The next day, I came back and there was the girl sitting by me again and she looked at me and told me her name was Saberdeen Darsablio. And I said, “Okay.” Because if I said anything else that might get me attached and Chaos told me not to. No one told Saberdeen that, though. She kept talking and talking and talking to me all the week long and on Friday she asked if I could come with her to a party. It will be fun, she said, come and see, she said. And I said, no I won’t go with you. That was in my rules. No clubs, no parties, no nothing but chaos and Chaos.
“You’re kind of a jerk, Solly. I really just wanted to be your friend.” I looked down at her and tugged nervously at the collar of my fraying shirt. I wasn’t trying to be what she said, not a jerk. But I couldn’t help it if I came off that way. It wasn’t my fault about the rules. It wasn’t my fault that Chaos wanted to follow me and that Saberdeen would probably get hurt by the time I was gone. It was better for her if she didn’t get to know me better. Just a face in a crowd, just a blot of paint in the painting. That was me, just like Chaos had taught me to be.
So I said, “I’m sorry. I think it would be better if we weren’t friends.” Her eyes widened. “I think you know what I mean by that.”
“What?” She looked weird. “I never… um, okay. I can do that.”
“Okay.” I thought she would leave me alone then but she didn’t. And then Saberdeen gave me her phone number and what was I supposed to do with that I didn’t have a phone. But when she handed me the paper her fingers brushed mine and my heart sparkled just then. “Wait.” I held on to her fingers and flipped her hand up in mine so I could examine her palm. Soft. Saberdeen was turning sort of pink in her face. Maybe the room was too hot. I didn’t feel that. I was tracing the lines of her hands with the tip of my fingers, being careful not to scratch her with my nails because they were so sharp.
“Can I come pick you up later? We can go visit my friends.”
I dropped her hand. “No. I’m not your friend. You said we weren’t friends.”
“Well, no. You sort of made it seem like… I’m confused, Solly.” Saberdeen took her phone number back from my open palm. “Talk to you tomorrow, I guess. But stop sending such mixed signals.”
And I just watched her go and she came back the next day but she didn’t talk to me that much like before. So that was good. I think. I asked Chaos about it and she didn’t smile but she didn’t turn into madness either. She just hmmmmed and kept eating her dinner. Later that night she gave me something. She left it outside my door, all wrapped in a newspaper and tied with a shoelace. It was a phone, I guess. Well. I don’t guess. That is what it was. Except I didn’t have Saberdeen’s phone number anymore. It didn’t matter. I had memorized it like I memorized the way Chaos’s hand felt when she held mine.
“Ummm, hello? Who even is this? I don’t want to buy anything.” Oh. She answered and I didn’t expect her to so what did I need to say?
“Solly. My name’s Solly. I got a phone now. To talk. Do you want to? Talk, I mean. Sorry. It’s still Solly.”
“Wait. Solly Biscuit?? I thought you like vowed not to talk to me anymore or something. So weird. But what do you need? Homework? And how did you get my number back?”
“Yes. I am Solly of the Biscuit variety. And I thought we couldn’t be friends but I have a phone now so maybe that’s okay. I’m weird. Yeah. I need to… I don’t know. I just wanted to hear your voice. No homework. I memorized your number.” I heard faint laughter on the other end. She was laughing at me, but why? Maybe it was the name of Biscuit again.
“Well, okay then! If we can suddenly be friends now, do you want to come with me to this party?”
“I thought it was last weekend, though?” Parties were a bad place for me, and a fantastic place for Chaos, even though it was technically on my rules list to not go to them.
“There are parties all the time. Just come. I’ll pick you up at seven?”
I nodded and then I remembered we weren’t in person so nodding wasn’t seen.
“Okay.” And then Saberdeen hung up and I sat on my bed and wondered what I’ll pick you up at seven was supposed to mean. I went in the kitchen to ask Chaos. She was watching the news and cackling like she did. “Hey, what does, I’ll pick you up at seven mean? I called that girl and she said that.”
Chaos jumped up from the couch and ran to me. For a minute, I thought she was going to claw my eyes out, but no she didn’t. Instead she grabbed my arms and squeezed them so hard I thought I might faint. But she wasn’t mad. “Oh, this is just wonderful. Come now, you have to get ready. We wouldn’t want to disappoint this girl, now would we?” And I said no because it seemed like Chaos didn’t want to disappoint her and I didn’t want to disappoint Chaos. After that, Chaos gave me some clothes she said were for dates and I said I don’t think kids wear tuxedos to parties. And she looked at me coolly and said, “You are not going to a party.” But I was pretty sure that I was the one on the phone with Saberdeen when she said we were going to a party. I didn’t tell Chaos that, though. She didn’t like being corrected. So I put the wrong clothes on and came out into the hall.
“How do I look, then?” I said, and Chaos beamed and beamed like she had swallowed a sunbeam. And she didn’t even like sunshine so how did that happen? I guess I looked okay if she was beaming, though. She stepped closer and ran her hands through my hair. It got shorter and neater and soon I didn’t recognize it at all. Chaos winked and began to work on another tattoo. It was a good one, this time.
My new tattoo was pretty and light and on my left arm, right above my wrist. I wanted to show it to Saberdeen but it still hurt and so I didn’t. We were in her car and we were going to the party even though Chaos said we weren’t going to the party. “Tell me some more about yourself. Who’s the lady you live with?”
“Um. She’s my aunt.”
It was a lie but I didn’t know if me living with a friend sounded okay or not. “Her name is Carol. She does tattoos.”
“What about your parents?”
“They died. I didn’t meet them so don’t be sad and don’t say you’re sorry because it’s not your fault and you can’t do anything about it.” I hated when people said they were sorry about that.
“Oh, okay. Cool.” No one had ever said cool to the death of my only parents before. I stayed quiet. Saberdeen would have another question soon anyway. She was like a popcorn microphone. She asked lots of questions fast and loud and I couldn’t answer all of them. What was my favorite song? I didn’t have a radio or anything. All the music I heard was in public and then I couldn’t really pay attention. What did I like to learn? Um. Social Studies, I said. That was close as I could get to telling her I had been bringing chaos upon the nations for the last several years. And there were other questions. But I don’t remember them.
We got to the party and I didn’t want to go inside.
Saberdeen told me why did you come if you didn’t want to go in. I said I didn’t know. Sorry. So she looked at me kind of funny. “You’re so weird.” I said I know. And then I remembered I was wearing the wrong clothes for the party but maybe not for everywhere. I asked Saberdeen if she’d maybe like to go to a dinner instead. “Where could we go?” She laughed and looked at my clothes. She was wearing normal clothes and she looked nice anyway.
“What’s good to eat around here?”
“Um. We could go to Sonic…” That sounded sort of fancy so I nodded and got back in the car.
“You look nice anyway.” That’s what I said to her next because it was true and I didn’t want to lie all the time. Saberdeen smiled. It was a different smile than all of Chaos’s smiles because it looked like she was actually happy. Because of something good. Because of something good that I did.
“Thanks. Hey, where did you live before?” I couldn’t tell her we lived in a tree so I said we lived a lot of different places. It was a good answer. “Cooooool.”
“Some of the places were pretty hot, actually.”
Saberdeen laughed a lot at that. Ha ha. I made a joke. That usually was something I could only do with my friend Chaos. But maybe that meant Saberdeen was my friend too now.
We went to the place of Sonic and it wasn’t a fancy place but I liked it. There was something and we had to push a red button to say the food we wanted. Then we waited. And after that came a girl who told us her name was Rita and how were we doing tonight? Good. We were good. I was good and Saberdeen was good and since the two of us were together, we were good. The food was warm and I shared French fries with Saberdeen. When we both reached for the last one her fingers brushed mine again. But I didn’t try to keep them in mine that time. I let her go and I let her have the last French fry.
“What now? It’s only nine thirty. My curfew isn’t until twelve forty five. Do you have one?” What is a curfew, I wanted to ask. But I just shrugged instead. Saberdeen didn’t seem like she loved her curfew too much, so why would I want one? “You don’t have a curfew?”
“Um, no. I don’t think so. But I could ask my aunt for one, if you’d like.” Friends were considerate of each other. “Is there something else you’d like to do?”
“Well, there is a movie playing that I’d rather absolutely watch. But not by myself. It’s the new horror film. You know?”
“It’s called The Time Everyone was Stupid and we Died in A Very Predictable and Preventable Manner. It’s by the same people who did Generally Awful Stuff and We all Die At the End.”
“That sounds fun.” I knew that movies were fun and I had watched several of them myself with Chaos. Mostly of the horror and tragedy variety. Or movies that were so badly made that they were considered chaos on screen. Anyway. I liked going to the movies. It was usually dark and cool and if I was tired I could nap. Nothing really scared me except when Chaos was mad. I couldn’t risk losing my only friend.
“Then to the movies we shall go!!”
We came back at eleven fifty nine. The movie was dumb and Saberdeen loved it and screamed a lot. She buried her head in my chest half the time and I didn’t know why because how could she see the movie like that? It was okay though. She wasn’t really scared. It was just a movie. I knew what real Chaos looked like, and it wasn’t getting lost in the woods with murderous ghosts. But when I got back to Chaos’s house, Saberdeen leaned over the seats and whispered that she had a wonderful time could we do that again?
“I’d like that.” My answer wasn’t yes or no, but it was the truth that I could share. I would like it if we could do that again. “I have to go now. See you at school, then.”
“Wait. Um. Here you go.” Saberdeen pressed her phone number back into my hand. “Say hi to your aunt for me.” My aunt? Oh. Right. Chaos was my aunt. At least that’s what Saberdeen thought because I told her that.
“I will try to. She may not say hi back, though. You won’t get to meet her, I don’t think.” And that’s true. She never would meet my aunt because I didn’t have one. I had Chaos. In fact, Chaos was coming out of the house right then. I saw her shadow from the corner of my eye, (the rest of my eyes were watching Saberdeen.) and decided to get out of the car. “Goodbye, then.” With that, I ran towards the house, still in my tuxedo fit only for Sonic and the movie theater behind the mall.
“How did it go?”
We were sitting at the dining room table and Chaos was asking me about what I did with Saberdeen. I told her we went to the party and I didn’t want to go in so we left. I told her about Sonic and the red button and Rita. And then I told her about the last French fry. I told her about the movie and how it was dumb but Saberdeen buried her head in my chest and screamed too much but I didn’t mind at all. All through my talking, Chaos nodded and smiled and giggled wickedly. She wasn’t even cackling. She was giggling and that was scarier because Chaos only giggled when something big was about to happen. Only, I didn’t know what.
The next day was Saturday and I slept until five in the morning but then I got up. I got up because there was somebody throwing rocks at my window and who was it? I stood up and looked out the window. And it was Saberdeen! In her pajamas and her hair was messy and she didn’t actually have black lips. Why was she throwing rocks, I asked her. She said something but I couldn’t hear her and I noticed that the window was still shut. Hmmm. I opened the window.
“Why are you throwing rocks at me? Are you mad?” She didn’t look that mad though. Her face wasn’t so white now, but it was kind of cold outside and she was shivering. “Are you lost here but you found my house?”
“Noooooo. I came to say hi.”
“Oh. Hi.” Why did she come all the way to this house to say hi? Maybe she was very lonely but I didn’t think so because she sat by eighteen people at lunch at school. “Are you very cold?” I thought for a minute and remembered we had some hot chocolate in the cupboard. “You can come have something to drink if you’d like to. We have hot chocolate.” Saberdeen nodded.
“I’d love that. Is your aunt okay with that?”
“She’s okay with that. She probably will be happy about it. Maybe she will let us watch a movie on her computer.”
“You don’t have a TV? Netflix?”
“Um. No. I’ll go open the door for you now. Come around the front, though.” I didn’t know why she was acting so secretive. It wasn’t that late at night or that early in the morning to be acting like she swallowed years of secrets. I went downstairs and opened the door. So then she came inside and we went to the kitchen and ate a sandwich I found and the hot chocolate. I almost spilled it all over myself and the table when Saberdeen moved from two seats over to just by me. Chaos never sat by me.
“Hey. You know what I did last night? When I got back home?”
“Well. No. Am I supposed to?”
“Ha ha. Don’t be silly. I was wondering what you would say if I told you I could bring you with me to a wedding today. It’s my best friends mom who’s getting married and…”
“Why is her mom getting married? Isn’t she married to your best friends father?”
“Well, no. Her father died ten years ago in an accident.”
“Hmm. What kind?” That sounded rude of me to ask, but I wanted to know if it was one of the accidents I had helped Chaos with. I didn’t know what I would say if I had.
“A boating accident, I think. Why?” I didn’t answer and just kept drinking my hot chocolate. Saberdeen tapped my hand with her fist.
“Nothing. It’s fine. What time are you going to that wedding? I have some other things to do today.” Saturdays were a good day to bring chaos around. There were lots of people to endanger when they thought they were going to have fun. Chaos had already wanted me to go to a concert later that day. I didn’t say I would yet. But if I went to the wedding and something bad happened, Saberdeen wouldn’t want me to go places with her anymore. Friends don’t endanger each other. “I have to tell you something.”
“What? Are you okay?”
“Um. I think so. But my aunt is kind of… not…” I didn’t keep going because then Chaos walked in and saw me and she saw Saberdeen and she smiled frightfully.