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Jan 16, 2021

Drama High School Friendship

“I can’t wait for Reed to take me to prom tonight!

“Who, again?”   

“Reed. Remember? I repeated his name, like, a million times. You may not have been listening very well. Or completely absorbed in that travel magazine.”

“I was…I was listening. Just not really familiar with the name ‘Reed’.”

“He’s been my boyfriend for a while now!”

“The guy you went out with last year. Is he datable?”         

“I celebrated my first year of high school prom with him!”

“Answer the question. Why do you date him?”

“How oblivious are you?”   

“I’m not. You are for dating a guy you don’t really know.”

“Reed’s a great guy. You should be—”

“Cecil. Is he the right guy for you? I mean, a gentleman?”  

“Yes!”

“So the guy’s really tall. I feel he uses that asset to always look around himself, like he’s not interested in what you have to say.”

“Dad! You can’t pull that on him! He’s great to look up to. He’s funny and selfless. He’s always—”

“Looking at his phone. Interrupting you about—”

“You’re interrupting me—”

“And you me! Dad, I don’t understand why he’s such a bad guy.”

“I just don’t want you to keep dating a guy who’s not interested in you.”

“He is. He just has his ways. It’s who he is.”

“Well, he’s not the most selfless guy around.”

“No, but he buys me flowers. And gum. And candy. Especially on Valentine’s Day. Last year he did.”

“Cecil, does he open the passenger door for you? Does he hold the door for you? Does he pay for the dinner? Does he see your inner beauty as a woman, or just physical beauty?”

“Well, he…”

“Cecil, you need to look closely at his attitude. Is he always talking to you, or on the phone? He’s not supposed to be thanking you for dinner after you give the waiter or waitress your check. How is he the guy you may marry one day?”

“He does buy me flowers. He has bought me a bouquet of gorgeous roses.”

“But did he buy them with his best buddies, or alone with you in mind?”

“He bought them with Stan and Lane. What’s wrong with that?”

“He’s supposed to be confident. Not some guy who needs to impress his friends.”

“Lane said I deserved them after doing well on a test. Stan said because the pink complemented my favorite shirt. Reed chuckled…laughed actually.”

“What I thought.”

“Dad, don’t be so pessimistic.”

“Uh-huh—”

“It sounds like he’s here!”

“Hey, Reed! Thanks for picking me up.”

 “Yeah—hold on. Yeah, sure. Sorry. I had a text. Lane wants to meet us at McDonald’s. Let’s go!”

“Okay!”

“Hey, guys!”

“Hey, Lane! Sorry we’re late.”   

“How are you, Cecil?”

“Doing well! Looks so cozy here.”

“It does. Can I get you anything to eat or drink, Reed?”

“Sure. A Quarter Pounder sounds awesome right now.”

“Hey, Cecil, sit over here. I got fresh, juicy burgers and hot fries ready for you. Yours will be up in a little while, Reed.”

“Oh—take my credit card.”

“Just ten bucks. Not much, man.”

“Okay. Here’s ten. Thanks!”

 “Cecil, let me scoot you in—there you go. Now, do you want a drink with that? Pepsi, Coke, lemonade?” 

“I’ll have water, thank you.”

“Sure!”

“Cecil, you always get Lemonade. Why the change?”

“Oh. I want to watch what I eat and drink now.”

“So why are we here? I thought you wanted to lose some weight—”

“Reed—let’s go outside, okay?”

“Sure.”

“Cecil, your drink will be here when you’re ready.”

“Thanks so much, Lane!”

“Uh-huh!”

“Cecil, what’s going on? I thought…”

“Well, I’m changing the way I view my diet. Is that okay?”

“Yeah. It’s just you change—”

“We all do.”

“Yeah, but—”

“Let’s go back inside and have fun before the big night!”

“Okay.”

“So when’s the prom?”

“It’s in two hours. Let’s chill until quarter of eight. Reed—your order’s ready.”

“Thanks!”

”Mm.”

“Hey, Reed. You okay?”

“Yeah—”

“Reed—what’s wrong? Is it the burger?”

“I…think…I’ll be back.”

“What?”

“Dude, what’s—”

“I’m going to the bathroom. It’s okay—just a minor stomachache.”

“If you say so.”

“Hey, Lane, thanks for buying my food and drink. I...never really had this service done.”

“What do you mean?”

“I… Reed’s always—”

“I know you’ll think me weird, but Reed’s not the best guy for you.”

“You know I’ve been going out with him for a while.”

“So? Haven’t you ever noticed how selfish he’s been? He never compliments you. He always makes you get in by yourself—”

“Well…”

“Come on, Cecil. You can’t be that blind. I don’t want you to be miserable at the prom—”

“Hey. I’m back. What’s going on?”

“Oh—just some things I wanted to discuss with Cecil.”

“#343!”

“Sorry—still hungry!”

“Lane, I’m his girlfriend. You can’t change that about me.”

“You should see what’s real.”

“What reality?”

“Hold on. Yo, Reed, could you get me an extra Coke?”

“Yeah.”

“Thanks!”

“Anyway, all I’m saying is not everyone is as they seem.”

“Okay…”

 “Here you go, Lane.”

“That’s right! Oh—could you get me another burger? Man, I didn’t eat lunch or dinner today. Do you mind? Here—five, no, ten dollars. It’s for the cashier.”

“I know that.”

“Thanks. You okay, Cecil?”

“I’m just talking to my dad. He’s concerned about me. He’s told me I’m going to prom with a guy he doesn’t feel so sure about—relationship-wise.”  

“Here, let me see the texts.”

Hey Cecil. Want you to know you’re more deserving than this relationship. I just want to see how everything’s going, okay? Hope you’re having fun.

Thanks, Dad!

“Hm.”

“It’s my decision. Geez, Lane.”

“Just saying.”

“Your burger, Your Majesty. Anything else?”

“That’ll be all.”

“Cool! So, Cecil—?”

“Hey, Lane, I’d like to get to the prom early. If it’s alright with you, I’d like to help set up.”

“Well, that’s their job, Cecil.”

“We can help, too. We’re not the kings and queens—”

“We are tonight!”

“Yeah…but, we’re not, like, actually royalty.”

“Sure we could be. Homecoming queen and king.”

“We couldn’t be even if—”

“Guys, let’s just get there early. No harm done. Actually, we’ll be doing everyone else a favor.”

“Hm-mm. Sure, Cecil. Whatever you say.”   

“I’ll meet you guys there.”

“See you!”

“You know, Cecil, I’ve never seen you talk to Lane that much. You were quite the chatterbox!”

“Oh, Reed! I should’ve asked. Were you okay?”

“Kind of late to ask that, right? Besides, don’t dodge the question.”

“I just want to make you feel better.”

“You would if you’d asked before.”

“What kind of question is that?”

“Let’s just dance the night away. Besides, it was just one incident.”

“No—you could’ve been sick.”

“I was fine.”

“Reed—you’re always trying to get out of situations—”

“Hey guys! Right over here!”  

“Hello! Thanks for showing up early. You here to help?”

“You got it! Come on, Reed. Let’s start over here with this big circular table.”

“Sir—let me help you with that!”

“Mmph! Thanks...”

“Lane.”

 “So, you guys go here?”

“Yeah…we’re students here. Come on, Reed, help me unstack these chairs. They’re pretty heavy!”

“Well, I was asking because you’re among hundreds of kids. I mean, I’ve never heard of a huge private school before. Don’t you have a lot of students here?”

“Let me take those two for you, Cecil. But yes, it’s pretty big for a private school. Are you new around here?”

“Been living halfway across the country for over two decades now.”

“Wow! Where?”

“Colorado.”

“Welcome. Give me a hand with these other tables, would you, Lane?”

“Coming right over. That’s great you’ve come all the way to Redding, California. You new here to the school, or just around the area?”

“The area. I’m volunteering to set up.”

“Don’t work here?”

“Reed!”

“Just asking.”

“It’s okay. No, I don’t. I’m looking for a job.”

“Work here! It’s a great place for those looking to be a gym teacher or drama instructor.”

“I don’t like huge schools.”

“No mobs of students will ever intimidate you.”

“Oh okay. Thanks, Lane!”

“Lane, I need to talk to you. Let’s sit over here.”

“See?”  

“What?”

“It doesn’t take long to see someone’s faux personality.”

“Lane! Reed’s a great guy. He’s just in high school for now.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Please trust me.”

“And you can be trusted?”

“Yeah, I can help Reed see his own mistakes. I help him all the time. Remember when—”

“You can?”

“You think I can’t?”

“Cecil, look around you. You’re in this I-can-solve-everything world. You’ve been that way since last year. When I took you to McDonald’s to get acquainted with my friend and your new friend, Georgie, I felt you were just kind of following Reed around. He’s your prom date, so—”

“So he’s a good dancer! He can—”

“Cecil, step back a bit. What does he do other than dance and text on his phone?”

“He can…”

“Does he drive you around, or does he initially bring you somewhere romantic? Does he go on and on about something, or does he talk about important things? Is he fun? Or do you feel he’s just leading you around, making sure you’re not bored or frustrated or disinterested?”

“He brings me places. Besides, you’re sounding like my Dad.”

“Like where? I invited you guys to McDonald’s, remember?”

“He watches movies with me.”

“Terribly acted chick flicks—”

“Look, he watches out for me and takes me places. Isn’t that enough? Why are you so intent on seeing whether your friend can also be my boyfriend?”

“Cecil! I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Whew! What a dance. Why are you guys in the dark? Ha, get it?”

“Reed—Lane’s a jerk.”

“Talking about me.”

“Yeah, he is.”

“Well, let’s dance. I’ll talk to him later.”

“Please do!”

“Hey, Reed, could we dance slow?”

“It’s a new song! We got to dance—”

“Could we dance the way we should?”

“This one time.”

“Remember this song?”

“Yeah!”

“You like this one?”

“Sh! Listen.”

“I don’t like this one, Cecil.”

“Come on—”

“You come on—”

“Just—”

“No, I got a better idea. We can….go like this!”

“No, Reed! We’re supposed to dance like everyone else!”

“It’s okay!”

“No—”

“You n’ me!”

“Everyone’s looking now! We’re not supposed to do this. Everyone’s glaring at us now. Let’s stop before it’s too late—”

“Too late for what?”

 “No! When I say I don’t want to dance a certain way, you can do so. I don’t want to.”

“Cecil, remember last year? Remember? We had a blast.”

“Yeah, well, we’re supposed to dance the right way. Let’s be weird some time later.”

“This time is our sometime later.”

“This once.”

“Great!”

“Reed—I’m glad you’re really enjoying yourself, but it’d be great if you’d listen.”

“I take dancing lessons just down the road.”

“Hm.”

“What?”

“I said, ‘hm.’”

“Can’t hear you over the awesome music!”

“It’s slow and drawn-out!”

“What?”

“Never mind!”

“Man, that was fun!”

 “You know what, Reed?”

“Didn’t like the song suddenly? You must’ve liked it when I swung you around on the floor—”

“Reed, I don’t like when you embarrass me. I thought it was fun swinging around, but everyone else shuffles away, glaring at us.”

“What do you mean? We were just having the time of our lives! You can’t just stop liking a song just because I want to dance a certain way. I am who I am. And you can’t change that about me. I can’t change you, but would you lighten up a little? It’s just a dance routine, and you’re not having fun. If you’re not, who will? I have no one else but you. Why can’t you have a little fun?”

“We’re ruining everyone’s dance! Look—just because it’s okay with you, doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it, too. I want to have fun, but not when we shouldn’t.”

“Well, I thought you wanted to. Besides, you kept saying—”

“This once. I just want to have fun with you. And that means maybe we’ll stop. Because it’s not fun for everyone else. It’s just fun for you. Well, you’re not always the star of the show. Sometimes, you need to make room for others, you know? You can pretty much ruin others’ fun.”

“So I’m boring.”

“No—stop just saying things. You’re not making sense.”

“Cecil. What are you even talking about?”

“I’m saying that we can’t just do what we want all the time!”

“I thought you were having a great time.”  

“I did. Until you feel the need to embarrass me in front of everyone. It’s not fun when you push your wants and needs in front of my own.”

“When have I done that?”

“Since we got here.”

“Yeah, man. You’ve—”

“You two…don’t talk to me!”

“Really, Reed?”

“Why? You two haven’t.”

“For a good reason—”  

“Reed, I don’t have to agree with you all the time. I’m different.”

“The way you just talk about me, I kind of—no, I wish I never went to this school!”

“Reed! Let’s talk outside.”

“Shut up, Cecil! Don’t even think about it, Lane!”

“Bye.”

“Later.”

“Dad, I-I’m home.”

“Hey! How did—everything okay, Cecil? You’re in tears.”

“I…I don’t understand how or why Reed—”

“Cecil, you need to ditch him.”

“But he’s better than anyone I’ve ever dated.”

“Cecil, stop making excuses. You need to think about some things.”

“I don’t need another lecture!”

“Dad—”

“I want to talk to you—”

“He said he actually doesn’t have much interest in me except to date me. He told me I’m not like the girls he’s liked and dated back in his hometown of Ohio. The other girls were dating him, did everything with him—whether they wanted to. We talked, and he said that he wants to move back. He also hates school. He hates our school’s field trips and assemblies. I encouraged him to talk to our principal, but he just keeps deleting my texts.”

“You guys talked?”

“We’re just fighting. He’s talking to his parents about moving back.”

“I thought—”

“Dad, he told me I’m not like those girls back in Ohio. I’m not ‘dateable.’ That I don’t get it.”

“What’d Lane have to say?”

“He was upset because he said Reed isn’t respecting me. A guy should be courteous, thoughtful and love his significant other. If Lane is his friend, why is Reed a jerk?”

“He’s the guy who wants to dress to impress. No wonder he wants to move.”

“He wouldn’t if we wouldn’t just argue!”

“Cecil, you can’t convince people you’re right. No one can. Maybe one day he’ll see you as more than just ‘dateable’.”

“I’ve told him—”

“Maybe in ten years, when he’s matured, he’ll date you—for real.”

“You think?”

“I know.”

“Do you miss him, Lane?”

“You do?”

“It sounds like he just likes the term ‘girlfriend’.”

 “Some people have to go.”

“I think it’s just a fun thing for him, the dating and all. It’s just a game.”

“I’m so sorry!”

 “Why’d you befriend him anyway?”

“Because I wanted to reach out. Like I’ve always done with new students.”

“If he’s…never mind. I can’t judge.”

“Nope!”

 “He seemed like such a great guy. If only we could see eye to eye.”

“That’s great for you. But maybe it was because we were his only friends.”

 “And he didn’t want us. He’s moved back. Let’s move on.”

“Let’s email him. We can still keep in touch. We can help him understand true friendship.”

“You know, I envy your thoughtfulness, Cecil. You see others as important as they are. In other words, still tries to help despite how they treat you. I might want to try that.”

“Oh?”

“I reach out and then I push people away when they’re weird.”

“Oh. Well, let’s hope he’ll understand that we’re just trying to help.”

“Lane! Want to read? Or shall I say, ‘Reed’?”

“Very funny.”  

 “He’s going to want to come back.”

“You think?”

“I know!”     

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