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Drama Friendship Teens & Young Adult

I am doing ok.

               I am perfectly aware that this is not a stellar way to introduce a story. It lacks in description and throws all rules of engaging writing into the trash. Besides, “ok” is a sub-par adjective. But I cannot think of any other way to describe how I’m feeling.

               Ok.

               I booked a flight last week. Fly to the beautiful city of Portland, only $203! Last I checked, $203 is an outrageous sum of money to fly somewhere you don’t want to go.

               And to be clear, I don’t want to go to Portland. The only reason I booked a flight was peer pressure from Lei.

               Lei and I went to high school together, and we both graduated in 2016. She was not-quite-popular, and I was nerdy. An instant friendship was formed. We were science lab partners. I took her out in my little red beater car and painted her tiny watercolor flowers. She shared her milkshakes and helped me with my lipstick shades. We hadn’t talked in a few months, but she suddenly called me last month and insisted I should fly out to see her new apartment and get a tour of the city. It sounded good at the time. I love to travel. Lei and I are close enough to justify a trip.

               She called me again yesterday.

               “Hey, Bek! How ya doing?”

               “I’m doing well, how about you?”

               “Great! I just got off work... I’m sure you’ve heard about my new job, it was a huge deal for me!”

               I remembered she had been promoted to manager of her branch, which was surprising to me considering she had only been with the company for three years.

               “Right, right. How’s that been?” I asked, tapping my fingers on the side table next to me.

               She sounded as if she might burst with excitement over the phone. “It’s been AMAZING.”

               I nearly tipped over in my chair as she started squealing about her new job and big city life. This squeaky ecstatic girl I was talking to on the phone didn’t match the quiet, tennis loving, science genius I knew in high school. But then again, we grew up in a quaint town with 20,000 people, not 600,000. Maybe she’s changed in the city.

               During our sophomore year, she went through a phase where she loved to draw. She would scour the lunchroom for people who sat alone and draw a cute little cartoon portrait of them. Early in the morning, when no other students were at school yet, she’d sneak the drawings in their lockers, sure to never let them find out it was her. Then she would hide and watch their faces as they opened her neat little envelope to see a drawing of them.

               Somehow, I doubt she did that in the office.

               This morning, I pulled out my navy suitcase and began to write a packing list.

               5x shirts

               Pajamas

               2x pairs of shoes

               My phone buzzed.

               Hey, Rebekahhh!!! I just wanted to let u know, I dont want my name to be pronounced Lei like “lay”. I want it to be Lei like “lee”. Love ya girly!!!

               I responded, Can you change the pronunciation of your name when your 22? Isn’t that a decided-by-parents-when-your-a-newborn thing?

               And yes, I do text in full sentences with punctuation.

               Not even twenty seconds later, Oh, Bek. U R so cuteee. <3 😉 But rly, its Lee lol

               Is she twelve?

               I put my phone on silent and ripped a t-shirt off a white plastic hanger. I don’t want to go see “Lee”.

               I remember when she started tennis. I came to every one of her matches. I always called her Love. She didn’t think it was quite as funny as I did.

               We would go to the court on Saturdays and I’d throw balls at her. One time, she swung back as hard as she could and hit me right in the shoulder. I had a grapefruit-sized bruise and a broken collarbone. But it was all fun, especially after she paid to have my front bumper fixed as an “I’m sorry I broke your collarbone” gift.

               How could we be best friends, and then I not even want to see her 800 miles away?

               I remember her smooth dark brown hair and her giant white smile. She wore bright green Converse and sewed her own jean skirts. I don’t think she owned a single piece of jewelry, but she was so pretty she didn’t need any of it.

               She still has dark silky hair and a white smile, but she now wears hot pink pumps and crop tops.

               How has she changed so much in four years?

               This morning, I woke up early to finish packing my suitcase. Instead, I sat on the bed aimlessly folding clothes and feeling very confused. I felt like I had lost a friend. Like some part of my memory had been tampered with after I realized just how different she was. And I didn’t want her to be different.

               Memories are a precious thing. We are so protective over them, and we get upset if we find out we remember something wrong. It’s as if our memories are fragile little pieces of us. And when they are damaged or lost, we find that we are too.

               But our future is precious as well. It is not who we are, but who we will be one day. Just like our memories, our future is part of us as well. We just don’t know it.

               I loaded my suitcase into my red beater car and headed to the airport.

               The plane was cramped, and I took my spot in the back by a window. Fly to the beautiful city of Portland, only $203! I could have bought so many packs of chicken flavored Ramen and strawberry cheesecakes for $203. Or, you know, paid a bill.

               The sky was crystal clear with a few white wisps, indicating that some clouds may have passed by. My apple juice was lukewarm and watery, and my knees touched the seat in front of me, but I had other things on my mind.

               Four hours later, I stood in front of a sign that read, WELCOME TO PORTLAND.

               My phone started to buzz.

               “Hello?”

               “Heya, Becky! Have you landed yet?” Since when has my nickname changed from Bek to Becky?

               “Uh, yeah, I’m waiting outside the West entrance.”

               “I don’t see you.”

               I imagined Lei standing in front of a large sign. I imagined her looking around, wearing a lime green tube dress.

               WELCOME TO PORTLAND, OREGON.

               The sign in front of me was a mistake, but it was a big and beautiful mistake.

               WELCOME TO PORTLAND, MAINE.

               “Sorry, Lei. Something just came up. I can’t stay this week.”

               “WHAT? Why? Are you ok? Do I need to call- “?

               I hung up and breathed the fresh air. Happy looking families strolled in and out the doors, all carrying large bags filled with things for a vacation. I’m going on vacation too.

               Maybe I should have just gone to see Lei. And maybe I need to just embrace whatever happens. After all, today would have been a big day for both of us, and I completely ruined it for her.

               But I don’t think I want to tamper with that chapter in my life. I’m happy with what time I had with Lei, and I’m not looking to change that. I don’t want to now, and I don’t think I ever will.

               Welcome to Portland, Rebekah. City of futures.



October 06, 2020 00:43

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2 comments

LuAnn Williamson
00:17 Oct 16, 2020

I really like the twist at the end. I didn't see that coming...but I should have. I like the way you used examples to set the tone of the story. I appreciate that you showed by examples, and painted a vivid picture of life in High School and afterwards.

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Mackenzie Meetz
02:22 Oct 17, 2020

Thank you so much, Luann!

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