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Guardian Angel Goodbye
The light of the morning gradually weaved its way through the window of the crowded classroom, making the room appear much more cheerful and happy than it actually was. I wasn’t one to be a complete pessimistic freak, but on that day, nothing at all could make me escape from the dire, dreary mindset I was currently in.
It was all over. This is going to sound like a completely typical, unfortunate yet insignificant teenage love situation, but it really isn’t.
“So, how are you holding up?” I looked to my right and saw the same expression I’d been faced with for over a week; one resembling loads of the pity and sympathy that I had absolutely no desire for.
“Why would I have trouble ‘holding up’?” I asked, trying to camouflage the intense irritation I felt by faking a wide smile.
“Oh,” the girl muttered, blatantly puzzled, “I just thought--“
“Well, I guess you’re just a little confused this morning, I’m sure it’ll pass soon. Happens to me all the time.”
I sighed, willing my eyes not to do what they’d been doing practically every second for the past few days—“collecting excessive moisture”. Bad news always sucks, but this was different than the typical “Oh, your gerbil died” story. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against gerbils, but the news I had recently been faced with was absolutely life-altering and devastating, not even going to try to sugarcoat it.
After beginning the assignment, the door knocked, and of course the guy handing my teacher the note was him. The one the news was about and the one that was causing the immense bad feeling in my stomach.
“Thank you,” I heard the teacher say, but I was more focused on Eli. I could tell he was completely avoiding me, and everyone in the room could probably feel the tenseness radiating off the two of us.
“No problem,” His voice filled my ears, and I, as lame as it was, felt my eyes water.
I looked down quickly, pretending I was intently focused on the fabric covering my thighs.
“Hey,” I heard a taunting voice whisper, “She’s crying.”
Multiple whispers then continued to fill the room, and I was once again filled with extreme embarrassment, but even more important, the weight that I was carrying on my shoulders seemed to gain an extra fifty pounds, just by seeing the look Eli gave me.
His eyes looked watery, but he never cried. He looked like he wanted to say something, but his lips remained closed.
The whispers stopped, and I couldn’t tear my eyes away. He turned on his heel and left the room, finally allowing me to breathe.
“So, what if he never comes back?” Jasmine, the girl that always chose to sit next to me for some reason apparently didn’t know how to shut her mouth about people’s private problems.
“It’s the air force, not a concentration camp, Jasmine. Thanks for your concern, honey.” I hated being so sarcastic and rude, because it was completely unlike the way I normally acted, but she had it coming. That just wasn’t something to say to someone, right?
Graduation was on Friday, but instead of being excited and carefree like the rest of the senior class, I was worried and heartbroken. Graduation would be one of the last times I would see Eli for at least a little while, and once he went through boot camp and training, I could lose him forever to an accident in whatever foreign country they assigned him to. I knew I was being immature and selfish, because if Eli wanted to be in the air force, he had every right to be in the air force, and I was basically just wasting away the days we had left together.
The bell rang, and I left the math classroom, trying to head quickly to my next class. I was tired of everyone in my small high school giving me “the look”. Most of their eyes were crinkled up in pity, but some gave me that whole “suck it up, you’re pathetic” look.
I’d been trying to take a different path to French since the whole Eli thing, mostly because we usually crossed paths. It was hard, seeing him and knowing he’d be gone in only a week or so.
The bulk of my black messenger bag kept hitting itself against my right calf, but I was too intent on getting to the classroom my French class “safely” to really notice. I passed familiar faces, trying to ignore the pity spread across their features.
I felt pathetic, like a little puppy whose mom just got hit by a car or something. There was no reason I should have been acting the way I was, it was absolutely ridiculous.
And of course there was no way I could maneuver around the school without passing by Eli, which would have explained why I could see the top of his dark brown waves through the crowd of people passing by.
I tried not to look, but it was sort of impossible. I missed his green eyes and the sweet smile he always gave me. This time, though, the lines around his eyes proved how exhausted he was. Sad, too. Here he was, about to go off to train to be in the military, and his girlfriend was abandoning him. What kind of person was I?
He didn’t look at me, still, and I felt my eyes water up. Every time. Half a second later, I realized he had already passed me, and I turned around to see the back of his head continue to travel through the hall. He didn’t even look back.
“Bonjour, Rosalyn,” I heard Madame Laurel say in her ever joyful tone, “Ça va?”
“Pas bon,” I answered.
She looked at me in the same way my classmates had been since the beginning of the week. Only in my school would even my French teacher know what was going on in my personal life.
She began teaching, but my mind wasn’t in the mood to waste its energy on verb conjugations or new vocabulary. The bell rang in what seemed like a few thousand hours, but I still wasn’t ready to take on what had become the biggest obstacle of the day—lunch.
I used to sit with Eli, obviously, along with some of his friends and some of mine. But since Monday we’d both began sitting on our own.
I decided to try to eat on one of the benches in the courtyard, and taking out my lunchbag and English book, I began to do just that.
A few moments later, I saw a head of short auburn hair start walking towards my bench in my peripheral vision.
“So,” I heard him begin to say, “Since you and Fulton aren’t really together anymore, why don’t I try my hand at things?” He finished by plopping down on the bench next to me, where he was completely uninvited.
“Ew, no.” I said, my tone of voice making it completely clear I was serious.
“Why not, baby? Come on. You, me, my place. Saturday after graduation?” His hand had “somehow” crawled its way onto my knee.
I looked at him in disgust, not without seeing Eli standing a few feeat away from us. I expected him to look hurt or something, but his eyes were full of fury. He wasn’t even the type of person to really ever get mad at anyone.
“Didn’t you hear me? I said I didn’t want to, remember?”
“Oh, but you do. You know you love me, babe. Just say yes.”
As soon as the guy finished talking in his sickly sweet drawl, I saw Eli start towards us. I was expecting him to tell me I was free to do whatever I wanted or something of that nature, but what came out of his mouth surprised me, to say the least.
“Dude,” he started, “I see you’re basically asking out my girlfriend right in front of me. How stupid are you, really?” His voice seemed fairly calm, but the fire in his eyes seemed to say otherwise.
“Well, she’s not really yours anymore, hate to break the news to you.”
“Whatever. I’m just gonna go. I’ll just wait until you’re gone.”
He left, leaving me and Eli only a few inches from each other, and he was actually looking at me.
“Thanks,” I said, afraid he was going to bolt off and leave.
My eyes started to tear up a little bit, but I bit my lip to keep myself from crying hysterically.
“Hey,” he said, his voice a thousand times gentler than it was just a few seconds earlier, “Don’t—don’t cry.”
He sat next to me, shifting his whole body towards mine.
“I’m just,” I started, not knowing how to put what I was thinking into words, “I’m really sorry, Eli. I know you can make decisions on your own, and you have every right to do whatever you want in your life, and—“
And then it happened—that movie moment where the girl is talking and rambling on and on and the guy cuts her off by one of those wonderful movie kisses.
“Oh,” I heard my pathetic voice say.
“You know I still love you, Rose. Always.”
“I love you, too. I just wish I wouldn’t have wasted the past week. Now you’re going to be gone in a few days, and it’s just...I screwed up.”
“I know we’ll miss each other, but I’ll still be able to talk to you. I’ll write to you once I’m out of boot camp, and email you. We’ll stay together. And we can be like each other’s guardian angels.”
I giggled, recalling the conversation we’d had about guardian angels a few months earlier.
“Yeah, of course.”
“And we still have a few days left. Graduation, that’ll be exciting.”
“And we can still hang out every second we’re not in school, starting tonight. We can watch Beauty and the Beast and Bambi and all of those movies we love.”
I laughed, kissing him on the cheek, “Sounds like a plan.”