What Did I Expect?

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The first time it happened, I was supposed to go to the Saturday Market with my dad and his girlfriend. I told him I’d go only if I could bring a friend along, so I invited Riley.

That Saturday, five minutes before my dad was supposed to pick me up, Riley calls and says that she can’t come because she feels sick. I say it’s okay and hang up.

Then I cry.

I call my dad and say that I don’t want to go anymore.

***

The second time was a few months later. I ask Riley if she’d like to come over, since we hadn’t hung out together for the past year or so. She said sure.

I was happy. But a small part of me told me not to be too excited, for she might call sick like last time. I ignored that part of me.

Two hours before she was to come over, Riley called to say she felt sick and couldn’t come, but maybe we could hang out the next day. I said sure and hung up.

I sighed and told my mom that no one was going to come today.

***

By the third time, I knew she wouldn’t come. But I let my hopes get up anyway.

When the phone rang, I didn’t want to pick it up.

I can’t come, she said.

Yeah.

I’m sorry.

It’s fine.

But from my tone I think we both knew it wasn’t fine. I hung up, and mad, I went downstairs to bang on the piano for a few minutes before going back upstairs.

***

The next day, I felt horrible. Riley had probably been genuinely sorry and I had been selfish.

If she brings it up today, I’ll tell her I’m sorry, I told myself.

But she wasn’t at school.





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