So, about your constant insistence that I give my family a chance… I actually sat down and talked to my mom. I mean really talked, not shouted at or snapped back at her—-we actually sat down in front of each other on the couch and talked. And, well, to say the least, it was kind of enlightening. I never really gave her a chance before, to be honest. That’s because I got traumatized by something she did when I was little. I was being bullied at school then (I’m not weak, don’t get me wrong. I was just…lanky. And the kid bullying me was about twice my size so yeah). I was crying in the playground when I heard someone calling my name. I looked up to see my mom and I actually smiled because I thought she was going to defend me or something. Instead, she got mad at me for causing a scene at school. See, I had gotten into a fight with the bully that day (well, it was more of I became a punching bag for the bully). My mom told me off right there and then, telling me I should’ve walked away and blah blah. After that, I literally just hated her and basically zoned out whenever she spoke because I always feel like she would have another scolding waiting for me. But today… let’s just say I finally realized I should forgive whatever happened in the past. After all, I don’t really know what her reasons were for doing such (and I doubt I would’ve understood then, since I was still young). Well, my point is that I kind of followed your advice already. I’ve given my mom a chance. As for my siblings… well, let’s give it a little more time, shall we?
Anyway, enough about my family crap. I read all of your letters, again, today. And I realized something: have I answered your question about being a boy or a girl? Well, if my love for blue hasn’t answered it for you, I’m a boy. Shocker.
Let’s talk about you, this time, shall we? We’ve been going on about my family for the first few letters we’ve written to each other. How about you? Don’t tell me you don’t have any “bad vibes”, at all? It doesn’t necessarily have to be about your family. It can be about school, your friends, your boyfriend (although that may be too personal for you so if you don’t want to share about that, it’s fine). Anyway, just tell me something… anything about your life, or about life in general, not necessarily about yours. Because, honestly, aside from my problems with my family, I can’t find anything else to talk about. So, maybe you can start a topic for us. Haha!
I sealed my letter in my trademark blue envelope and planned on dropping it in my locker before going to school. As I walked down the stairs to head out, however, my dad suddenly stopped me in my tracks.
“Heading off to school already?”, he asked me.
I nodded. “Why?”, I responded.
He rarely asked me these things. In fact, we rarely talk in the morning. But maybe that was because I usually get out of the house before all of them are awake. I usually just hang out at the school bleachers until first period started. Yes, that’s how messed up I feel about my family.
He shrugged. “I’ll drive you there”, he offered.
I stared at him and was about to refuse when I remembered my locker partner’s words again. And that’s when I decided that, since I gave my mother a chance, maybe I should give the old man a chance, too. I put my hands in my pockets and shrugged. “Sure, I’d appreciated that, dad. Thanks”, I said, finally climbing down the last few steps.
He smiled at me and nodded. “Okay, well, you can just wait for me outside. I’ll just get the keys”, he told me.
I didn’t say anything but I walked out our front door and waited for him. I didn’t really know what got into my dad, why he was suddenly offering to drive me to school. He hasn’t driven me to school for years now. Then again, maybe he had a “talk” with my mom about my “talk” with her. Maybe this was his way of reaching out to me. In any case, despite my tough facade, I was actually appreciative of their efforts. It actually shows me they care enough to try and get in my good graces, in the midst of this separation issue.
I heard the sound of our car and, after a few seconds, I was getting into the passenger’s seat. I felt awkward as I sat there and as my dad drove. What was I supposed to feel? We were quiet. We had nothing to talk about. We’ve had nothing to talk about for months now. Somehow, I felt sad about this idea. Because it meant there was nothing that my dad and I had in common. Unlike him and my brother, who had sports together.
“So… how’s your guitar-playing?”, he suddenly asked. “Need any help?”, he added.
I stared at him in surprise. “How did you know? I mean, I didn’t know you knew that I played guitar”, I mumbled the last part. I didn’t even know he paid attention enough to what I ate, let alone what I do.
My dad chuckled as we turned a corner. “Your room is close to ours. Don’t you think I listen when you play? I’ve always wanted to, you know, try and join you. But well…” he trailed off.
I raised my eyebrow. “Join me how?”, I couldn’t help asking.
“Join you play”, he answered. He briefly glanced at me and smiled, then returned his gaze on the road. “Didn’t you know I play guitar, too?”, he asked.
My mouth dropped open. “Since when?”, I asked, somehow in a slightly accusatory tone. I’ve never known that fact about him.
He chuckled again. “Since high school. I used to be in a band in college, too. Although, I don’t really play much anymore”, he admitted.
I didn’t know what to say. And here I thought my father and I had nothing in common. And I find this out?
“Wow”, was all I was able to say.
He smiled. “I’m guessing you can’t believe that I knew music”, he said.
I nodded. At that moment, we pulled up into the school’s front lot. I grabbed my bag and opened the door. I was about to head out when I turned to my dad again. And I smiled at him.
“Thanks, dad. This was a very… informative ride to school. See you at home”. That was about the closest I could get to showing affection at the moment. In my book, that was probably equivalent to an “I love you, dad”.
He waved at me and nodded. “Glad you took the ride. Study hard”, he said.
I got off the car and watched him drive away.
“Your dad?”, someone asked from behind me.
I looked around to see Julie Anne standing there, watching me watch my dad drive away. I nodded and walked over to her.
“Hey, Annie. Yup, that was my dad. Lunch later?”, I asked, putting my arm over her shoulder.
She took a last glance at my dad’s car then smiled at me with a nod. “Yeah, let’s do lunch later. See you”, she said.
We walked into the school building.
“So, how’s your locker partner?”, Julie asked me as we were eating.
I looked at her. “Why are you asking? We’re supposed to be in this anonimity thing, aren’t we?”, I answered.
She shrugged and took a bite of her sandwich. “Just curious. But yeah, you’re right. Let’s talk about something else. Like school. That’s much more interesting”, she said.
I laughed. I knew she was sarcastic. “The girl with so much to say about the world doesn’t know what to talk about? Wow. You must be sick”, I joked.
She rolled her eyes. “That’s not true. I do have something to talk about. Like I said, let’s talk about school”, she repeated.
I shook my head and rolled my eyes, too. “The day you find school interesting would probably be the day I enroll in ballet class. Or the debate team”, I answered.
“You don’t know me well enough to be sure that I don’t find school interesting. There are… some stuff here that are worth my time. Events and all that…”, she trailed off.
That was when it clicked. Now I know why she was pretending to be interested in school. The school bulletin about it had just come out this morning. And I remembered it when Julie said something about events.
“Are you talking about the dance next weekend?”, I asked point-blank.
She must’ve thought I wouldn’t put it together immediately because I saw the surprise cross her face. “What? What are you talking about?”, she asked. But I could see that she suddenly looked uncomfortable.
I chuckled. “Seriously? Wait, are you planning to even go?”, I asked again. I wasn’t keen on going to these school events. Well, mainly because I never had anyone to go to. My friends… well, let’s just say they weren’t exactly my dream “date”.
She took another bite of her sandwich and swallowed earlier than necessary. I heard her cough and choke on the sandwich bite. I began clapping her back.
“Julie? Are you alright?”, I asked, concerned.
She nodded but kept on coughing. I continued clapping her back until I couldn’t hear her coughing anymore. She cleared her throat and was finally able to speak.
“Thanks”, she meekly said. She stared off into space. We were at the bleachers.
I returned to my seat and looked at her. “Well? Were you planning to go?”, I repeated.
She bit her lip and looked at me. “Were you?”, she asked.
I shrugged. “If you are, then I am”, I answered.
She raised her eyebrow. “Oh”, she said. She stared off into space again and we were quiet for a while.
“Are you asking me to go with you?”, she asked, again.
I smiled. “I guess I am”. And maybe, in truth, I really was.
She nodded. “Fine, then we’ll go. But… it’s not a date. It will be… two friends, who have no one better to go with, going together”, she told me, narrowing her eyes.
I laughed. “Alright then. But you have to look nice”, I joked.
She smacked me on the arm. “Who said I won’t?”, she said, pretending to be hurt by my comment.
A few moments later, we both laughed. We really were odd.