something between them

My eyes were still heavy as I came out of my room fully dressed and ready for school. My hair was down and covering my shoulders. I was wearing my lucky jeans and favorite blue and black bird sweater. Finding brown hair stuck to whites and yellows made me crazy, so I only would wear darker colors. I saw my dad sitting at the table, eating cereal and reading a magazine. I walked by him and saw pictures of train sets.
“Plotting out a new collection?” I asked as I grabbed the box of cranberry, almond granola.
“I’m researching buying an entire collection of model train sets. Historically accurate setups, pretty impressive, but I’m unsure of the value.”
“We don’t have room for that here,” I said as I poured chocolate milk overtop the cereal.
My dad saw this and shook his head, “I honestly can’t stand watching you eat certain things,” he said.
“It goes awesome together.” I sat down across from him as I said this.
“I see you found me online,” he said with an embarrassed smile.
“Yeah, well Stevie told me of course.” I took a bite of my favorite breakfast. The days started with a little bit of chocolate are always better.
“Yeah, well I wasn’t exactly hiding it,” he explained, “I’ve been finding out about a lot of cool toy shows I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. I’m hoping to find that last robot soon. It’s always fun to close out a collection.
Ignoring this and changing the subject I said, “I didn’t know you liked cats so much.” I had accepted that my dad and I wouldn’t have long talks about the future. I wished that I could talk to him about what I was experiencing, but I knew he wasn’t taking it well. He didn’t want to talk or think about it, so I left the subject alone. But, I had to dig into the cat thing.
“Oh, yeah you know I do. I had two awesome cats growing up.”
“Why don’t we have a cat?”
“Oh, well your mother is highly allergic to cats.”
“She’s not here, now. You should get a cat.” I was thinking especially since I would be leaving soon.
“Well, she’s gonna be back eventually,” dad said this not seeming certain at all.
“Is she? Do even want her to?” I didn’t talk to my dad like that regularly. Anytime I said anything negative about mom; he would jump on it and put an immediate stop to it. I always wished that he would have done that when I was young, and my mom would get on me during her off moments. He never did anything, and I never knew how I felt about that. I think I chose to ignore it because that was easiest.
My eye’s looked far away. For a moment, he didn’t speak. Just as I was about to say something to break the silence he said simply, “I suppose I’d honestly answer probably not to both of those.”

***

I crossed the street as I made my way to the bus stop. Benny was standing there wearing a smile and holding a paper coffee cup. As I approached him, I realized the coffee was for me. The sky was bright, even though the air was chilly, I could tell it was going to be a beautiful day—proof it would be May soon.
“One caramel latter as promised,” Benny said as he handed me the green and white paper cup. “Sorry it took awhile, I honestly forgot about it.”
“Thank you,” I said, feeling awkward.
“Sure thing,” Benny said looking over my shoulder. I followed his gaze, to find Stevie and Pike walking toward us.
“Pike, a rare treat,” I joked.
“My parents are at one of my mom’s conferences for a few days,” Stevie said partially blushing.
“Oh yeah, that’s right,” I said remembering Stevie saying something about that.
“Hey man,” Benny said to Pike, they bumped fists, “What do you have in store for the students of Roosevelt High this weekend?” He asked.
“That’s what I needed to talk to these ladies about it. It’s only Tuesday, my Monday felt like most of the week, so it’s for sure time to distract myself with planning. My parents want me to be a doctor, but I’m like guys just let me take pictures.” He shook his head.
“Me too,” I added. “Let’s do some list item craziness. Something, major,” I said taking a sip from my latte. It was a really good one, but probably party because Benny got it for me.
“Seriously Sam, you couldn’t have gotten me one?” Stevie scowled.
I just smiled at her.
“But, yes, I agree let’s rock the list,” she said pulling it out of her pocket.
“I’ve heard mention of a list many times but I’m not quite sure I understand the magnitude of it. The rollerblading in the dark was on the alleged list, right?” Benny smoothly crossed his arms in front his chest. He was was wearing a brown sweatshirt that said, I AM ASLEEP, in large, white capital letters.
“And the tattoos,” I added.
“Sam and I have a list of things we need to do before we head to New York. In part because it’s a fun distraction and in part because it matters to us in this strange, unexplainable way.” I smiled, “It’s one of those snowball effect type things, I guess.”
“Sounds like my bag,” he smiled. Benny seemed to always be smiling in some compactly or another.
“What is next on the list?” I asked Stevie who was studying it like it was in a client treasure map. She was wearing a trucker her hat today; it had a big hot dog on the front. Her hair was loose under it.
“Well, the next thing is our ten-mile low tide hike, but we need extreme low tides to go that far. That needs to be one the last thing we do before me leave,” Stevie said all this as her eyes stayed stuck to the crumpled notebook paper. “But, we have a three-day weekend coming up. We should do the Leavenworth weekend. I bet we could totally find a place near there for parachuting!”
“Maybe we can even pull off staying up forty-eight hours during,” I added starting to get really excited.
“Yes, we can leave on Friday,” Pike chimed in, “That is plenty of time to get all the needed ducks in a row.”
“Can I tag along?” Benny asked, looking directly at me.
Without a hint of hesitation, I said, “For sure.”
He smiled at me as the bus finally hissed toward us.
Steve clapped her hands together, “This is gonna rock!”
“It will, but we have lots to do first,” Pike said starting to get serious.
And, we were off planning for the ultimate weekend as we piled onto the bus. At that moment, everything else washed away, and my world felt tiny and safe and almost perfect.

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