I felt the cool air of the store fill my shirt after I gave Cynthia my jacket. The place looked dark and lifeless. The handmade soft toys gave a creepy touch to the atmosphere. Slowly, I looked at Cynthia. She was falling asleep, cuddling to a giant penguin soft toy. I knew she was scared all over. I being here must have gotten her really shaken up. I thought. I kind of felt bad about being a stranger to her. Well, not completely a stranger but… a stranger!
Feeling sorry, I moved closer to Cynthia to make sure she is covered by my jacket. As I touched the jacket, I heard her saying something very softly. She said: “nial. I am scared… please protect me… I trust you…” so soft but touching it was, made me stare at her. Did she really say that? I thought. I leaned against the wall, thinking about her words. “Even though she is scared, she trusted me and asked to take care of her. Isn’t that weird?
I was in a bit of confusion. Girls usually don’t trust guys like me. I thought. Slowly I also drifted to a dreamless sleep, right beside Cynthia.
“There she is!” someone called from the darkness. I slowly opened my eyes. Everything was in a blur. My whole body ached from falling asleep on the hard floor. “There she is with some blond boy!” the person called. Blond boy? I thought as I rubbed my eyes. Then, I realize that somebody was outside, calling us. Cynthia even heard it. She jumped up to her feet and looked around. “Mom? Is that you?” she asked. We both ran toward the door. A woman stood at the door with several police officers. “Mom! Oh! Thank god you found us!” she exclaimed. So that must be her mother. I thought. “Honey! Are you alright?! What happened? Who is this?” her mother poured the questions on her as I simply stood there watching. “Mom! Mom! I’ll answer all that, but first let us out of here!” she told her. “Oh! Yes, yes. Of course!” she replied.
As the officers worked on the lock, Cynthia and stood back. I saw her mother giving her a small glare. Cynthia sent her a “what’s wrong?” sign with her hands. I pretended I didn’t know as her mother replied with a “who is that?” sign. ‘This is going to be rather awkward.’ I thought to myself.
When the lock was opened, her mother gave her a hug. “Thank god you’re alright! Now, explain everything to me!” mom told me. So she explained to her briefly leaving the part about hiding behind the shelf from the shop keeper.
“This is nial horan, a friend of mine, new to my school.” Cynthia introduced me to her mom. “Hello, you must be Mrs. Bluebell. Nice to meet you.” I introduced in a kind way. Her mother’s reply was just a smile. Then she turned around to Cynthia “let’s go home, it’s very late now.” She said and practically dragged her down the street. “Bye nial! See you at school tomorrow!!” I heard her call in a happy tone. I replied with a simple wave as she turned to the next road. I was left all alone as I watched her long hair disappear to the other side of the building. Her mother didn’t even ask if I was okay and needed a lift home. Disappointed, I put on my headphones and began slowly walking home alone.
As soon as we got home, mom asked; “who is that? What were you doing in the shop?” I was shocked. “Mom, we didn’t do anything! We were stuck in the shop together! He is just a friend. Why are you overreacting?!” I asked. “I told you not to be that close to boys!” she scolded. “Mom, you misunderstand me! I wasn’t that close to him! When I entered the shop, didn’t know he was there! What is in your mind that is making you yell like that? You think he is my boyfriend or something?? No way!” I fought back for the first time. “Then how come you were sitting so close to each other?! Explain that!” she said. I started to bubble up. “We were not sitting close! If it wasn’t that cold and dark there, I would be sitting on the other side of the shop! He is not my boyfriend! If that is what you wanted to hear, there! I said it!” I told her. “You think that stranger can protect you? He could have harmed you! You don’t know how boys these days are like! A girl all alone stuck in a shop with a stranger is way bad than you think!” she said angrily. “Well, that stranger kept me away from being frozen! He kept me company as I was afraid of the dark! Because of him I was able to relax! And now he is all alone in the dark streets with millions of strangers all around him!” I told her. She stopped arguing.
That’s when I realized that I was still wearing nial’s jacket. “He is even going to freeze! He gave me his coat!” I said to myself. “You’re not going to go out!” my mother yelled as I was about to leave the house to find nial. Anger bubbling in my chest, I ran up to my bed room and shut the door.
What’s her problem?? Why does she keep thinking that I did something with him??! Did she think I kissed him or something?! No way!!” I said to myself. I looked out of the window and said. “I am so sorry nial.”