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I had been sitting on a bus for about 5 hours listening to music and occasionally sneaking glances at the seat across from mine, where he was seated. I was sprawled out across my seat, my head resting on the edge of the seat in front of mine. He was resting with his eyes closed his feet sprawled across the aisle and resting on the edge of my seat. It was a long ride back from Earlham Indiana and we were about to take our first food and bathroom stop and I both really had to use the restroom and wanted to eat something.
Our trip advisor stood up and cleared his throat, as to silence the bus. I unplugged my earphones and looked up at him expectantly. I could tell from the snoring to my right, that he had not realized an announcement was being made, so I “gently” kicked his feet of my seat, hoping the shock would be enough to get his attention. Sure enough he opened his eyes and looked at me bemused. I pointed toward the front of the bus and he sat up, stretching his arms out and making that adorable noise he always does when he stretches. Of course now when I heard it, all I wanted to do was hurl things at him. I resisted my urge, and turned back to the announcement.
“I know it’s been a long ride, but now we get to have a nice lunch. You and the person next to you will be buddies.” Our trip leader said.
I rolled my eyes at this, not just at the thought that I was in high school and we were still using the buddy system, but also at the fact that my so called “buddy” was an a*s.
“When you get off the bus you will be given fifteen dollars to purchase lunch for the two of you. Now where we are going to stop has two options, Subway, or McDonalds. Please try to make up your minds now so we don’t have to decide when we get there.”
I thought about trying to change seats quickly in order to not have to be with him, but it was too late. He and I don’t usually talk. After I told him I loved him and he said he would never love me, we didn’t have anything really to say anymore. I wanted to be his friend, I tried for a while until I realized it wasn’t working and then I just stopped. I would be lying if I said I didn’t resent him for it, so let’s just say that the idea of being in close vicinity alone with him for the next hour made me lose my appetite.
He turned to me and said
“Where do you want to eat?”
I ignored him, pretending to listen to music.
“Hey?” He tried again waving his arms around stupidly in an attempt to get my attention.
I kept my face forward, my jaw clenched in anger. He finally reached over and pulled the earphone out of my right ear. I turned in his direction and looked at him.
“Yes.” I said, a fake smile plastered across my face.
“Where do you want to eat?” He said
He was a very healthy eater, in fact, when I met him, I don’t think he had ever eaten at a fast food restaurant. This was something I had originally found so foreign and attractive, but now just seemed obnoxious.
“Do you plan on eating at McDonalds?” I said in a tone that I was hoping would make him feel stupid for asking the question.
“No, not really.” He said, obviously oblivious to my tones meaning.
“Well then I guess Subway it is.” I said, flashed him a smile, and then put my earphone back in, forgetting that the music I was playing was fake.
I turned some actual music in and enjoyed my solitude for the next half-hour until our bus came to a screeching halt. I looked around. We were parked outside of the McDonalds, and the subway was across the highway from us. The students all started getting up and shifting their belongings to the side so they could exit the overheating bus. The aisle became a sea of teenagers, stepping on each other’s toes and tapping their feet impatiently waiting for the line to thin. I was in no rush to get off the bus and so finally, it was just the two of us.
“Ready to go?” He asked
“Yeah, let’s go.” I replied standing up with a quick flourish and quickly navigating the aisle leaving him behind.
I did feel kind of bad. The way I was treating him was unfair and it really wasn’t his fault, but he told me we couldn’t be friends, and to me, that makes him the enemy. Once I hopped down the steps of the bus, our leader handed me a white envelope containing our lunch money. He and I walked down the pavement towards the highway, the infinite crossing of it looming over us.
“I really have to go to the bathroom.” He said to me as we waited for there to be enough space between cars for us to run across the road.
“Me too.” I said bluntly in response.
There seemed to be a gap in the cars big enough for me to cut through and so I decided to make a run for it. I felt something grab my arm and pull me back, just as my window of opportunity was closing. I fell backwards and looked up at him, dazed as to what had just happened.
“Sorry, but I didn’t think it was a big enough space for us both to make it.” He said, offering me a hand to help me up with.
“I could have made it.” I said ignoring his hand.
I got up and brushed myself off. It was a couple more minutes until there was a lull in the traffic and we ran across the highway. We ran as fast as possible until we finally reached the entrance of the restaurant, both of us panting for breath. I walked in, and quickly entered the single restroom, locking the door behind me. I relieved my bladder and then I took an extra long time washing my hands. As I left, he nearly ran me over on his attempt to enter the bathroom.
I sat down in one of the provided red and yellow booths and began to think over my order. Being a vegetarian, I didn’t have a huge amount of options. I decided I would get my usual, wondering why I would ever even try anything different. We still had a good forty-five minutes to order before we had to be back on the bus, so I didn’t see a rush to order.
When he had exited the restroom he sat down across from me and asked
“Hey, what are you going to order?”
“I’m going to get the veggie delight.” I said in response, wondering what was up.
“Oh, cool. I was thinking about the meatball marinara, you ever tried that?” He asked me.
“Nope, I’m a vegetarian.” I responded. I couldn’t believe he had forgotten this because I have been a vegetarian ever since I met him two years ago.
“Oh yeah, that’s right. You ready to order?” He asked me. He swept his chestnut hair out of his eyes and looked anxious to get up and get in line.
“Yeah, I am.” I answered still really confused about this situation.
Why was he being all pleasant all of a sudden? Maybe he had remembered how good a friend I was back in the day and wanted me back, or maybe he was just in the mood to rebuild some burnt bridges. Either way, it was going to take a h**l of a lot more then common pleasantry to fix this relationship. It was like he turned back into the person I first met, so shy and timid, but still fun to talk to, but so much had changed, there was no way for that to be the case.
We both got up and proceeded to get in line. The large women behind the counter asked me what I wanted to eat and right as I began to tell her I was interrupted.
“Wait, you know I’m not that hungry, want to split a sandwich?” He asked
“Well, don’t you want meat on yours?” I asked, knowing that he was a devote carnivore.
“No, whatever you want.” He responded.
“So what will you be having?” The women behind the counter asked impatiently.
“Hold on, give us a sec.” I said, holding up a finger and turning to him, a look of bewilderment on my face.
“What the h**l has gotten into you?” I said, louder then I had intended.
“What?” He said, his eyes widening as he took a step back from me.
“Three days ago you wanted nothing to do with me, now you want to share a sandwich, so I repeat, what the h**l has gotten into you.” I said again.
“Do you really want to do this here?” He said
“Yes, I do.” I replied
“Can you guys argue and choose what you want on this sandwich at the same time?” The woman behind the counter asked.
“You pick.” I said, trying to get back to my question.
“What kind of bread?” The woman asked.
“Honey Oat.” He said, and then turned back to me.
“I’m tired of fighting with you. We used to be good friends.” He said to me, emphasizing the word friends.
“What kind of cheese?” The woman asked.
“Cheddar Jack.” He replied still looking at me.
“Well I’ve wanted that for years, and you said that could never happen again.” I replied, getting more and more animated.
“Do you want this toasted?” The woman asked.
“Yes.” He said to her.
“I know what I said, but then I realized that except for that whole you loving me thing, you were a great friend, and I think that maybe I could give you another chance and forgive you.”
“Well, maybe isn’t good enough for me. I don’t want you to give me a second chance. Don’t act like you’re the one with no blame. You hurt me really badly, and you “think” that you can give me another chance.” I said, I could feel the rage in my voice.
“Do you want olives?” The women behind the counter asked him.
“Do you want olives?” He repeated to me.
“I don’t care about olives.” I screamed at him tears welling up in my eyes.
I turned to the women, plastering the fake smile I had gotten so good at over the last couple years. “We would like to make this a combo, with an extra drink.” I said, removing the money from our envelope and handing it to her, my hands quivering.
I walked back to our booth, and rested my head on the table. I could not believe this was happening. The pain that he had caused me was so great; it was the worst I had felt in my short lifetime. I had really loved him, and he had cut me off so quickly, so easily. I did not know if I could trust him. I mean, I had just made a seen in a Subway over him leaving me the first time. I could not imagine the damage I might cause if he left me again. I felt the table shake as he sat back down at our booth.
“I didn’t know what you’d want to drink, so I got you a root beer.” He said, pushing the cardboard cup towards me.
As I looked up at him, I suddenly felt a surge of embarrassment for how I had acted today.
“Thanks. I’m sorry I yelled at you.” I said, my cheeks turning red.
“It’s ok, this was a lot to spring on you.” He said, smiling at me.
“I would love to try and be your friend again, but I need something from you first.” I said.
“And what would that be.” He asked.
“I want us to start with a clean slate, no more anger, no more yelling, a fresh start.” I closed my eyes, waiting to hear him say that this wasn’t possible, too much had happened.
“Sounds good to me.” He replied.
“All right then, let’s eat.” I said reaching over onto his tray and grabbing my half of our sandwich.
I unwrapped it and took a bite. He sat there staring at me, waiting to see my reaction.
“How do you like the olives?” He asked me half smiling half laughing.
“They’re the best d**n olives I have ever had.” I said and I returned the smile.

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