I couldn’t get into the game. After a few hands I slipped away from the table and went up to my room. I could hear Rick’s triumphant holler as he won a hand, followed by Alan’s laughter. I flung myself down on my bed. In that moment I hated Rick as much as I ever had. Alan had come to spend time with me. How dare Rick barge in on that? Rick, whose best friend sat beside him down there, while mine was driving half way across the country away from me. A part of me knew I was being unreasonable and even selfish. Rick had as much right to Alan’s attention as I did, but knowing that didn’t make me feel any better about the fact nobody down there seemed to have even noticed I’d gone. I flopped on my back and stared at the ceiling.
Tomorrow was a school day and I dreaded going without Alex. This late in the year everyone had already formed their groups of friends and I knew how difficult it would be to break into any of the cliques, even if I wanted to. It had been an awkward year anyway, with some of the more popular girls deciding over the summer girls couldn’t be friends with boys anymore. Up until then Alex and I always had as many friends amongst the boys in the class as the girls, but that year it had all changed, and Alex and I had been virtually ostracized for our stubborn refusal to stop playing ball sports with the boys at lunchtime. Without Alex there, I wasn’t sure if I could cope with the snide remarks and constant teasing we had been dealing with since the beginning of the year.
Rick’s laughter drifted up the stairs and I sat up, hating him with an intensity that frightened me. Something caught my eye. It was a model Rick had been building for weeks and it sat amid the clutter on the top of his dresser. Without thinking about it, I got up and pulled it down, throwing it to the floor. Rick’s patience was limited at best, and building that model had been a real challenge for him. Built of toothpicks and cardboard, it was very fragile. It pretty much disintegrated when it hit the floor, but to make sure it was ruined, I stepped on it a couple of times, grinding toothpicks under my heels. I surveyed the wreckage and terror clutched at my belly. When Rick saw what I’d done, he would kill me. I knew how hard he had worked on that model. But it was too late. I’d destroyed it and there was no way I could put it back together. Guilt chewed at me, but at the same time felt a kind of satisfaction in knowing that I’d destroyed something important to him. Taking several deep breaths I went back downstairs and joined in the card game once more. Jason had come home and he sat in my spot. I slid into the chair next to him and watched as they finished the round.
Let me know what you think, okay?