Thursday, April 24, 2014

Never Knew

I'd asked Olivia over with the intention of telling her why I'd been so upset the last few days. But after she'd arrived, I changed my mind. I knew she wouldn't understand.

“Scoot over.” She pushed me over on the bed and sat next to me. “So are you gonna open it or what?” She insistently tapped her pen on my shoulder. She knew how much that irritated me. I turned abruptly and snatched the pen out of her hand, then slammed my laptop shut.

“It doesn't make any difference now does it?” I snapped at her, then realized my slip. I absently looked out the window wondering if she'd even noticed.

“What do you mean it doesn't make any difference? Damn Lizzie, you're the one that's been whining about how you haven't heard from him in six months. He finally sends you an e-mail and you sit and stare at it for three days. Open it for crying out loud. I'm sure he's got some lame ass excuse for blowing you off all through Christmas... and New Years.. and Valentines day... and...”

Tears stung my eyes. I forced them back, I didn't want her to know. I didn't want any of my friends to know. Mara, Joanie and Cora. They'd just laugh at me for being stupid. Or worse... feel sorry for me. I couldn't bear it either way.

“Forget it. It doesn't matter. I'm just gonna delete it. I'm so over him.” I glared at her and turned away. I cleared my throat trying to choke back the pain. “He was a jerk, and anyway, I hardly knew him. Just some guy I met in some stupid forum. It was lame.” I was trying to convince myself of that, anything that would lessen the pain. My head ached and my eyes filled up again. It was time to change the subject. I took a deep breath and tried to sound cheerful, “So... you going to Karl's party Friday or what?”

“Yeah, Mara scored some primo stuff from her dad's stash and I think Joanie's sister is buying the booze... you gonna ask Donnie?”

“What? Hell no... we haven't been out since I caught him with Cecily Tomlinson in the bathroom at The Waffle Shack.” I got up and paced back and forth in front of her. “You really need to come down off your high every now and then... check in with the rest of us, it's called reality.”

“Ugh Lizzie you are such a downer.” She scoffed and rolled her eyes. “You're either crying all the time cause your precious Kaeden hasn't e-mailed you, or you're bitching about Donnie and Cecily. It was only that one time, geez, I thought you religious types were supposed to be more forgiving.”

“I'm not religious... I'm just... moral.”

Olivia burst into laughter. “Yeah, call it what you want. I call it a real drag. I'm outta here... call me if you need a ride to the party.” She hopped off the bed, tossed her long blond hair over her shoulders and she was gone. I heard the front door slam and her car spin out on the gravel drive. Sometimes I wished I could be more like her; oblivious to anything other than her own pleasure. Getting drunk or stoned was all she wanted to do; maybe she was smarter than I gave her credit for being. I'd never seen her cry over a guy. Certainly not a guy she'd never even met.

I plopped back down on the bed and opened my laptop again, staring at the screen. “One new message”. It was screaming it at me. I wasn't ready. I clicked over to Kaeden's Twitter page. I scrolled through his tweets, avoiding the most recent one. The one from three days ago. The one that had ripped my heart out. The one his mother had posted.

I scrolled up slowly until I reached the top. And I couldn't help myself, I read it again.

This is Kaeden's mother. I am sorry to inform everyone of my son's passing this past Sunday. He loved you all.

It had seemed like a sick joke. And then I'd watched as Tweets flooded all over his page with condolences. It was real. He was gone. I didn't know how, or why. I knew nothing and I never would. It was crazy, all of it. I had loved him and he'd never known, now he never would. I clicked back over to my messages. I highlighted his e-mail and hit delete. I couldn't bear to read his last words to me, whatever they had been. It was better if I never knew. 

 ©2014 Garden Summerland

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