Atro City

October 5, 2017
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        This isn’t how my story is supposed to go. It’s supposed to end with me being happy and content with what I have. My kryptonite shouldn’t have killed me just yet. As I look outside of my old and dirty window, I realize that the rain is perfect weather for my thoughts. My bedroom had never looked so dark and bland before. I take a sip of the burning hot chocolate looking for a sign of hope. All I see are cars and buildings. I knew Seattle was rainy and boring, but today it just seems like the world has froze, and that the clock is screaming at me for sipping my drink instead of freezing with it. I see a couple with a daughter who looks about fifteen, crossing the street. She looked like Jess and was about the same height. Heck, she even danced in the puddles like Jess used to.


     This young girl smiled and laughed with her parents and her dad chased her onto the sidewalk and she screamed of joy when he pulled her into the biggest hug. She looked so happy. She looked as though I did when I met Jess two years ago in the bloom of spring. I want her back. I want her back so bad. When she died that day, a part of me did as well. The only thing I can hear right now is her saying, “Forever and always.” Forever and always. It replays in my head every time I hear her name. She changed my life in the most wonderful way possible. I look at the clock. Five-thirty p.m. Two minutes had passed since she found a way into my head again. A flashback suddenly comes to mind and a conversation I had with her replays:


     “Lex, you aren’t stupid. You have never been stupid and you know this. Just because you have trouble comprehending things doesn’t mean you can’t do anything,” she told me.


     “Jess, I appreciate it, but I know I’m dumb so stop trying to cheer me up.”


     I shouldn’t of argued with her. God knows she was always right, and not in the bad way. I wish I had listened to her while she was still alive. When she was alive I didn’t believe her, but now that she’s dead I wish I would have just listened. We never really argued because there was nothing to argue about. Jess would listen to me and I would somewhat listen to her. I swear I had cotton in my ears two years ago. I only knew her for seven months, but it felt like I had known her for a lifetime. That lifetime ended shortly after she was the victim of a kidnapping. She was found four months afterwards beaten senseless in the woods right outside of the city. I laid by her bedside in the hospital almost every day until she was pronounced brain dead. Then, they took her off life support.


     “No. No she would never leave me. You can’t unplug her yet there has to be a chance! She’s my best friend how could you just unplug her life support. Don’t do it,” I pleaded, but they went ahead and did it anyway since I had no say in the decision.


     There were no last words or goodbyes. Just silence. From the day that bloodhound found her in the woods to the day they unplugged her. Pure silence. After she died I forgot what it felt like to be extremely good friends with someone. I certainly forgot what it felt like to have a person so close to you that you start sweating. Not because of the body heat, but because you love having them in your presence, and that if one day they weren’t there you would have lost everything. That’s why you sweat. Everything has been cold since then. Never again will I feel the constant warmth she transmitted to me.


     Here I sit, seventeen years old now, looking through this dirty window and watching the rain fall ever so slowly thinking about my deceased best friend. Before I met Jess, I really didn’t have any other best friends besides this one kid I met two years before her. His name was Bobby. He didn’t die, but I shut everyone out after the kidnapping so I wouldn’t really call him my friend anymore. Although I miss him as much as I miss Jess I don’t think he would ever really want to talk to me again after I ignored him. He was so funny and compassionate. We had many inside jokes which mostly included movie references and his Italian heritage.
     “Cheese is an Italian’s best friend. I’d die without it,” Bobby would say.


     “But you’re lactose intolerant. Wouldn’t you end up dying anyway?” I would confusingly yell as we laughed.
     It was a mistake to cut him out of my life. He had been the only guy friend I had. Usually there would be a couple bad flaws about a guy friend at that age, but he seemed perfect to me. As all of these memories swarm over me like a bunch of rain clouds I wonder whether or not he would reply to me if I sent him a text. I would do anything to see his flickering brown eyes and  Elvis looking hair again. It’s been a lonely two years without him and Jess. I don’t think he would reply though. As nice of a guy he was (and probably still is) I don’t think he would reply back after what I did. Should I or should I not? The worst he could do is ignore it. My hands hesitate to pick up the phone that I haven’t touched for a very long time.

 

     My phone had been off for over two years and now I can’t believe i’m plugging it in to turn it back on. A thousand thoughts rush into my mind. You’re going to have to see your old convos with her. You’re going to see all the photos you took. You’re going to break down. I guess it was a good thing that I haven’t been on my phone in years because it has given me time to love reading. Before Jess passed I hated reading. I couldn’t stand even looking at a book, but now they have taken over my life. As the screen’s icon pops up I anxiously sip my hot chocolate and peer out the window to try and calm myself. The only people I ever see outside of my apartment window are businessmen. When I saw the cute family it was like turning the page in a really good book.


     When I am about to whip my head around and put the phone back the screen turns on. Six p.m. Friday, November 16, 2019. I freeze. My hand just barely touching the screen’s surface. The only notifications I see are text messages from Bobby. My finger touches the cold and smooth surface of the tablet. I am shocked when I see a recent message from him. The second thing I notice is my lock screen wallpaper. A tear breaks free from my eye. It’s a picture of Jess and I, fifteen years old, at the beach hugging each other and laughing. I remember that exact day and what we did. My dad had taken my brother, Jess, and I to Birch Bay. It was one of the best days ever. I remember walking on those big rocks on the shoreline and asking her, “Are you sure we won’t get yelled at?”


     More tears slip from my eyes and then completely unexpectedly, I smile. I smiled. Something I hadn’t done since she died and now it’s back. I unlock my phone and sniffle my nose. Nine hundred and forty five messages. One hundred and thirty-seven Snapchats. One thousand and fifteen emails. I don’t know what to do. I keep looking at the message icon hoping that at least one would be Jess’s, but it’s not. The last time I got a message from her was the day before she was kidnapped. All I do is sit in confusion. Minutes have passed and I am now unlocking my phone again to go into my voicemails. There are one hundred and thirty three voicemails and most are from Bobby. I open one.


     “Hey Lex, it’s me again. How are you today? You know that kitty I’ve been talking about getting? Well I got her today! I decided to name her Jess. I hope that’s fine with you. She is a tabby cat, but she’s still so different from the others. I hope you come over one day to see her. K, bye.”


     My heart is throbbing. That was possibly the nicest thing I’ve ever heard. Two years gone by and this boy has messaged  me every day since then to check in on me. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt needed and wanted by someone. I can’t believe I hadn’t seen these earlier. He named his new kitten in memory of our beloved friend. Jess loved kittens so that obviously made me tear up. I went into my messages and started reading all of the texts he had been sending about his life and constant how are you question’s. I had never been happier than I am now.


     For the first time in two and a half years I am texting my best friend back. However, I am clueless on what to say. After the kidnapping I had to go through a lot of therapy sessions and transfer schools. So it’s not like he could have tried to talk to me in school because I wasn’t there. I push my blonde hair back from my face past the rim of my glasses and take a deep breathe. I text him basically a whole synopsis of what happened and that we should meet up. I put the phone down on my side table, pick up my hot chocolate (which is not hot anymore), look out my window again, and impatiently wait for him to reply.


The clock strikes six-thirty and my phone pings. I quickly go in to see what he replied. “OMG LEX! I’m so happy to hear from you it’s been ages!!” I’m so glad he answered me. Just an hour ago I had thought back on my story and the memories I wanted back and now I have been given a chance to start over again. After texting Bobby for a while I learned that the school had turned Jess’s old locker into a little memorial. The smile on my face grew tremendously once that news was delivered to me. Jess once told me that I was her positive, and she was sure as heck mine. Now, it’s time for me to be Bobby’s and him to be mine. Thank you, Jess. Thank you, Bobby.






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