard my phone ring, and was going to let it go until I heard Siri say, “Incoming call from sis.”
I jumped up from my desk and ran over to pick up my phone. “Lexie! Hey.”
“Hey, Addie. How’s the poster going?”
She meant, of course, the poster I was making for the protest tonight. “It’s going great, I’m almost done!”
“That’s what happens when you start early!” Lexie said, laughing.
“So have you thought about moving back more?” I asked.
“Yeah, I have. I just don’t know, I’ve been on my own for a little while now. It seems like a step back.”
“Only if you make it one. It’s your decision though, of course.”
“I could make sure you have a life!”
I scoffed. “Lexie! I have a life! I’m trying to make the world better, starting with protesting these higher taxes. I’d also like to do something for the environment…”
“I meant a love life. Yours has been dormant since practically Lucinda!” Lexie interrupted.
“Yours isn’t much better! I’m quite sure you’ve been on 10 first dates in the past week!”
“At least I’m trying! And…it’s more like three!”
“Lexie, I’m only twenty, did you forget? You’re planning my 21st birthday party, after all! I have plenty of time!”
I heard her sigh over the phone. “We’ll continue this conversation later…I have to go.”
“Tomorrow, the usual time?”
Ever since Lexie moved out, we’d met up every month at 5:00 for dinner. That day just happened to be tomorrow. My now-nineteen year old sister had insisted we ‘don’t become strangers’ when she moved out.
I’d asked my friends to join me at the protest in San Myshuno and I was thrilled when they agreed to go. We had all stayed in contact (mostly through texting) since we’d gotten out of school. It seems like so long ago that I’d been in school. I’d even invited Lexie but she said she would be busy (and she doesn’t like to get ‘all political’).
“Hey, where is everyone?” Zoe asked.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You said we were joining a protest, but I don’t see anyone!”
“Did I say joining?” I smirked. “I meant helping me start one.”
“Raini, Lyric, she tricked us!” Zoe laughed.
“Hey, it’s gotta start somewhere, right?” I said.
“Fine…” Raini said. “You’re lucky we’re such good friends!”
Lyric smiled. “Good friends, Raini? I think you mean great after I let you stay at my place!”
“I mean great!” Raini said. “And I’m moving out Saturday. Me and my boyfriend are moving in together!”
“Congratulations!” I exclaimed. “So is it serious?”
“Definitely. Moving in is a big step!” Raini said, smiling.
“Yeah.” I said. Had I really been ignoring my ‘love life’ as Lexie calls it? I hadn’t meant to…but Raini and her boyfriend are serious now, and I think Zoe and Lyric have boyfriends too! “Hey, Lyric, Zoe, what about you guys? Are you dating anyone?”
Zoe laughed. “Yeah! I’ve got a really great guy and so does my brother, actually!”
“Your brother has a boyfriend?” Lyric asked.
“Oh yeah. In fact, he’s planning on proposing!”
“That’s amazing!” I said. “Good for them!”
Lyric smiled. “I’ve got a boyfriend too, Adelaide. It’s kind of early, only been a few months, but I can see myself having a family with him. What about you, do you have a girlfriend?”
“No. Not right now.” I said. And in this moment I remembered, just for a second what it was like to be in love. I realized that once I had seen myself having a family, in the not-so-distant future. I had no idea what happened. I guess I’d forgotten what it was like. “Ready to start this protest?”
By midnight, all my friends had left, but I’d decided to keep protesting. Raini had stayed the longest out of everyone.
I went over to a group of people sitting by the food booth. I wondered if they, living in the city, would join my protest. After all, it was them the higher taxes would affect.
“Hey, we saw you protesting.” The girl across from me said. “My name is Valerie.”
“Yeah, I was protesting the higher taxes. The taxes should be getting lower, not higher!”
“Totally agree. We were thinking of protesting ourselves, but kinda chickened out…”
“Join me! We need the city to notice, or nothing will happen. After all, there’s no good reason for them to need more of your hard-earned money!”
Valerie looked at me, surprised. “I didn’t think about it like that. So, where do you live here?”
“I actually live in Brindleton Bay, but I’m trying to get ‘out there’ in the politics scene. When I saw this was happening, I figured it was the perfect time to get noticed, and make a difference.”
She smiled. “We need someone like you at the top here. I’m sure things would be much better.”
“One step at a time.” I said.