|Have you ever, in your entire life, did something, and instantly knew you would forever regret it?
Monday, July 19 started normal. I slept in until two o’clock, and ate a breakfast which consisted of cold pepperoni pizza, with a mountain dew to wash it down. By two thirty I was already out the door walking down the street to my best friend Camille’s house. I met Camille in third grade at recess, and to honestly tell you the truth, I hated her. Camille was only nine years old at the time, had already had eleven different boyfriends, wore all the designer labels, and owned her very own cell phone. Plus, some days she would even come in wearing mascara. (Which was a big deal in third grade I’ll have you know.) Now, I’m sure you’ve been warned by adults not to judge people before you get to know them, and I’m sure you know that I had certainly judged Camille. Let me tell you that I was one hundred and ten percent right about Camille, but one thing I got wrong. She accepted me, and if there is one thing I did know in third grade, it’s that if Camille Latire accepts you, you are happy no matter how big of a flake she is. Basically because to put it blunt, Camille and her friends got all the boys.
Well, as I’m on my way to Camille’s house I noticed something different. Parked in her next door neighbor’s house or maybe I should say vacant lot, since no one had occupied that house in ten years at least, was a U-Haul truck. Needless to say this sparked my curiosity, and I nearly forgot I was even headed to Camille’s house. In fact, all I wanted to do that instant was run up to the house and ring the doorbell fifty million times until someone answered. You may be wondering why I would ring the doorbell fifty million times, well; this is basically because anyone who has ever rung a doorbell in their life knows that it is simply not satisfying enough to ring it just once. And since the person rarely ever immediately opens the door you can stand there like an idiot, poking a button on the side of their house. Only, I did not go and ring the doorbell fifty million times, because before I could, I saw Camille racing out of her house towards me, armed with her cell phone, I knew it was a text from her latest “crush” a boy named Jeremey who she met at the YMCA last week.
“Sam!” she called racing towards me so fast you would think I was holding the last one-hundred dollar bill on this planet. “Sam you’ll never believe it!”
“What? I’ll never believe what?” I asked, completely uninterested.
“We’ve got a next door neighbor! A person! An actual person!”
I nearly rolled my eyes, “Of course your neighbor is a person.”
“Man, I just want to go ring their doorbell fifty million times.” Camille sighed.
“Ironic.” was all I managed to say.
Somewhere in Camille’s oversized huddie a phone managed to get its voice threw, playing the chorus to “apple-bottom jeans” Camille nearly leaped with joy and feverishly attacked the number pad in a response to the previous text. After shoving the phone back in the pocket of her hoodie she looked at me awkwardly, and acted like she had just ate the last Oreo cookie.
“I’ve been texting Jeremey.” She offered as an excuse.
“Of course,” I reply. “Don’t mind me, Jeremey is more important.”
“I knew you would understand.” Camille said foolishly patting my back.
The thing about Camille is she is a really big jerk sometimes. You can never be completely sure if she is your friend or not, but then again, I believe we all become that way sometimes. I know I have, and I know a lot of other people who have. It’s human nature, and it makes us who we are.
I was just starting to get rather bored standing there watching Camille aimlessly as she texted Jeremey, completely ignoring, and giving no effort to even talk to me, when the door that belonged to the house with the U-Haul truck opened. Out stepped none other than Tain, the biggest freak at our school. I caught Camille’s eye, and knew she had seen him too. Not even half a millisecond later he saw us. Only we couldn’t bare it, we burst out into an explosion of laughter. Camille emphasized hers, giving Tain the message that she will not talk to him, or acknowledge him. This was a little pointless since she was making quite a big scene by standing there in sweats, an XXL hoodie which belonged to Jeremey I’m sure, and flip flops, laughing like a hyena. Once again, this was Camille, and she was so popular, that she could be standing there in a gorilla suit and boys would still drool over her. The odd thing was, Tain, he barely noticed.
In fact, he didn’t even blink an eye. He acted like he was completely used to it. Surely he was a little used to being made fun of, but it’s not every day that you see Camille Latire, and Sam Kinte together in the middle of the street, just gaping over a phone, laughing at you.
“Common,” Camille said. “Let’s go give my new neighbor a warm welcome.” By the way she said welcome I knew something was up her sleeve. I didn’t feel good about it, and I wanted to say no, I wanted to go home, get away from Tain, save him from whatever fate he was about to get. Only I didn’t, because no one ever questions Camille. Camille is like a god in this town. So all I muttered was;
“Tain!” Camille called. “Long time no talk!”
“Uh, Camille we’ve never talked…” he said, not stuttering, or caring at all.
“Well let’s change that.” She smiled flaky. “So, are you living here for a while or just temporarily?”
“I suppose we will be staying here for a few years, probably until I’m out of high school.” He answered casually.
“That’s odd.” Camille looked puzzled.
“Why is that odd? A lot of people stay in houses for years at a time. I’m sure your family has been in your house right now for a few years.” Tain offered.
“My whole life,” she explained. “But I’ve never known of a circus that stays in town for more than a few years. That is what your family does right? Acts in the circus?”
The color drained from Tain’s face. Then as quickly as it had disappeared, it was back again, accompanied by a flashy smile pasted to his face.
“Nice joke. Only sadly no, my family doesn’t work in the circus. Too bad little girlie, no one to entertain you, no big cats to show, no people tangled in ropes, no tight walkers. The circus is very interesting. Maybe they would accept you in it. I’m sure you would be perfect in their new act.” He said, almost hiding his smirk.
“And that act is?”
“You know that act with the big fat lady? Well it’s a lot like that. Only this act is for the lady with the biggest, most out of control ego.” He said, then smiled politely at her, picked up a box from the U-Haul truck and carried it inside, leaving Camille standing there, mouth hanging open, and me using every muscle in my body not to laugh.
That night as I lay in bed, all I could focus on was how easily Tain countered Camille’s insults today. He talked to her as a normal person. The best part was he was right; Camille did have an oversized ego. Only I think Tain knocked it down a peg or two today. He stood up to her, something that the rest of the high school was afraid to do. It was something that I had been trying to accomplish for years, and it took him nearly three minutes.
That’s just simply amazing.
First thing the next morning, I was on my way down the same road to Camille’s house. Only today, I got half-way there and glanced at Tain’s house. Of, course I saw him, only I wasn’t sure exactly what he was doing, it appeared he was looking for something. I decided, since he’s most definitely Camille’s enemy, it wasn’t smart to ask what, so I let my mind wander. Maybe Tain was searching for an item that had yet to be unpacked. Perhaps, he was looking for a lost pet, or maybe he wasn’t looking for anything at all. I didn’t have much time to ponder it, because soon I was at Camille’s house. I gathered up a lot of courage, and then rang the doorbell, once of course. Soon Camille was right there in the doorway. Frowning.
“Sorry. Grounded.” She pouted to me.
“Already? What for?” I inquired.
“Well after Tain ticked me off yesterday, I got smart with my mom. Actually I didn’t just get smart with her, I threw my cellphone at her, and the TV remote, and the newest copy of US Weekly, and my little sisters IPod. Needless to say, I’m grounded for a LONG time.” She still sounded pretty ticked and rather annoyed like she had never heard the end of this story. I’m sure she hasn’t, because when Camille’s mom gets mad about something, she never drops it.
So, I told her that sucks, and said good-bye. Wondering what I was going to do, now I have no one to chill with, and I was going to go camping next week and invite her. I guess now that’s cancelled. After leaving Camille’s, I started trudging down the middle of the street, basically because I was mad, and I knew that I wasn’t supposed to. I understand that just because I’m mad at Camille for never controlling her anger, doesn’t mean I can do something that I know makes my mom mad, in hopes that maybe this problem will evaporate, but it makes me feel better, oddly.
When I passed Tain’s house he was still searching for something, I think. He kept muttering, “Now where did I put that yesterday?” and “Well, it’s
probably broken anyway.”
My curiosity got the better of me,
“What’s broken?” I asked.
“Oh, nothing. I don’t uh- think.” He replied, and I mentally made a note in my head he was not awake yet.
“Hmm, weird, I could’ve sworn you just said something was broken…” I was pretending to be stupid, because obviously he thinks I am, secretly this is the oldest trick in the book.
“Um, Oh yeah I did, sorry I didn’t sleep well last night.”
“Why not?” I was digging deeper.
“Don’t you remember the first night you spent in a new house?” He said annoyed, was everyone in bad moods today?
“No.” I said. Only I did, it was horrible, that first night, was the night that something most terrible happened to me. Something I’ll never forget, but that’s not important right now.
“Look, ok, I’m looking for my bike. These stupid movers didn’t put anything down neatly; they just threw it into piles. So, I figure my bike is broken anyway. Or stolen at the least.” He sighed.
“Well, we have some old bikes, but they need some air…” I started.
“Great!” He said, and started running down the road towards my house.
“Wait up!!” I called.
He would’ve beaten me to my house, only he didn’t know which house I lived at yet. We opened my creaky garage door, and I swore it would wake up my entire block, but it didn’t because Tain claims he’s an FBI agent and they need to know how to break into something silently whenever. I made a snippy remark about him not even going to the right house, and that seemed to shut him up pretty much. I barely ever talk to Tain, but I feel as though I’ve known him for years. I knew when to push the limits and when to back off. I knew when he was kidding and when he was dead as a doornail serious. I knew how to press his buttons, and what makes him spill. I knew how he walked, and that he’s a straight A student. Only, the
one thing I didn’t know about him was if he was my friend. So I asked him.
“Sam, we are standing in your garage, digging out bikes that have flat tires, talking about FBI agents, and you’re asking if we are friends?”
“Stupid question?” I asked
“Well, that depends, Sam, what is a friend to you?”
I thought. “A friend is someone you’re comfortable with, someone you trust, someone who knows everything about you, someone who has seen you cry, someone who won’t make you cry, someone who never judges you, someone who loves you. Someone who understands you have problems and like to talk about them too, someone who trusts you with secrets, someone who doesn’t ditch you for others when they are hanging with you. Someone who will come to your house at 3am to talk about boys, and someone who will never fight with me because of a boy.”
“Hmmm.” He said. “Well, you’re not completely comfortable with me, I don’t know much about you, I’ve never seen you cry, I’ve never made you cry, I’ve judged you, I don’t love you like that, everyone has problems, I don’t really trust you with secrets… yet, I would probably ditch you for Michael Jackson, I don’t really like to talk about boys, sorry, and I would never fight a girl. So I think that makes us, acquaintances with hope.”
“Acquaintances with hope?” I asked.
“Yes acquaintances with hope of becoming best friends.”
That was one of the neatest things I had ever heard. Even though the words had come from Tain Umar, and they were cheese. In another sense they were amazing, and I don’t know how to explain it. Tain takes something serious, and makes it funny, he takes something stupid and makes it smart, he takes something boring and makes it amusing, he takes something real and makes it fiction. This Tain kid, who’s been in school with Camille and I, who gets picked on every day, who gets a whole crapload of stupid from everyone, including me, is just a normal kid. Personally, to tell you the truth, I think I kind of like this Tain guy. I think I like him a lot.
To be continued...