Caleb Smith woke up at exactly 5:00 AM on Tuesday, March 26th to the sound of his alarm clock blaring.
Usually he wouldn’t get out of bed until an hour later, but today was different. Today was special. Today was his 16th birthday.
Caleb sprang out of bed and blindly grabbed a shirt, pants, underwear, and socks from his closet. He haphazardly put them on, then dashed across the hall to the bathroom, slamming the door behind him.
After squirting some toothpaste onto his toothbrush (and all over himself), he shoved the toothbrush in his mouth, moved it around for a few seconds, then spit the gloopy mixture from his mouth into the bathroom sink.
Caleb quickly washed off the bristles of his toothbrush, absentmindedly ran his fingers through his hair, and flew down the stairs.
“Hi, honey! Happy birthday! I can’t believe my little boy is almost grown up now,” his mother said, her eyes moist with tears. Caleb rolled his eyes. “You don’t have to worry, Ma, I’m not leaving you any time soon.”
“I love you so much, sweetheart!” Mrs. Smith said, wiping away the tears still prominently glistening on her face.
“Here’s your traditional birthday breakfast: pancakes, cereal, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, french toast, bagels, waffles, chocolate syrup, maple syrup, whipped cream, chocolate chips, and rainbow sprinkles all mixed together. Now, I personally don’t understand why you insist on having this garbage every year, but-”
Before Mrs. Smith could continue with her long winded lecture, Caleb snatched the concoction from her hands, grabbed his backpack, and ran out the back door, stuffing “this garbage” into his mouth.
“Bye, Ma! Love you! And for your information, this isn’t garbage, it’s a very important part of a diet for a growing boy like me,” he yelled with his mouth full. Mrs. Smith simply sighed.
Caleb, now with a full stomach, rushed to his favorite spot in the woods behind his house, and gingerly sat down. From this place he could see everything; the sun just beginning to rise, the towering trees, the formidable high school, and, most importantly, the neighboring houses.
After a while, a tall figure exited one of the houses and emerged into the forest. The figure looked directly at Caleb and flashed a blinding grin, then carefully made their way towards Caleb’s spot on the ground.
“Hi,” they said, again smiling brightly at Caleb. Caleb’s heart sped up.
Mark Baker was sitting right next to him. Mark Baker! The most popular guy at Lancaster High School. Of course he was, with his perfectly messy hair, tall frame, and beautiful smile.
God, that smile! Every time Caleb saw it he momentarily forgot how to breathe. Caleb couldn’t believe that Mark Baker-the Mark Baker!-was smiling at him. Sitting next to him. Talking to him.
Even though they sat next to each other in this spot every morning, Caleb still couldn’t get over it. No matter how many times it happened, he melted into a puddle every time he saw Mark.
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