A Harsh Goodbye

Written in response to: Write a story about a teenager whose family is moving.... view prompt

4 comments

Speculative Contemporary Romance

I'm leaving.

After spending fifteen years of my life here, I'm leaving my birthplace.

I didn't think it would be this hard.

Somehow, I always underestimate things. I thought I would brush off leaving home and move on with my new life. This is much, much more difficult than I could have ever imagined.

So much has happened in fifteen years, so many good memories. I'm drawn into a flashback, only one of many to follow in this complicated goodbye.

***********

I'm sitting on the back wall in the yard, swinging my chubby little legs and humming a tune. I don't recognise it, since it's probably been eight years since I listened to that song.

A little girl comes up to me, who I instantly realise is Denise, my childhood best friend. I lost touch with her a couple years back, when she moved away to British Columbia.

Seems like everyone's moving these days.

"Hey, wanna play?" she asks, twirling a blonde pigtail. I nod, so she tugs on my arm, pulling me across my backyard.

We clamber over the fence that marks the edge of our property and enter Denise's, landing on the soft grass in her yard.

She scampers over to her swing set, pulling me along with her. Denise jumps on one of two swings and begins pumping her legs, soaring higher and higher into the air. She giggles, a sound of joy and happiness. It makes me smile and join her, copying her movements until I’m flying beside her, two specks against the vast blue sky.

I feel on top of the world, ready to take on anything with Denise by my side. It feels good to fly, the swing’s chains groaning under my weight as I zoom higher into the air, Denise on my left, shouting gleefully and laughing loudly.

I join in the laughter, a warm feeling sparking up deep inside me. Denise always brings out the best in me, no matter what we’re doing or the circumstances we’re in. She’s amazing, frankly, and I’m happy that she’s with me in this moment.

***********

Another memory comes, but I’m older this time, about twelve or thirteen. Not too long ago, then. 

It’s the day of my first hockey game with my team. I’m super excited, and Denise is with me again, holding my hand happily and grinning.

I struggle to put my hockey equipment on, alone in the change room, safe for the other people on the hockey team. One of the boys, Darren, clunks over to me alongside the various accoutrements of his hockey uniform clinking together.

“Hey buddy, good luck out there,” he says, clapping me on the back.

I nod in thanks, grateful for his encouragement in this difficult time before the big first game. “You too.”

Darren laughs. “You’re the one who’ll need it.” That’s the truth; he’s just being very blunt about it. 

I’m the goalie, one of the toughest positions to play. All the pressure is on you, the pressure to save the shots and keep them out of the net. I’m the best goalie in practice too, since we sometimes rotate goalies, but I’m the one in net for the most part. And today, at our first game, I’m sitting in the net for our team, carrying our team.

Butterflies are flying around inside me, hitting the walls of my stomach and making my stomach tingle with nerves. I feel sweat already beginning to pool in the nooks and crannies of my team gear and massing on the back of my head, dripping down my neck into my chest-piece. 

I flip my hockey stick and step out onto the ice, skating behind the other guys on my team. I move to the net, the whistle blows, and the game begins.

It’s raining after the game, big fat raindrops pattering against my jacket, which matches the mood perfectly. I walk sadly to my parents’ car, my mom’s hand on my back and Denise holding my hand.

We lost the game. I feel really depressed, even with all the people I love around me. It’s just that this was our first game, our first big game, and we lost. I know that’s normal to lose hockey games and just lose in general, but I’m still upset. I feel that I could have done better, could have saved more goals.

It’s a sombre dinner with everyone picking up on my mood: Dad doesn’t even chatter endlessly about the weather like he usually does. I listlessly pick at my food, moving it around on my plate so it looks like I’ve eaten more than I have.

Mom rests her hand on mine, but I barely even notice until she opens her mouth.

“Hey bud, you have to eat,” she said encouragingly, squeezing my hand. “I know you’re upset and sad, but you might do better at the next game if you eat up and get really strong.”

I know it’s meant to be helpful, but I just shrug away from her touch. I do eat more of my food, though.

After dinner I clomp up to my bedroom, utterly discouraged. I’m just about ready to tumble into bed when I see a light beam out from the window to the left of my house, in plain sight from my bedroom window. It’s Denise’s window.

I scramble over to my own window, grabbing my flashlight off my desk as I go. I press the flashlight up to the glass pane and flick it on, the light crossing the street and entering Denise’s room.

She flashes a message, Come to the garage. I want to give you something.

I beam back, What? but she’s already clicked off her flashlight and left her room. I sigh, going to sneak out the back door of my house and over to Denise’s place.

Once I enter Denise’s yard, I slink stealthily over to the big building on the corner of their lot and slip around the corner. The garage door’s already open a crack, so I slide under the door and into Denise’s garage.

The place has sawdust everywhere, on all the counters and even the tools. Denise’s dad isn’t big on cleaning. I pull my sleeve across my nose and mouth, trying not to cough. There’s a lot of sawdust.

“Jordan,” Denise whispers. “Over here.” She beckons to me from the corner closest to the door adjacent to the house. 

I walk over to her, leaving footprints in the sawdust-crusted concrete. “What is it?” I whisper, leaning closer to hear her answer. We’re standing so close together now, so close I could reach out with my fingertips and graze her hair. I almost want to, come to think of it.

She grins sarcastically. “Do you think you can handle it?”

I cross my arms petulantly, playing along with her game even though I’m really not feeling it today. “I can handle anything, Dee.”

She lifts an eyebrow. “Well then, handle this, tough guy.” Suddenly, unexpectedly, she plants a quick kiss on my cheek. She begins to pull away, but I kiss her back, this time on the lips, startling both of us. Denise soon leans in and returns it, though, and all thoughts of the lost hockey game are completely erased from my mind.

That night, I lie awake thinking about Denise’s lips on mine, touching my cheek with my fingertips. It feels too good to be true, but it’s almost like a consolation prize for losing the game.

Honestly, I would take the consolation prize any day.

***********

I snap out of the stream of bittersweet memories from home to the sound of my mom calling my name.

“Jordan!” she yells from the car. “It’s time to go, sweetie!”

I look back at our house, our home, one last time. It suddenly seems so small, like I’ve outgrown it.

I stare at my bedroom window, soon to be someone else’s. I wonder who will live in our house, who will sleep in the bed that used to be mine. 

I’m sad to leave, but I think I’m ready to turn over a new leaf. This might be the only opportunity I get, and I’m willing to take it.

February 12, 2022 01:29

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

4 comments

Maraika!!! 😎
17:59 Mar 18, 2022

EXCUSE ME YOUR CANADIAN?????????????? 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁 HECK YEAH FELLOW CANADIANS UNITE!!!!!!!

Reply

Maraika!!! 😎
18:00 Mar 18, 2022

ALSO YOUR IN CABIN SIX ME TOO

Reply

Serena Johnston
22:26 Mar 18, 2022

Love to see it! 🍁🇨🇦

Reply

Maraika!!! 😎
19:01 Mar 19, 2022

🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🤍🤍🤍🤍🤍🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.