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Under His Favorite Tree
He wasn’t quite ready to end up with her, but he knew he had to. Although the look on her face would be excruciating when he told her it wasn’t working anymore – an euphemism he had chosen to use even being aware that it had never worked between them; it couldn’t have – to go on with that charade was too much for him.
His name was Kevin and hers was Lucy, but it was extremely rare for people to call then by these. It was always Lucy’s Kevin, that guy from my geometry class or Kev’s Lucy, the girl with the big green eyes. At Jules Verne High School it was as though one of them couldn’t possibly exist without the other; two parts of the perfect Prom dance couple that somehow helped to balance the universe. They were meant to be together, everybody knew it, and if they could be happy so could everyone else!
The only problem to this modern fairytale was that Kevin, 16, wasn’t capable of remembering the last time he had been happy since he was at kinder garden. The one thing he did recall was the day they first kissed, at a Spin the bottle kind of party. They were 13 back then and his mate Peter had heard from one of the popular girls that Lucy Smith had a big crush on Kev. This really got him off guard, because Lucy was the one person Kevin thought of when revolutionary ideas of liberty passed his mind and made him wonder how it would feel like to talk to someone openly. He saw her as a good friend, potentially his best one in a near future. Except, the rumor was true and the future they shared was one of meaningless kisses and awkward f***s for which he had to mentally prepared himself with hours of advance; and that had brought him to a foggy present, where everyone he knew and all the things he did sounded fake and wrong.
Kevin headed to his favorite spot at the city, which, most certainly, would loose this position in his heart in a few minutes, having in mind that that place was always the one he went when he needed to think things straight or to escape from all kind of thinking, rationalizing, feelings. It wasn’t a calm, quite place, there was a lot of noise from a neighboring building, but almost nobody seemed to notice his presence there so he could relax and stare at whatever, or whoever, he felt like staring. And now it would be the scenario to his first break up.
“Hey you” greeted Lucy as he jumped the wall and entered the garden of the abandoned Victorian terraced house he loved so much. “What is this place? Why did you wanted us to meet here?”
“I like it here” he pointed to her left and she turned to look. “I can get a good view of the college campus from up that tree, I like watching them.”
“Them? Who, the students? Kev, you’re so weird. Don’t you reckon they can see you too?”
“I know they can, but they normally don’t.” he quivered at the thought of some of the college jocks seeing him and wanting to find out what a boy was doing looking at the campus from a tree.
“I had a hard time getting here” Lucy continued. “A girl isn’t supposed to climb a wall, sweetie.“
“I'm sorry” he said in a deep, intense voice that sent goosebumps up Lucy's spine as she realized that he wanting them to meet in an distant, uncommon place perhaps didn’t mean that he was planning on being romantic. What was going on here?
He took her by the hand and leaded the way to the tree, indicating that they should sit. And there, having the girl to whom he had lost his virginity to sitting with her back leaned against his favorite tree; the girl that had been his girlfriend for almost three years, the one the whole planet seemed to think was right for him; he said the words out aloud for the first time. He told her what he meant to tell her when there was the possibility of them being best friends.
At first, she just stared blankly at the leaves and little stones that surrounded the two of them, incapable of saying anything. Then she stared at him with a desperate look, her eyes full of tears and her upper lip trembling as she tried to make sense of what her boyfriend was telling her, of what the guy she loved more than anyone, the guy that was everything to her, felt when she touched him. Lucy had never felt so betrayed and alone before; and the consequence it had on her expression while she walked away from Kevin would stick to his mind for a long time.
As soon as she disappeared behind the wall he started crying too, for as hard as he tried he wasn’t able to suppress the floods of tears that came rushing down his cheek. The image of Lucy’s sadness kept showing up in the back of his mind for hours as he sat there conjuring up the awful things she would probably say to everyone they knew – with good reason - and what people would think, and trying desperately to think of someone who might still want to be friends with him, but he could think of no one.
Kevin climbed to the branch he used to sit on and examined the back of the college campus, with its students walking around holding books, laughing and swearing at each other. He searched for the sharp blue eyes that occasionally met his, and the thin lips that gave place to a confused and shy smile every time this “eye meeting” occurred, but they were nowhere to be found. he was really alone this time.
“Er… Hey” came a low voice from under Kevin. He looked down. “I’m Mitch.”
There, under his favorite tree, was standing the cute blonde guy he always looked at. His smooth hair hiding his eyebrows and his thin pink lips curved into a smile.
“Hi. I’m Kevin.”
“Do you think you be coming down soon?” Mitch asked playfully.
And Kevin nodded, wondering if perhaps he wouldn’t be so alone after all.