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Drama American Coming of Age

Last day of Summer

I wake up and it’s the morning before my first day of school. No, it’s not my first time and it’s not my last. I’ve always wondered why it’s called “first day of school” when it is just a recurring thing until you graduate. Maybe, in a sense it signifies a new year and a new grade. But, does it all really ever change? I walk to my closet to pick out my clothes. People who live in the present call it the “last day of summer”, and people who live for the future call it “first day eve.” I take out my phone and go over my to-do lists before school starts. 

  • Pack supplies in backpack
  • Pick first day outfit
  • Go to the lake with Reese and Luca for one last time
  • Have dinner with friends and family
  • One last bonfire of the summer and treehouse hangout

Reese and Luca are my best friends and we have grown up with each other since their parents moved to the house next to ours when we were toddlers. This year was different though. Reese and Luca are going to be seniors but they won’t be home. Instead, their last year of high school will be on a sponsored trip to New York, where they got scholarships to their dream schools. Meaning, they are leaving me all alone in our small town Leavenworth, Washington. I am in my junior year which means I have to be alone for two years. Things won’t be the same with them going to NYC and me being alone. I am transitioning from girlhood to womanhood, and I have noticed that the boys have grown too. In fact, I have a painful crush on Reese. The worst part is he doesn't see me as a pretty girl, he sees me as a little sister. They love to tease me and ruffle my feathers.

 My mother walks in and smiles softly,

“My darling girl, you have grown up so much! Breakfast is done, it’s your favorite sausages, eggs, and fluffy pancakes. Go eat before you run along with the boys.” She says as she leads me to the kitchen island that has been through many years. Sitting down, I gladly accept the plate of food as I thank her and dig in. My dad walks in from the living room and kisses the side of my head as he walks behind my mom and embraces her. They have this loving relationship that has set my standards above the roof. He turns around and says,

“Good morning, Willow. You woke up quite early considering it’s your last day. What is on today’s agenda, duckling?” I swallow my food and answer, 

“Preparing for school, hanging with the boys, and the bonfire dinner.” I ate the last bite and went to clean my dish. I look over my shoulder and say,

“Thanks Mama, it was delicious.” She replies,

“Of course, baby. Enjoy your day.” I threw out a thanks before running out the house and onto the lake. Sitting by the rocks I close my eyes and listen to music. The pleasant tune and cool breeze that perfectly contrasted the warm sun and the sound of waves.

“You know you should be more careful, you don’t know who could come up behind you.” I jolt and turn around giving my best glare.

“I will have you know that I am very careful, Reece.” He shrugs and Luca throws his arm over my shoulder and says,

“Now Willy, we know you weren’t. No need for hostility.” I elbow him and throw my phone into my towel and kick off my sandals. 

“Last to the spot has to help cook!” I slip out of my cover up and dive inside the crisp waters. They exclaim,

“Hey! That’s not fair!!!” They dive after me as I have a head start.

I take a deep breath and plunge into the darkness of the lake. Swimming down towards the opening I see the light that just barely shines through and climb out of the pool of water.

Seconds later big splashes are made when they swim from under the cave entrance. 

“You are a cheater, Willy.” Luka says as he sits next to me as Reese emerges from the water.

“Wow, a classic move, Siren.” Reese sighs and leans on my shoulder. The nickname gives me butterflies. I can’t help but start to reminisce, knowing that once we leave here it could be our very last time. I start to sniffle and they both glance at me and Reece asks,

“What's got you crying? Aw, we love you too pre-...pre-schooler.” I breathe out and respond,

“This could be our last time here together.” They exchange a glance as Luka speaks up,

“Of course, it’s the last day of summer. We will have next year though.” I mutter a small,

“Yeah.” Tears start to gather and I abruptly get up and say, 

“I am going to go read my book. Are you guys going to the bonfire dinner later tonight?” I pause as they say, 

“Uh, we should be. Have to pack a few more things for the early flight tomorrow.” I hum and walk toward my spot. Odd, they would usually agree instantly but I guess they are super excited.  We spend a couple of hours there before I go home to finish my list. 

  • Pack supplies in backpack
  • Pick first day outfit
  • Go to the lake with Reese and Luca for one last time
  • Have dinner with friends and family
  • One last bonfire of the summer and treehouse hangout

The day has gone by super quick and I can’t seem to comprehend that my summer is almost over. In just a mere two hours it becomes the next day, and marks the end of summer. It is the end of a chapter and the start of a new one. I sit down on the log by the fire while I wait for everyone to come settle. I glance at my watch and I can’t help but feel upset by each second that passes. The boys said they would make it to the last dinner and bonfire but once we do some smores the night is over. I wanted to hangout by the treehouse but they aren’t here. My mom comes and sits down besides me and says,

“Looking for the boys? Try checking their house. They might’ve gone to bed early.” I get up and walk over to their house and I knock for about five seconds before it gets answered. I glance up and Reese is staring down at me in surprise. I cross my arms and ask, 

“What’s up with you guys? I thought you said you were gonna come. I texted you guys and you didn’t respond.” He sighs and responds,

“The truth is, we are leaving now. We don’t have time for some silly bonfire and hangout. We are almost adults now, so we should act like it. Our flight is in five hours. The closest airport is about two hours away.” Tears start to gather in the corners of my eyes as I turn and choked a sob,

“You didn’t think to tell me? I would’ve understood! You had me looking like a fool staring at my phone waiting on you guys.” 

“No one asked you to!!! Stop making this about you, we just wanted to leave quickly and forgot to tell you.” 

“Fine. Forget it! Hope you enjoy your time in New York City. Sorry I wasn’t important enough for you to tell me the truth.” I turn and he calls out, 

“Wait! I’m sorry Willow. Come back I am just stressed. Please don’t leave us like this!” I scoff and continue my walk and yelled out, 

“No, don’t blame this on me. It was you who wanted to leave first.” Tears start to stream down my face as I try to quiet my weeping. I ran to my room and shut the door and stuffed my face into my pillow. Was the whole time we have been friends fake? God, I must’ve looked like a desperate fool. For years? This is what I put so much time into? I sent a quick text to my mom saying I am going to bed early and goodnight. I turn my phone on sleep mode and set my alarms for tomorrow. 

The News

I wake up the next day and get ready for school by myself. Today is Friday, meaning the weekend is coming. My parents are still asleep as I sneak out quietly. I put on my headphones and play my playlist for my feels. I take my time walking to school and stop by a nearby local shop and buy some sweet candies. I check my phone and see a text from Reese and Luca. 

Thing 1

We arrived in New York.

Me

Okay.

Thing 2

We miss you <3 

I leave them on delivered and walk inside my school.  I head to my first period and the day goes by slowly. When I walk inside the house I am tired more than ever. I curl up into a ball and blast sad music before falling asleep. I wake up in a frantic sweat and despite my grogginess I grab my previously discarded phone and check the time. My phone reads ‘7:00’, thankfully it is the weekend and I don’t need to wake up early. I can’t help but think of the boys when I look at my lockscreen. I greet my parents before going on a run for 30 minutes. My dad ushers me inside as I am met with my mom and Suvi on the couch. Suvi is Reece and Luca’s mom. I stand awkwardly as Suvi bursts into tears, and by the looks of it, this isn’t the first time. I open my arms and she embraces me tight, she was always a second mother to me. Which makes the truth hurt all the more, they left both of us broken. I sigh,

“Suvi, I missed you. What brings you here?” She sniffles and says,

“My little tree, I am so sorry about how Reese behaved the other day. He is sorry and is worried since you haven’t answered the phone all day. I can’t fix what he broke but all I hope is that you let him explain. I love you guys and it hurts me to see you guys without each other.” 

I can’t help as tears begin flooding my eyes and I tremble. 

“Was it ever real? Did I waste my time on a one-sided friendship? They were my best friends and they couldn’t even tell me the truth. They were going to leave without saying a final goodbye! I have every right to be angry. I can’t talk to him now, and I don’t know when.” We sob into each other as my mother joins and comforts us both.

 I wipe my tears and spend time in the shower thinking. How could he do that to us? I loved him. And, God I am a fool but I miss him so much. The scorching heat of the water snaps me out of my trance. I turn the faucet off and dry myself. I dress myself before I start finishing my art piece that I will be submitting to a contest. The prompt is to make an art piece about evolving. The contest prizes for first place was a $50,000 scholarship to Partum. It’s my dream art school and I am doing everything in my power to go there. 

Weeks go by, and I submitted my piece a week ago. I wait for the mail to arrive, pacing back and forth on my porch. It’s midday and the mail should be here anytime. The mailman, Jake, arrives with a huge grin on his face and yells, 

“Willow! It is here, the letter from Partum!” Our neighbors peek their heads out as I call for my parents and we gather in a small group as I open the letter. 

Dear Ms. Willow Kitts,

On behalf of Partum School’s, I am pleased to offer you congratulations for winning first place in the Grade 11-12 School Scholarship. Our directors of the performing arts program have selected you as our number one candidate! We offer a generous scholarship of $50,000 as promised. In order to receive the full scholarship, the requirement is for you to attend a month-long trial of the school which will also have a grand showcase of the previous winners of this contest and yours. This year's runner-ups will be attending and you must explain your piece to the directors of Partum. The expenses of travel, housing, and meals will be completely taken care of by our program. The trial will be in two months after confirmation. To confirm this process, email the school @PartumSchoolofPerformingArts_Official or call (xxx)-xxx-xxxx. 

Sincerely,

Dahlia Wrights Head of Grants and Scholarships of Partum School of Performing Arts

I scream in joy as I read the letter aloud and my neighbors celebrate and embrace each other. I did it! I did it! I run up to my room and confirm the process as I freak out on my bed. My phone lights up and I immediately call the group chat with Reese and Luca. It rings 3 times before I realize what I was doing and before I could end it, Reese and Luca answer simultaneously in confusion, worry, and surprise. I gape before I regain my composure and tell them the news. 

“Willy, that’s amazing! We are so happy for you. We haven’t spoken in forever.” I chuckle awkwardly and reply,

“Thanks guys, I forgot we weren’t speaking. Sorry about the sudden call, it must be night time for you guys. I will leave you guys to it.” As I begin to hang up Reese calls out,

“Wait. Willow, please listen to me. I need to speak to you alone. I know I was a jerk before we left but please let me explain.” I sigh and say,

“It’s fine, you don’t need to explain to me. I don’t matter to you anyways.” Pain flashes through his eyes and he shuts them as Luca makes a rushed goodbye before leaving. Reese says,

“Please, when you come to New York, meet me in Time Square at 12:00am. I will be there waiting. If you don’t go, it’s up to you but I will wait for you until the next day comes.” I exhale and nod. Hanging up, I sat down on my bed with my grip tight on my phone. I needed to think, what did I just do? Am I being a fool? 

For You

I walk to the center of Time Square, and look around. I was thirty minutes late, partially because I was dreading it and partially because I got off at the wrong stop on the subway and had to walk the last 15 minutes. Where was this man who had my heart in his hands? I pull out my phone when-

“Hey! I was looking for you. It’s been a while, Siren, how have you been?” I inhale sharply and say,

“Cut to the chase, Reece. Why did you not tell me?” Reese grabs my hands and walks me to the bench nearby. I look at him expectantly, 

“Look, I am sorry about how I reacted and I am sorry that I hurt you. I know I can’t give excuses to make you forgive me but here is my side of the story. I was super stressed, our flight changed last minute and we had to pack before we could go out and then one thing led to another and we were going to be late to the airport. I didn’t mean to take my stress out on you and I know I hurt you. The truth is I really-”

“I loved you, ever since I was 13, when you jumped into the water right after I fell in. Then when my mom started to scold me for not being careful, you defended me and when I would cry you held me.” I let out my unshed tears and stared in shock that I let that out. He starts sniffling,

“You know you are the love of my life? I love you so much. I spent these past months waiting for your call, hoping you would answer my calls and texts. I couldn’t be more thankful that you let me explain. I don’t see you as a little sister, I see you as you, Willow. Can I be your boyfriend?”  I hug him and reply,

“Only because I forgive you.”

The month I spent in New York was the best month of my life. I reconnected with my best friend and finally confessed. I fell in love with the school all over again, and I will be living with the boys in New York once I graduate High School. I nervously wait my turn as I hear,

“Willow Kitts!” I walk up the stage and smile as I hear my family and friends cheer me on. I grab my diploma and shake the hands of my teachers and principal. I can’t believe it. I graduated, and this is the end of my high school chapter. Yet, I couldn’t be more excited for the start of my new chapter, adulthood.

The End.

September 09, 2023 02:40

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1 comment

Tanya Humphreys
03:23 Sep 21, 2023

Reedsy critiquer here, You have some skills with grammar and dialogue. This story reads like a memoir. So, not intriguing enough a story for me. Others on the site may disagree. I only offer my opinion in hopes of seeing you excel as a writer with promise.

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