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Alan stared at the wall by his bed. It was a plain wall, not covered in posters like his room-mate’s was. Just a simple, clean, white wall. ‘Why am I so boring?’
Just a plain white wall, kind of like his life. Plain. Just like him. Term paper; due Monday. Final project; due Wednesday. Mom’s birthday present; due Saturday. What about Tuesday? Or Thursday, or Friday? There must be something due then. There was always something due. What about today? What was due today?
He rolled over, staring at the ceiling now. Plain. Just like the wall, kind of like his life, just like him. What did he have today? Class? No, not class. It was Sunday, one of his only free days. Work? No, he’d been given the weekend off. He still wasn’t sure why. Stan was an odd sort. Most managers were strict, Stan was… laid back. He was a goof, to be completely honest. He was a prankster. Funny, for the most part. He was an okay guy. That didn’t explain why he’d given him the weekend off.
Alan rolled again, laying on his other side, looking out at his room. It wasn’t so great. Less plain than the wall or the ceiling. His room-mates side was a mosaic of colors. Band posters, movie posters, musical posters, political posters, lost dog posters, you name it, if it was a poster, it was on his wall. No plain white there. Not even an inch was left uncovered. Even his ceiling had stuff on it. Mostly posters of hot models. The bed against the poster-wall was empty, and sloppily made. The dresser between the beds was covered in knickknacks and trinkets of varying sorts. A necklace his girlfriend two years ago gave him, a stack of Pokemon cards, (not sure where they came from) bubble-gum wrappers, some with gum still in them, socks, calculator, was that an owl pellet? Or just a ball of fuzz? Probably fuzz. Though it did resemble something an owl would cough up. Advanced Bio II test; that’s what was on Tuesday. Some clothes lay on the floor. Landry day Thursday. How could he forget? The bedside table held a lamp and digital clock, along with more random items. The clock read 9:44. Late, for him.
He sat up and looked around again, this time taking note of how much sunlight was pouring in through the windows. He’d thought Chad had left the light on again. Sunlight. That was rare this time of year. Usually it was raining, or at least cloudy. Sun was good. Sun was… bright. He noticed for the first time how white his skin was. He should go out today. Maybe work in the park. Maybe not. It rained yesterday, and the day before that. Things would be wet. Wet papers were far from acceptable.
~In a crooked little town, they were lost and never found. Falling leaves, falling leaves, falling leaves on the ground.~
He reached for his cell phone as it rang, knocking several things off the night stand as he grabbed it and flipped it open. “Hello?”
“Happy birthday Alan!” Tasha, his best friend since freshmen year, half sang on the other end. “You can now legally drink! Don’t you feel special?”
Oh yeah… that was it.
“Uh, sure…” Alan replied, rubbing his forehead. What kind of person forgets their own birthday?
“You don’t sound excited. What’s wrong with you?” Tasha asked. “You’re twenty-one! You can go to a bar and get drunk without a fake ID!”
“Yeah, when I get some free time, I’ll do that.”
“You’re free today aren’t you? Stan gave you the weekend off.” Did he tell her he was off? Must have. “But the drinking will have to wait. I have a surprise for you!”
“What kind of surprise?”
“Not telling,” she was almost singing again. “That would ruin it now wouldn’t it?”
“Get dressed, meet me at Mr. Slushy’s.” The usual meeting spot. “Don’t take forever! We don’t get days like this often.”
Ten minutes later he was turning into Mr. Slushy’s. Tasha smiled brightly at him, waving as he pulled up and parked beside her. She was wearing a swimsuit under her bright green tank top and cut-off jean shorts. Odd. It was getting a little cold for swimming.
“Put this on,” she told him when he got out. A pair of red swim shorts landed in his hands.
“Why? What are we doing?”
“You’ll see, just put them on.”
Four minutes later he stepped back out of his car with the shorts on.
“Very. Now give me your keys.” Tasha held out her hand.
“Because I’m driving.”
“Not my car, you’re not.”
“Oh don’t be such a baby.”
“Yeah, old enough to share. Keys.”
“In the ignition.”
She walked around him and got in the drivers seat. He got in the passenger’s side, holding onto the handle provided for such occasions.
Half an hour on the road brought them to the Lake.
“What are we doing here?” Alan asked, starting to get a bad feeling from the direction they were going.
“You’ll see,” was all she said.
She parked and they got out. Tasha stripped off her shirt and shorts, leaving them on top of her shoes on the ground. Alan watched her but did not follow suit. He had a good idea of why they were here and there was no way he was doing it.
“Take off your shoes,” she instructed. “You can leave your shirt on if you like but I’d rather you not. It’s not every day I get to see your gorgeous body.”
Haha, very funny.
“No way. Not in a million years.”
“Come on! You need some excitement.”
“I just turned twenty-one! I don’t want to die just yet!”
“It’s perfectly safe,” Tasha assured him. “My sister does it all the time with her boyfriend.”
Of course. Crissy was a daredevil. She’d done everything from rock climbing to sky diving. This was normal for her. Not for him.
“You’re sister’s a maniac,” Alan informed her.
“Well, yeah, but that’s besides the point. You have to do something crazy for your twenty-first birthday.”
“Most kids get drunk and spend the whole next day regretting it.”
“Well you’re not most kids now are you?” Yes he was. “Besides you have a paper due tomorrow.”
“So I should be home working on that paper,” he tried. “You’re going to make me fail.”
“Please,” Tasha rolled her eyes. “You’ve had that done for days. You’ll go over it when we get back and get a good grade on it.”
“I have other things to do too you know.”
“No you don’t. You’re doing this.”
“Not a chance. No way in hell am I jumping.”
“Come on, you’re being a baby again.”
Alan looked over the lake then back at his friend. Slowly he took his shoes off, followed by his shirt. Wow. He was really white.
“Good boy,” Tasha smiled brilliantly. “We’ll work on a tan later. First things first.”
She grabbed his hand and half dragged him to the edge. There was a breeze blowing up at them, pulling at their hair. Alan took a deep breath. ‘Don’t look down.’ His heart pounded against his ribs.
“One…” Tasha counted.
He closed his eyes.
His hand squeezed hers tightly as he braced himself for what they were about to do.
The whoosh of wind. Adrenaline rush. Heart pounding in ears. Free falling.
Alan gasped as his head broke the surface. His heart was still pounding in his ears. What a rush. Tasha’s head popped up a second after his. She gasped and laughed, shaking water and hair out of her face. He couldn’t help but join in. He’d just jumped of a cliff and survived.
“Wow.” he breathed, once he could speak. “Let’s do that again.”