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I wonder why the doctor couldn’t have lied to me about how I would die in a just a few days.
I was going to make the most out of them, though. And I decided I would work hard at it. Being a diplomat and renowned musician worldwide was a real dream now. I know my limits, so those are not the kind of goals I’d strive for. Instead, I would become the first chair saxophone at my school (I’m currently second). I’d win best delegate at that conference this weekend. I wanted to experience mutual love between me and someone from outside my family.
The week following the doctors’ visit, I confessed to my crush. Marvin and I had only met this year, but I felt close to him because we were in all the same classes. We were definitely good friends, and had lent each other a hand plenty of times. He was tall and lanky, intelligent, and sweet. I liked him for his honesty towards things and the fact that he was one of the few people I could trust.
He said no, because he wanted us to stay friends. There was apparently someone else he currently liked. Then I wanted to tell him I would die soon, and that he should grant me this wish. It was the feeling I felt when I had lost to the first chair saxophone again. The same feeling I felt when I got “commendations” at the conference. My whole world shattered right there. I ran away, thinking I felt so useless thinking that maybe it was better for me to go away. Perhaps I was not meant to fit into the world, just like an unfixable reject toy that belonged in the trash.
I refused to cry as I sat on an empty bench after school. I kept blinking my eyes before tears could fall, yet I knew they were still red. A shadow fell over me, so I looked up to see my enemy. Evan was the saxophone player I could never beat, no matter what I challenged him on. Every week we would go at it, only to have the music director say he was better just because of a little this or that.
God, I had been praying my best friend Sheila had found me instead. Deep down, I already knew it was impossible, because she had moved away last month. We had started speaking to each other less and less as our lives became busier and we no longer had time for each other. I didn’t even have her new contact information anymore.
Evan knocked me out of my black cloud. All he said was “Hi”. He plopped down on the seat right next to me. But that was all I really needed before I started spouting this whole story of my life. We never talked before, and as strangers, I figured none of this would matter to him anyway. I even told him of my death. By the time I was done, I was flustered, frustrated, and still sad. It helped though, because a lot of the sadness I previously felt was lifted off my shoulders. Maybe this was just a week of bad luck. Then Evan told me he had some bad luck too. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me of how he and his girlfriend just broke up because she thought he had been cheating on him. His parents were getting divorced, and the family was already tight on money.
I had no idea what to say. Evan was a model student. He was famous in class for amazing grades and always staying positive, like a shining beacon of hope. I had always suspected people like him would have some sort of dark secret. What I didn’t expect was that he’d still be genuinely smiling after what he’d just told me. So I told him he was being too optimistic.
He jokingly called me a downer for saying that. I tried to tell him it didn’t make sense how you could still be happy after all those things that had happened, but he just shook his head. That’s when the lecture began.
“Being too optimistic can be a bad thing if it doesn’t make you work hard, but sometimes you always need to remember that the key is in persisting. Cliché as it is, giving up and working hard are an excellent combination. They’ll take you anywhere you want to go. Maybe your road is just longer than others.”
He looked at me sadly after that. That look in his eyes told me he still remembered my mention of my death, but I was grateful he didn’t point it out anymore. Honestly, he made me feel miserable for feeling bad in the first place, but the words had really sunk in. I had tried my best at the things I could not accomplish, so I decided I would be satisfied. After all, at least Marvin didn’t say he would ignore me or not want to be friends. Before the conference last weekend, I had never even gotten an award. And in band, I had always defeated the third chair that kept trying to weasel her way into my seat.
So it was time for a new plan now. It was too late for me to do much else now, but the least I could do was finish things with a bang. I would start by mending my relationship with Sheila. I decided when I got home, I wouldn’t stop looking until I found her contact information and we had a nice long chat. I would tell my parents how much I appreciated them and all that they’ve done for me, knowing we would weep like babies.
I stood up, preparing to leave. Before I could change my mind, I suddenly bent down to give him a quick kiss on the lips. My first kiss. It was completely different than what I had always imagined, but I decided it was better. I giggled a little when I saw him blush furiously, knowing that I was the same shade of red. With a shy smile, he too got up to leave. That was when I realized how dark it was getting. This day was going by faster than I wanted it to. As we parted ways, even though I had no regrets, I still felt a little heartbreak when he turned around to smile and say, “See you tomorrow, Esperanza.”



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ThisLife said...
May 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm
That was incredible. I was really sucked in to the story :)
 
kimberdawn said...
May 1, 2012 at 9:59 am
I like this! Its interesting! 
 
Arlee-Rayner This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 1, 2012 at 3:31 pm
Thanks ! It's actually my first time writing a short fiction piece like this and I wasn't sure how it would go :/ My stories usually have more made-up fantasy stuff in it. After reading a lot of the ones on here, I wanted to try writing something different than what I usually do.
 
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