Drop Out Part II

January 7, 2010
By ambitious BRONZE, Falls Church, Virginia
ambitious BRONZE, Falls Church, Virginia
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Mr. and Mrs. Ricci got right down to business and discussed his flight. They were supportive parents and were willing to let him try out living alone in Santa Monica for one year. If he was being a productive musician, he could stay. However if he was messing around and getting into trouble, he had to fly back home and finish high school. Robert couldn't stand the thought of finishing physics class. His father reminded him to use his credit card instead of cash and to not lose his keys. Robert’s mother asked that he call her every night, a reasonable request for a mother shipping her son across the country. In addition, Mr. Ricci repeatedly mentioned that Robert could not be late for his flight. If Robert missed his flight, he’d have to schedule another flight and his grand exit during physics class would have gone to waste. Robert couldn’t contain his happiness as he hugged his parents tightly, thanking them for being so encouraging. He had a flight to paradise and he sure wasn’t going to miss it.

Robert didn’t bother driving slowly through his hometown to savor his last day in Indiana. He sailed past the town grocery and pharmacy, the quaint toy store, the cozy coffee shop he loved to write songs in, and the gardens in the center of town. Getting to the airport in time was crucial; staying in Indiana another night would be torture and he wanted to prove to his father that he was responsible, a man. The cool air felt like a smooth rush of wind on his face and the sunlight glinted off of the shiny silver hubcaps of his Jeep. An aroma of tomatoes and cheeses permeated the air and Robert slowed as he neared his Uncle’s restaurant, the one he had just about grown up in. It was a gorgeous one-story stone building with ivy wrapped around it, clinging to the corners of the building, tickling the painted-glass windows. The inside was authentic-looking with white stucco walls and dark mahogany dinging tables and chairs. There were ocean blue, glass plates and goblets at each table setting and tall, slim, white candles that illuminated the faces of diners at night. On the walls were Italian plates depicting the scenery of Italy or displaying beautiful, intricate designs.

Robert couldn’t decide whether to stop and say goodbye to the staff in the restaurant that he had known all his life or to keep driving. He was intent on making it to the airport on time. He was about to drive past, wild dreams of California flowing through his head, when he saw Becky standing outside the restaurant. He parked his car and walked to her. Unlike Robert’s Italian cousins who worked at the restaurant, Becky had dirty blonde hair and sky blue eyes. She was Robert’s age, but homeschooled and she worked at the restaurant during the day. When Becky first starting working at the restaurant, she was the shy, quiet girl, but Robert had gotten to know her as a bubbly, exciting, and thoughtful person. He cared about her and respected her.

“Hi,” Robert said, grinning. He was leaning forward, his pants in the front pockets of his jeans, his eyes radiant with happiness. “Whatcha’ doin'?”
Becky gave him a faint smile, “Just thinking.” Robert knew there had to be something else, so he asked her what was wrong. Becky softly told him that her older sister, Megan, had died in a horrifying car accident in Los Angeles, the day before. She wanted to attend the funeral, but she lived with her grandmother who didn’t have enough money to send her. Robert was already familiar with Becky's unfortunate story. Her parents had died when she was six years old, so she moved in with her grandmother. Unlike Robert, she didn’t have any benevolent aunts or uncles who could send her money in golden envelopes. Robert gave her a hug and tried to say the right things to cheer her up, but he wasn’t very good at comforting women. He wanted to stay and talk to Becky, but the seconds were ticking by and he knew the plane wasn’t going to wait for him.
“I’m sorry. I- I have to get to the airport. My plane is waiting,” Robert said apologetically. Becky smiled and her eyes seemed a little brighter, “Oh! You’re finally leaving for California! You used to tell me all about your plans to leave high school when we were younger… Wow. Good luck.” Her smile faded. Robert and Becky hugged, and she strolled quickly to her car. Robert jumped into his Jeep, ready to hit the road. He kept repeating the name, California, unable to believe he was finally chasing his dream, the way he always used to imagine. He was stopped, waiting for the road to clear up before he could pull out when he looked into his rearview mirror. Becky’s car was behind him. She was shaking and wiping away tears as quickly as they spilled down her face. Robert’s heart ached for her, but he couldn’t think of anything helpful he could do.
There was no oncoming traffic, so Robert drove away without a second glance at Becky’s red eyes. He was finally getting away from his boring life at school and at the restaurant and towards a new, edgier life without parents or house rules. Though he was excited, Robert couldn’t stop thinking about Becky. Her life was falling apart while his own life was just beginning. She probably didn’t have anyone to talk to either, since she lived with her grandmother and lacked friends due to her homeschooling. Robert’s life had been near perfect, yet Becky’s was full of pain. He took out his cell phone and speed dialed a good friend.
It took Robert a little longer to get to the airport and when he got there, he didn’t buy any snacks or drinks. He didn’t check his luggage in or sit in the waiting area by himself for half and hour. But he did make sure Becky got onto the plane safely. Half-way through the flight, Becky opened her carry-on bag. A golden envelope sat inside, right next to her cell phone and her wallet.

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