A Chapter by xFlightlessBird

The bell rings , ending what seemed to be a torturous and perpetual explanation of Schrödinger's Cat and his life.

"What the hell , dude ? " , I grab Jake by the arm again before he packs his books into his bag. "You've barely said a word to me"

"You're lying"

"And that's all you're going to say ? 'You're lying' "?

He takes a breath. " I don't know what to say to you"

"Are you mad that I didn't answer your calls?"

"No , not everything is about you , Valerie ", he answers flatly while he packs his books.

I keep quiet for a while as I watch him put his books into his bag.

"Walk with me to Biology?" , he asks.

So we walk to Biology in silence while trying to make it through the cluster of students huddled in groups in the middle of the hallway and some running to their next class. I watch everyone as they laugh and scurry all the way to their classes. Chaos again.

"My parents are getting a divorce" , he says casually.

Well , wow. I would never have expected that. Jakes parents always seemed so happy. So guess that was just a front.

"What happened?"

"They had the biggest fight and they decided to call it quits. I would've told you sooner but I didn't know that they were actually going through with it. "

"Uhm , I'm sorry. That's why you -"

"Actually ..not getting but are."

"Huh ?" , I answer.

"The papers are signed and my dad's moving out and away to Brazil ...with his Brazilian ....", he sighs.

"Girlfriend ?"

"Yes. "

I lean in to hug him but he gently pushes me away. I can see in his eyes that he's really hurt and knowing Jake - he doesn't want me to feel sorry for him.

"I read To Kill A Mocking Bird ages ago "

Suddenly I start feeling guilty. I'm still the horrible person I used to be. Never thinking about anyone but myself. I thought that Jake was mad at ME and I didn't want him to because I felt it was unfair.

I feel tears flooding in my eyes. I wipe them again quickly before Jake sees. God , again. I'm crying. Thinking about ME and I should be thinking about Jake and not crying over myself. I'm pathetic.

"Is there something wrong ", he asks.

"No. Nothing's fine. So , are you okay ? "
I'm hoping he says yes.

"I'll be fine , Val. Don't worry about me. "

"But I should be worrying about you. Your parents just got divorced and clearly you're not okay with it. Want to head to town after school ? "

"You're taking me out ?" , he laughs.

I shrug. "Just trying to make you feel better. "

He agrees and we walk into the biology class.

While Mr Pierre's talking I can't help but think about Jake and his home situation. I wish I could help him but I'm really not good at making people feel better or sympathising. I know nothing about how he's feeling. I never know how anyone is feeling which makes it harder for me to sympathise with them. Of course no one ever knows how the next person is feeling but for me it's just more difficult than it is for the rest.

Mr Pierre's now talking about Dicotyledonous plants while this guy , Alex passes me a note.

Stop looking so glum. You're attracting too much attention to yourself and Jenna is looking at you. Her eyes wild like a vulture's --waiting for the right moment to swoop in for the kill. ;)

I look over to him and smile. "Thanks ", I whisper back to him.

Alex is one of the nice guys at our school. He transferred to our school last year. We've talked maybe once or twice but we've never really had a full conversation. He hates superficial girls like Jenna and former Valerie. And like Jake , sometimes he stands up for me against Jenna. ( I really don't like this whole people "standing up for Valerie" business though. Wish it would go bankrupted and close )

After Biology Alex walks up to me to ask me how I'm doing. I tell him I'm fine and he doesn't need to worry. I then thank him again for the note and tell him I thought that he it was funny --he's funny. Smiles and hugs are exchanged and he goes to his next class and so do we.

Finally after school Jake and I walk to town because it's not that far from school. We pass a fancy ice cream shop wear they sell the most delicious and heavenesque ice cream in the whole world. We also pass a hot dog place and a weird looking over 21 bar.

"So , where exactly are we going ? Down town ? I really don't like that place, Val. You know that "

"Yes. Stop being such a p-word" , I laugh. " We're going to this super cool record store where they sell vinyls. It's the 1 out of 4 shops that sells actual vinyls in this city. "

I take out my phone and text my mom to tell her that school is out and we're in town.

As we walk down town people are staring at us because we're wearing school uniform and the down town folk usually thinks of kids from J. Othello College as rich snobs. But Jake and I are not.

Finally we reach the record store - Ovy's Record store it says in neon lights except the O. It looks derelict. Jake reacts duly.

"Are you serious ? You said there were 4 of these and you take us to this one ?"

I tell him to relax because Ovy's has good music and the people here know me because I've been coming here a lot.

We enter and their playing Slow Cruel Hands Of Time by Bands of Horses. There's a bearded man with weird looking tattoos by the counter and next to her is a girl with red hair and a septum piercing. They look awfully scary but now is not the time to pull out my gavel and start judging people.

"So , how's your mom taking everything ?"

He's quiet.

"It's okay. You don't have to talk about it. "

"No. I was just trying to put it into words. She's been okay. Taking it in. It's only been two days but she's dealing with it accordingly ...I guess "

"Accordingly ? " , I ask.

"Yeah. I mean I don't know how she's supposed to be doing but I don't think she knows either. "

We don't talk for a few minutes. The Fray's playing but I don't know which song. I try to think about how he should be feeling but I pick out a cd instead. His favourite band.

"Look ! " , I shout out so the bearded man and the red hair by the counter look up. They both look at me like I've just committed the most atrocious crime ever. You know like when librarians look at you with their hawk-like eyes because you just whispered something to your friend. Yup, that look. So , I lower my voice in fear of being kicked out or worse --sent to prison. Ha.

"Your favourite. I still remember. "

"It's been a while "

We laugh then it's quiet again. I hate it when Jake is this quiet. He's usually really the optimistic and gay one here. But today , today you can actually feel a little black cloud hanging over above him just drenching him with sadness. I'm his friend and he's my friend so the cloud is over me too but somehow I we're under different umbrellas and I can't feel what he's feeling. The pressure of the sadness splashing onto the umbrella , I guess.

" I'm getting it for you ". I walk to the counter towards the bearded man without looking to see if Jake's following. In my hands I have the cd I'm going to buy for him as well as a few I picked out for myself. I pay for them and the bearded man hands them over to me in a small, shiny blue plastic bag suited for fitting such items. He gives me my change without so much as a smile. I smile back anyway and say thank you.

We walk out and Jake still hasn't said anything.

"Let's go get something to eat ", I suggest with a smile.

"Sure ", he smiles back.

We go to a pizza place and order an extra large pizza. The waitress looks at us like we're mad but we politely smile and she smiles backs.

"I might be getting a car soon " , Jake starts the conversation.

"Look. It talks" , I laugh. " that's great Jake but you don't have your licence yet. You're 17 "

"I know" , he laughs too. " My father said he'd get someone to drive me around ..." Then he looks out the window and stares out into the distance.

It sucks when one says something happy but that one strand of happiness is attached to something heavy and sad. I notice that this is the same with Jake right now so I ask :

"But ? "

"But nothing....it's just that they argued about that too. ", he sighs.

"But you're getting the car so ..."

"yeah , I guess "

"Yes and I bought you a Bastille album so shhhh and be merry "

We both laugh and finish the pizza. Jake calls his mom , who's beyond surprised that we went to town, to fetch us. She scolds Jake that he didn't tell her and I try to tell her that it's my fault but she won't hear it so Jake and I end up just being quiet until we get to my house and they drop me off.

"I'll call you later , Valerie. This time pick up , will you ?

"Sure. "

Well , today wasn't as sucky as I thought. Hanging out with Jake was really fun although he was mute 80% of the time.

I unlock the door and get in. There's still the faint aroma of this morning's breakfast in the air so I head straight to the windows and open. I put my bag down and check what's in the freezer to cook. I take out chicken and defrost it so it won't take much of my time.

After cooking I head to my room , put on some Thirty Seconds To Mars and start on some homework. Only if I could finish it. I think I'm worrying about Jake more than I should be.

© 2014 xFlightlessBird

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Added on December 22, 2014
Last Updated on December 23, 2014
Tags: Divorce, parents, teenagers, forgiveness, friendship, love



South Africa

Aspiring writer with the hopes of having a published book one day. Searching for the Great Perhaps more..

Prologue Prologue

A Chapter by xFlightlessBird