“Hey!” I see flash across the screen of my phone as I pick it up off of my bed. The notification is from someone named Aiden on the app kik. That’s so weird. I don’t know anyone with that name. It’s probably just one of my friends pranking me or something anyway so I might as well just ignore it. I open up Netflix and try to decide on a movie to watch. I’m trying to decide between High School Musical and High School Musical 2, when I get another notification.
“I know you don’t know me, but I’m suuuuper bored and picked a random person to talk to. I’m Aiden btw,” The message said. I might as well answer him. I mean, what’s the worst thing that could happen?
“Hey Aiden! I’m Audrey what’s up?” I type back in response and add an emoji to the end, just to seem friendly.
“Not much. Wanna play a game?” He replies quickly.
“Sure 21 questions since I barely know you??” I suggest.
“Ok I’ll go first. Fav color?” He asks.
“Yellow. Fav movie?” I respond.
Several hours (and a lot more than 21 question later,) I almost feel like I know more about Aiden than I know about myself. I learned that he is 17 (one year older than me,) and lives in the tropical state of Florida (which might I add, is quite different than the boring state of Indiana.) His favorite color is blue because it reminds him of the ocean. He also said that he hates when people just assume that everyone who lives in Florida goes to the beach every single day, because that is entirely not true. He told me he only goes a couple times a month, and only during the warmer months at that. That is quite unfortunate considering his love for surfing. I, on the other hand, would much rather go snowboarding or skiing up North. Obviously, we’re very different. He likes Italian food, while I prefer Chinese food. He likes pop music, while I like country. He likes TV shows, while I’d rather be watching a movie. He hates reading, while I love it. He does several sports, while I do none. Through all of our many differences, I discovered we surprisingly have three things in common: we don’t have many friends, we both have a crude sense of humor, and we both love all of the High School Musical movies.
After we’d messaged each for hours, I finally told him I had to get some sleep. It was well past midnight by now and I had school in the morning.
“Can’t wait to talk to you tomorrow!!” He sent back.
“It’s 2am Aiden...it’s already ‘tomorrow,’” I typed back in response. He sent back the eye roll emoji. A smile crept onto my face as I drifted off into a deep sleep.
As my eyes flutter open, the first thing that pops into my head is Aiden. I quickly grab my phone and open up kik. As I am typing a message to him, he texts me.
“Good morning. You sleep well?” The message read. The grin that always seems to stretch across my face when I think of him returns.
I delete what I had written and send back, “Sure did! I really really really wanna stay home all day and talk to you but I have school. And I guess you do too. Text you tonight.” I turn off my phone because if I don’t, I know I’ll be on it all day in class. I’ve already gotten detention for that three times this year…
As I pull into my driveway after school, I quickly grab my keys and backpack and rush inside. I drop my backpack by the front door and toss my keys on the kitchen table.
“What’s the rush sweetie?” My mom asks me as I speed walk to my room.
“Lots of homework,” I shout, obviously lying, over my shoulder as I slam my bedroom door. I jump onto my bed and whip out my phone. I open up kik and quickly message Aiden.
“Just got home. Longest day of school everrrrrr,” I send him.
“Come on. Was it really THAT bad?” He replies quickly.
“Actually it was. My group for my science project is with Olivia, Melanie, and Amanda…” I type. I explained to him yesterday how they are the only three girls who ever talk to me. They call me their “best friend” but we all know it’s a lie. Their mom’s are all friends with my mom so they make us hang out together. They’re nice and all, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t fit in with them. I don’t really fit in with anybody. They invite me to things on the weekends but I usually make up some excuse not to go. I sit by them at lunch and hang out with them at school, but only because I have no one else to talk to. I know they all just feel bad for me and that none of them actually like me. I heard them talking about that one time at a sleepover when they thought I was asleep. And since I have straight A’s and am pretty smart, they’re gonna make me do all the work on the project. That’s how it works every single time. I’m sick of it, but if I tell the teacher I’ll just get called a tattletale. I’ll have to deal with it like I’ve had to do for years.
“That sucks,” he replied.
“Let’s just change the subject. I know we’ve told each other a lot about ourselves, like favorite colors and such, but tell me more. What something about you that no one knows? What’s something that describes who you are?” I type hesitantly. I just feel that I need to know everything about this boy. I feel connected to him in a way that I have never felt before. And it makes me want to tell him all of my deepest secrets.
“Well...I’m adopted. And I’ve never felt very close to my family because I’m not really theirs. I’ve always felt unwanted because my biological parents never wanted me. I know it sounds crazy, but only adopted people would understand.” He answers a few minutes later.
“No way...I’m adopted too! And I’ve always felt the exact same way!” I send back. Before I know it, we exchanged stories of all of the times that we felt alone. Sure, we love our family and all. They’ve always given us everything we need, but we just don’t feel connected to them. It’s the same way that I feel about my so called “friends.”
I told him about how when I was younger I always wanted to find my biological parents. I asked my parents a thousand times. They always said that they don’t know. They said that someone just dropped me off at the adoption center one day with no note or anything. The very next day my parents adopted me. My mom decided to adopt me after having four miscarriages. She never adopted another child after me. She always said she was happy and content with just me. We both know she wishes I was actually hers though. A few years ago though, I realized I don’t want anything to do with my biological parents. They should have tried harder to keep and raise me. They left me on the doorstep and probably never looked back. I doubt they even remember me.
I wake up with my phone in my hand. I sit up and rub my eyes and unlock my phone. I find several messages from Aiden.
“I’m sure they had a very good reason why they had to give you up. They probably had no choice you should give them a chance and try to find them.” “Why are you reading the messages and not responding?” “You still up?” “You must have fallen asleep. Goodnight. Text me in the morning.”
“There’s no reason that they could give that would make me forgive them. I hate them for leaving me and nothing’s gonna change that,” I type back. “And sorry I fell asleep,” I add.
“I think you should still give them a chance. They are still your family no matter what,” he sends me.
“Have you ever tried to find your parents?” I ask him.
“SO many times. I can’t seem to trace them down no matter how hard I try,” he messages back.
“Just give up like me. There’s no point,” I tell him.
“I think there is…” he says.
“Well I gotta get to school. Text you later?” I send him. I turn my phone off and start getting dressed for school. I can’t stop thinking about what Aiden said. I mean, maybe he is right. Maybe I should give my parents a chance. But then again, they left me. And that’s unforgivable. It’s not like I’d even be able to find them if I tried. I wonder why Aiden even cares so much…
“Hey! You almost here? Can’t wait to finally meet you!” I read as I glance at my phone. I can’t help smiling as I pull into the McDonald’s parking lot. I can’t believe I’m gonna finally meet Aiden! I can’t believe he drove up all the way from Florida just for me. We’ve been talking for months and have gotten so close. He is my best friend and is always there for me.
I open my car door as I quickly toss my keys and phone into my purse. I pull open the restaurant door, a grin still flashing across my face. I look around the room. I don’t see anyone that matches the pictures Aiden sent to me. He’s probably in the bathroom or something. As soon as I sit down at a table for two in the corner, I feel a tap on my shoulder.
I turn around to find a man standing behind me. He looks to be about 40 years old and is wearing a blue shirt.
“Hi Audrey. I’m Aiden,” he says nervously. Confusion, pain, and anger all rip through my mind at the same time.
“What?” I croak as I stare at him in disbelief.
“I’m also your biological dad,” he whispers as a single tear rolls down my cheek.