A conversation, and hurt.
Over the last day of the weekend, Desirae had grown quite fond of Shanna. Desirae constricted herself from asking questions, she had to face that it was not her right to know someone else’s life. Shanna would tell her on her own time when she was ready. Desirae learned she went to the children’s school next door from the high school she went to. Desirae couldn’t help but recall the days when she went there. Where life seemed so innocent and everyone had a friend. In heart she had missed the playground, she was entirely way to tall to fit on the monkey bars and too big for the swings. It seemed so different as she sat on the lunch table and compared both sides of the schools.
On the right there was children already laughing and singing. Kids hopped across the chalked squares with numbers, and raced each other. All of them with smiles on their faces, and loving the feeling of being a child. Then there was the left, where only grass and hardly ever used basketball court, with benches sat. the students were taller, and meaner. Everyone split into different groups as they associated amongst themselves in private whispers. It was a sad difference, but things changed, and she was learning every single day.
“Mr. Grady is such a ding bat!” Desirae was snapped out of her thoughts when Lisa slammed her books on the table mumbling incoherent things.
“What’s wrong?” Desirae asked softly, Lisa only glared.
“I’ll tell you what’s wrong! The teachers here are sexist! I try my hardest and answer all questions correctly. But this time, oh this time, I had to be wrong. I clearly made an excellent point in English, when Danny Lumbar had to intervene and explain his theory which was the most irrelevant thing I ever heard! But Mr. Grady took his side anyway! Girls are always corrected and looked down upon in this damn state. One day its all gonna change, and the girls are gonna be right for once!” She huffed. Desirae raised an eyebrow in confusion at Lisa who was twirling her fingers in her hair with annoyance. After a while she calmed down and looked at Desirae with a sorry look.
“I’m sorry now, I’m guess I’m just iffy about some stuff. Don’t pay no mind to me.” She half smiled.
“We all have our days.” Desirae agreed and returned her to personal theories of life.
“Are you going the yard tonight?”
“The what?” Desirae said in confusion, while Lisa just shook her head and laughed.
“The yard. All the students usually hang there. Its pretty fun, but it can be a little crazy if you’re not careful.”
“Oh…well probably not.”
“Why! Come on girl, you don’t go nowhere. I think you’d like it.”
“Maybe, its just my father is rather strict.”
“He can’t be that bad, its just one night.” Desirae curled inside. If she only knew the truth.
“I don’t think so.” Desirae replied, and that was the last of the conversation.
The bell rang and the girls walked to health class and gingerly to their seats. The classroom was rather small, so her desk wasn’t that from the next person in front of her. The walls were decorated with happy posters, and pictures of the human body. She winced when her back was hit with a paper plane, even if it was super thin, it still hurt. She sighed and looked back coming face to face with Joey Von Steffen, infamous for his taunting. He was laughing with his friends while whispering something and laughing more. Desirae did what she always did and just ignored it. What could she do? It wasn’t the first time, and probably won’t be the last.
“Good afternoon class. Today we’ll be learning about the importance of having a good sense of self development with one’s self and with others.” Mr. Angell had said softly. Of all teachers, Desirae admired him the most. He wasn’t over powering nor strict. He was nice and calm, and even if he seemed like a push over, most students were fond of him.
Half way through the lesson, and one more paper plane thrown at her, Desirae focused on the window that exposed the outside sky, several clouds passing by with a slow pace. Desirae couldn’t help but think of Shanna and wondering what she was up to, if she was having more fun than she was. She smiled as she recalled the joy that radiated off her small body.
“Mr. Iero late again.” Mr. Angell.
“Sorry, teach.” Desirae watched him sit down two seats ahead of her. He was the one who helped her the other day. He lazily threw open his notebook and pretended to follow along.
“Which brings us to this part of the lesson. I have a small project for you.” The class immediately groaned and Mr. Angell just laughed.
“Don’t get ahead of yourselves now, let me explain first.”
“Since this unit is about developing relationships with others, I have assigned everyone partners and you’re going to try to build a relationship with that person if you can. We only have five minutes left, so we’ll just use this time to introduce ourselves.”
He went down the list pairing two people at a time, most students smiled as they knew everyone in the classroom except her. Her stomach fluttered as she hated being partners with people, nor did anyone want to be her partner.
“Lisa Gold and Frank Iero.” She turned to Lisa who frowned in disappointment, Frank on the other hand had a raised eyebrow. Lisa looked at Desirae with a helpless look. It couldn’t be that bad, he seemed nice.
“Kimberlee Gold and Ray Toro.” Desirae knew for sure Kimberlee was hating life right now, even Ray groaned as they began to walk towards each other. He must’ve been aware of the high maintenance Kimberlee.
The teacher continued to go down the list, and Desirae had hoped she wouldn’t have a partner. Her name had not been called yet, and she almost smiled at the thought.
“Desirae Amato and Robert Bryar.” Desirae looked at the teacher in shock. She looked around and barely noticed him sitting in the back corner hardly moving. Anxiousness filled her body as she tried to find the nerve to walk over to him. Maybe she could just pretend he wasn’t there. That she must’ve misheard him, but the teacher gave her a look, and she knew better than to object.
“Good luck.” Lisa seemed to whisper. Desirae turned to her and nodded with a scared look. She took slow steps until she reached the table, and he didn’t seem to notice her.
“Hi…” Was all she manage to speak out. He looked up at her with a ‘okay…?’ look. She turned around half rolling her eyes in awkwardness. This wasn’t exactly how she planned he’d be.
“I’m Bob.” He finally spoke. She turned around to see if she was hearing things. It was a miracle.
“Desirae.” She replied softly. He just nodded.
“Okay. Now that we’ve figured out our places, its time to reveal the second catch of the project. For one week you’re going to record your status with the other person. It can be anything, but please keep it civil and appropriate.” He warned in desperation, and the students laughed. Mr. Angell handed out different color notepads and Desirae had gotten a red and a blue one. She sighed in disappointment as they weren’t her favorite colors. Her favorite color was gold.
“Do you want to pick one?” She whispered, afraid to speak as he continued to just lose himself in his thoughts. He eventually settled on the red one and put it under his hands.
“Now everyone just go through it, and I think you’ll be good from there. Take last couple minutes of class to look through it. It will begin tomorrow. Have fun, and don’t hurt each other…too badly.” He laughed and headed back to his small desk and Desirae flipped through the book with curious eyes.
On every paper it had the date, time, describing how the day went, and what or needs to be improved and the overall grade for the day. It was rather unexciting, and very different from any project she’s had to do. By the looks of it, it wasn’t going very well. The first page also directed to list things about the person you did not know. It was a train wreck in the making, as he still made no effort to talk.
“So, umm…what do you like to do for hobbies?” She went down the list.
“Music.” She looked in surprise. She nodded and wrote down things he would tell her.
“What about you?” He asked in monotone.
“Cooking.” She replied softly. The bell rang and she was happy to leave the awkwardness behind her.
“See you all tomorrow!” The teacher smiled. As soon as Desirae walked out, Lisa came next to her and groaned.
“This guy is completely off the edge!”
“How so?” Desirae asked.
“I asked what kind of stuff he’s into, and you know what he tells me? Shooting stuff.” Desirae giggled.
“Lisa, just give it some time. Its just for a week.”
“A very long week. I gotta go, see you later.” She waved and ran off to God knows where. Desirae exited the school gates, and dragged her fingers across the surface of the warm metal. She didn’t notice that there was a body walking with her.
“Hey.” She turned and gasped. It was Frank.
“How long have you been here?” She spazzed.
“Not long.” He smiled. She nodded.
“Listen, I just have a couple things to say.” He whispered.
“What?” She asked softly.
“I know Bob can be a little quiet and may come off as a jerk, but just give him a chance. He’s a really good guy.” And with that Frank was off to meet the boy with the glasses, and Ray. Desirae stood still as she tried to understand Frank’s sudden wisdom. It was unexpected at the most, but in some way she felt better about today. Maybe all did he need was a chance.
“Desirae!” Shanna squealed and ran into Desirae’s arms.
“Hello Shanna how was your day.”
“Could be better, wanna walk home together?”
“Of course.” Desirae smiled.
“I saw you talking to Frank, do you know him?”
“Kind of, he talks to me. But I don’t know much about him.”
“He’s my brother’s best friend. He comes over once a week. A little spazzy if you ask me.” Desirae laughed.
“Your brother, he’s in my class.”
“Really? Have you talked to him?”
“He’s my partner for health class, he didn’t talk very much.”
“He’s shy sometimes. He also tends to worry as well.”
“How come?” Shanna frowned.
“Our mama is very sick. She can’t always move around, so my daddy hired a nurse to watch over her. Bob is responsible for helping around the house, so am I. My father works a lot, so Bob likes to help out. He loves my mama very much and he just worries if she’s eating and all that stuff.”
“That’s very sweet that he cares. I’m sorry about your mama.” Shanna nodded.
“She got sick last year, they don’t know what’s wrong. She used to be so active, but the sickness keeps her down. She’s still positive though.”
“You have to be.”
The girls reached the house, before Shanna sighed with a frown, not wanting to leave Desirae just yet.
“Well I got to go in and finish my homework. I’ll see you later Desirae.” Shanna hugged Desirae one last time before running up the pathway to the cream house. She lingered for a moment before crossing walking the way home back to her house. Knowing what was to come, since it was Monday. Her father’s worst day.
Her feet rested on the cold ground by the river, a routine that has been stressed before so many times. She cursed as today her father came home pissed, and used her body at his outlet to let out on his anger. Her legs were sore and she let her finger dip in the pool and swirl around making sure she was no longer numb as she was previously.
“I know Bob can be a little quiet and may come off as a jerk, but just give him a chance. He’s a really good guy.”
Frank’s words kept repeating itself as she remembered the project. Her notebook was back in the house, and she didn’t have the strength to get it and then come back out. Her fingers still twirled in the cool water as she closed her eyes and said a silent prayer for herself, her father, and even Bob’s mother.
“Stuck in a rut.” Was all she could say as she stared at the river. Time seem to slow as it rushed down the hill.
If only she had known that behind her Bob was sitting at the river as well. Throwing rocks into the water and seeing how far they could jump. He had gotten better in time, from many encounters with drums. He sighed as he thought about his mom and how badly she was coughing earlier, to the point where she couldn’t eat dinner. He wouldn’t admit it, but he was deathly afraid. That one day she wouldn’t be here, and it would just be him and Shanna. He couldn’t help but wipe away the tears that fell as he wished their was way to prevent it from happening, but knew it was impossible, and that hurt more than anything….
He didn’t mean to shut everyone else in his life out, but having the risk of being hurt was just something he couldn’t handle anymore….