Since I had a good five minutes before I would start walking to school, I decided to watch some television. Because, well--why not?
Clicking through the channels, I found that nothing interesting was on. Right after I settled on watching some interesting-looking action movie, a commercial came on. I groaned and rolled my eyes. "Seriously?" I muttered.
"Relationship Guidelines for Dummies," the TV said in a voice that was supposed to sound mysterious and intriguing. "It's a program for--"
"Nope," I quickly said, turning off the TV.
"You need to get a boyfriend," Avril said while spooning a slop of mashed potatoes in her mouth. "I mean, we're already juniors." She carelessly swung her spoon around to emphasize her statement.
I heaved a breath of air in annoyance. "No, I do not," I stated in an irritated tone. "Not everyone needs a partner. Do you not see all these 'couples'?" I asked, making quotation marks with my fingers, and gesturing around us to the couples. "They only bring more drama and problems into each other's lives, okay? And I do not need that. I am perfectly happy with the way I am right now."
And I was being completely honest. I was perfectly happy the way I was. I had good grades, a loving mother and father, and a roof over my head. That was enough to make me happy yet there were people desperately searching for their companion. Which, most of the time, the person they 'found' wasn't even the one. I didn't even care about having a boyfriend right now either. Boys were a long ways from my mind.
The statement of me needing to get a boyfriend, I had already heard more time than I could remember. Avril seriously told me every day at school, every class we had together, and every time we were hanging out or at each other's house. So, basically she's told me at least an average of eight times a day.
Just because Avril had her own share of boyfriends before didn't mean that I needed one.
I've had a boyfriend before. It was back in the 9th grade; freshmen year. His name was Michael Stewarts. We dated for five weeks--only five because it turned out he had already cheated on me with his best friend, Greg.
Yes, my first boyfriend, Michael Stewarts had cheated on me with his best friend, Greg, who was a male. Michael Stewarts is gay.
He apologized for using me to cover up himself so people would think he was straight, but he said he couldn't take it anymore and wanted to let people know. I accepted the apology. I know it must be difficult to come out of the closet. And I seriously respect them because they have the guts to. They are truly brave.
So I know that didn't really count as me having boyfriend experience, since it was merely five weeks, I had been cheated on, was used as a cover up, and he was actually gay. But, I still got the taste of how being in a relationship was still like. Plus, I saw all these couples around anyway. Simply watching them drive each other mad was already enough.
Some of them didn't even act like couples. Or some were always eating each other up. Too much drama also came along too. I hated those relationships where they kept going on and off with each other. I mean, once you found out they got back together after a break-up, it wasn't even exciting anymore. People never cared to congratulate them anymore, because it wasn't surprising news.
Avril gave me a look as if I were dumb and off of this planet. "You're happy just the way you are?" she questioned, forcing her face closer to mine. "I'm sorry, but it's lunch and you're studying. Stu-dy-ing," she slowly drawled out with an emphasis on each syllable and pointed down at the large textbook opened up in front of me.
I backed up and made a face. I like my personal space. Best friend or not, it was quite uncomfortable for me. "Fine then," I retorted, "I'll eat." I shut my textbook and put it in my backpack. Avril pushed my lunch tray in front of me. I narrowed my eyes at the junk in front of me. "What the heck is this?" I whispered to myself, immediately regretting to agreeing to eat. I nearly gagged. People actually eat this stuff? I mean, look at this supposedly-called "food."
Avril impatiently drummed her fingers against the bench table. "Well, c'mon, what are you waiting for? You know, lunch isn't gonna last forever," she probed, pushing the tray towards me even more so that it was jabbing my stomach.
"I know, Avril. Calm down," I said, fidgeting in my seat a little. "I am going to eat, I promise." I didn't know if I could actually do it though. Looking at the food already made me want to puke.
I slowly picked up my spoon and dug it into the pile of macaroni and cheese. Or at least I believe that was what it was. It made a sloshing sound. It appeared like it was only noodles, with no cheese, and there was liquid. I thought it was supposed to be sticky and soft, not runny.
I slowly opened my mouth ajar and brought the spoon up to my mouth. Before it entered my mouth, I yelled, "I'm lactose intolerant!" I dropped the spoon, making the macaroni and cheese splatter all over my tray. I just couldn't do it. People stopped what they were doing for a quick split second before they returned to what they were doing.
Avril rolled her eyes and groaned. "Iris, I've known you for eight years. If you were lactose intolerant, I think I would have already known." She gave me a knowing look.
I shrugged and gave her a somewhat apologetic look. "Sorry, I just couldn't handle it. The food looks terrible!" I pretended to stick my pointer finger down my throat and gag.
I'm pretty sure that if I had actually eaten that macaroni and cheese I wouldn't have needed to pretend vomiting.
Avril took another spoonful of mashed potatoes. "It is," she agreed, speaking with a mouthful, "but these mashed potatoes rock."
I scrunched up my nose. "The view of your mouth full of food does not rock," I informed, shaking my head. I pushed the tray away from myself and said, "I'm never coming that close to public school lunches anymore. Totally disgusting."
You better not make me try eating this food ever again! I thought.
Avril shrugged and replied, "Well, my mom won't buy lunch for me, so I'm stuck with this apparently. Freaking sucks!"
"That does suck for you then," I said. "I understand you." Or at least I tried to. Avril's parents were pretty rich, so it kind of made no sense why they wouldn't offer to pay for their daughter's school lunches.
She nodded her head, then glowered at me. "What are you talking about? You don't even eat lunch at lunch! All you do is study!"
"No--" I started to defend, but Avril cut me off.
"Why do you think it's called lunch?" She gestured around the school field where we normally sat during lunch. Or 'lunch' since I technically didn't eat during it. "So you can eat your lunch! Duh!" she exclaimed, answering her own question.
I rolled my eyes. "Look, it's not my fault I don't eat 'lunch' during 'lunch' because I study instead." I picked my backpack off of the ground and threw it on my back. "The food here is gross. I can't stand it."
"That's why you pack your own lunch? Simple as that, Iris," Avril said. "It's not that hard." She crossed her arms.
I sighed and adjusted my backpack straps to make it tighter. These books were seriously heavy. "Yeah, well, I'm just never hungry during this time. I eat breakfast before school anyway, so it's alright."
Avril grunted. "Sure, whatever."
I got up from my seat and looked at the clock that was hung on the side of the school. "Well, lunch is almost over. I need to go to the library. I'll see you later, okay?"
"I know, I know. So you can get more educational books that you don't need because you're already as smart as you could possibly ever get," Avril said in a bored tone.
I chuckled. "You can never get enough of education. Your mental capacity has an even bigger memory space than the best computer out there."
Avril smiled and waved. "Get moving, lady! I'll text or call you later if I can come over."
"Alright, bye!" I shouted over my shoulder as I walked off towards the inside of the school building and the library. Avril didn't even need to ask for permission to come over to my house. Her parents always said 'yes' right away anyway. But, it was always better to be safe than sorry.
I sat cross-legged on my couch. I was currently scrolling through the channels on the TV with my remote control. My dog Biscuit, a Bichon Frise, jumped on my lap. "Hi there," I cooed, a grin on my face. "Aren't you such a cutie?" Biscuit licked my chin, making me pull him away from my face a bit.
"Aw. Thank you so much, honey. And hello to you too," my mom said from behind me. I jumped in my seat and Biscuit bounced in my lap.
I set my hand over my chest. "Mom, you scared me," I said, taking a few breaths to calm my heart rate down. My mom set her purse and keys on the coffee table. "I was actually talking to Biscuit by the way," I awkwardly told her. "I didn't even hear you coming through the front door."
My mom playfully slapped my thigh. "Of course, I already knew," my mom said with a smile. "I was only teasing. I just wanted to see how you'd react. It used to happen to your grandmother and I all the time. She used to blush like mad. I just never told her that I wasn't complimenting her. She'd be super embarrassed."
I smiled at the thought of my late grandmother. She had been a really nice and strong-willed woman. "That totally is something grandma would do."
"I'm getting a glass of wine, do you want anything?" my mom shouted over her shoulder as she walked over to the kitchen. My mom only drunk wine when she had a hard day at work.
I settled down for watching SpongeBob SquarePants. Though I may be a junior student in high school, I was never too old for cartoons. "A can of sprite is fine!" I hollered back.
Just because I watched what I consumed didn't mean I didn't drink pop or soda once in awhile.
A minute and a half later, my mom returned to the living room. She sat next to me on the couch and passed me my sprite. She sipped on her glass of wine before speaking, "So, Iris, you're at an appropriate age and I think we need to talk about--" she paused, "--certain things."
My eyes widened and my jaw dropped open. "No, no, no! We are not having the 'sex talk.' I think we both know I'd never go that far with anyone, ever." You know, I heard many people talking about how they had to go through this with their parents and it was just horrible and extremely awkward. I didn't need any of that.
Avril told me that her parents already gave her that talk. Just listening to her made me already visibly cringe and cross my fingers that my mom or even worse--dad, wouldn't have the same talk with me.
My mom's own eyes widened and she began laughing. "Gosh, no! I wasn't even talking about having that talk with you, Iris. I was talking about you needing to get a boyfriend."
I had just finished taking a sip of my Sprite and I turned around to give her a glare. "Mom, no. I am not going to get a boyfriend." Great, I already had to deal with Avril annoying me about this, and now it was my mom's turn.
"Well, why?" my mom asked a little bit disappointed. She set her glass on the coffee table and turned so that she was facing me directly. "You're nearly seventeen, honey. You're at the perfect age to finally start dating. I mean, sure, at first I thought that you should wait until you were at an appropriate age, but that was when I thought you'd be one of those girls who actually wanted a boyfriend. But, now I see that you're not making any move to get one, and it's making me kind of upset. I'd like to see you be loved by someone besides myself."
"Mom," I groaned, "I just don't want a boyfriend! Why can't you just understand that?" I threw my hands up in the air. "What if I don't want to be loved by someone else? What if I don't want to love someone else?"
Mom chuckled. "Don't be so silly, Iris. Sooner or later you'll find someone who you love and loves you back. But, that means you need to start talking to more people and put an effort into it."
I just shook my head. "No, I don't want to be one of those desperate girls who literally go on a manhunt. That's just a disgrace for us women who actually have self-respect and dignity."
Talking so much to make a point my mom would not understand was making me so thirsty. Every time I would finish speaking for that moment I would take a sip of my Sprite.
"Well, if you don't want a boyfriend, give me a good reason why you don't want one," my mom demanded.
"Because I just don't want one, mom! Is it that hard to understand?" I cried, literally about to yank on my own hair because I was just so frustrated that both Avril and my own mom couldn't understand.
My mom stayed silent for a short moment, a blank expression on her face. She took a sip of her wine and set it back down. I also took a sip of my Sprite to try to calm down my nerves. Did I piss off my mom for raising my voice?
"Honey, are you lesbian?" she asked in a quiet tone.
I felt like a thousand bricks had been dropped on me right at that very moment. "What?" I choked on my Sprite and it ended up spraying onto the carpet. Biscuit jumped down to sniff it. Gross.
She looked up and stared at me. She must have been scared at the look on my face because she couldn't look into my eyes anymore. Mom started squirming in her seat and nervously fiddled with her hands.
Okay, great, so she doesn't care that I just about died.
"Iris, it's fine if you're a, you know--lesbian. I knew quite a lot of gay people in my high school and college years. I even kissed a few girls before," my mom nervously rambled. "I'm not bisexual or lesbian or anything, I was just experimenting, you could say."
"Mom, stop," I said, setting a hand up in her face.
My mom continued talking about, not even listening to me. I put my hand back down, finding the gesture completely useless.
"If you're lesbian, I totally support you. I'll join an LGBT club if that's what you want and I'll even do my best to help you find that one special gi--"
Oh heck no. My mom was not jumping to that topic. I already knew what she was going to say before she could even finish. "Mom!" I cried out, my face probably all red from my frustration. "I'm not a freaking lesbian! Okay?" I took a deep breath to calm myself down.
Mom jumped, startled. Her eyes found my own and she blinked a few times. "W-What?" she stammered.
"I said, 'I'm not a lesbian'," I repeated, speaking slower this time. "Now, please, don't ever jump to conclusions again. And listen to me whenever I am trying to say something to you. I'd rather much prefer if rumors of me being a supposed lesbian didn't go around town. Because I'm not," I cleared up.
My mom sighed. "Oh, good. I was so scared that you were a lesbian," she said with a chuckle, "because I would have been so pissed off that you never told me earlier!" She smacked my arm and I rolled my eyes. That was so like my mom. She was a fair and good person.
I began laughing and almost choked on my Sprite again.
"What is it?" my mom worriedly asked, this time, patting my back to help my coughing fit.
I shook my head and had a big grin on my face. "Mom, you know that you just told me you used to kiss girls?" I arched an eyebrow.
Mom gasped and her eyes went as wide as saucers, realization setting in down on her. "You're right!" She laughed along with me. "Make sure to never tell your father that," she whispered, adding a wink afterwards.
I winked back and replied, "I'll try my best, but I'm not keeping any promises!"
"By the way, you better clean up that mess Biscuit is currently licking on the carpet." Mom got up and headed towards the kitchen.
"Gross! Biscuit!" I yelled, getting Biscuit's attention so he would stop. "I thought it had gone unnoticed," I muttered under my breath.
"Nope," my mom said from the kitchen.
"She must have super hearing skills," I muttered. "Or super hearing aids," I added.
Yep, either one of those.