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Daniel (Part One)
Daniel had been the boy who was always there for me. He was the possible-boyfriend, the best friend type. We met during one of my mother’s fancy parties. She had them daily. He was walking out of the kitchen just as I was going in. I walked right into him and looked up quickly from my phone.
I remember just stopping and staring at him. His hair was blonde with light brown streaks from the summer. His eyes sparkled like the ocean. He smiled at me and asked if I was okay. I nodded, mumbling my apology. Later that night as I texted my boyfriend, Josh, I felt guilty. I had practically been slobbering over that boy in the kitchen. Then, without any warning, my boyfriend dumped me. Two words: we’re over. I just sat down on the front steps of my house and cried.
So what if I had thought that other boy was cute? I didn’t even know him. I had been with Josh for two years. I didn’t realize I was being watched as I threw my phone at a passing car. It smashed into pieces in the middle of the road. The voice startled me, “Are you okay?”
I turned around to see him. That perfect blue-eyed, blonde from the kitchen. I stood up and ran my hands down my skirt to flatten out the bumps. I nodded numbly. He then put his arms out as if he wanted to hug me. Then he just stood there.
“What?” I asked after a moment.
“You, my friend, need a hug,” he said.
I laughed, thinking he was joking. Then he hugged me. It was a bear hug that engulfed me inside and out. I looked up into his beautiful eyes and smiled. Then he was letting go and pulling out his cell phone.
“Why don’t you give me your email or home phone, seeing that your cell phone was just chucked into the street,” he said, with a corner smile.
I laughed as I said my email address. He waved good bye and I went inside. I went up to my bedroom and logged onto my facebook account. I had three new messages, all forwards of some sort. Then I went and looked at my friend suggestions. I saw his picture and clicked on it. It can’t really be him. Why would he be in my suggestions? But it was. Looking at the picture, I realized I never asked him his name. I smiled as I read it: Daniel.
Apparently he was friends with someone from school. I clicked add and signed off. My cheeks were sticky from crying. I stood up and went over to my mirror. My eyes were red. My cheeks flushed. My hair was stuck to my face in some spots from tears. My reflection made me laugh. I changed into pajamas and crawled into bed. The comforter was warm and fuzzy. I pulled it up higher to keep out the autumn chills.
I drifted off thinking of Daniel. I awoke the next morning smiling. Today was Sunday and I was ready to do something or go somewhere. I showered quickly and changed into jeans and a sweatshirt. I pulled my hair back into a sloppy ponytail. I went downstairs and said hello to my mother. She still had on her clothes from the night before. I assumed she had left with a man when I didn’t see her last night.
My father left seven years ago. I was ten years old. My mom cried for months on end. I’ve talked to my dad few times since then. At first he would call on holidays and my birthday, and then we moved to a smaller house. He stopped calling as much. I didn’t care.
As I ate a bowl of cereal, my mother went upstairs to change. Her laptop was on the counter. I logged in and checked my email. Two new messages. One was from my best friend Dana, the other from an unidentified sender. I clicked on the one from Dana first. It was about babysitting Angela so she could go to a job interview. I replied saying I could.
Angela was Dana’s one year old daughter. The baby’s dad was who-knows-where. Dana’s friend Mason had stepped in and helped out. Angela was long story short, a miracle.
I clicked on the other email. It was from Daniel. I read it a few times in my head, then out loud to understand it fully.
Dear Bridget, (I’m guessing that’s your name from your email address.)
Hopefully, you know where Macintosh Lake is. Meet me there today at twelve. If you can’t go or you have no idea where it is, email me back. Other wise see you there.
I smiled. He likes me! I thought he just took my email because he felt bad for me, but no! I knew exactly where Macintosh Lake was. It was about a mile or so from my house. I could walk it within a half hour. I logged off and raced back upstairs. I ditched my sweatshirt for a long sleeved Hollister shirt. Then I fixed my hair. After about ten minutes of trying to get the perfect ponytail, I gave up. I brushed it so it floated down around my face in pretty layers. I went into the bathroom and but on mascara, lip gloss and blush. Then I changed from my old worn down to the rubber sneakers into my new Nikes.
I glanced at my clock and realized it was 11:17. I quickly went downstairs and told my mother I was going out. I grabbed my brown sweater and rushed out the door. I pulled it on as a cold gust of wind hit me. I speed walked down the street. I wanted to arrive a little early because Macintosh Lake was always crowded and finding Daniel would already be hard. After numerous street signs and countless cars, I saw the glistening lake in the distance. I looked at my silver watch and checked the time, 11:54. I glanced around as I quickly crossed the street. I jogged over to the lake. I saw several couples and a few picnics. My eyes danced over the other people. Then they settled on one blonde, who sat alone. I walked over and smiled to myself.
“Hey,” I said.
He looked up and smiled. “Hi, sit down.”
I did and the flannel blanket beneath me was warm.
“Soda?” He asked gesturing to a small cooler behind him.
“Sure, got any Coke?” I asked, hoping I wasn’t blushing too much.
“Yeah, here,” he said as he handed me one.
I popped it open and took a sip. I set it down next to me, praying it wouldn’t tip over.
“So do you come here often?” he asked.
“When I need to think,” I said, smiling.
“Me, too. It’s really beautiful out here,” Daniel said.
“Your name is Daniel, right?” I asked, biting my lip.
“Yeah, how’d you know?” he asked, a curious look in his eyes.
“You came up in my friend suggestions on Face book,” I quickly explained.
He nodded and said, “You know you’re beautiful?”
I almost choked on the soda running down my throat. I swallowed and blushed. I wasn’t sure what to say.
“Um, thanks,” I said quietly.
“No trouble in telling the truth,” he mumbled.
We laid back on the blanket and just talked. We started with small talk, the weather, our families and tons of other stuff. Then we moved on to our hopes, our dreams, who we wanted to be in life.
I don’t remember when the sky darkened and the clouds started crying, but suddenly it was a full on thunderstorm.
“Wow, it’s pouring,” I said, jumping up quickly.
“Oh, dang it,” Daniel said. “How about I take you to dinner somewhere?”
“Okay, what time is it?” I asked, hoping he couldn’t see my rosy red cheeks.
“A little past five, too early for you?” he asked.
“No, it’s not a problem,” I said, shielding my head with my sweater.
We raced to his car and I climbed in quickly. He turned the heat on but I still shivered.
“Here,” he said, handing me his jacket.
“Thanks,” I said, putting it on.
It smelled of vanilla and coffee, and it made me think of Starbucks. I smiled as I wrapped it around me tightly.