I know something was bothering him. I didn’t want to be nosey so I didn’t say anything. Instead, I silently observed his behavior.
At the ice cream parlor, I could feel he was getting bothered by me wiping his pants so I quickly wiped as much as I could.
During the car ride home, I wondered what he wanted to tell me but after he told me never mind I let it go. I didn’t want to but I didn’t want to annoy him either.
Eventually, we got back to my house and I took Fletcher to my room. I picked out a pair of grey sweatpants for him to use.
“Here you go. You can get changed in the bathroom if you want.” I offered.
He turned his head, “no, thank you. I don’t want to get changed.”
I took a step forward and tried offering one more time, “Fletcher, but your pants are dirty.”
Fletcher puts his hands up and insisted he was okay. I let it go but it still felt peculiar to me.
The rest of our play date was off even while my dad took him home. He was silent but if you looked closely you could see he was trembling with fear.
The next day was Saturday and as soon as I woke up I hopped out of bed and raced to the nearest telephone.
Dialed his number as if it was on speed dial and waited for someone to answer.
The phone rang about three times before someone answered. The person on the line had a voice that sounded sweet like honey.
“Mrs. Thompson? This is Campbell Murphy. Is Fletcher able to come to the phone?”
After I asked for Fletcher the tone of her voice changed.
“I’m sorry he’s unavailable right now. Goodbye.”
And just like that, his mother hung up on me. I was forced to wait till Monday for an answer on his wellbeing.
I tried to keep busy but I couldn’t help but worry.
“Everything okay, Sweetheart?” Dad asked me as I played by myself in my sandbox.
“Yeah, everything’s fine, Dad.”
I picked up a stick and swirled it in the sand. My dad brushed my hair behind my ear and said, “I know my little girl and you do not look fine.”
I sighed and replied, “I miss Fletcher. I called his house but his mommy hung up on me.”
My dad sat down beside me and wrapped his arm around me.
“Maybe he’s sick and sleeping in bed.”
I shook my head, there’s no way he’s sick. He was perfectly okay last night. He couldn’t be sick.
Fletcher seemed nervous last night at most but not sickly.
I tried to calm myself down but the more I tried the more stressed I became.
“He’s not sick, Dad. He was fine yesterday.” I responded after a while of sitting in silence.
“Maybe he’s with his other friends. In the meantime do you want to go inside and wash up while I make lunch?” My dad asked not knowing what else to tell me.
I reluctantly dusted myself off and walked inside the house.
That Monday Campbell went to school early and ran as fast as her little legs could take her to the classroom.
She was disappointed to see that Fletcher had skipped school. It felt as if there was a hard pit lying at the bottom of her stomach. She couldn’t shake the feeling either.
“Fletcher, where are you?” I asked myself as tears began to form in my eyes.
All of a sudden, I felt a force against my back causing me to fall over.
I turned my head to see Hailey and Claire standing over me.
“Oops, sorry.” Hailey laughed while gently covering her mouth with her hand.
“Maybe you shouldn’t be in people’s way next time,” Claire spoke as she got close to my face.
My eyes widened with shock for a moment.
“Maybe Fletcher got tired of your shit and doesn’t want to come to school. Ever thought of that? Or are you too boy crazy to see how no one likes you? Which is it?” Hailey continued to speak with her arms folded together.
My eyebrows furrowed.
Claire was quick to notice, “Hailey, look. I made the little baby mad!”
While Claire was facing Hailey, I took the opportunity to punch her in the head.
Claire fell over and I sat on top of her stomach.
“I’ll get a teacher!” Hailey shouted before running out of the classroom.
The door slammed shut and I just kept on punching Claire as hard as I could. If Hailey was going to get me suspended I was going to give the school a damn good reason to suspend me.
I got a few good punches in before Claire latched onto my hair and flipped me over onto my back. She tried punching and scratching my face but I pushed her and it was at this point I realized that both of our faces were smeared with blood.
Claire started to heavily cry over our fight… I felt bad and I stopped fighting. Before I could try to apologize, the door swung wide open and it was no other than the principal, nurse, and Hailey.
Fuck my life.