“Lily,” Luna fumes. “I’m gonna kill you.”
Lily only giggles because she savvies what a helpless situation Luna is trapped in.
Luna glares at her mirror which was posited in her locker. Luna’s reflection gazes back at her. She’s the most popular girl in school. It’s obvious. Gorgeous, thick blond hair that reaches down to her waist, big blue eyes that catches everyone’s attention, flawless skin and taffy pink lips that looks like a heart.
Being popular is more complicated than people ascertained. Like when people expect you to be a certain way, act a certain way. Ignore and bully nerdy people, wear chic outfits, pursue potential boyfriends. SO MANY RULES! It made Luna who she’s not. Luna hated that. But crucially, the restrictions sometimes get her in a pickle. Like presently. Luna’s stipulated to ask out the nerdiest guy in the school, Elijah in front of the whole school, since she lost a bet to Lily.
“Have fun!” Lily says cheerfully. She races away.
Awesome. Just awesome.
It physically hurts to be lonely. To have no friends. Especially in high school.
Elijah ambled towards the exit door of the high school. People bustled around him, but they ignored Elijah. If they rarely paid attention to him, it was bad news. Like run away screaming bad news. Popular, tough guys pursued you to beat you up, and girls come to bully and taunt you about what a computer nerd you are.
What’s wrong with being adequate in computers? Absolutely nothing! If Thomas Edison hadn’t invented technology, the world would’ve been eminently divergent. Nobody would’ve been able to take selfies! The world should’ve been encouraging intelligent people who can change the world for better, not the opposite. Who knew how different the world would’ve been if everyone had supported people with potential?
Elijah sighs. Just him and his thoughts. Elijah wished people would know what he’s thinking.
“Hey,” a familiar voice greets.
Elijah’s head snaps up and his umber eyes dilate. Luna stands before him, looking as irritatingly hot as ever. She said hi to him. Unless she was talking to the foul trashcan beside Elijah. A few adolescents stare at us questioningly, as if wondering why the most popular girl in the school is talking to the most nerdiest guy in the school. For the first time in forever, he had something in common with them.
“Hi Elijah,” Luna says, confirming that she’s acknowledging me, not the trashcan.
Any other guy would’ve gone starry-eyed, but not Elijah. Not after all that has happened.
Elijah narrows his eyes. “What do you want?”
Luna glances at the exit door as if she would’ve sacrificed anything to run to it and get outta here.
Finally, she says, “I was wondering if you wanted to hang out. Maybe go to the mall or something.”
Elijah blinks, stunned. Okay, the moldy pizza Elijah had ingurgitated had somehow affected his brain and he’d gone into Dream Land. Or maybe he’d passed out from sheer boredom and gone into coma.
“Uhh….um…I…um..” Agh, where did all his vocabulary go?! Finally, Elijah manages to ask, “Are you asking me out on a date?”
Luna turns crimson. ‘Yes.”
Now, everyone in the hallway is gawking at us. The hallway is so silent, we would hear a pin drop.
Elijah’s mouth acts expeditiously and says, “No. I’m not going on a date with you.”
Luna squeezes her eyes shut in a humiliated way. “Please?”
Now it’s his turn to gasp with everyone. This was one of the most bizarre things that’d happened in this school.
Only because he condolences her, Elijah says, “Yeah. Okay.”
It. Was. So. Humiliating.
Agh! Luna hated Lily for making her do this and Luna hated herself even more for cooperating. Luna constantly annoys herself like that. She would’ve rather ate all her Grandma’s famous burnt biscuits she always bakes to drive Luna crazy than be in this unfortunate situation.
Anyways, it turns out, we got ice cream and sat implicitly on a bench, alongside an imposing beach. Elijah sat as far as he could from Luna and she’s obliged. The beach’s turquoise water shimmered and one wave followed an another, creating a pulchritudinous melody that chased each other like heartbeats. The atmosphere hung of an invigorating, autumn breeze that cooled you from head to toe. (It’s patently a pleasant change from the hours of smelling the odor of teenage boys who hadn’t discovered the wonder of underarm deodorant). From the distance, palm trees awashed the foreshore, all in different shapes and sizes, like they couldn’t detect a congenial place to reside. Exiguous, exotic birds sporadically warbled in the distance. It’s an aesthetic day.
Elijah licks his butterscotch ice cream and a breeze tousled his hazel hair. He’s really adorable in his own way. “So...why did you really ask me out? Tell me the truth.”
Luna sighs. “I lost a bet.”
If someone had informed Luna that they asked her out on a date because they lost a bet, she’ll be discountenanced and discomposed, but Elijah only shrugs and gazes at the foreshore. Unlike Luna, it’s like he’s used to having people disappoint and hurt him. It’s really not fair. If Luna wasn’t as gorgeous as she is now, would people still treat her the same?
Luna starts, “Elijah, I’m-”
“Don’t,” he interrupts.
She was conscious of the humongous hoodie he’d wore before we arrived at the beach, like he was attempting to put as much as space between them as possible. Even if the hoodie made him look like an alien aluminum can that nobody knew what to do with.
Luna licks her half melted chocolate ice cream and the chocolaty, sapid sweetness dissolves on her tongue, relaxing her tensed muscles. Luna smiles, but it instantaneously dissolved. It’s not fair that she gets to be cheerful when she knows how much desolation she’d caused Elijah.
The silence became so suffocating, Luna had to glance at Elijah and comment, “You know, in preschool, you used to eat ice cream starting with the cone.”
Elijah snorts. “A lot has changed since preschool. You should know that.”
And he wasn’t just talking about ice cream.
Luna glances at the sand. Those diminutive things that make up something so immense. “Remember when we made a sandcastle together in second grade?”
Elijah’s mouth curves upwards, like he desires to smile, but doesn’t remember how. “You were horrible at it. I had to keep attempting to teach you.”
“But you never gave up on me,” Luna says softly.
“Oh, I gave up on you a long while ago,” Elijah murmurs flatly.
That stung more than she’d anticipated, but she deserved it. Luna deserved so much more. We used to be best friends. When Luna and Elijah were in elementary school, people said we were inseparable. It was apt, since we almost did everything together. Then we slowly drifted apart in middle school, when people begun caring about money and appearance. There was an enormous chasm between us and we were on opposite sides. She started to see him so less often, Elijah’s been having tea with mummies in Egypt for the past few years for all she knew. Though there was still hope for us. We could’ve become friends again if Luna hadn’t messed everything up.
There were every days. So often Luna saw adolescent boys beating up Elijah because he was intelligent, and she could’ve stopped them with just one dirty look, but she didn’t. Luna let them assault Elijah. Why hadn’t she ever stuck up for him? Why? Perhaps she desired to maintain her reputation, or perhaps Luna wanted to pretend we were never friends in the first place. It’s probably the latter. Worse yet, she’d shunned him when Elijah’d attempting to talk to her like everyone else.
There was this bubbling guilt inside Luna that she never figured out how to get rid of.
I perpetuated consuming the ice cream to divert me from crying. Why hadn’t I ever said sorry? Was I such a sinister person? I could confess now, but I was afraid he would shun me this time.
Elijah’d devoured his whole ice cream and so had Luna. We perched in an uncomfortable, drowning silence. Luna seems different now. More taciturn, unlike in school, where she‘s inevitably smiling and acting perfect.
A turbulent gale whipped past us, messing up Luna’s hair. It made her look even prettier. He quickly shoved that thought away as expeditiously as he could because it did not make sense.
Luna kept opening and closing her mouth like a fish out of water.
It was so disturbing, Elijah ultimately questioned, “Something wrong?”
“No...yes.” Luna burst into tears.
Whoa. Okay, that was unexpected. Elijah’d never distinguished her crying before and substantially, he never thought he would do something to make his first date sob. I blinked a negligible times, irresolute what to do. What was a guy supposed to do when a girl beside him starts crying? Run way screaming or console her? Probably the latter, but I just sat there, watching the seagulls do their revolting business.
Luna whispers, “I am sorry. I am so, so sorry.” She wipes away her tears and looks at me ,sorrowful. “I know how awful I was to you, and now I feel awful. I really didn’t mean to hurt you. I’m sorry.”
Elijah inhaled a shaky breath. There had been a nagging question he couldn’t obliterate. “Why did you act the way you acted?”
Luna hugged herself. “Because I was scared, Elijah. I was scared to be your friend.”
Elijah laughed bitterly. “Because you were afraid your indefectible friends would find out your measly secret? Were you ashamed of me?”
“No. I am never ashamed of you,” Luna repudiates. “And it wouldn’t bother me if anyone comprehended that we’re friends. It’s just..I was affrighted of what would happen if we met after so much time apart. I just wanted to cherish the past moments we had of each other. You are my friend. I mean..if you want to be friends and you don’t radically hate me.”
In the distance, the autumn leaves on the trees susurrate, and a juncture, harmonious breeze blows towards us. Elijah whispers, “Sure, I’m disappointed and galled at you, but I don’t hate you you. I’m sorry too. I should’ve attempted harder to reconnect.”
Luna licks her ice cream stained fingers. Elijah almost smiles. She adored doing that when she was a tot. He’s guessing it wouldn’t appear sterling if she did that in front of her other friends. I’m contended she can be herself when she’s with me.
“I guess we both messed up,” Luna remarks.
“Yeah,” Elijah agrees.
The ice between us had myriad interstices in it, but it didn’t shatter. We contemplated at the circumambients in silence. We can convey quantities of things without enunciating. This is unequivocally not how Elijah visualized his first date, but if it meant reconnecting with an old friend, then it was emphatically worth it.
Luna catechized, “Remember the game called Hzoko you coded? It was really awesome. People should know apprehend it. If you want, only if you want, I could get people to know about it. The credit will be all to you of course .”
It would be pleasurable if people appreciated him. “Yeah, that’s an awesome idea.”
Luna smirks at him. “Come on, just admit that I’m a genius.”
Elijah’s lips curve upwards. “Maybe if you’re not too annoying.”
Luna clutches her heart and stares at him in a fake offended way. “How dare you, telling me to stop being annoying. Annoying is my trademark, genius boy.”
For the first time in years, Elijah laughs. A deep, bubbling sound erupts, until both him and Luna are doubled over in hysterical convulsions, while strangers and gulls shoot them “sheesh, these teens are crazy ” looks. Typical.
Subsequently, our chortles subside.
“Elijah,” Luna divulges, “there is something I should confess. Numerous people had asked me to be their best friend. But I always declined. Because even then, I considered you as my best friend. And you are.”
Elijah simpers. “You’re my friend, Luna. I should’ve said that sooner. Luna, there’s something I should confess too. I lied when I claimed that I gave up on you. I never did.”
Luna bites her lip ambivalently. “Even though I deserved it. I know I apologized before but I desiderate say it anew. I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”
Elijah verbalizes, “I will if you do the same.”
Luna beams. “Deal.”
And just like that, the ice between us ultimately shatters.
“This is probably gonna cause a ton of drama at school, isn’t it?” Elijah scrutinizes at Luna. “Won’t it bother you if people saw us together?”
Luna shakes her head. “No. I used to care about things like that, but I’m over it.”
The autumnal leaves recommence cascading. When he was a tot, he hated it when the leaves departed. The trees had always felt depressing and isolated. But now he savvied that change is necessary in a life cycle.
Elijah asks, “It’s an exquisite day to build a sandcastle, isn’t it?”
His eyes lock with her quintessential blue eyes. Luna grins. “You want to build a sandcastle, don’t you?”
Luna scoots closer and entwines her fingers with his. “I’m in, genius boy.”
This is her first date and she wouldn’t change it one bit.
Elijah beams at her and Luna makes a mental note to thank Lily for making her go out with this astounding, talented boy. Together, they race to the beach, laughing.