California Oranges

She sticks out her pink tongue at me and then giggles to herself with her hand placed on her lips and her shoulders hunched. Teehee. Nothing is really funny though. But Leah gets to laugh like that ‘cause she is her and everyone knows it. If I did the same thing all my friends would think I’d gone crazy and was trying to act all cute like one of those girls that act cute just for those damn boys. Those damn sophomore girls. Anyways, Leah is not like them.

Sitting in the locker room is not fun, I dunno why all these kids think it’s cool and sit there for hours trying to look like they’re important or something. But it just so happened I was sitting there, on one of those picnic tables.

Do you wanna play Ninja?

I didn’t know what Ninja was and I don't like playing games that I’m unfamiliar with ‘cause I almost always lose but she tugged on my arm with both her arms and with her full force (which is not that much) with a leg pushing against the bench and everything so then of course I had to play.

Okay, one kung fu chop, two kung fu chop, three!

She swung her arms wildly, she’s like a 4 year-old kid, you know, everything is fun for her, doesn’t worry about anything. Anyways, I won the game though, so that was good.

She’s from California and she had that kind of personality to prove it. Not those b****y girls though, those damn social climbers. For her, everyday was a sunny, warm summer day; bouncing all over the place, always something to say that made people laugh, always someone to ask a piggyback ride for. I was usually the one to run through the cafeteria with Leah on my back while she shrieked and giggled like she was having the time of her life. I admit I had some fun too.

At lunch, I’d peel oranges for her ‘cause her clumsy fingers couldn’t find the right niche to rip the juicy fruit open. California oranges for a California girl. And if she tried, she’d get sour spurts in her eye and she’d make a whining sound and start crying like one big fat baby, rubbing her eyes and waiting for the other kids sitting at the table to play along with her baby act. Helpless.

Sometimes when I'm carrying her I feel like flinging her off my damn back and telling her Dammit! Why won’t you walk like a normal person! I’m not your babysitter! You’re not five! Why do you have to act like a damn baby all the time?! You're a junior in high school! But, I don’t ‘cause that what crazy people do and I’m in no way a crazy person. At least I don’t think so. But anyways, if Sarah had a nervous breakdown, everyone would be okay with it. They’d just say, aww feel better! Attention w****.

And then one day her mother called all the way from the States. She told Leah’s aunt to tell Leah that her parents were getting a divorce. Leah didn’t live with her parents. They didn't like her. They’d sent her away to get a, whatever they call it, better education.

After that, she came to school all quiet and she stopped smiling. Her once honey-eyed morning HI! ’s were now just a grunt of a greeting in my general direction. She didn’t even ask for piggyback rides anymore and she didn’t cry like a damn baby.
No whining.
No crying.
No sheepishly giggling after snatching one of my Kit Kats.
No sneaking up behind me in the locker room to have me chase her through the waves of people.
No no no.
No nothing.
I stopped by after class to carry her book bag like I always did but she’d gone without me. I still offered to peel her oranges though. She looked away and said no.
I found out: she could peel oranges without me.





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