“Process this however you need to process this.”
“I think I'm going to need 3-5 business days.”
“Look, you can take all the time that you need, but that will not change what happened.”
“But we are children!”
“You are in your twenties, and I'm not that much younger than you.”
“But still…” I thought for a moment, “ Do you like him?”
“Yes. very much.”
“I want you to know that I am very happy for you.” I tried to let the subject pass.
Billie was my closest friend, and I wanted the best for her. Even if that meant I had to accept this boy she was introducing into our lives. Technically, he was already part of our lives, that’s how they met. Jason moved about a year ago. He came to stay with family and he never really left. And now I fear he will never leave.
“Have you talked to him?” Billie’s words snapped me out of thought
“No. Well technically he hasn’t talked to me.”
“He hasn’t?” She starts to look worried
“I think he is actively trying to avoid me.” I confess
“But he…” I can tell Billie was starting to get mad
“I know. Well I actually don’t know. He… it doesn’t matter. This has happened before, we’ll become friends again and pretend that nothing happened.” I sigh and look into the distance, “a few people told me he was going through something, but no one has given a clear indication of what it is. But I know this too will pass.” I take a deep breath.
“I think I may know, but I’m not sure if I should tell you.” Billie’s eyes scrunched with concern, “I feel like it’s his truth to tell.”
“Does it concern me?”
“Will I be devastated if I find out from someone else?” I ask, worried the answer would be my biggest fear
“Probably.” Billie confesses
“Then. I would like to know. Because even if it’s his secret…”
Billie cuts me off, “it’s not really a secret if everyone already knows.”
“Yep. I’m surprised you don’t know.”
“…” I look at her confused, “ ok, well, I don't know. But in this case, it does kind of concern me too, because it involves my feelings. Even if he doesn’t know.”
“He asked someone out.” Billie blurted out
“What?” My voice starts to crack
“Yeah. He um.” She stumbles on her words
“Who was it?” I asked quietly
“I don’t think it matters.”
“Billie. Who was it?” I can hear my voice getting louder.
“It was Amber.”
“What?” I try my best to not cry
“Yea. It happened at Genesis’ graduation party.”
“At the-” my voice cracks again, “the graduation. Genesis’ graduation? That was two months ago!” I try my best to stay calm. “When did you find out?”
“Jason told me about it the day after.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Look Noah asked out Amber and she rejected him.”
“We’ll no duh, he’s not her type.” My voice gets louder.
I can feel the glances from people around us
“And Jason just so happened to be there when it happened. He told me that Noah was devastated and started to cry. So he stayed to comfort him.”
“Billie, why didn’t you tell me?!”
“I honestly thought you knew.”
“You know what happened afterward.” I start to get defensive. “You know how he treated me that night and the day after. You knew. You knew how he made me confused. You knew.” I can feel a tear roll down my face.
Billie comes over to my side of the booth to comfort me. More like hide my face from the people around us.
I tried my best to concentrate on my surroundings.
I can smell the freshly brewed coffee from the machines at the counter. I can also hear the ring of the cash register.
I feel the glances of the people who most likely witnessed the scene I just caused.
I snap back to reality.
“I can’t believe it. He’s such a jerk.”
I must’ve been thinking out loud, because I hear Billie’s voice in my ear, “Well this is something
I’ve been telling you for years.”
“I’m going to kill him.”
I finally managed to stop crying.
“Like literally..?” She sounded hopeful
“I-I don’t know.” I start to stutter, “I- I think I need a few days… yeah, I’m going to need a few days to process this.”
The few days turned into a couple a weeks.
Weeks of me reliving every moment I was with Noah for the last 5 years.
When Noah’s family first moved to the area every girl I knew went crazy for him. Which was understandable since we hadn’t seen a boy our age for a long time.
He was 14 and stood at 4 foot 11.
I was already in high school and stood at 5 foot 4 when he moved, so I didn’t see why all the girls would surround him.
What I did notice was his younger sister, Jo.
In contrast to her brother, none of the girls really paid attention to her.
At the time I hadn’t noticed how far basic human kindness could go a long way. One basic question about her day, and we instantly clicked.
Very soon Jo became one of my closest friends. Even with the age difference, we managed to find things we had in common. At some point we adopted another friend, Genesis, and became a trio. I was the oldest, but with them, it didn’t seem to matter. Eventually our families became so close we ended up going on vacations together.
And that when things started getting out of hand.
I had gotten into a fight with one of Noah’s cousins. We grew up together, so our history wasn’t the best. More like I found his cousin annoying and I didn’t know how to hide it.
I ended up saying some mean things to him, and Noah took it personally.
When we went on vacation, Noah refused to acknowledge me. He didn’t talk to me for the entire week. Which I didn't know at the time, but this was going to a pattern that he followed with me for years.
At the time, I didn’t really have feelings for him. I just felt bad because he was my friend. I was going to apologize to him and his cousin, mostly because I wanted him to forgive me and we could move on, but I never got around to it.
I was super stressed one night about the whole situation that I had the weirdest dream.
A dream so weird, I thought it was a good idea to tell Jo and Genesis.
One decision I learned to regret. They teased me about it for years.
The dream was so weird and vivid, it made me question my feelings.
That beach vacation marks the date I started feeling something different for Noah.
After that, everything he did was charming. My favorite thing about him was his smile.
God. I hate his smile
The way his face lit up when he had a “good” idea.
Or when he got excited and said something dumb.
Every happy memory I had of him was tainted. Everything made me happy and sad.
Why did it have to be Amber? It could’ve been literally any other girl. Why did he have to choose Amber?