Written By: Tammy Ferebee
She’s called me multiple times since Friday night. I’ve ignored every one of her calls. I haven’t responded to her texts. My prepared excuse is that I’ve been sick. Hopefully she’ll accept it. We’ve been best friends since we were seven. It’s been nine years and we’ve never gone for more than two days without speaking, and that’s only because weekends separated us when we were in elementary school. Once we both learned how to use the telephone, our parents couldn’t keep us off of it.
She steps up onto the bus. She moves quickly down the aisle toward our usual two-seater in the very back. She sits beside me. “Where the hell have you been? I’ve called, texted, messaged you on Facebook.”
“Been sick,” I say softly. “Lost my voice.”
She grabs her chest. “Thank God. I thought you were mad at me or something.”
I shake my head.
“Sorry you’ve been sick, Bria. Does that mean you didn’t get to go on your date?”
Darryl’s face comes to mind. A boy I’ve crushed on since eighth grade. A boy who finally asked me out after years of me endlessly obsessing over him. After years of me talking nonstop about him to my friends.
“I went on the date,” I tell her.
“And?” Jada asks.
“It was cool, I guess. He’s different than I thought he would be.”
“How?” she asks.
I remember checking myself out in the mirror repeatedly before his arrival on Friday night. The butterflies were dancing in circles inside of me. I silently wondered what kind of questions he’d ask, and if we’d finally kiss. Really kiss.
“I just thought he’d want to know more about me.”
“Come on, Bri. You know guys aren’t the most talkative, sensitive creatures.”
“It’s not that I expected him to be sensitive or overly talkative. I just thought he’d want to get to know me. I mean, he did ask me out.”
Her eyebrows lower. “You guys did talk though, right?”
“He did. About him. And even that didn’t last very long. He mostly wanted to just make out all night.”
She reveals a wide smile. “So you finally got to kiss him. How was it?”
I think back to sitting in the front of his car, to the moment our lips met. The magic I expected was nowhere to be found. It felt like he was trying to devour my face, like he had been waiting his whole life for this kiss and had lost all self-control.
“It wasn’t good. It felt really…” I try to find the right word. I want to say horrible, but I’m not in the mood for her jokes. Jokes about how my Mr. Perfect sucked at sucking face.
“Rushed,” I say.
“That’s probably because he was so into you.”
I cut my eyes at my friend. “Yeah, that was probably it,” I say softly.
“Anything else happen? You don’t seem like your usual self.”
I look out of the lower half of the window dreading this ride to school. I’m hoping my regretful actions haven’t been spread to all of his friends.
“I’m fine, Jada. I just feel sick.”
I rest my head on the shoulder of my best friend. I haven’t heard from Darryl since Friday night. Though I’ve wanted to hear from him, the sound of my ringing phone forces my stomach to sink. I don’t want him asking for more. Though I’m technically still a virgin, I still did something girls are judged for doing. And though it was my first time ever doing it, that’s not something anyone will believe. If you’re accused of doing it once, they assume you’ve done it to everyone.
“Maybe he gave you a cold,” she whispers.
Or throat gonorrhea, I silently think.
“And if his ass got you sick, he better take care of you.”
I remain tightlipped riding beside my friend. I’ve never been so anxious, so nauseous, or so scared in all my life.
As our bus enters the drop off loop, I spot Darryl amongst his crew. My stomach begins to do flips. The sight of him isn’t what it was when I arrived to school on Friday morning. Seeing him Friday morning had already made my day. Seeing him now is sickening. Sickening because I know he used me.
I step down off of the bus with my arm interlocked around Jada’s.
“There’s your boo.”
“Don’t call him that,” I quickly state.
He heads toward us, his phone in hand. That cocky smile that I used to find attractive is plastered across his face.
“What’s up, ladies?”
“What’s up?” Jada greets.
“Just chillin’. Wondering why Bria didn’t call me all weekend.”
I stand quietly. I don’t play into his bullshit. He could have and should have called me. He did several times Friday afternoon to ensure that I was still going to be free that evening. He didn’t call or text once after dropping me off that night.
“You didn’t miss me, Bri?”
He wraps his arms around me, though I don’t hug him back even slightly.
“Stop acting like that. I’m not going to say anything,” he whispers.
“Starting to feel like the third wheel right about now,” Jada says.
He lets me go. “I’m gonna text you, okay?”
I nod the same way I did on Friday night when he hugged me and told me the exact same thing. Only now, I know better than to expect him to.