Annabell and I were never really popular in elementary school, but we had you. You were our saving grace; our beacon of light into a world unknown. Just being around you was enough for us to have some credit and not be harassed. Then you guys had that huge fight causing a rift between me and you. You stopped hanging out with us at recess and sitting with us at lunch. Eventually, it got to the point where you’d stop coming over to play with me. Annabell thought this was for the best.
“Nothing good ever came from being around him!” She’d always tell me when I would bring you up. What she meant was nothing good she could see but I saw all the good you brought with you. I saw everything, from the moment we lost you for good to now.
By the time high school started it was like you were a completely different person. You acted as if you didn’t know us… as if you didn’t know me. I would say hi to you in the hall, knowing you would never respond in front of everyone else, but it was worth a shot. The only time you would notice me was if I no one was around and even then it was slight head nods and small glances. I understood you had a reputation to uphold, and couldn’t be seen fraternizing with a couple of old friends turned losers.
Annabell and I would sit and talk for hours about you; well it was mostly me talking about you and her trying to shut me up. Eventually, she would give in. Most of the conversations were about how much I missed hanging out with you and how much you changed.
It seemed to me the people you started hanging out with changed you. You would always speak to me when we were younger, but I guess popularity does that to a person. I know first hand now.
I was so happy when you finally spoke to me again. It was junior year, and I was at my locker, talking with Annabell. You walked over from your group of friends, your girlfriend at the time, Erica, included. You looked at me and smiled with your ever charming smile.
“Hey, Raraya.” You said. I was shocked; you hadn’t said a word to me for almost three years and then suddenly you just started speaking.
“H-hi, Dirk. Wh-what are you doing over here?” I stuttered. Annabell just rolled her eyes. I could tell she was already over with the conversation that was about to take place.
“I was just wondering if you could help me.”
“Help you with what, Dirk?” Annabell questioned. “What is it that you need?”
You looked at her with disgust. “I was talking to Raya over here, not you. So buzz off and go dye your hair a new color or something, emo freak!” You spat at her. You glanced over at me, and I guess you could tell that I wasn’t looking forward to talking to you after insulting my best friend. You scowled and then straightened up.
“What I meant was, I’m trying to talk to Raya. It has nothing to do with you, so if you would kindly get lo- um, let us talk, that would be much appreciated.” You smiled again, but this time something was off.
Annabell looked you up and down. “Hmmph, no way am I leaving her here with you. Whatever you have to say to her, you can say to me. Right, Raya?”
It was finally my turn to say something. I should’ve spoken up sooner but you know me, I was never the one for confrontation.
I cleared my throat. “Right!” I smiled at you shyly. “What is it that I can help you with?”
You looked over at you friends, they looked to be having a normal conversation, but I could hear their whispers. That should have made me realize that something was off. I wasn’t used to people paying any attention to me at all, so to see them giggling in my direction should have clued me in, but I paid it no mind. You turned your attention to the floor and smiled shyly at the ground.
“It’s kinda embarrassing.” You started.
Annabell snorted. “What could possibly embarrass you? You’re already doing the most embarrassing thing by talking to us, right. Just spit it out already.”
Your lips came to a pout as you tried to formulate the words you were about to say.
“You know I’ve never been good at science…”
“Yes, I know this.” I said matter-of-factly. You were dragging this conversation on for so long even I was getting tired.
“Well, coach said he’d bench me from the debate team if I don’t pull my grade up. And knowing you, you’ve always been the smart one so I was wondering if you could help me.”
“Oh.” That was all I could possibly manage to say.
“Yeah, so will you do it? Will you help me?” You asked.
Your blue eyes sparkled as you grabbed my hands in yours. Your hands were warm and they fit with mine so perfectly. I couldn’t think of a possible reason why I should have declined, so I said the first thing that popped into my head.
“Ah! Great! Thanks, Raraya!” You said running back over to your friends. You waved back at me as you said,”I’ll see you tomorrow at your place!”
You wrapped your arm around the pretty red headed witch you called your girlfriend at the time, and walked off. I remember her whispering something in your ear but I don’t know what she said. All I knew was that it didn’t give me a good feeling. My shoulders slumped as I watched you walk away, wishing I could be Erica at least for one day.
“Hmm?” I murmured, snapping out of my little daydream.
“You sure you want to go tutoring that jerk?” Annabell asked walking towards the front doors of the school.
“Yeah, why not? I don’t have a legit reason not to.”
“You don’t have a reason? I have like, at least twelve! How about for starters that he ignored you for years and is just now talking to you because he needs something? Like come on Raya, is this not fishy to you?”
I thought about it; it was a little strange that you had come to me then, and I was sure you had other resources other than me that could help you… but I felt I couldn’t let you down, not with the way you looked at me and grabbed my hands. You needed me, or so I thought.
“Annabell, I appreciate the concern and you’re totally right, but Dirk asked for my help. I already agreed. It would be rude to take it back now. I’ll just have to do this.”
She glared in the direction you went. “Fine, but if he tries anything funny, let me know. Got it?”
I laughed. “Got it! Now let’s go, I have to help my mom take care of my siblings.”
I wish I had been more careful. I wish I had protected my heart better. If only I had known what I know now… maybe I wouldn’t be this way… maybe we could still be friends, but probably not, knowing what happens next.