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Drama Romance

”December sucks.”

I whisper to myself on the first chilly morning of December. And again while I choked down the breakfast my mom had prepared for me. And again when I sat alone on the bus. I wrote it over and over on my math test worksheet until the tip of my pencil broke.

I was walking to the tree where my best friend, Christina, and I always met before brunch. Since we had separate first-period classes, I would reach the tree first and wait for her to be released from her class. Once she was, Christina burst out of the room with a dreamy grin on her face. I wasn’t in the mood for her to babble about what happened in her first period. So as we walked to our table, I pretended to be intrigued by the conversation.

Christina continued her chatter as I nibbled on my granola bar. I was nodding along to whatever she was saying until suddenly, she stopped. Her gaze slid from her half-eaten banana to a group of boys, laughing and bantering with each other. I followed Christina's eyes to a tall, muscular guy. Dark hair. Deep blue eyes. Bright, familiar smile.

"River," I breathe unbelievably.

"That's him," Christina whispers dreamily. "River Thompson, the new kid."

Tears well into my eyes as I remember the real reason I hate December. I can't stop them from coming. Hot tears flow down my cheeks and drip from my chin. I bury my face into my winter cardigan, shielding the flow of salty drops from Christina. There was no need to, really. She was too busy staring at River.

"We should introduce ourselves," Christina says, her voice barely a whisper. Before I could object, she grabs my arm and pulls me to the group of guys. They stop briefly and look at us. I'm staring at Christina so hard, I hardly notice River's gaze, boring holes into my tear-streaked cheeks.

"Oh, hey River! It's me, Christina! We talked in the first period, remember?" Christina was trying to engage conversation, but the way she executed her words made me wince.

"And this is-" Christina started.

"Amber," River said quietly.

Christina stared blankly at River. "Do you two know each other?"

"No," I croaked. I swallowed and tried again. "No. I have no idea who he is."

I try to keep River's stare as pain washes over his dark eyes. The eyes that contain too many horrid memories from my freshman year of high school. December 1st.

Is this a mistake?

The phrase repeats over and over in my mind as my mom urges me out of the house.

"Time for school, Riv! You can't be late!" She chants. My mom plants a kiss on my forehead and slams the door behind me. I don't blame her. After moving to Arizona and being homeschooled for four years, she finally gets an ounce of alone time. I've lived in the Golden State before when my mom and dad were still married. When they got divorced, we moved to Arizona to be closer to my grandparents. After four years, my mom was offered a small job in California so we moved back to my childhood home.

As the school I had planned to attend all my life inched closer, my insides twisted. The girl I had left behind without a word was going there. I closed my eyes and remembered her perfection. Lavender eyes that complimented her curly blonde hair. Honey-colored skin and soft cherry lips. I opened my eyes. The daydream was only a distant memory

Starting my senior year in December was a big risk. I had already missed most of the first semester so I would be missing a lot of work.

My first period was English. I spent most of the class talking with a small girl with short-cut black hair named Christina. At brunch, a cluster of boys circled around me and started to talk. I was busy searching the sea of people beyond me to pay attention to their stupid jokes. I was seeking for Lavender Eyes.

I was about to give up when the short girl, Christina, jogs up to me, pulling someone behind her. Christina starts to talk fast. The girl she was leading comes up to her side, curly hair framing her honey skin gracefully.

"Amber," I breathe. Amber. Lavender Eyes. Mine.

Christina stares at me vacantly as I take in Amber's complexion, her body. Her pale violet eyes have an achy look.

I'm about to embrace her when Amber answers a question Christina asks.

"I have no idea who he is."

My heart plummets. All of those years, the cold nights and long phonecalls, have all been wasted in one sentence.

Lavender Eyes forgot her Broken Heart.

I'm hiding in the girl's bathroom stall. Christina is trying to coax me into coming out, but I block her out.

The recollection of memories from December four years ago are all coming to mind with one familiar face in every one.

It was November 28th. I had spent Thanksgiving with River's family and at the end of the night, River was walking me home. I had his jacket around my shoulders. We reached the front door and River turned towards me and shoves his hand in the front pockets of his jeans.

As much as I didn't want the night to end, I still handed him his jacket. He took it but didn't move his place. I was searching his eyes for a reason when suddenly, he pressed his lips to mine, pulling me closer. I was surprised but unusually calm, wrapping my arms around his neck. When we broke apart, my face flooded with heat. I could imagine it painting my cheeks a fluorescent pink. Without a word, I slipped inside my house and ran to my room, closing and locking the door.

I was embarrassed. Did I actually like him? I always considered him just a close friend, nothing more.

For the next two days, I didn't go to school. I stayed away from River's house. I read the texts he sent me, but I didn't respond. I didn't answer his calls. The humiliation had taken me over.

On November 30th, I read the only message he sent me throughout the entire day:

You may as well call me Broken Heart. Three days and counting.

It made me confused. Broken Heart? I knew he called me Lavender Eyes for my unique eye color, but did I really hurt him that bad?

Three days and counting, I didn't think about that part at all until I went back to school on December 1st. I planned to apologize to River all day, but when I arrived at school I couldn't find him anywhere. At brunch, I hung around his locker, and when he didn't come I opened it. All of his things, including the pictures of him and I, were missing. I was horrified. My hands shook all day, thinking the worst had happened. I never knew all December what happened to my best friend.

So today, I only had one explanation for why I acted the way I did. I was the Broken Heart. I needed River, but he didn't want me. When he showed up today, I was in so much confusion that I didn't want to see him, hear his voice.

Or maybe it was just the result of a Lavender Eyes without her Broken Heart.

I finally came out of the girls' bathroom three periods later. Christina had given up and gone to class. I was alone.

"So you don't know me, huh, Lavender Eyes?"

I gasped and turned around abruptly, finding River behind me, a wide grin spread across his face. I lower my eyes.

"I don't want to know you, Broken Heart."

"I figured."

We stand in silence for what seems like forever.

And finally, wordlessly, River wraps me in a tight embrace. The tight feeling releases from my chest. I closed my eyes and smiled slightly. I knew now that I was better with a Broken heart than no heart at all.

August 22, 2020 22:05

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1 comment

Lori Colt
22:38 Sep 02, 2020

What a lovely story. I really enjoyed reading this. Clever and sweet. I liked the line, "I bury my face into my winter cardigan, shielding the flow of salty drops from Christina." Great job. Would you take a moment and read my most recent story as well? Thanks.


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