5 years earlier
I peered through the dusty maroon curtains on my bedroom window, the men in big white trucks were here again. They carried all different boxes in to the house next door, tall ones, short ones, white ones and brown ones. But today, something was different. After the big burley men, a little blonde boy that looked just my age popped out of the aging white truck's rusty cab. I slammed the curtains shut and rushed downstairs to get a closer look.
I let just my eyes poke above the windowsill, being very careful not to be seen, but the little boy looked back at the window and smiled. His mother ran over to scold him for running off and took him forcefully by the hand to the other side of their lawn.
I let out a deep breath and started my defeated march back upstairs when, from the corner of my eye, I saw him wave. He had walked all the way on to my lawn and was now only a few feet from the window, his big blue eyes boring into the glass. He waved again and pointed towards my door with a sly little grin.
I, ever so carefully, walked towards the door and turned the knob, praying my parents wouldn't hear. The air was crisp and cold, making me wish I had grabbed my fuzzy blue coat still waiting on the other side of the room.
Once I was outside, the little boy skipped foreword to ask me a question.
"What's your name?" The little blonde boy asked, his big blue eyes widening. He noticed my silence and stuck out a hand "I'm Jake."
I giggled "I've never seen a fourth grader shake hands before."
He smiled "I must seem weird compared to your friends, I don't mind."
I blushed and looked down at the scuffed toes of my rain boots, "I don't really have any friends."
His smile widened and he walked a few steps closer, "Perfect, you can be my first friend here."
I smiled too, "And you can be my first friend."
Another car drove through my quiet suburban street, disrupting the erie peace for only the third time in the past hour. This particular car belonged to my neighbor who left for work at exactly7:17each morning; it meant that I needed to tear my eyes away from the practically visible breeze in the gently swaying trees outside, and go downstairs.
I bounded down the stairs to the kitchen pulling my coppery waves out of a ponytail while, simultaneously, slipping in to my sweater and buttoning my jeans. It was just as quiet downstairs as it was outside, my mom was long gone at work and my dad, who liked doing things last minute and didn't need to be at work until nine, was soundly asleep.
I grabbed my messy stack of notebooks and folders and dropped them in my bag with one hand while reaching for a banana with the other.I flew down the driveway, books in hand and breathed in the smell of summer leaving, something that was both sad and promising.Sometime in the middle of intently watching a squirrel have a stare down witha acorn, a pair of handsslapped down on my shoulders.
"You scared the living crap out of me, Mags!" I yelled.
"Not to point out the obvious, but that was sort of the point." Maggie said with a smile, dancing around my and to my side.
"Touché." I paused, "I didn't see you all summer, how was it?"
Maggie looked sideways and bit her lip as I spoke. After a few seconds, she grinned and refocused her gaze on me as if she had been smiling the whole time, "Nothing much, family stuff, I hung out with Jake a bit." She tried to change the subject, "I swear, you grew three feet since I saw you in June!"
"Thanks Grandma, and you don't look a day over 85." I retorted. "I'm only 5"10', if I had grown three feet I would have been 2'10 before, not even Ana's that short."
"Damn close, though." Maggie giggled.
'Yeah' I thought to myself, 'Damn close.' For as much as Ana complained about her height aloud, I knew she loved it. She had amassed a small army of even smaller admirers who loved her with all their tiny, little, Freshman boy hearts, and if AnaMaria Greco loved one thing, it was attention.
As if summoned by the very mention of her name, a bouncy, brown ponytail trailed behind its owner down the driveway and towards us. "Did I miss something?" she asked, stopping and noticing Maggie's muffled laughter. "Actually, never mind. I'll leave my imagination to this one."
"My dear AnaMaria, your brain will probably come up with something wildly more creative than what we were actually discussing in reality. Oh well, have your fun." Maggie replied, twirling a lock of jet black hair.
Ana snorted as she started walking again, "'Discussing' is your verb of of choice?" She asked incredulously, bending over to mess with the contents of her backpack.
"Details" Maggie insisted, staring off somewhere in the distance.
"Where's Jake?" Ana asked, looking around at the still empty block.
"Running late, as usual." Maggie informed her, sounding both frustrated with Jake for his absence and with Ana for expecting more of him.
"Maggie, he lives next door to you, can't you just drag him out of his house on your way to mine?" Ana asked with that sickly sweet smile that usually worked so well.
"Are you kidding, it's Jake, he can't just be dragged-" Maggie was cut of by the conversation's subject approaching.
"Miss me, ladies?" Asked the new addition to the group as he switched his back pack to a different ironic-band-sweatshirt clad shoulder.
"Trying to be slick, are we? Please continue, it's quite amusing coming from someone you've seen sing along with the score of The Sound of Music in their boxer shorts." I smirked.
Jake's more likely less-clever comeback was interrupted by girlish squeals of joy somewhere to his left.
I led out a long sigh and turned to face the source of the commotion and attempted to silence the beast, "The 12th doctor's a ginger, Sherlock season 3 is airing tomorrow, J K Rowling decided to write Hogwarts: Next Generation?"
"Nope" she replied shaking her little blonde and pink curl topped head.
I tried again, "You have Steven Moffat locked in your basement, you met Benedict Cumberbatch on a plane once and he told you you were pretty, Augustus Waters is a real person?"
She shook her head, "Shh, I'm basking in this moment."
"Said 'real Augustus Waters' is locked in your basement?" I offered.
"Oh, please he'd be locked in my bedroom." she clarified.
I crossed my arms and gave her my best I'm-done-with-you're-bullshit face, "Fine then, Markey. What is it?" I demanded.
Markey smiled, "Oh, I just found out my brother is visiting next week."
"That does not justify the decibel you were squeaking at." I insisted, dropping my arms and silently cursing myself for expecting better.
"He doesn't visit often. Besides, justification is a relative thing." she replied.
"Sew your seeds of hippie bullshit elsewhere, Markey." Jake interjected.
"Isn't this just a LOVING environment!" Markey huffed.
"Yes, yes it is. Jake,Is Ben behind you" I asked peering around his shoulders and over his head. "He's usually worshiping at Ana's feet at this hour."
Jake walked me away from the group, "He appears to be skipping morning prayers today, but his far more interesting replacement is here." he boasted.
"Interesting has nothing to do with it. Trust me." I sighed, staring at Ana.
As if on queue, Ben rounded the corner, eyes trained on Ana like a lovelorn puppy.
I walked up behind him silently, he was much to distracted by his Plain Jane goddess to notice. I inched close and whispered "Are you trying to make her float or explode."
"Shit! You scared me!" he stammered, jumping a bit, "What are you talking about?"
"Well your staring at my friend here quite intently and it seemed like something Telekinesis-y. So, are you trying to make her float or explode?"
"Oh," he laughed "Neither, it's nothing, just- well- " his ramblings, luckily, were cut short by Ana getting impatient.
"Let's go!" she yelled as she, personally, grabbed each of us by the arm and flung us foreword.
We walked the last block to the school together in noisy silence. We yammered on about this and that. Never once saying anything of substance or consequence, we were too nervous or exited, no one could tell which. As we trekked across the final ten feet of perfectly flat sidewalk to the entrance, no one said a word. We held our breath and looked over at one and other as we paused before the big, oak doors.
"Mags! Hey, Mags!" Ilona shouted with increasing volume, until I snapped out of my reverie.
"Hi, sorry." I stumbled "What did you want?" I gathered my books and placed them in my bag one by one as I stood and faced Ilona.
"Well, I want lots of things, world peace, widespread democracy, a boyfriend, but mostly for us not to be late to first period on the first day of school, which is not going to happen if you continue to contemplate the meaning of life in the middle of the hallway."
"Right," I shook my head trying to comeback to the present. School. Ilona. Hallway. People. Lots of people. I shakily stood up as Ilona eyed me worriedly.
"Are you okay? You look like my Uncle Oskár after 3 war stories and 6 drinks." she asked.
"I'm fine." I assured her with a forced smile, "Let's go we're going to be late."