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It’s always just a saying, something people promise you. “You have my word,” they always tell you. Does it really mean anything? Can you trust them with your biggest secret just by 4 simple words? I thought about this staring into the blank grey eyes on Landon’s face. Can I trust him?
“So what are you saying?” I tried to figure out the weird pattern of squares on his shirt, while I asked him questions in my zoned out voice.
He laughed quietly, “Well, like I said five times before, you can trust me.” The last four words he said slowly just to make sure I was listening. I really wasn’t, I just nodded my head like I understood.
“Look, I know your not listening. I promise you I would never do anything to hurt you. As in telling people secrets. Thats first grade, Jess, not tenth.” I finally listened to him, staring at the floor. Then I saw his plain, grey eyes again when he lifted my head up.
“Fine,” I snapped gently and turned to start walking on the path. He quickly followed and fell into step with my brisk walk.
“Tell me, Jess. You can trust me.” He pleaded.
“I just, I just,” I stuttered, “I just don’t know if I’m ready to tell anyone.” He looked at me softly with his grey eyes. I looked at the sky and saw that they matched perfectly.
“It’s okay,” He tried to comfort me.
“All-right. I’ll tell you. You’re the only person I trust enough. Landon, I’m going to die.” I stopped walking and looked at his face to see what reaction it had on his grey eyes. Suddenly instead of blank and plain, they became sad, foggy, and shocked at the same time.
“Wha...wha...what? Why?” The shocked part showed first, although the tears remained to define the sad part.
“I...I have cancer.” He looked at me with the sad part of his cloudy eyes now. The tear that was intruding his eye raced to the bottom of his chin in hopes to drop to the ground. “Please don’t cry, Landon.”
“Uh, I’m sorry Jess. I just...I just wasn’t expecting that.” He laughed a sad nervous laugh. I opened up my arms and reached out. I squeezed him as hard as I could until he laughed.
“It’s all-right.” The comforting jobs had switched places as I place my arm over his shoulder. “It’s all-right, because I trust you.” His grey clouded eyes turned into a sunny day as his smile reassured me with his word. His word and his trust. Landon looked at me with a sad but content look on his face.
He smiled softly and he told me, “You can always trust me.” I said nothing, ‘cause nothing needed to be said. He always understood.
“Thanks, Landon. It really means a lot.” I broke the short silence. He cleared his throat and dried his eyes.
“Oh...Uh, yeah. It’s no problem,” He laughed his little nervous laugh and acted like his cool self again. We started walking and made our way down the dimly lit path under the grey sky. It had to be the most interesting and sad walk I’ve had in the park since I was five and a bird pooped on my sandwich.
“Landon,” I said his name with a mother tone when their child does something wrong.
“Yeah, yeah. Yeah?” He was still a little in shock, I’m guessing.
“I am trusting you. I don’t want you to tell anyone. You promise?”
“Absolutely!” He shouted loud enough for Ms. Wincot to look up from feeding her pigeons and stare. Landon half-laughed, half-snorted and grinned at me. I had to cover my mouth to stop myself from bursting out laughing.
“Pinky promise,” I smiled at him with a gleam in my eye. He held out his pinky, which was significantly larger than mine. We shook pinkies and the deal was sealed. Pinky-style.
“Buy me an ice cream?” I asked him in a spoiled little girl voice when we passed by the cart.
“Fine.” He played the grumpy dad, and smiled at me and laughed. This time it wasn’t nervous.
“Why thank you, Father,” I made a pretend English girl accent. He attempted the same but cracked up in the middle of the sentence. “Nice,” I laughed with him. I licked my ice cream and calmed down my humor-mood. I thought about what I said before. I was going to die. I wasn’t going to live forever. No one was, but my time was cut short. Lost in thought, my clumsy personality took over and steered me straight into embarrassment, or known as in the real world, a tree. Landon stood there laughing, but I’ve learned to laugh and move on. So I stood there, ice cream-covered clumsy tenth grader with a shortened life span, laughing along with my best friend.
“Wow, Jess. That was great!” He smiled as he walked over with several napkins and a big hug. I smiled an innocent-clumsy girl smile and took the napkins and the hug.
“Thanks,” I grinned.
“Anytime!” He returned the smile. We continued to walk down the path as I thought this might beat the bird poop sandwich, adding that Ms. Wincot didn’t take her beady eyes off us since I ran into the tree. I shook my head to remove flutters of leftover thoughts before I ran into anything else.
“Landon?” The word slowly slipped away from tongue.
“Yeah?” He fake sighed after he answered. His grin showed he was playing but remained serious.
“How long do you think I have?”
“Well, I think thats up to the doctors...” He guessed.
“Yeah, but I want to know what you think,” I desperately asked.
“I think you have however long you need to fulfill your true destiny.” Landon gently placed his arm around my shoulder and looked into my eyes. His grey eyes suddenly had this special tint in it that sparkled in the light and shadowed in the dark.
“I have to go home and cook dinner. I’m really sorry.” I told Landon.
He hugged me again and squeezed me till I laughed this time.
“No prob, Jess. It’s fine. I’ll see you tomorrow!” He turned to start walking back towards his house. We waved to each other and left the pebbly path.
When I got home I sat on the couch and stared at the wood pattern on the coffee table. I tilted my head to see if it would change the way it looked. It was the same. I started to think about things, since I was on a safe terrain. I just smiled and thought about the path at the park. Smooth in places, rough in others. Just like life. Everything, every pebble, is different. You never know what’s coming for you until it’s here. When I was a pouting five-year-old with bird poop on my lunch I didn’t know I was going to be here living the last years of my life with ice cream stains on my sweat shirt. Maybe I just tripped on a pebble, but it was put there on purpose. Landon’s words played over in my head: You can always trust me.
I guess you just have to trust in the pebbles that were placed on your path in life.