Diary of Secrets

Calum thought soccer was everything.....until he read Sam's diary.


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13. New Memories, Same Destination

Once we reach the brush surrounding the rusty Chevy, I take off my jacket. Sam’s chattering teeth are distracting my thoughts. Derailing what I want to say, so I offer it to her. She smiles, and slides her thin tan arms inside the jacket. She sighs momentarily before sliding into the passenger side. I’m already positioned in the driver’s side, staring at the hole in the dash, where the steering wheel used to be. Adjusting myself to the bumpy vines on the seat.

The sweat imbed in my shirt, makes me cold as a light breeze blows through the frames and cracks of the old orange car. With the windows no longer there, there’s nothing here to block it from coming through. I grit my teeth, bracing myself for the shivers that are trying to come on. Sam curls into herself more, while looking around at the gray and rusted interior. Her eyes catch onto everything, lighting up for a moment and then closing as if remembering something.

Before I can open my mouth, she takes a quick intake of breath; gasping as if she just realized something.

“You okay?” I ask, confused by this sudden outburst. She smiles widely looking over at me.

“This is where we first told each other everything! That is this place right? Unless I‘m like confusing this for a movie I‘ve seen.” I laugh, but nod answering

“Yes. This is the place we opened up to one another.” I smile, glad she finally remembers.


She leans back, resting against the gray rusted frame that once held the intact seats. Now it’s just hollowed out, the rusted metal that shapes the cotton seats that normally covers it. I sit back, resting my back against the crease in between the door and seat. I hope what I’m about to do is something she’s ready to hear. I don’t want to push too hard, and make her distance herself from me again.

I clear my throat, drawing her attention to me. Bringing my hand out, I lay it in the air; palm down. What was the phrase? The one in her favorite book? I just read it! She stares at my hand, confused. Then I remember, and I ask

“Olly-olly-oxen-free?” She tilts her head, staring at me. Confusion sets on her blotched face from the cold. But without missing a beat, she smiles and rests her hand; palm down, on mine.

“Olly-olly-oxen-free.” She answers warmly.


I smile, ecstatic she’s not pushing me away. My hand curls around hers, holding tightly. She smiles, tightening her grip as well, before she sighs and the sharing starts.

“Cara‘s been targeting me online now. I‘ve been trying to fade her out. Blocking her, everything I can think of. But she has so many friends, and it‘s not hard to make another account.” Her eyes drift downward, so she’s staring at the hole where the clutch once was. Now it’s just covered in ferns. With vines curling themselves in and out of it.


“Are you okay?” I ask, worry creeping in now. She shakes her head no, not bothering to look at me. I lift myself up, and pull her towards me. I hug her tightly, and that’s when the crying starts. First it’s just an occasional sob, but then they come more regularly. Before I know it, that’s all she’s doing. Her tears hit my shoulder, you’d think with my shirt already being soaked with sweat, that I wouldn’t be able to tell. But it’s not hard to distinguish the difference, between the cold sweat that’s been there, and the warm drops of her tears that hit my shoulder.

We stay there for a while, with me holding her close as I rub her back. Eventually the sobbing stopped, and soon all I can hear from her is sniffles. She exhales a long sigh, and clears her throat before leaving my arms. When she leans against the door frame, her eyes are puffy and her cheeks flushed.

“All good?” I ask, hoping this helped. She swallows and looks up at me, a small smile appears on her pink lips before she nods in response.


“I‘m here Sam. I know it seems like I‘m always saying that. Yet I always manage to fuck something up, to get you pissed at me again.” She laughs at this, wiping the remnants of her tears from her eyes with my jacket sleeve.

“But I promise. Even when you‘re pissed at me, I‘m still here. I never left just because you decide it‘s punishment for me not to see you. I‘m your best friend Sam. Always have been, always will be. I may not always be the greatest, but I‘m still yours.” She smiles. It seems so genuine, I think for a moment that maybe this helped more than I think.


Her hand outstretches; palm down, as she asks

“Olly-olly-oxen-free?” I smile. Placing my left hand on top of hers.

“Olly-olly-oxen-free.” I answer, before clearing my throat.

“Kevin‘s still on the team. It looks like coach is still putting his faith in him. Hoping that maybe one of these days he‘ll learn to play well.” I confide in her, playing with the string on the sleeve of the jacket. Her hand rests in my lap, as I do this and she’s silent. I think she’s waiting for me to continue, but I’ve said all there is to say.


“Have you talked to the coach? Explained to him what he does to you?” She asks, trying to get more information out of me. I shake my head, looking up at her.

“No. There‘s no point. What‘s the most that‘ll happen? I tell the coach, he gives a stern talking to, to Kevin, and now Kevin knows I snitched. Now Kevin thinks I’m scared of him, because he’ll know I was the one who told, and I’m sorry but I’m not going to give him the satisfaction. With there being no physical evidence to prove he does what he does, it‘s my word against his.” She looks down, breaking our eye contact.


I look away, staring at the darkness looming over the trees and brush surrounding us. I wonder sometimes, what it would be like, to just pack up everything and walk away from it all. Starting somewhere fresh, you know? I wonder if maybe Sam has the same thoughts at times. So, being we’re supposed to be honest and open here, I ask.

“Do you ever wonder, how it would be to just start out somewhere new? Like pack up your bags, and just leave, don‘t look back.” I don’t look away from the trees beyond the dash. Staring at them, it’s almost like I can picture it.


“No. My thoughts normally consist of me lying six feet under the ground.” She answers quietly. Surprised, I look over at her. Her warm hand tightens around my thigh, as she looks down at her lap.

“Please tell me you‘re joking.” I plead. The simple possibility of that actually happening, pisses me off. There will never be a world without Sam. I will be long gone, before that happens.


Her eyes find mine. They’re glassy, from where she must be suppressing tears. I lay my right hand over hers, she squeezes tighter. As a tear falls from her left eye, she answers with a quavering voice

“I wish I was.” Anger rushes through me. How can she possibly think, her being d- no. I can’t even think of the word. How can she think, her being gone, is going to help matters? Not just for her, but for anyone?!


I look away, careful not to blow up at her. This is where we started last time, and she pushed me away.

“When these…..‘thoughts‘ enter your head, do you think about anyone else? Or is this just something you desire?” She’s quiet for a minute. I wonder if she’s ever thought about this from another person’s perspective.

“I‘ve thought about you.” She answers in a small voice. I look over at her, she’s playing with a ring on her right hand.

“I‘ve thought about being gone, and you moving on. I can picture you clearly, laughing, keeping the guys company. Getting your scholarship in soccer, and even being with Regan.” She explains, biting her fuller bottom lip.


Another tear falls from her eyes, I watch it slide down her right cheek. It falls onto the sweater, being absorbed by the fabric.

“You really don‘t know me then do you?” I ask through gritted teeth. How can she possibly think, that I could be happy in a world without her? She’s always been there for me. My days go by quicker with her around, my days are brighter with her there. Yet she seems to think she’s nothing but a speck of dust in my life. Something I can easily do without.


“But I know it‘s true Calum. How else can you explain how well you did without me when this school year started?” She asks, her voice thick in emotion.

“Bullshit!” I scream, not bothering to hide my irritation. She sniffs, removing her hand from my thigh. She wipes her face with the sleeves as I say

“Sam, dammit. You mean so much more to me then you think. Do you realize that all the while you were gone, I thought about you? I could easily picture you reprimanding me when I‘d slack, or reminding me of things I knew I‘d forgotten.” She shakes her head, as if to cease my words. But I don’t, I continue.


“Yes. As much as you don‘t want to hear it, I missed you. There was so many moments when I wanted to text you or call you, but knew you wouldn‘t respond so I‘d chicken out.” My words come pouring out. Not bothering to stop them, I let everything open up. I don’t hold anything back, because I know if I do, she’ll think it’s all lies.

“You‘ve become a part of me, that without you near, it‘s hard to function. Those few weeks without you, were the hardest I had to go through. Not only because I pushed myself too hard, but because I had to go through all those new changes without you.” Her tears are coming faster now. It’s getting harder for her to wipe them away. She breaks momentarily, letting a sob escape, before hiding her face in her hands covered with the sleeves.


“Sam. I know you don‘t think any of this is true. But I swear to you it is. All of it. You have to learn to accept that whether you want to believe it or not, I do care a great deal about you. You’re my best friend, and I love you. I want you here, all the time. Not just for one part of my life, but for all of it.” I reach my hand out to her. Resting it on her knee, rubbing my thumb against the rough material of her dark blue skinny jeans. Her neon pink shirt, glows brightly in the dark car.


Her hands fall into her lap, crashing together to grip tightly to the edges of the jacket. I look up at her face, like earlier her eyes are red and irritated from the constant rubbing. My hand finds one of hers, gripping tightly. She looks over at me, up at my face and leans in close. Her forehead rests on mine, and her left hand cradles the right side of my face.

“Thank you.” She whispers. I close my eyes and swallow, before bringing my left hand up and holding the base of her neck. I keep her held to my head, close to me so she can’t leave this moment. So she’ll remember it, just as I will.

********************************

When we arrive at my house fifteen minutes later, Sam and I are starving. The first thing she does when we walk through the door, is run to the bathroom screaming

“Make way, coming through, gotta go!” I laugh at her, as I head towards the dining room. Mom’s already getting the table ready, so she can start placing the dishes of food atop it. I help her set the placemats, and as I stretch across the table to grab the utensils, I feel something cold touch my lower back.


I look behind me, to see Sam is running her hands up my back under my shirt. I laugh but continue setting the table, ignoring her.

“I‘d like to say in doing this, it‘s warming my hands, but you‘re just as cold as I am.” She answers, taking a seat next to me. Sitting next to her after finishing, I reply

“It was freezing out there, and instead of giving me my sweater back when we got back in the car, you kept it.” She stares at me blankly. Looks down at the jacket I let her wear, and starts to take it off.

“I‘m sorry, I didn‘t even realize.” She starts, I laugh and put my hands on her arms to stop her.

“It‘s fine. Leave it.” I say with a smile. She smiles in return, holding my hand.


My mother starts her usual round up, calling upstairs for Mali and in the basement for my father. The food is set up in front of us, it takes everything for me not to dive into it right then and there. Sam leans into me, whispering in my ear

“I‘m so hungry, your mother‘s plates look appetizing.” I laugh, staring at the various fruits painted on the white plates.


Soon we’re all sitting at the table, and Sam lets go of my hand after noticing Mali sat down next to her. My parents sit across from the three of us, and begin passing out the dishes filled with the warm food. Slowly, we each take a spoonful of the meal my mother cooked, passing the dish along to the person next to us. Sam looks around, and nudges me in the arm with her elbow. I look over as I pour a spoonful of carrots onto my plate. She sticks her finger in the mashed potatoes, and quickly plops it in her mouth. Stifling a giggle, I pass along the carrots to her shaking my head.

Small talk is made between us as we’re finishing up the meal, which Sam and I had two heaping plates of. My mother is now caught up on Sam and is working on me, when Mali interrupts.

“I thought I should let you all know, because I can‘t hold on any longer. But, guess who got a call-back?!” She beams with excitement. I smile,

“Congratulations Mal! I told you they‘d love you.” I reply, stuffing my face with more meatloaf. My parents are expressing their pride, as they inquire more about what’s to come.


While the three of them are conversing about preparations, Sam becomes distant. I nudge her elbow with mine, and watch her flinch. She smiles up at me, but it doesn’t reach her eyes. I give her a concerned look, which she responds with an eye roll. I smile and look away, but know she’s holding something back. Knowing Sam, that’s never a good thing to expect.

**************************************

After I drove Sam home, I crawled straight into bed. Changing out of my clothes into a plain gray shirt and sweats. As I scrolled through my phone, I see Sam texted me goodnight and I replied immediately with the same response. Something makes me enter my pictures, when I do I’m brought back to the diary entries.

I reread the last entry I took a picture of; the one marked October 8th. I shake my head, genuinely scared for this person. I wonder if they’ve gotten any better since I was last there. Could they have finally taken that next step? Are they gone? Have they decided to take things into their own hands? I hope not.

Truthfully, I associate this person with Sam. So the worse they become, the more I fear for her. If they can’t handle this rationally, what hope is there for Sam? How is she going to be able to handle anything, if this person couldn’t, and they had people who cared for them? My stomach knots up in anxiety as I keep thinking about this. I need answers, so tomorrow I have two jobs. One, I would go to a counselor at school and ask for help on what I think I should do to help this person. Then, I would go to the bridge, and see if they’ve written anymore entries.

Plugging in my phone, I roll over and clutch onto my pillow tight. Tomorrow is a new day, but does the person who writes in the journal know that? Or do they see another day closer to their funeral, like Sam does? Life is hard, but it’s only as hard as we make it. Why can’t this person see that?

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