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Confessions (Part 1)
Just like that, he was gone. Out of my life forever, leaving me with only the memories of what we had. I have a box on my dresser full of pictures of me and him at the beach, the mall, his house, my house, and at prom. His sweatshirt hangs in my closet with all of my other clothes, like it belongs there. The necklace he gave me for my birthday hung around my neck, digging into my skin. My heart was shredded everywhere, for anyone to step on or throw around.
None of friends were sympathetic and hugged me and told me it was for the best or told me there’s more fish in the sea. I was left alone to recover, like no one cared about how I felt. We went out for three years, ever since high school started. The one time I make a mistake, he packs up and leaves me. I didn’t even mean what I said, but that’s what happens when I’m tired, I say things that I don’t mean.
I starred at myself in the mirror, mascara running down my cheeks, my hair a total mess. It was today he told me that he didn’t want to go out with me anymore. He told me at lunch, in front of everyone. It was a scene in a movie, so unreal, so fake. He stood up on a lunch table and said, “McKenna, I need to tell you something. I really like you and all but from now on, I’d like to be friends. We both need to meet new people and find the One. Don’t take it personally.” He stepped down and people clapped, even my friends clapped. And like in the movies, I made a scene as I exited the cafeteria, in tears, alone.
Moaning, I flopped onto my bed and cried even more. I thought a person could only cry for a few minutes, but I was wrong because here I am crying my heart out and have been for the past three hours. Why did this have to happen to me?
“McKenna, time for dinner,” my mom yelled from the kitchen.
“Coming,” I croaked, forcing myself off my bed. I wiped the tears away and tried to compose myself. Mom can’t know what happened, she’d cry too. I went downstairs to have dinner even though I felt sick.
Back in my room after forcing a serving of pasta down my throat, I didn’t cry. What I needed was fresh air, my room smelt too much like him. The smell of his house: coffee, reminded me of the one night I snuck out to see him. The night everything went wrong. I grabbed my purple sweatshirt and headed outside.
The air was cool and smelt like sea salt, the waves crashed against the shore. It was dark and the sun was about to set. I sat down in the sand right where the water hit the beach so water could go in between my toes. Gulls flew around and little kids cried as they were told it was time to go in. My heart ached, my head spun.
“Hey,” a familiar voice said.
I looked up, it was Dave. I wanted to leave, to run far away. “Hi...”
“About lunch, I didn’t mean it,” Dave said, brushing my bangs to the side. “I didn’t realize how much I loved you.”
Liar. Why did he have to tell me lies? “Hmm.”
“What,” his voice sounded tense, even a little uncomfortable.
“Who turned you down,” I asked, my eyes focused in front of me. If I looked at him, I’d give in and kiss him, forgiving him of everything that happened, but I couldn’t.
I laughed, “Why would you, the captain of the football team, make a scene at lunch to break up with me and then come crawling back? What you said hurt, more than you will ever realize. You must’ve left me to ask out somebody else, but they said no and you need someone by your side, so you came back to me. You think I’ll forgive you and we’ll go back to our stupid relationship? Thinking about it, I meant what I said at your house last night; I hate you.” I was thinking about standing up and walking away but I wanted to hear his comeback.
“You’re right,” Dave said, getting up and walking away.
This time, no tears bubbled up to my eyes, I didn’t feel crushed. Hugging myself, I ran back inside.
Days passed, I avoided Dave at all costs and he avoided me. My friends welcomed me back, but I turned them down. They weren’t real friends, friends comfort you when your sad and try to make you feel better, not worse. I decided to sit with the only friend I had left, Cam. I’ve known Cam for as long as I could possibly remember. He lives right next door, he’s been in every one of my classes, and he’s always been a friend.
“Hey,” I said, setting my tray down and sitting across from Cam, who normally sits alone.
Cam looks up and seems surprised, “Hey, won’t your boyfriend get mad at you for not sitting with him?”
I looked at him this time, confused, then I remembered. He was on vacation with his family in Kentucky to see his dying grandma, he wouldn’t know. “We, um, broke up actually.”
“Yea, about three days ago we split up, to meet better people.”
“I hope you broke up with him,” Cam laughs, taking a bite out of his sandwich.
I blushed, “No, he broke up with me.”
“Well, that sucks.”
“Yea...but I’m over him, he was a jerk anyway,” I said, messing with my salad. My heart was beating faster and faster, it was unlike anything I felt before. The bell rang, five minutes to get to class.
“Wanna hang out after school,” Cam asked as he got up from the table to throw his uneaten food away.
I nodded, “Sounds good. At the beach?”
“It’s a date,” Cam said, winking as he walked to his next class.
I don’t know why I feel this way, like something inside me wants to come out. For some reason, I couldn’t wait until I saw him again.
“No, I used hit you with the shovel and then you’d ruin my sandcastle,” Cam laughed, throwing sand at me.
I smiled, “Okay, I just got the story wrong.”
It was after school, Cam and I were reminiscing. My heart was beating fast and my stomach had butterflies, I didn’t understand.
“Confession time, you go first,” Cam said, picking up a stone and chucking it out into the ocean. “Did you really love Dave?”
Crap, why did he have to ask me that? I wasn’t sure, I cried after the breakup, did that mean I loved him? Or was I crying because I didn’t have anyone to tell me that I’m pretty or randomly hug me, unlike my friends? “I really don’t know. Nothing really was exciting about us, we didn’t tell each other our secrets or how we felt about each other, we guessed. I always thought he loved me and I that I loved him, but I think I just loved the fact that someone loved me. Not him, himself.”
“You loved him for what he said?”
“Yea,” I said, walking a little ahead of him, thinking of a question. “Your turn, have you ever loved someone?”
Cam blushed and I laughed, “Yes and I’m still in love with that someone.” We walked in silence, the ocean roared and gulls chirped. “Do you wish you could go back in time and change something that happened?”
“Oh my gosh, yes! I want to go back to when Dave asked me out in ninth grade and slap him in the face, that jerk. I also want to go back because you were gonna tell me something important, but I cut you off to tell you I had a boyfriend and you never told me.” My heart skipped as he touched my shoulder, wanting me to slow down, I didn’t realize I was walking so fast. “Who do you love?” I bit my lip, wondering if that was asking to much.
He looked at the sky, then at me. Grabbing my hand, he said, “I love you.”
My heart was racing, the butterflies in my stomach multiplied. Cam’s confession startled me, I wasn’t prepared. In the sudden silence, I was wondering if he wanted me to respond and if he did, I didn’t know what to say.
“So,” Cam said slowly, “my question for you is...How do you feel about me?”
I saw this coming, now he wanted an answer. The truth is, I had no clue how I felt about him. Just days ago, I had a horrible breakup with Dave and now he wants me to give him my patched up heart? It seemed so easy to say that I loved him too, I’d have a shoulder to cry on, someone to hold me, someone to say I was pretty, but I might not really like him. Wriggling my hand out of his, I said, “You’re a friend, a great friend, but I’m not sure if I feel that way towards you.” My somewhat patched up heart, broke again,
but I didn’t know why.
Cam’s face fell, his eyes gleaming, he was going to cry. “To soon after the breakup,” his voice quivered, as he tried to hold back his tears. He turned his head to face the water. I hurt him, just like Dave hurt me.
“I’ve gotta go,” I murmured, walking away from Cam. When I reached the back door of my house, I turned around to look at him. He was still facing the ocean, the wind blowing his sandy hair. I didn’t know if he was crying, if he was it was because of me. I hurried inside and ran into my mom who was crying.
Her face was white and streaked with tears. Her hair was every which way and she was in her bathrobe, which hardly came out of her closet. “McKenna, your home early,” mom sobbed, holding a Kleenex to her eyes.
I glanced at the clock, five, I normally home at this time to make dinner. “I’m not that early mom,” I said, realizing my mom wasn’t listening, she was in the kitchen bathroom crying softly. “Mom are you all right?” I walked over to her and put my arm around her shoulders, feeling her shake.
“No, no I’m not, not even close,” mom cried, blowing her nose.
Mom let out a long sob, her whole body shook. She grabbed my arm, “He’s gone...”
“Who’s gone,” I asked, not really wanting to know the answer.
“Your dad...,” my mom moaned, blowing her nose in a Kleenex.
No, he couldn’t have left. Sure, they did fight but it wasn’t anything serious. Their fights always happen after dinner or before breakfast. They normally are about something stupid, like who was gonna make the bed, who was gonna take what car, or something like that. In the beginning of the fights, when they first started, mom would just walk away after a few minutes to cool down. She’s come back acting like nothing happened and talk about the matter formally with no yelling. That was at the beginning, now they fight until someone breaks down and cries. Sometimes, my dad would hit my mom on the face or my mom would slap my dad, it varies. I just never thought about my dad leaving, he was my dad. I’d go downstairs in the morning for breakfast and he’d be sitting at the table, coffee in hand and newspaper in the other. He always put out my favorite cereal, Lucky Charms, and would have the milk out for me and a bowl and spoon. Sleepily, I’d pour my cereal and my milk, my dad talking to me about the comedy shows that were on last night after I went to bed. It was a routine. It was something that I knew would always be there until I moved out. Just like I thought Dave and I would stay together.
“Dad what,” I choked, as mom let out another cry.
Mom composed herself, wiping her tears away, “He left. Packed everything and left. Told me that he needed breathing room. That he didn’t love me anymore. He said that he’d call when the time was right to sort everything out. He also said that you don’t need to worry about anything, he’s gonna call you to bring you out for dinner one night. After that, he just picked up his bags and walked out.” She had tears to her eyes, but she didn’t want them to rush down her cheeks.
I was shocked, I didn’t understand why he’d do this to us. “Oh, did he say why?”
“I saw it coming, I was just waiting until he finally decided to leave and it happened to be today. I shouldn’t be crying, I don’t really love him the way I used to anymore. This is surreal. The sad thing is, I want him to walk in and apologize for everything and stay.” Mom grabbed another Kleenex and blew her nose. “I’m gonna go up to my room and rest, it’s been a long day. There’s leftover pizza from last night if you want it.” Mom patted me on the shoulder and walked out of the bathroom. I stood there, wanting to cry, like mom said, it was surreal.
I wanted to stay strong, not melt, but that seemed impossible. My dad was gone. He left us. The tears stung in my eyes, surrendering, I let them out. I sank to the bathroom floor, sobbing. He couldn’t be doing this to us. It wasn’t right.
Minutes passed and I was still on the bathroom floor, crying harder than I ever had in my life, including the breakup with Dave. This was worse, so much worse. When Dave broke up with me, it didn’t really hurt, the hole in my heart wasn’t real, this was. I felt my heart fall to the pit of my stomach and shred to pieces. With Dave, I was wounded, with dad, I was killed.
My whole body aches. I fell asleep on the bathroom floor, no surprise there, I couldn’t get up, my body weak. I wiped the drool on my face away with my sweatshirt sleeve. Stomach growling, I hoisted myself up with help from the bathroom counter. What time was it? The kitchen was dark, the clock steadily ticking. Six A.M., school would be starting in an hour. I didn’t want to go to school, not after the news my mom told me yesterday or the fact I turned down Cam. Lights suddenly clicked on, soft footsteps were coming down the hall. Mom was still in her bathrobe, her hair was in a bun, and she had on her bunny slippers. She looked at me, confused.
“I wondered where you were. You weren’t in your room or in the bathroom upstairs,” my mom said, walking over to the coffee maker.
“I fell asleep in the bathroom down here,” I barely whispered, my voice cracking.
She smiled, “I see. What do you want for breakfast?”
This reminded me of dad and our breakfast routine, making me want to cry again. “Lucky Charms,” I said in monotone, blinking fast so no tears would come out.
Mom went to the cabinet and took out the box of cereal. I grabbed a bowl and spoon from the dishwasher. Mom got the milk and I sat down at the table. She sat down next to me, “Well, I thought long and hard about what your dad said to me...and I couldn’t agree more. We don’t feel the same way about each other and we need space to figure everything out.”
“Oh,” I said before shoving a spoonful of cereal into my mouth. What was I supposed to say?
“I don’t know what will happen though,” her voice was weak and strained, like she was holding back tears herself. I nodded. “You can stay home from school if you want...you look pretty beat up from sleeping on the ground. That must’ve been uncomfortable. I’ll call school, you rest.” Mom got up from the table and vanished upstairs. I sat at the table until my cereal was gone.
My room didn’t smell like Dave anymore, it had that empty smell. My bed was still made from yesterday morning, curtains up letting the sun rise sneak in. I shuffled over to the window, the view wasn’t very good. It was the street, not the beach. I was about to shut the curtain when I noticed something. There was a ‘SOLD’ sign in the yard next door.
Beep! Beep! I flung my hand at my alarm clock, trying to hit the snooze button. I couldn’t reach it, I sighed, defeated. Slowly I rolled out of bed, leaving the warmth of the blankets behind. Yawning, I hit the snooze button but the beeping didn’t stop. I smacked the button a dozen times, until I gave up and just unplugged it all together. Beep! Beep!
“Ugh,” I screamed, annoyed. I glanced at my unplugged clock, the screen blank. “Where is that beeping coming from?” Beep! Beep! I walked over to the open window, letting the spring breeze sneak in. The sky was pale blue, the sun just beginning to rise, it had to be pretty early. Beep! Beep! It was coming from outside, I looked at the house next door. A moving van was backing into the driveway; the new family was moving in.
I don’t know why a smile spread across my face seeing the van. The family might not have any girls my age, they could be a newly wed couple wanting ten kids. Still, something inside of me made me smile and run to the bathroom to get ready for the day. I wasn’t getting ready for school, even though exams were approaching and the teachers were basically giving us the answers, I was getting ready for a day at the beach. If the family happened to have any sort of kids, they would go to the beach after they moved in. It was natural.
After a hot shower, I slipped on my one piece bathing suit, I wasn’t the type for string bikinis. I dried my hair then put it in a loose ponytail. I went back to my room and put on some of my shorter shorts with a sweatshirt. The sweatshirt felt like home, then I remembered: it was Dave’s. Thinking of Dave, I grabbed the necklace around my neck, I tried the other day to take it off but I couldn’t, it was a part of me.
Downstairs, I quickly poured a bowl of cereal and devoured it. I was putting the bowl away when the phone rang. It scared me at first, but then I saw the phone blinking out of the corner of my eye. I let it ring three times until I was certain mom wasn’t going to pick up.
“Hello,” I asked into the phone, shutting the dishwasher with my hip.
“Is this...Is this McKenna,” a man’s voice said, he sounded nervous.
“Yes, this is McKenna. Who is this,” I said, following the two easy steps my mom taught me. 1) Say hello. 2) Ask who’s calling. They worked for every phone call.
“Um, this is your dad.”
My heart stopped beating, “Dad?”
“Yes, McKenna, it’s me.”
“Where are you,” I asked, questions swirling in my brain.
“Well, I can’t tell you that. I just wanted to talk to you,” he said, uneasy.
“Oh. What did you want to talk about?”
He coughed, “I wanted to see how school was going.”
He laughed, “Actually, I wanted to know what you were doing next weekend. I want to talk to you about...the problems me and your mom are going through. I figured she wouldn’t be able to handle all your questions, so I was gonna have you spend the weekend with me.”
“I’m not doing anything.”
“Good, I’ll pick you up around five next week Friday. I’ll see you then.”
“Yes,” dad said.
“I just wanted to remind you that I love you,” I said, choking out the last few words.
He sighed, “I love you too.” Dad hung up.
My head was spinning as I wrote a note to mom about how I was spending the day at the beach. Dad called. He wanted to spend time with me. I thought when mom said he’d call that dad was just joking. I figured he’d run away like the dads in the movies and never have any contact with his family again, but I was wrong.
I was sitting on the beach for about three hours when I saw them. They walked out of the backdoor of the house and down to the beach. I heard squealing and laughter. To my luck, they walked my way. There was three of them, two girls and a boy. One of the girls was blonde and skinny, wearing one of those string bikinis. The other girl was a brunette and skinny as well, but she was wearing a tankini. The boy caught my attention first, he was tall and had sandy blonde hair. He was wearing shorts and a tee; he was hot.
“This has an amazing view,” the blonde girl said, waving her hands towards the ocean.
“Don’t forget how many cute surfer guys will be here,” the brunette commented.
“Yes, the boys! How could I forget? There should be tons of them!”
The boy snickered, “You guys are totally crazy.” Some reason, his voice sounded familiar.
“I am not crazy, Cam,” the brunette replied, shoving him playfully.
Cam. My best friend, was hanging out with the new people. My heart began to race, my face turning hot, and my palms started to sweat. Why did this always happen? Why didn’t I see how hot he was before? His hair, the mess on top of his head was suddenly perfect. His voice, husky and confident, was magical. Cam turned my way, his blue eyes sparkling. His mouth curved into a smile, making me smile.
“McKenna! Hey,” Cam yelled, waving me over.
I got up and walked over to him. “Hey, what’s going on?” The two girls stopped talking and looked at me, examining me.
“Well, I’m showing my cousins around. They just moved in next to you. The blonde is Sarah and the brunette is Abbie. Guys, this is McKenna,” Cam said, grabbing my arm and moving me over towards them.
Sarah smiled, “Nice to meet you.”
Abbie frowned, “One question, what’s your favorite kind of music?”
I was confused but answered anyway. “Oldies, like Queen, Collective Soul, and the Scorpions, stuff like that.”
Her face burst into a smile, “Correct! Now we’re gonna be friends!” Abbie gave me a hug, after a few seconds she stopped. “That is if you want to be friends, you looked kinda lonely sitting there all by yourself.”
“Sure, I’d like that. I don’t really have any friends besides Cam here,” I answered, wondering why I cringed when I said Cam’s name.
Sarah smiled, “Well in that case, I’m your friend too. Me and Abbie are a package.”
I laughed, “I always liked packages.” They both laughed, so did Cam.
“Well, I’m gonna leave you girls alone to mingle. See you two later. Bye McKenna,” Cam said, walking off towards his house, waving.
We walked along the beach in silence, it was sort of awkward but comfortable at the same time. The sun beat down as the waves crashed against the sand. The gulls flew in the sky, looking for anything to eat.
“I love the beach,” Abbie said, breaking the silence.
“Amen to that sister,” Sarah whispered, sinking her toes into the sand.
“McKenna, what school do you go to,” Abbie asked.
“The only high school near here,” I replied, forgetting the name of the school.
“Sea Side High,” Sarah announced, “that’s where we are going.”
“Will you be able to show us around school? We haven’t seen the place, Cam says it’s huge! He probably won’t offer, maybe you could? Unless that’s too much of a hassle...,” Abbie asked, gazing out at the water.
“I can show you around if that’s what you want,” I replied, glancing over at Abbie.
“We’d love it,” Sarah said, butting into the conversation again. “But, let’s not think about that now, we have a whole weekend ahead of us.”
We linked arms like any group of friends would and walked down the beach. I, for the first time, felt like I belonged.