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Me Myself and I?
My eyes followed Steve as he robotically dragged his feet one in front of the other. His blank face faced in front of him but was held slightly down. He had on one of the saddest faces I’ve ever seen. My heart felt like it sank all the way down to my feet. He was sluggishly moving towards the playground, the playground that the four of us would go to during the baseball games. He gripped onto the ladder and put one foot and one hand on. Once that was set he clenched the bars hard, letting out anger, then pulled himself upward. Once at the top he nonchalantly descended onto a stair and rested his head on his hand. Why did my brother’s team have to lose their baseball game? Why couldn’t the Thunderbirds just keep winning like they had for almost a week now?
I remembered the second day I was in St Claire Shores, Michigan; Christy, Steve, and I were in the pool by the little basketball hoop that stood at the edge.
“Do you… maybe… want to play basketball… with us?” I stuttered to Steve, getting softer as I spoke.
“Yah, sure,” he responded with a sweet smile. Dan, a boy who’s 10 years old, waddled into the pool awkwardly. Since it was a new year, I didn’t know Steve or Dan.
“Can I play too?” Dan asked Steve.
“Yup,” Steve said shrugging, shooting the basketball effortlessly. My heart beat a little faster for a few seconds. I looked anxiously over to Christy who stared anxiously back at me. What if Steve talks to Dan the whole time? What if Steve gets so caught up with his conversations with Dan that he doesn’t even notice me? I mean... notice me and Christy. As Christy was paddling over to Steve to guard him, I swam faster so I got there first. He smiled at me and I smiled back; Christy waded over to Dan with an annoyed look on her face.
The day after that, the parents were planning on taking us to a Detroit Tigers Game. I met Steve, Dan, and Christy outside of the RV that a family drove up in. When we walked in, there was a table with two benches across from each other. Christy hovered by the table until Steve was seated. As she attempted to sit across from Steve, I told her to sit next to the window across from Dan. Before she could argue I plopped into the seat across from him. When we were at the game, Steve babbled to me as I ignored Christy. Guilt started to creep into me, so much so that I had a hard time concentrating on my conversation with Steve. I turned to look at Christy and started to talk to her. I eased her into the conversation with us. A smile was spread across Christy’s face almost the rest of the game. A weight felt like it had been lifted off of me. After the game, we were trotting back to the RV. There was room for four adults and my mom wanted to be one of them. I begged her not to come but she insisted. I knew how much she wanted to come, but I kept thinking about how I would probably feel like she was staring at me every second or she would somehow attempt to embarrass me. I felt tortured as she stepped onto the bus. A fire burned inside of me. I didn’t care about how if she wasn’t on the RV she wouldn’t be happy because all that mattered to me at that moment was that I would’ve been. Something good did come out of that ride though; Christy decided that she just liked Steve as a friend now. I smiled on the inside when she told me that because that left me the only other girl in our “group”.
My mind slowly moved back to the present. I looked over at Christy.
“Should I go talk to him? He looks really sad,” I asked her hesitantly.
“Yes!” she exclaimed at me as if the answer was obvious, verbally pushing me towards the playground. “Alright,” I told her slouching. As I walked over to the playground, I thought about the day our brothers’ team came to our hotel. The team stayed at a separate hotel. I felt an aching inside of me. More people at our hotel meant less room in the pool which meant less room for me and Christy. I didn’t understand why they couldn’t just stay at their own hotel. I’ve heard the stories about how bored the team was every single day, but those were their problems not mine. But when Steve started following them around, I wanted them all to leave. Once they were gone, Steve would come back to us.
Why had I made such a big deal out of that? Why did I have to waste my time with those harsh feelings when I could’ve been enjoying myself? I continued putting one foot in front of the other until I was already at the playground and it was too late to turn back. Something inside of me couldn’t let go of the tournament or Steve. Steve looked up at me as I sat down next to him but then he looked back down.
“Do you really have to leave? Me and Christy aren’t leaving until Thursday, and it won’t be the same without you,” I told him sincerely. He turned his head looking me right in my eyes. His eyes were so soft, a deep brown, and filled with melancholy.
“I really want to, but my dad hates this place and can’t wait to leave.” The look in his face showed so much pain; so much pain that someone in the best of a mood could’ve started to cry just by hearing it.
“Is there anyway your dad could change his mind and leave Thursday?” I asked him, the sympathy in my voice stood out, screaming for attention, while the greediness hid quietly in the back. “I’ll ask him one more time,” he told me. He stood up and started walking over to his parents.
When Steve came back he told us his dad won’t let them stay until Thursday. When we got back to our hotel, his dad wanted to spend some family time so Steve didn’t come out to dinner with us and the three other families we were with that night. After dinner, his dad wanted him to go to bed early because they had to wake up early the next morning. Who cares that he had to wake up early the next day? Who cares that his dad wanted to spend family time? Who cares that his dad didn’t want to stay there any longer? I wanted him to stay longer, and that’s all that mattered to me. What I wanted was “the most important thing of all.”