Better Late Than Never

Written in response to: Write a story including the phrase “Better late than never”.... view prompt

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Christmas Sad Teens & Young Adult

It was at that moment I had begun questioning every decision made that led up to this moment.

God Jenna what the hell were you thinking!! I thought to myself.

I was completely and utterly mortified. This wasn't a fairytale or a Hollywood film production; I wasn't a model, I didn't have money, and I wasn't even sure if I had a personality at this moment. It's too bad I attempted to persuade myself differently. I should actually blame Mr. Whiskers. Curse that cute fluffy little kitten for instilling false confidence in my mind. What a fantastic way to begin my Christmas holiday, I thought. In retrospect, I'm not sure why I convinced myself that someone like him could be with someone like me. To be frank, he was the sort of man who would take cheerleaders out after a football game as I sat on the bleachers thinking about my AP Art History final.

I guess I'll simply have to attend another Walker family celebration without a date. With anyone to think about over the holidays, to talk to, or miss.

In retrospect, I suppose it's really unjust for me to be saving myself for someone who doesn't even know I exist. Of course, he is aware of my existence. But was he AWARE of my existence the way I was of him?

I’m Jenny. Just, Jumping Jellybean Jenny. 

He gave me the nickname in kindergarten after I stole too many of Mrs. Lovas' Halloween jellybeans. I wonder whether he still views me as that geeky little girl with two blonde locks, khakis, a knitted sweater vest, and light-up twinkle toes because I don't see him as a child. Our friendship evolved somewhere along the lines, at least for me. I found myself sitting in my dorm room every Friday night, wondering what he'd be doing that night or if I should get him a Christmas present this year. We had always exchanged Christmas gifts, but this year was different; it wasn't just a buddy getting him a gift. It's me, the dumb girl three doors down, falling in love with the one best friend she's ever known and humiliating herself by inviting him to come home with her and life in some fantasy world where they run off into the sunset and fall in love. 

UGHHH what the hell is wrong with me. I don’t know what possessed me to think that I should just come out and say that. I must’ve completely weirded him out, or WORSE. Ruined his entire winter break. 

Well, that might be a stretch, as I sat down I remembered that ever since his parents died in that car crash he hadn’t been the same around holidays, so realistically his break was already ruined. GREAT, now I’ve added to his pain and misery. I felt my skin getting warm, my heart rate began to rapidly increase. I felt my heart beating out of my chest, I felt sick. Completely and utterly sick to my stomach until I began zeroing in on the airports’ music system. 

I don't care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree

I just want you for my own

More than you could ever know

Make my wish come true

All I want for Christmas is you

I remember how he used to be during the holidays before everything transpired with his parents. I used to taunt him for being a Mariah Carey enthusiast. This was his favorite Christmas song out of all of them. The way his sandy blonde hair ruffled over his eyes and his dimples burst through his cheekbones as he leaped about singing this song put my stomach at peace. He was my best friend before things became awkward between us. He was always there for me, and I was always there for him. In a perfect world, after revealing my emotions for him and asking him to come home with me during Kasey's pre-winter break party, he would have reciprocated and told me that he's felt the same way for some time now, but he didn't say anything in the hopes of not jeopardizing our friendship. Unfortunately, bourbon and tequila can only take you so far, and after urging him to meet me at the airport if he felt the same way, I fled. I grabbed my white Loiu handbag, threw on my tope, and dashed out the door into my uber. My obnoxious retching diverted my attention away from the reality that I had just killed my one and only long-lasting friendship.

Flight 203 is now boarding. I snapped back into reality.

Yup, definitely not a paid Hollywood to film because I’m pretty sure he would have been here by now. My heart began to sink, this was really happening. I ruined it, I ruined our friendship, I ruined my break, I even ruined his, and I’d be going into the new year with this resentment. Maybe just five more minutes you never know. YEA, I’ll give it five more minutes. 

I opened my phone to check his location on IBuddy when a red alert popped up on my screen. 

*FRIEND HAS TURNED OFF THEIR LOCATION SINCE 1 AM* 

Tears welled up in my eyes; I'd never been in love before, and I didn't believe I'd ever be again.

Pain is a funny thing, they say it never truly goes away. This was something Id have to live with for my entire life. I accepted my faith.

Last Call, Flight 203 is boarding now.

I unplugged my phone charger, grabbed my iced chai vanilla, and slung my backpack over my shoulder. I couldn't help but glance back one final time, expecting to see him. I made my way to the boarding attendant as slowly as I could. They wouldn't have allowed me on the airplane if I had walked much slower. 

It was at this moment that I realized I needed to get out of this dream world; it was time to open my eyes and see things for what they were. I could have done without this heartbreaking experience, but at least I know where my limits are. It's better late than never, I suppose. Perhaps I needed to be reminded of this lesson.

I handed the attendant my ticket and began walking towards the entrance…

December 20, 2021 00:25

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2 comments

14:24 Jan 12, 2022

Oh Jenny! I felt for this young woman. First loves can be so utterly destroying! This story felt so raw I can’t help but wonder if it was based on a personal experience. You did a great job with the character’s internal monologue. Nice work Ashley!

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Ashley Hassan
20:29 Jan 31, 2022

I completely agree; first loves can be difficult, but they provide us with the necessary character development. Thank you so much for your support!

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