Possibly Meant To Be

I leaned against the street sign as I waited for my bus. I woke up that morning twenty minutes after I was supposed to with a splitting headache. I then proceeded to spill coffee on myself twice and lose my phone—that morning was feeling a lot like most mornings—but, somehow I ended up the stop early, which I couldn’t quite figure out how. The rain lightly misted down on me. My eyes were heavy from another sleepless night. The weekend was long and in no way what I’d expected the first weekend I found out I got my ride to New York would be like. Not that I imagined that particular weekend very much, but I did imagine there to be some kind celebration, a moment of significance that I would be able to point back at for years to come. I did it. I couldn’t quite figure out how to stay in the moment.
I was feeling stiff—detached almost. I couldn’t quite figure out why I felt so lost all the sudden… maybe I had found myself somewhere I didn’t belong.
I ran my hand through my hair. The door to my apartment building caught my eyes as it opened. Benny stepped out. His blond hair was sticking every-which-way on top his head. I wished that I wanted to look away—but, I didn’t. I couldn’t help but keep an eye on him as he hustled across the Ave without looking either way. I couldn’t help but notice he had to pull up his pants little but after his quick jaunt across the street. I rested my head against street sign poll.
Benny smiled as he approached me. I’m pretty sure that I smiled back, but I was in desperate need of coffee and my nerves had started to get the best of me.
“You look like it’s Monday, Benny said now standing next to me.
“I feel like I do,” I grumbled. Our eyes had met for a brief moment before I made mine pretend to watch for the bus at the far end of the road.
At this Benny smiled, then for a few moments said nothing. I wanted to get him talking. At least, then I could just let myself look at him. My eyes at the moment were forced to shift constantly around.
“I guess our dads haven’t started off the best foot,” I said in my desperate attempt to make conversation.
“Um, that’s my uncle, but yeah I heard about that,” he smiled briefly, then after what’s looked like a quick conversation he had with himself, he asked, “So, that guy from the party the other night, he’s your boyfriend, or whatever?” His eyebrows both raised slightly as he smoke. His almond shaped hazel eyes pick up flecks of green in his shirt.
I sighed, “Yeah, that’s him.”
“How long have you been together?”
“Um…about a year, I guess, on and off.” I crossed my arms, feeling nervous and very aware of what I was saying.
“He seems like a pretty big jerk,” Benny said with a frown. “I’m surprised you are with somebody like that.” I found it strange he’s have any opinion or idea on the subject.
“Sometimes.” Our eyes found each other for a brief moment.
“Sometimes all right but sometimes he’s treats you like that?”
“I guess,” I crossed my arms once I decided I was uncomfortable.
“Sounds like my uncle,” he slid his hands into his pants pockets.
“How long have you lived with your uncle?”
“Too long. My mom died of cancer when I was ten. My dad never made it to nay pictures of mine so my mom’s sister her husband got stuck with me. They weren’t people meant to have kids but cancer doesn’t care.”
“That sucks,” I said simply.
“Yeah, well we all have our stories,” he said shrugging.
“I couldn’t have said that better myself,” I smiled.
I absentmindedly drew stars on my pants with a finger which caught Benny’s eyes, but he chose not to say anything. I put my hands into my hoodie pockets.
I could see a book rolled up in his back pocket. “What book is that?” I asked. Benny pulled it out and handed it to me. I held a very worn and clearly loved copy of Moby Dick in my hands. It must have had at least twenty bookmark pages. I opened to a bookmarked page to find pencil-written script squeezed into the margins.
“Am I meeting Melville’s editor?” I smiled as handed him the book back.
“I’m searching for clues to help me find my meaning,” Benny’s cheeks reddened. “That probably sounds nuts,” he said running his hand through his hair.
“I think it makes perfect sense to me.”
We smiled at each other.
Benny opened his mouth to say something just as Stevie jumped in between us.
“Hey,” Stevie beamed at me as she slid her baseball hat on head. “I had to run, I though I was late. But, I guess I’m early, which is weird.” Stevie slouched drastically at the end of her sense.
“How much coffee have you had?”
“Too much. Pike kept me out too late last night, so I got up early to finish homework, which, I got to say it, I think we should stop getting homework at this point in our senior year.”
Benny laughed, which stately caught Stevie’s attention to him, “I wouldn’t have guessed you rode the bus like the rest of us slouches,” Stevie joked.
“My only wheels are on my skateboard.”
“Really? Because I could have sworn, I remember seeing you in some beat-up muscle-head car.” Stevie said tucking some of her strawberry locks into her hat.
“I’ll pretend that didn’t offend me. Yeah, I totaled that car in the fall, racing a buddy.” Benny said rubbing the top of his head.
“Of course you did,” Stevie shook her head.
“Hey, I’m not so bad,” he said to Stevie. Then he looked in my direction, “Tell her.”
I smiled and looked away, ”He’s not so bad.”
“That’s a winning endorsement,” Stevie said this as the bus whined and groaned to a stop in front of us. Four others from our school had shown up but decided not to stand anywhere but near us. As I sat down next to Stevie, who always got the window spot, Benny sat on the other side of the aisle from me. “I don’t normally sit this much in the front.”
“Should I be flattered?” I whispered.
“Definitely,” he smiled.
Stevie pinched me in the back, and the bus started moving.
I hated the bus. It always smelled horrible, which in part was because it was filled to the brim with teenagers twice a day and in part because the food from the cafeteria held onto sweatshirts with a death-grip. Bet, there was another smell that was always present, but I could never figure out what it was, which troubled me.
The roaring of the old engine and the shouting of all the kids made my head hurt, which in return made my stomach hurt. I pulled my new turquoise permanent marker and popped the cap. I started sliding the tip across the fake leather seat in front of me. I stared at the carton dog I just scribbled. I added a large thought bubble coming from the crudely drawn dog face. Inside the bubble I began to write the words, I can’t stop l—Stevie pulled the marker out of my hand. “Sam, seriously?”
“That’s my new marker!” I complained. I stuck out my bottom lip jokingly.
“Will you put it away?” Stevie’s eyes narrowed.
“Maybe.”
“I really can’t stand the constant vandalism.” Stevie took the cap from me and closed the marker.
“Okay, no more,” I put my hand over my heart and smiled, “I promise.”
“No more seat?” Stevie raised her eyebrow.
“No more seat,” I nodded.
Stevie nodded back and handed me the marker. She settled into her seat as she focused her eyes on the window. She slid her fingers over her wrist. Stevie got motion sickness pretty bad on the bus two times a day. I felt bad that it was always happening, but she was insistent on the fact that it helped to build her character.
“Pssst,” Benny Whispered.
I looked over at him. His hair was a mess, and his hazel eyes were completely focused on me.
He pointed his long finger at my unfinished cartoon.”What’s the rest of it?”
I smiled, almost embarrassed. The bus slowed down in front of the school. It hissed, and then the door opened.
“Come on, what is the dog saying?” Benny continued.
We stood up and started walking. Benny, me and then Stevie who I knew was paying attention. I didn’t respond at first. We got off the bus, and I thought only other opportunities to answer him was over. But after Stevie took off for science, Benny and I were walking next to each other down the east hall.
“Well?” Benny asked again.
I popped the cap pf my marker, grabbed his hand and wrote the words, looking at you, in his palm. Without looking at him, I turned right and disappeared into my math room.
My butterflies that had just been created were quickly stifled by my seeing others grab quizzes off Mrs. Goldberg’s desk. The whiteboard read Pop Quiz. It was just like Mrs. Goldberg to have a pop quiz on a Monday morning. I grabbed a paper and then sunk into my desk in the front row. Today was happening, and I didn’t feel ready. Knowing something I’ve wanted to find out for so long has made showing up for school close to impossible. I knew at that moment two things. One, time has slowed down and will be extensively slower now. I was officially certain I no longer knew what I wanted.

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