Finally the bell rang and the weekend is finally here. It's only May but it feels like it's July. I’m supposed to meet my friends right outside the front entrance of the school. They are all walking to town and they probably want me to come for the millionth time. I keep saying no because my mom would probably want me to tell her beforehand, and would say no. She always has plans for me when I get home and have to tell her like a couple days ahead of time if I really wanted to do something.
I’m so excited it's a friday and hurry to my locker. I already feel hot inside the school and know how heated the bus will be. I’m dreading the bus ride. It's usually hot and boring considering all my friends usually walk home. To make it worse I’m one of the last people to get off my bus so the ride is like half an hour long. The thought of the long hot bus ride slows down my walk to my locker. I suddenly wish I was home right now or could somehow skip the bus ride.
Then someone jolts me out of my depressing thoughts, “Jeanette!” my friend Mandy calls. I look ahead of the crowd and see her standing by my locker impatiently. I smile at her, wave and weave my way through the crowd until I’m standing right next to her. “You look awful,” she says with a smirk.
“Thanks,” I say while rolling my eyes. We have always been close since 5th grade when she first came on my bus. We first met when she had to sit next to me on the bus because there was no room anywhere else. We started talking then and have been close ever since. “Well, are you excited for the weekend?” Mandy says.
“Um of course, who wouldn't be excited,” I sarcastically say and smile.
“Good because you really need to hurry, we need to meet everyone outside.”
“Everyone” consisted of my friends Emma, Lizzy, and Eliza. They were all my friends on my bus. And every day we all waited at the front entrance of the school to walk to the bus. Then when my friends wanted to walk home, they usually got off the first bus stop that was closest to town. That's when I was left alone because I never wanted to walk. I start picking up my books and stuffing them in my backpack hurriedly. I wish I didn’t wear this long sleeve shirt. I already feel sweat forming on my back. The school has no air conditioning for some weird reason. The teachers say that the schools system is just messed up but personally, I think they want us to talk less. They always say that dum line “The more you talk the more it's going to get hotter!”.
After I pack up my backpack for the weekend, Mandy pulls me through the hallway to the front entrance. “Come on they're not going to wait forever you slow poke,” she says. I pick up my pace and head straight for the entrance. I can see my friends waiting by the bench we always wait at. They all are on their phones talking excitedly about something. Oh boy, they are probably talking about going to town today which means they are going to leave me on the bus. Usually if they don’t plan it beforehand I can convince them to stay on the bus with me. This case however they are going to town and probably have their whole day set up for what they're going to do after school.
As soon as We exit the school their is a nice cool breeze that whips through My sweaty shirt and hair. I am suddenly relieved of the heat from the school and love the weather. I hear the birds singing and the faint warmth of the sun against my face. Wow I really feel the summer season, I can even taste it. I look over where my friends are and can see the dandelions that came in nicely on the beautiful cut and groomed green grass. Today is really a beautiful day.
“Hey guys!” Emma chirps, “We were just talking about after school and stuff, and we all want to go to town,” I knew it was coming and Emma knew it too. She avoided making eye contact at me because she knows how much I hate it when they walk. Sometimes I force Emma to stay with me on the bus when everyone walks. She knows that I hate the bus ride and feels bad.
“Yes we are in!” Mandy says and then nudges me, “Right Jeanette?”
“What no, I can’t Mandy,” I reply, “Sorry guys.”
“Jeanette you always say no, just walk this once,” she says pleadingly. I look down, it's hard to reject her while looking at her in the eyes.
“I’m sorry but I have to stick to the bus.”I reply quietly.
“Jeanette you're going to be fine! I will walk you home to, you’ll love town it's so much fun!” She knows that walking me home is a big relief especially because I am horrible with directions. One time I almost caved in when I asked her to walk me home and she said yes. Knowing that I can get home safely is a big relief and makes me feel easier about it.
“We should get on the bus,” Is the only thing I say in return.
We all start walking back to the bus. They are all talking about all the things they will do and probably trying to convince me in doing so. I do have to admit that It is a really pleasing offer. So much better than the scorching hot, boring as heck bus ride. Going to town really does sound fun. They keep talking about what they might do and all the nice restaurants. I peak my ears up but keep my face aloof. I can see that they are watching me at the corner of their eyes. If I do seem like I might want to go, they will all be in a frenzy. Trying to give me their best reasons and how fun it is. I know because I have been down that road before. Now they all seem hesitant knowing how I have declined so many times.
When we get on the bus a big wave of heat and BO hits me hard. I wish we could air this bus out real bad, but our bus driver only lets us open four windows. Don’t ask me why. We all sit in our regular seats. It was the two rows that was right about in the middle. We were in the so called border line for the eighth graders. They claimed the whole back. They even had these two kids sit on the row where no younger kids were supposed to pass, to guard their territory. Meaning that all the seventh graders and sixth graders had to squeeze in together.
“Oh boy, Jeanette do you really want to stay on this bus on such a nice day,” Elisa said emphasizing the word bus like if that was the right word to call it.
I smiled and rolled my eyes, “Yes Elisa, I do want to stay. And it really isn’t that bad not like you would know considering you're never on the bus,”
“Hey-”Elisa was about to defend herself when Lizzy cut her off.
“Jeanette the reason we are never on the bus is because walking is so much better. You really should come with us,” Lizzy was smart and always had something smart to say.
“But you know that my mom will be worried about me,” I say.
“What if we hurry our walk and then make it back to your house right on time. Since you're the last one to get off the bus anyway you would return home around the same time.”
The thought of never telling my mom never occurred to me. It really would be the exact same thing If I returned home on time. It would be just like If I was on the bus except I don’t have to go through the torture of actually being on it. My face brightened with hope. The first bus stop was coming up soon. Then all my friends would either leave me or I could go with them.
“You could really get me home on time?” I ask excitedly.
“If we walk fast then definitely,” Mandy smiled with all her teeth. Having Mandy be super happy makes me super happy.
“Then I guess I’ll go,” My friends were all talking at once in excitement.
“Oh Jeanette you're going to love it!”
“We will show you around to all the good stores not like youve never been in town before but you know!”
“Ya and there such a nice breeze!”
I smiled at them and gave in to being super excited. It was nice to see everyone happy for me and what I was doing. It made me feel less worried and like I was making the right decision.
“Yes, yes, yes we will go see some stores but I'm timing us because we are going to leave precisely ten minutes before I would normally be home, got it?”
“You can count on us, don’t worry,” Eliza said and everyone nodded in agreement like there was absolutely nothing to worried about.
“We have more time than you think Jeanette, your house is really close to town,” Mandy gave me an encouraging smile and put a hand on my shoulder. A wave of relief came over me and I felt much more relaxed. I love my friends. And everything will be okay because I have them.
Before I knew it was time to get off the bus. The stop had come. I anxiously got up and grabbed my backpack. The second I stepped out of the bus I felt the golden summery feeling that just rang in the air. It smelt so good in fact everything feels better after being on that bus. I practically yelped I was so jittery and felt so free. I looked at my friends and it looked like they all knew exactly what I was thinking. They laughed and Mandy put her arm in mine and we all walked joyously to town.
“Okay someone check the time!” I said.
“Its precisely 2:33 o clock,” Lizzy replied putting away her phone. Great that gives me exactly half an hour.
“Okay well then, we have till 3:00 to get home,” I responded
“ In that case, do we know what and where we are going?” Mandy looked at the group.
“Well I want food so let's go some place with that,” Emma said then starts to rub her belly and gives her best smolder.
“I second the notion,” I find myself saying. I’m not even that hungry I’m just excited and feel like a crazy different person.
“Good then we will go somewhere with food. Have any places in mind?”Mandy said again questioning the group.
“Well I want candy, or something that's sweet and snacky,” I say. I don’t want to get something big when I’m not even hungry.
“Well why didn’t you just say that in the first place darlin?” Mandy said in an accent and a friendly pat on the back.I look at her questionly.
“Ahhhh yes thats a good place!”Lizzie chimes in.
“Oh ya that really is what I'm craving,” Emma's says still rubbing her belly looking off into the distance like she's picturing it.
Glad that everyone agreed I smile to myself. We continued on our journey half skipping half walking. When we rounded the corner onto another neighborhood we saw Tyler and Nick. They also were on our bus but we didn’t see them get off. They were ten houses down and probably couldn’t hear us. We all automatically looked at each other.
“Hey guys!” Mandy yelled.
They turned around and then did a second look. Then they stopped and smiled and waved at us.
“Didn’t know you guys were going to town,” They yelled back as were catching up to them.
“Ya well we didn’t see you guys on the bus. Where were you?” I asked.
“Nick found another path right from the school that led to town just as fast,” Tyler said with a side smile.
“Yeah we're gonna go to the candy store and buying everything they got. That place is a gold mine,” Nick was flicking a quarter up and down with his thumb.
“Haha! You bring enough money to buy everything they got?” Lizzy laughed.
“Ya we planned this and everything. I brought a 20 and Nick brought like 40 dollars!” Tyler and Nick laughed.
“Wow you're really going to use that all for candy?” I asked surprised.
“Ya its pretty expensive there, if you want to get anything good,” Tyler said explaining all the costs and good things to get there.
“Yikes guys, I only brought like two dollars!” Eliza said. That's when I remembered that I didn’t bring anything! I hadn’t planned on this whole trip and I don’t normally bring money to school. I look at Mandy expectedly. She looks in her backpack raises her eyebrows apologetically.
“Sorry I can't help, only got 25 cents,” Mandy says.
“And I only have one dollar,” Emma whimpers.
“Don’t look at me I didn't bring anything,” Lizzy says with her hands up like the police are here and she's under arrest. They all look at me, even Tyler and Nick. I just shake my head with a frown.
“Well great, that's just great!” Mandy yells angrily. Nick and Tyler laugh and then get hit by Mandy and laugh even more.
“I guess that means we can’t buy anything,” Eliza says looking all of us to finish what she's trying to say.
“So we can’t go to the candy store,” I say charming in with Eliza, “But it’s fine I should be getting back anyways.”
Everyone nods their heads sadly. And I also can’t help feeling disappointed to. Then, when everyone starts walking home Mandy whispers in my ear, “Hey let's head back to my house really quick and get some money and then just the two of us can go,” A spark of excitement went through my body. As the idea registered the more it sounded possible. It was a good Idea if we hurried. I decide to do something rapid and just go for it. I guess it's that kinda friday, and it's not the first decision I’ve made like that today. I smile and nod. Then we start running to her house past everyone.
“Hey where are you guys going!?” Emma yelled.
“Nowhere!” I yelled back and me and Mandy both giggled with excitement. We decided that the best way for just the two of us to go is not to tell them anything. So then they won't ever ask to come with us and we won’t ever have to say no. Then they started running after us. Mandy turned around and started running backwards. She put her hands in front of her telling them to stop. But they just laughed and started running faster.
“Guys stop we aren't going anywhere,” I started running backward trying ward them off. They just kept running faster. Mandy and I turned around and started running harder also laughing.
Eventually we stopped of exhaustion and waited for them to catch up with us. When they did they tackled us and started laughing and yelling, “where were you guys going?” and “What was that about?”. Mandy and I just sat there out of breath and looked at each other. Mandy just shook her head and rolled her eyes giving up.
“We were going to my house and getting money, that's all,” Mandy said annoyed.
“Oh we thought you to actually did have money on you but didn’t want to share,” Eliza said. We all stood there registering everything. I couldn’t help but wonder if this meant they didn’t want to come.
“So what are you guys going to do?” Mandy asked. I could tell we were thinking the same thing.
“Well I am tired of walking and broke so I’m just going home,” Lizzy said.
“Same, Eliza and Emma said in sync.
“Oh well good, very good go about your business,” Mandy said smiling. I felt the same relief and smiled to.
“Bye guys!” Emma said as she linked arms with Eliza and Lizzy. The three walked away talking and laughing about something.
Mandy got up and smirked. Laughing and raising my hands for her to help me up. Then we started jogging back to her house slowly.
On our way back to her house Mandy got tired and needed a break. I didn’t complain when she asked. Carrying backpacks and being in a long sleeve shirt while running through neighborhoods was not only humiliating but exhausting. After we sat for a little bit we started up again and then needed another break. I suddenly realized we should be checking the time.
“Mandy what time is it?” I yelled suddenly. It shocked Mandy who was still sucking in hard deep breaths. She shrugged and struggled to say for me to check it myself. I took off my backpack quickly and realized what a burden it was. I suddenly felt free and light as a feather. I think there are going to be bruises on my shoulders tomorrow from the straps on my backpacks. I rotate my shoulders in circles than roll my head around to stretch my neck. Then I unzip my backpack and pull out my phone. I turn it on to see the time. Its 2:50 and fear travels through me.
“Mandy I have to go home!” I shout and jump up.
“What time is it?” She asks looking just as scared as I am.
“It 2:50!” I yell. We have to go home now! I have no idea how far away my house is from here but I better be safe than sorry.
“Relax Jeanette. We still have time! We just have to hurry that's all,” Says as she also gets up to stands next to me.
“No we have to go home now! Maybe we can go to the Candy shop tomorrow, but now we have to go ho-”
“Jeanette we have time! We are going to that shop! We did not just run all of that for nothing!” She is yelling to, “My house is like 3 minutes away and then it takes like 5 minutes to go to town and at the shop. You know how small this town is, we will be fine! It takes like two seconds to go to one place to another.” I stand there thinking if she's right. I wish I knew where we were so I could be just as calm as her. Although I do know how small this town is so maybe she's right.
“Fine but we have to hurry!” I say determinedly.She nods and we start running again. I will not run all this way not to get any candy. I run faster.
Then after a while when we are still running I can’t help but need a break.
“Mandy where in the world is your house?” I say frustrated and tired.
“It’s little ways from the town but we should be there any secon. Just a few more turns or something.” Many says breathlessly. I roll my eyes and start running again.
Then what seems like for ever she finally gestures for me to stop and we turn to her house. It was brown with stone and big. We hurried to the house and then suddenly she hesitated at the door. I was about to push her aside and get the money myself when she spoke up.
“No one is home.” She said. And all I thought was good now move it. “My mom never lets me bring anyone home without asking. If she ever did finds out I did this who knows what she would do.” Her hand is still on the doorknob. I realize that she's scared and that makes me nervous. I suddenly wish I had never left that bus. Then I realize how much I had to go through to get here and just want to grab that money and be at the store already.
“Can we go inside or do you want me to stay outside and wait,” I ask trying to get somewhere knowing we are already running out of time.
She nervously laughs, “Oh yea, I mean no come inside it's fine,” She opens the door and we enter a hallway with stairs at the end of the hallway. We entered a side door near the back porch. We run up the stairs to a huge open room. It’s a living room type of place and there is a mini fridge and stuff in the corner and some couches and a tv filling the rest of the room. She says it's her play space and crouches down by one of the couches. I do the same wondering what we are exactly doing and hoping we can get out of here as quick as possible.
She pulled the bottom cloth of the couch up and pulled out a piggy bank the size of a gallon of water. It was just as heavy to when she gave it to me to hold while she got up and grabbed a pencil. She told me to turn upside down. I struggled to do it but when I did I found a plastic circle at the bottom of it. She took the pencil and wedged it at the corner of the plastic circle popping it off. Then she told me to turn it the other way again. Tons of coins went all over the place. I mean hundreds of coins. It was a mess.
“MANDY!” I gasped out and laughed.
“HAHAH! We will have more than enough!” She smirked. We got on our knees and started counting. We both got ourselves 20 dollars out of coins and decided to put the rest of it away. We were piling it in the bank laughing at how much there was. We started pouring it on ourselves and pretending we were super rich. She started throwing it at me and I threw some coins back. It was then that we heard the garage opening.
“Oh my word!?” Mandy froze half way through throwing a handful of coins at me. I am suddenly frozen with fear. Its her mom.
“What should we do?” I ask in a pleading whisper.
“You have to get out. Now!” She said while piling the coins back in her piggy bank as fast as possible. “Grab your backpack and run out the back door!” nodding without knowing where the back door was I ran down the stairs. I think my heart was gonna beat out of my chest. I can’t believe this is actually happening. Shakily I grabbed my backpack and started towards where I’m guessing her back door would be. I run through her living room and saw the kitchen with the porch behind it. It was a glass slide door. I went for it but it was locked! I quickly unlocked the door as fast as possible. It finally opened and jumped onto the porch and closed the door behind me tightly. I ran off the porch and suddenly realized that I had no idea where to go. I stumbled to their backyard and then spun around in a circle not knowing what direction to go in. The realization suddenly hit me hard, I can’t get home without Mandy.
I walk into their driveway sweating and all my nerves on edge.I look at a window not knowing what to do. I need Mandy. I feel so lost and scared. Then I see it, the thing I was looking for all along. The outline of Mandy's mother staring at me through the window. Then I see Mandy's outline pop up to. It looks like they are in a fight and I see her mother point to me. I look away quickly with my heart pounding. I stand there for a minute or two before the door opens up and I see Mandy. She still looks scared which makes me feel even more anxious.
“Mandy I need you to take me home, I would have left but I can’t go by myself I don’t know where to go,” I try to explain.
“I can’t take you home I’ll explain tomorrow, you need to go by yourself,” she says apologetically.
“Mandy I can’t! I have no idea where to go! And I need to get home now!” I say suddenly super nervous.
“Let me just show you from here,” Mandy says pointing down her neighborhood, “You are going to take a right at the end of this road, and then your gonna keep going straight until you see the playground sign, It’s big you won’t miss it-”
“Mandy stop I can’t do it, just ask your mom,” I say quietly, “What happened anyways?” I say nodding to the window where I still see her moms outline.
She looks down and says, “ I told her we were walking home and you needed to go to the bathroom, so I knew my house was on the way to your house so you stopped in and went. Then you were going to walk home the rest of the way by yourself,” I want to protest right there but then she says, “But I don’t think she's buying it,” I stop cold and then ask her why.
She says, “She looked in the bathroom and said it hasn't been used. I told her you went in the bathroom you were just clean, and didn’t make a mess or something,” She looks anxious, “I don’t really know what my mom's thinking but she's definitely not sure about my story,” I nod in understanding. All I need right now is for her to walk me home. That's all I want. Just to get home.
“Well just simply tell her that I don’t know how to get home from here and need you to guide me home. Tell her that we will be really quick ok?” I ask pleadingly. At that moment her mom opens the door.
“Mandy what are you doing?” She looks frustrated and confused. She isn’t exactly how I pictured her. All the other times me and Mandy have hung out I have never been to her house or have seen her parents. Well at least her mom, her dad lives in Texas.
“Jeanette doesn’t know how to get home so I was trying to give her directions,” Mandy replies. Her mom looks at me, and then gives me a sad smile. Which surprises me because I thought she was going to be mad at me rather then feeling bad for me.
“Oh I see, sorry about that dear, maybe Mandy can walk you home?” she looks at Mandy. Mandy looks up at her and smiles. She nods and says, “Ya I think that's a great Idea!” She looks at me with a grin, “What do you say Jeanette,” I swallow with relief and give out a sigh. I nod my head and smile to.
“Oh dear! Well don’t the both of you look exhausted. And probably hungry to,” Her mother says looking back and forth between the both of us, like she was just seeing us. Although I need to get home right now I like where her offer is leading to. So I smile a exhausted smile and nod at her.
“Wait, I have an Idea,” Her mom said with a smile, “Why don’t you stay here and hangout now that you're here. Then you guys can get rested and get some food.”
“Really?” Mandy said excitedly.
“Well why don't you find out by asking your friend,” Her mom said nodding to me.
“Oh no it's ok, I have to be going anyway. Do you know what time it is,” I say looking for my phone. Mandy grabs my arm.
“Please Jeanette! You have never been to my house. Then we can hangout and get something good to eat.” She gives me a knowing stare meaning, ‘food better than candy’.
“It really won’t be any trouble. And then afterwards Mandy can walk you home,” Her mom said.
“It's so kind of you but my family is expecting me,” I say.
“Oh come on Jeanette! Just text your parents that you’ll be at my house. Don’t you want to see my house. We can do whatever we want. It’ll be so fun!” Madys is pulling me towards her house. “When else are we gonna get a chance as beautiful as this?”
“Mandy what time is it?” I say knocking her off of me.
“Its 3:17,” Her mom says while opening the door. Oh no I’m already late. They probably are already worried. Hopefully no one has noticed yet. Since I have so many siblings, maybe they haven’t even noticed I’m not there. I’m usually in my room when I do go home.
“Jeanette you're already late and you probably need an explanation. So just say you're at my house. I promise it will be fine,” Mandy says.
“Yeah, if you want I can call them for you and tell them you're here and safe,” Her mom says.
“Oh no, oh no it's fine really. If anything I’ll just text my dad,” I say getting my phone out. Then realize what I’m doing and think about it. Am I really going to stay at Mandy's on top of all the things I have done today. I might not be sure of about a lot right now, but I do know that today has been one heck of a day. Then a thought hits me. Today has been a crazy day. A day where I just did everything my gut said to. I just did stuff. Didn’t think twice. take a chance to do something fun and here I am, being offered to stay at Mandys. On top of all that I’m perfectly safe and fine. This overwhelming peace comes over me like I can do whatever I want. I smile at them both and pull out my phone from my backpack.
“Well, I mean as long as you have food, maybe I’ll stay,” I say to Mandy. She laughs and hugs me. Then pulls me inside explaining all the things we can do. Tells me how cool her basement is and so on. Before I forget, quickly texting my dad telling him where I am. Then relieved and excited and a little of a new feeling I have never felt before. It’s not exactly nervous or anxious but a good nervous and anxious. I guess you could say daring. Even if it is over something small as staying at my friends house after school. It’s better than what I have been doing before this. At least I am making memories.
We end up only snacking on pretzels and goldfish. Then she gives me an official tour of her house. You know without running around trying to get out of the house as fast as possible without ever being in the house. Her house was really nice but exotic. I guess I always feel that way when walking into a new house. It's really big and each room as a new theme with a new color. Her first living room on the first floor is all brown with big brown couches and a big brown tv stand. It's fancy yet cozy at the same time. After a tour of the house we head down into the basement. Its filled with all types of cool and wierd things. She has huge tures and yoga balls. She has bow arrows and a mini electric car that we can ride in. And she has a treadmill. I love treadmills they are so fun to play on. I jump on and we start dancing on it while it's moving slowly.
“Jeanette why do you have to leave soon?” Mandy says for the millionth time, “Maybe you can call home and just tell them you staying at my house for dinner,”
“I can’t Mandy! My dad hasn't even answered my text! For all I know they could be worrying right now.” Me saying it makes me realize it. All I can hope is that he got it and just decided not to answer. That feeling of being scared creeps back into my stomach. I wish I were home right now. I hate that I’m not strong enough and daring enough to be comfortable here. Then I feel like I can’t stand it anymore and tell her I should probably be going.
“Wait no Jeanette! You have only been here for like half an hour,” Mandy is really upset, “We haven't even gone on the electric car yet! It's so fun, you should try,”
“Mandyyyyy,” I say pleading for her to stop. I feel bad how much she wants me to stay. I wish I could have a fun time, but I can’t help but feeling sick. “Maybe another time,” I grab my backpack and walk up the stairs. I look back but she is still sitting on the treadmill. “You coming?” I ask. “I kinda need you to walk home,”
“Yea, I’m coming,” She says and gets up.
When we get outside I feel so much better because feeling closer to my house makes me feel more comfortable. More safe.
“We have to hurry, my mom says,” Mandy says still looking upset but no as much as before.
“That's fine, the faster the better,” I respond. We walk fastly half skipping. By the time We get to my house I give her a quick shake of the hand and say bye. Then I quickly enter the house feeling half scared and half filled with relief. I wait at the door listening for noise. Then I hear my brother on the phone. The sound of familiarity is like a song to my ears. Then I walk towards my room across from my brothers room.
“Wait here she is! She’s home guys!” Jonathan my brother is yelling, “Jeanette come here! Where have you been? Wait Faith wants to talk to you,” I entered the room and Faith my sister and Mom are on the phone. They sound so weird like they are crying. Wait they are crying. What happened here?
“Jeanette you better have a good explanation! We called everywhere for you. We were about to call the police you idiot,” Faith is yelling. “We thought you were stolen!” Realization is kicking in and all I can think is. Dad never got the text, and I am the biggest idiot I know.