Endless Squabbles

The one thing we know how to do is argue.
Argue about clothes and what’s the best comic and who does what. Argue just about anything.
Our faces turning red. People staring. But we don’t care if they stare.
And it’s become our everyday drama — weeks of it.
Then that day comes.
***
The bell rings. Middle school. Outside people are happy…happy because school is out and real things get learned.
The crowd leaves merrily on their school busses.
But not me.
No. I’m that girl who’s walking home with her friends.      A walk home in silence.
What a long one it is. Down the sidewalk and up the “so – steep- it- has- to- be- illegal- to- walk- on hill.”
I walk with them. Still. Even though I can’t stand them…well, at least one of them.
That girl. That pierced, almost-death looking girl who I can’t get along with…my best friend.
Natasha.
But then, there’s the other girl. The casual and easy-to get-along-with girl…my best friend.
Cinnamon.
We’re all furious.
Natasha yells at me…aggravated.
I yell at Natasha…sarcastically.
Cinnamon yells at us both…torn.
The world seems to spin and I argue without thinking. We both do?
I try hard to forget that day and the words we assault each other with. Well…it works. Now all I remember is what happens next.
Rage builds in me.
I take off Natasha’s jacket – the jacket Natasha let me borrow that morning. Eyes lowered. Face steaming. Throw it on the ground and stomp on it. My final action before storming off to my house. A different me.
She soars off her final assault and storms off, too. A different direction.
Cinnamon stands there. Confused. Heart-broken.
She looks left? Right? Left? Right? She walks home alone.
***
Seconds-gone! Minutes-gone! Hours-gone! Days-gone! A sure sign the friendship is over.
I still talk to Cinnamon, but I dismiss any mention of the word, “Natasha.” Sure of it. Just as sure as she is when she demands that no one say my now illegal name, “Alexus.”
W     e see each other often in the halls. We glance – regretfully.
***
Weeks later, we run into each other. A fixin’ of Cinnamon, I’m sure.
Awkward silence. Everything is nothing. We make our apologizes in the let’s- pretend-nothing-had-ever-went-wrong way.
All is well. The three musketeers reunite. Bff’s. But even though we never speak of it… we know the fight will ALWAYS be there. Great. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try to forget it.
There isn’t enough time. Natasha’s moving. She’s gone. Another school…another life…no communication.
I move. Gone.
Only Cinnamon stays.
***
Years later. High school.
I walk down the crowded hallway of teenagers. Somehow, I sight this girl. This oddly familiar girl.
I pause. “I know her from somewhere,” I mutter to myself. Rush toward her. Find the courage to ask her. “Is your name Natasha?”
She hesitates. Unsure. Then she answers, “Yes…Why?”
Clearly, she doesn’t recognize me.
Out of shock, I exhale and reply, “It’s me…Alexus!”
And in only a couple of minutes, we talk about where she went and how we both stayed in touch with Cinnamon. Then, there’s that awkward silence again.
And then, we’re interrupted by the bell and leave for class. Both grateful.
Many times we see each other in the hallways. And many times have chances to talk.
We don’t use any of them.
We just pass each other in the hallways. Occasionally wave, smile at each other. But even the waves and smiles end.
Strangers.