I’ve been single for about a month now. It’s been…weird. Kyle was the closest thing to a long-term boyfriend that I’ve ever had. Naturally, everyone thought we broke up because of sex. And…I mean, we kinda did, but it’s not because we had like bad sex or anything – cause we didn’t have sex at all. I almost forgot what it was like to be single at all. I’ve been in a relationship almost constantly since I turned 15. It hurt more than I expected when I finally wrapped my head around the fact that Kyle and I really were over. At first I was in shock, I really was. It wasn’t until a few days later that it really started to hit me. But it wasn’t all bad. I put even more into my scenes in theater – whenever I could go.
Putting in the emotions just became so easy and natural. I didn’t even really have to think about acting whatever emotion was needed, it just happened. Even the romance scenes, which is kinda weird, but I’m not complaining. Acting is one of my passions, like music and painting, so I’ll take anything that helps me get better. It also help that the guy playing Romeo is a pretty good looking guy, not that I’m looking for another date right now, but when you see a nice guy, you see a nice guy!
I put in a bunch of extra hours on the days I went – to make up for all the days I couldn’t go. My moms still forced me to go to tutoring, but I convinced them to let me get a different person to tutor me. Jaden and I haven’t been in such a big fight in years. The last time I can even remember us fighting like this was in sixth grade over the morals of stealing. He said never; I said it matters on what and why. But, even that only lasted a few weeks. Jaden and I have been in a weird situation ever since Kyle and I were dating. We grew up together. It’s been hard to not have that closeness anymore, not that way it used to be, anyway. I’ll think of something to tell him and then I remember we’re not talking.
I spent a lot of time getting immersed in my music or spending time with my real best friends, Amaya and Emily. Amaya understood what I was going through since she’d just been through the same thing, but worse. Kyle and I just broke it off; Amaya had caught her boyfriend cheating. We did a bunch of typical girl stuff together like going out to the spa and going over to each other’s houses – well, my and Emily’s houses. Amaya never likes us going over to her house – she doesn’t really have the best relationship with her parents. They’re both successful businesspeople and Amaya says she can’t even believe that she’s their daughter.
The Ellipse in Newcrest is the only spa in the whole province, which is kinda crazy but also means it’s always super busy there. It’s been there for decades, but got a total revamp in 2453 to catch up with the times… which was 100 years ago this year. It still looks great, though. They’ve more recently gone totally green, according to the poster in their entryway, but it’s nothing you can see. Emi, Aya, and I go there at least once every two months.
It’s a great place to chill – and plus, it might be free to go soon enough. Apparently, there’s talk about somewhat getting rid of money in our province. Mom and Mum talk about all the ‘what’s going on in the world’ stuff often, since Mom’s mayor and all. Mom said something like: the way money works is kind of outdated, before they noticed me and gave me the ‘this is not your business’ look. Whatever, it’s not like it really matters to me. That stuff is boring as hell to talk about, anyway. I was just waiting for them to get onto a more interesting topic, but no. Anyway, yeah, my friends and I go to The Ellipse pretty often. They really are the best. We don’t agree on everything but we never really fight each other about it, we just understand people have different opinions.
I put down my violin as I heard the faint sound of my phone ringing. Well, not ringing, exactly. It was the sound of a text notification. I took my phone from off my desk, tapping on the latest message, and it bubbled up as my phone unlocked.
‘You coming?’ – Amaya, 4:30 pm
‘Come on, you can’t just mope around!’ – Amaya, 4:31 pm
‘Geez, Aya! I’m not moping, I’m over it.’ – Vali, 4:32 pm
‘Like heck you are.’ – Amaya, 4:32 pm
‘Part of you has to still be hurting.’ – Amaya, 4:32 pm
I felt a twinge in my heart as I read what she wrote. Of course it hurt. But it shouldn’t, right? We weren’t serious – I knew this wasn’t going to last, I didn’t expect it to! God, this sucks. This is exactly what I was trying to avoid! I figured if you don’t fall in love, you don’t get hurt! But I didn’t fall in love! Did I? I didn’t think we would last forever…so why does it hurt? It shouldn’t! Or… should it? Fuck, why does everything has to be so confusing?
‘Vali, you there or what?’ – Amaya, 4:35 pm
‘Yea.’ – Vali, 4:36 pm
‘Anyway, u coming? Emi’s game starts at 5.’ – Amaya, 4:36 pm
‘Lol, of course I’m going.’ – Vali, 4:36 pm
‘They have that delicious popcorn you like 😉’ – Amaya, 4:37 pm
‘Hell yes.’ – Vali, 4:37 pm
‘Ok now I gotta get out of the house lmao’ – Amaya, 4:37 pm
‘Oh your parents r there?’ – Vali, 4:38 pm
‘Unfortunately.’ – Amaya, 4:38 pm
‘They’re gonna make me do more work or shit if they see me leaving.’ – Amaya, 4:39 pm
‘But you have like amazing grades.’ – Vali, 4:39 pm
‘Yea they want beeeettttteeeerr 🙄.’ – Amaya, 4:39 pm
‘Sucks.’ – Vali, 4:39 pm
‘I bet you can get out tho.’ – Vali, 4:40 pm
‘Yea they’re too busy working lol.’ – Amaya, 4:40 pm
‘Bye’ – Amaya, 4:40 pm
‘Yea see you there.’ – Vali, 4:41 pm
The great thing about it finally being practically spring was that there were some days we didn’t have to wear coats anymore. Like today. There’s still a dusting of snow on the ground, but nothing like it was a few months ago. It’s actually 40° F today – which is actually kind of warm after the freezing winter we had. Plus the gym is inside, so I’ll be fine. Emily’s a basketball player on our school’s team, and she’s really good. At least, I’ve heard. I don’t really pay much attention to sports, but Emily’s really into it… like a lot of people. But this weekend was a busy one for a lot of people, since it’s a three-day weekend and all, so the line to get in was much shorter than usual.
“Vali, over here!” I spun around on my heel, looking over towards Amaya’s voice.
“Aya! Don’t we need to wait in line?”
Amaya smirked, drawing a arc in the snow with her shoe. “No, Emily’s letting us in herself. Since she’s on the team, we don’t have to wait.”
I looked over to the building which looked really nice and warm right now. “Thank Watcher. It’s so cold out here!”
“That’s only cause you dressed like it’s May, not March,” Amaya laughed, pointing at the snow-covered ground, “if you haven’t noticed, it’s still snowy.”
“Yeah, yeah. Now, are we going in?” Just as I finished asking, Emily popped out the door, waving us over.
“You’re gonna do great, Emi!” Amaya grinned, pulling our friend into a hug as the door closed behind us with a click. They weren’t letting normal people in just yet.
“Yeah, what she said,” I smiled, fist bumping Emily.
“Thanks, you guys. This is the first game of the spring, so I really hope so,” Emily sighed, looking over to the court.
“You will,” I assured her. Emily was an amazing athlete. She’d made the varsity team in our freshman year and had been there ever since. All the girls on the team love her, too, since they elected her captain of the team and all.
“The game’s about to start, guys. Just pick a seat…or stand, whatever you’re cool with,” Emily shrugged, walking over to her teammates.
“Let’s see if we can find seats,” Amaya giggled, “Why would we want to stand?”
“No idea, but I bet some weirdos do,” I replied, walking over to the seating area. These seats are literally the most uncomfortable things on the planet.
“My parents were in a video conference, so it was really easy to get out,” Amaya sighed, intertwining her fingers.
“That’s good, right?”
“Yeah… but in some ways I wish they cared,” she trailed off softly, looking over to where Emily and her teammates were warming up.
“They care,” I whispered to her.
Amaya chuckled, shaking her head. “That’s the joke of the century.”
“I thought my grades were the joke of the century,” I laughed, remembering the time we’d said the same thing about my report card last year.
“Fine, my parents caring is the joke of the millennium then,” Amaya replied, laying back in her seat. She slid her hands in her pockets, tapping her foot slowly.
“I’m really sorry, Aya,” I murmured after a few seconds passed.
She shrugged. “It’s not your fault. They just shouldn’t have had a kid. They’re businesspeople. They made a great, successful company together… there’s just not space for a kid in that equation.”
I opened my mouth to say something, but shut it. I couldn’t really say anything. My parents and hers were two opposite sides of parenting – and I know she’d take mine over hers any day. My moms care about me and my siblings a lot – almost too much at times. But Aya… her parents don’t even remember she’s there sometimes. And that’s probably worse. People started filing in not much longer after that, and the game began pretty quickly. I could barely keep track of what was going on – so thank goodness they had a nice scoreboard hanging on the wall. It was easy to get invested in the game when some you care about is on the team, but I’ve never understood people liking certain big sports teams. You don’t know any of them personally, or at all. It’s kinda weird, but they think it’s weird that I don’t like sports, so to each their own, I guess. All the girls on both teams played like they knew what they were doing, with all the fancy moves and dunking.
It got kinda repetitive, but by the time I was actually getting bored a little, it was over. The coach blew into the whistle with enough power to blow everyone’s ears off and stopped the players dead in their tracks.
“Score is 34 – Coastal High, and 27 – Enelly High!”
All the girls on our team screamed in excitement before shaking hands with the other girls. Amaya and I jumped down to the court, grinning.
“You did it!” Amaya screamed, with a huge grin on her face.
Emily smiled. “All the girls on our team did it.”
I wrapped Emily in a hug, smiling. She was a really good player, and I know she got a few baskets.
Amaya threw her arms around the both of us, laughing. “Well, I gotta get home before eight, so…”
“What’s at eight?” Emily asked.
“If my parents remember, it’s when they check on me to make sure I didn’t die,” she half-joked.
I started walking out with them when I felt a tap on my shoulder and spun around, only to see Jaden. So he’s really to break our month-long not speaking streak, huh?
“I just want to talk,” he sighed.
Yeah, cause he’s wanted to do sooo much of that this past month. “The last time I heard that, my relationship ended, so what do you want?”
“I don’t want to end this – not like we’re dating, but…” he took a deep breath, closing his eyes. “Can we just go to Sprinkles?”
Great, last time I was there, my relationship also ended. Dejá vu much? I sighed, nodding, and followed him outside before we got in our separate cars. I followed him as we drove into Newcrest, not like it didn’t know where Sprinkles was, just because he’d ended up in front. We sat down in the closest table silently.
“Okay, you said you wanted to talk. So, talk.” I laid my hands on my thighs, looking straight at him.
“I don’t want to fight, Vali. I’m sorry.”
That…wasn’t what I was expecting. I was ready for him to rub my break up with Kyle in my face, saying that he was right. Because… he was, wasn’t he?
“I’m sorry. It wasn’t my place to talk about you and your boyfriend. But… can you just admit that we were both wrong?”
There’s always a catch, isn’t there? He looked like he was actually being legit about this, though. “You’re seriously apologizing?”
“Yes! I really am. Vali, I – ” he sighed, running his hand down his coat, “you and I have been so close since we were babies. I don’t want to lose that over some guy.”
“I don’t want to either,” I finally whispered, glancing out the window, “and you’re right… we were both wrong.”
I could tell he was surprised I actually admitted I’d been wrong. But I didn’t want to fight, either. It gets old. I care about him – not romantically – but I do care. We were practically raised together. I remember going to the park as a kid just to play around with my best friend, Jaden.
“You fight when you’re scared,” he started, and I blinked in shock.
“You fight, you pretend to be this tough girl, when you’re scared. When you don’t want people to see your real feelings,” he sighed.
“No, I don’t,” I shot back.
He raised his eyebrows. “Vali, you’re doing it right now.”
“I am not…” I trailed off, looking away. I’m not going to fight today. I’ve had enough fighting. I let out a breath I didn’t even realize I’d been holding.
“You scare me,” I finally whispered. Part of me was screaming to just stop and not say anything… but that part didn’t win today.
“Yeah, you scare me. It scares me just how well you understand me,” I said quietly. He’s always been able to see right through me. It makes me uncomfortable. I can act for anyone else, anyone but him. And…I dunno, it makes me feel weird.
“Is that a bad thing?” He rested his hands on the table, deep in thought.
“I don’t know.”
“Thank you, Vali.”
I blinked. “For what?”
“For letting down one of your walls.”
I nodded, feeling a single tear run down my cheek, and I did nothing to hide it. I didn’t swipe it away, or turn away. I let it run down my cheek all the way until it finally splashed on the table.
“Can we be friends again?” Jaden whispered softly.
“We never stopped… just took a break,” I smiled faintly. As we stood up to leave, he tapped me gently. “Can we like hug, or – ”
I pulled him into a tight hug, nodding. “I want this – weirdness – to go away. We’re friends again, remember? You don’t need to ask to hug.”
He smiled, pulling me into a hug of his own.