Best friends Hailey and Alex have to come to terms with life and unfamiliar feelings.
|Junior high was much harder than middle school had been, so I had little time to dwell on Alex. I had papers to write and tests to study for. Once or twice I did think wistfully about how fun and exciting all of this would have been if Alex were around, but I hastily pushed those thoughts from my mind. Those days were long gone. No sense living in the past.
The next couple of years went by fairly quickly, and before I knew it, I was turning sixteen and Dad was taking me to look for a used car. I’d gotten my driver’s license and had driven Dad’s old Dodge many times into town to run errands or to look for part-time work, but Dad said I was a young woman now and I deserved my own car. We chose a cute little red Chevy Metro, which got good gas mileage, Dad said, and since it was a two-seater convertible, it made me feel as if I were tooling around town in a fancy sportscar.
The same day we got it, I drove over to the Cineplex to apply for a job. The manager smiled and shook my hand as he told me I had the job. He had called the school and found that I was a straight A student and President of the debate team. He said he liked the fact that I was out-going and into school activities. He would feel foolish if he knew that the only reason I was active in school was because I was a pathetic loner with no friends. This was solely by choice; many of the girls at my school had tried to extend a hand of friendship to me, only to be brushed off. I wouldn’t let anyone else hurt me the way Alex did. I thought we’d had an extremely tight bond that no one could break and look how wrong I had been; no more. So I stayed to myself and I studied hard when I wasn’t working at the Cineplex as a ticket-taker.
One night, not long after I’d gotten the job, I turned around to find Alex and his date, head Junior Varsity cheerleader, Alita Gaines, standing before me, waiting for me to tear off their ticket stubs.
“Hi Hailey,” Alex said, sounding surprised to see me. “I didn’t know you worked here. It’s been a long time... how have you been?” he said gently, his eyes searching mine.. but for what?
Alita stood beside him, one arm crooked into his, the other on her hip, as she tapped her leather clad foot impatiently.
She rolled her eyes and before I could speak, she said “You can visit with the help another time, Alex-baby. I wanna go watch the movie!”
With that, she dragged him off into the direction of the concession stand, leaving me standing there, looking foolish, my mouth opened in preparation of answering Alex’s questions. As I watched them walk away, I saw Alex looking back at me over his shoulder, a wistful look on his face.
It was probably for the best. Knowing me, if I had answered him, it would have come out as the cynically sarcastic daggers which kept all of my potential suitors at bay. Forcing a smile, I pushed Alex to the back of my mind and greeted my next ticket-holder.