The Wells Legacy

Without you, today's emotions would be the scurf of yesterday's ~Hipolito


3 Comments

Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Twenty One

Screenshot-223

“Did you buy out the grocery store?” Dani asked when I came back to the dorm. My arms were overflowing with bag of chips and candy.

When I set our goodies down on my bed, I saw that Dani had changed. She was put together and looking like her regular self. Damn. If only I could pull that off after pulling all-nighters while tending to my plants.

I shrugged and wandered over to the fridge for a beer. “I don’t mess around when it comes to snacks. You’ve known me forever. The Wells—we’re taught to go over the top.”

She laughed and reached for a pack of sour skittles. “I know, I know. Plus you know I’ll end up eating half this shit.”

Screenshot-225

“And you won’t even gain an ounce, you jerk!” I joked, although it was true. I’ve never seen anyone eat so many sweets and not gain weight, or even break out from all the sugar! If I even breathed in the sweet aroma of bacon, I could feel myself gain weight. A joke, of course.

As we were getting closer to the boys’ arrival, I worked on getting our movie-watching area comfy. I threw down pillows and moved seats around for a prime viewing experience. But while I worked, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Dani was pacing until she decided to sit down.

“Are you breaking in a new pair of shoes?” I asked jokingly. “Really, though, are you okay?”

Dani scratched her head and groaned. “Um, please don’t tell me you’re doing this out of pity…”

I shook my head.

“You sure you didn’t tell Sabin about what happened and you felt sorry for me?”

“Pretty sure I just want my best friend to watch some movies with me. Also, you won’t be a third wheel, or anything like that.”

That caught her interest for sure. Rather than asking me to explain, she stared at me with her hands flat in her lap.

Screenshot-231.jpg

“Sabin’s friend, Otto, didn’t have any plans for today, so I offered to have him join us as well. Thought it would be nice to have more people. Nothing better than poking fun at ridiculous movies, right?”

“Again,” Dani started, “this isn’t because you feel bad?”

I nodded. “Exactly.”

Dani couldn’t get another word in when I heard a knock on the door. Perfect timing, so I didn’t waste any time letting the boys in. They were equipped with the movies and their smiling faces. Otto was standing behind Sabin, but since he was taller than him, he couldn’t exactly hide.

“Nice to see you again, Otto!” I grinned. “So glad you could make it.”

“Well, when Sabin mentioned you were going to watch Mars Attacks, I had to be there. Tim Burton aliens—yeah, truly a classic.”

Once the guys walked in and managed to make themselves comfortable, I motioned to Otto for him to come meet Dani. He walked right up and held out his hand for her to shake. I didn’t even have a chance to say anything before he spoke.

“I’m Otto, by the way. I might have seen you a few times, but never got a chance to say hi.”

“Danika, but you can call me Dani.”

“Nice to meet you, Dani. You ready to crash this movie night? I’ll warm all of you know that I am notorious for incorrectly narrating character lines.”

Dani snorted. “Oh god. Like those classical art memes?”

He nodded and pointed to Sabin. “He loves going to museums with me.”

Sabin rolled his eyes and gave us thumbs up. “The shit that comes out of his mouth is outstanding.”

Screenshot-227.jpg

The energy in the room was definitely a lot more relaxed. Everyone was chatting and having a good time. I had no doubt that Dani was heartbroken, but at least she was in good company. Sometimes we all needed a distraction to help get through sad times. That didn’t change the fact that I wanted to kick Saul’s ass.

Eventually we ended up actually getting to the movies. We were all seated in front of the TV and took turns commenting on the ridiculous dialogue, or sometimes even making up some of our own narrations. They were often so good that I had a hard time enjoying our snacks.

Otto leaned forward and did his best falsetto. “Well, I do admit that the dog’s body suits her personality. Frankly, I like her more like that!”

Screenshot-228.jpg

“My god!” I exclaimed before Sabin pat me on the back. “Ugh! Thank you. Otto, I swear I’ll choke if you don’t stop!”

He shrugged and messed with my hair. “That’s okay. Sabin is certified to save you. But if I’m really so funny, I’ll just share with Dani so Sabin doesn’t have to worry about you choking.”

Dani furrowed her brow and sat up. “You know, all this talk of choking makes me want to say something dirty, but ya know…”

I quickly threw my pillow at Dani before the color of my face caught up. “Filthy!”

Screenshot-230.jpg

Sabin had to join in laughing. Yeah-yeah, it was funny and we basically walked right into that one. Amazing. But that what was what I really liked—I loved how freely we could laugh and enjoy the moment. I only hoped that Dani was having a great time as well. I watched her laugh and talk with Otto. They were certainly on a roll with making fun of the movies we watched. I lost track of how many times Sabin had to smack me on the back to make sure I didn’t choke on a pretzel.

Time flew by and before we knew it, it was midnight.

“Wow, we definitely got through a few movies,” Otto commented looking at the stack of DVDs on the floor.

Sabin nodded and shifted his position to look back at Dani and Otto. “You ladies want to call it a night? Get some rest before classes start back up again?”

I shrugged and glanced at Dani. “We can certainly hang out tomorrow, but sleep sure does sound nice.”

Once we agreed to finish up with our movie night, the boys helped us clean up before heading back to their apartment. Every little bit helped because once the sleepies kicked it, it was difficult to do anything!

“Alma,” Dani started while I started throwing pillows off my bed.

“What’s up?”

When she didn’t answer, I looked up to find her right beside me, ready to wrap her arms around me.

Screenshot-232

“Thank you for tonight. Just—thank you.”

My arms wrapped tightly around her as I sighed happily. “I’m so glad you had a good time. That’s the fun you should be having, not dealing with some little shit.”

She snorted before giggling. “Oh man, you’re right about that. But in all seriousness, you’re not going to go sneak into Sabin’s bed right now? Lord, the way he looks at you even when you’re choking on snacks. It’s incredible!”

I shoved her playfully and rolled my eyes. “Oh hush!”

Advertisements


2 Comments

Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Twenty

Before I knew it, my holiday break was over and it was time to get on a plane and head back to campus. As much as I loved my time spent with family, I was extremely excited to see Dani back at our dorm since she was spending the holiday break with her boyfriend, Saul, and his family. Guess things were also moving along well for her with her relationship and I couldn’t wait to hear all about it. I half-expected for her to be off with Saul at his place, but Dani was actually in our room seated on her bed with a pillow in her lap.

Screenshot-197

“My sista!” I exclaimed and threw down my bag. “I’ve missed you! Tell me everything! You’ve been radio silent this entire time!”

Which was odd, by the way.

It wasn’t till I got closer to her that I noticed how swollen her eyes were. I immediately dropped my playful demeanor and rushed to her side. If there was anything that set me into full Mama-Bear mode it was knowing something was wrong with my friends.

Dani only looked down and mumbled incoherently. Her speech soon became riddled with her heavy sobs.

My arm quickly found its way to her back, so I could soothe her any way I could.

“Hey,” I whispered, “what’s going on? Was your trip no good?”

Dani snorted and looked up. “Alma, there was no trip.”

“Where were you then?” Heck, she could have come spend the break with my family.

“Visited family…”

“Well that’s good, but weren’t you supposed to go see—”

“Nope. Not once I found out he was fucking some freshman.”

“Woah, what. Hold on. WHAT?”

Screenshot-198

Dani took her time explaining since she had to take breaks to sniffle and apologize (no matter how many times I told her it was necessary). She never caught him in the act. She never noticed anything pop up on his phone. Nothing. There was nothing that would be stereotypically assumed of a cheater. Saul actually approached her and said it to her face. The nerve!

She wiped her eyes and sighed. “He told me that he was seeing someone else and that he cared about her. He’d rather introduce her to his family than me. I mean,” She winced as the words were forming. “Is there something so wrong with me that he doesn’t even want to consider introducing me to his family? Why did he suggest it? Why did he invite me before?”

I placed my arm around her and pulled her in close before she started wheezing as her questions quickened. One followed the other till she was crying again. It was hard to see her like this, because Dani always carried herself in such a way that made her seem impenetrable.

We were only human.

For a while I didn’t say anything. I just hugged her and listened because I could tell she needed to talk. Sometimes it was incoherent, but it was her expression and I was going to be there for as long as she wanted me to be there. After a while she stopped sniffling and sighed slowly.

“Do you think there’s something wrong with me?” She asked quietly.

“Absolutely not,” I replied. “You’re a kind and courageous woman. You rock colored hair like it’s nobodies business and you’re someone your siblings look up to. You’re amazing. Things didn’t work out with Saul because—” I paused. “His head is so far up his ass he can’t see what a mistake he made. That only means that he’s not the guy for you, and that’s okay, because that means you’re going through the duds till you find that right person who treats you the way you deserve to be treated.”

She did her best to smile. “You mean like a ‘Sabin’?”

I shrugged. “Could be like a Sabin. You know, speaking of which, we were going to have a movie night. I figured you’d be out tonight, but why don’t you join us?”

Dani’s eyebrows raised. “Um, you sure? Aren’t you two going to get all naughty and stuff?”

I fought the blush and shook my head. Sabin and I hadn’t actually been quite that physical yet, but I wasn’t going to get into that.

“No,” I smirked. “Just movies and junk food. I have a lot of comedies lined up and B-Horror movies…”

“Mmm, I guess I don’t see why not,” Dani smiled. “Thanks, Alma.”

“What are sisters for?” I grinned.

Screenshot-201.jpg

As much as I wanted to be by her side every second that day, I knew she needed her space as well. I used that time to catch up with what was going on around campus. The snow was light this year, so the ultimate Frisbee team was still going at it when they weren’t trying to have “epic” snowball fights. In the quad, there were always activists handing out flyers about the next events they were going to host. They were passionate and very free-spirited. It was awesome to see them participating in important events and speaking about circumstances that would affect many people.

Screenshot-203

While I walked around campus, I took in all the sights of everyone returning to their routines, so naturally, I returned to mine. Like an instinct, I walked down the winding paths to my safe haven, the best place to get a damn good cup of coffee.

“Didn’t take you too long to stop by,” the barista laughed once I approached the counter. “Same thing?”

I nodded. “You can’t go wrong with the usual.”

Screenshot-212

The conversations I had with the barista were always excellent. I never left without having a good laugh with them, even more so on that day when I was startled at the feel of a hand on my shoulder. Luckily I didn’t have a drink in my hand, otherwise it would have gone flying.

“Boo?” Sabin cackled. “Oh, you’re very jumpy before you have your coffee.”

“I thought you’d know that by now,” I smirked before reaching on the tips of my toes to give him a quick peck on the cheek. “When did you get in?”

“Late last night,” he replied. “Still on or movie night? I picked up the movies.”

Since I spent the majority of the morning with Dani, I failed to let Sabin know what happened, so once I got my drink, we moved to sit at a table. After I explained the situation, I watched Sabin’s expression soften. I didn’t know why I expected him to not be on board with the idea of having Dani with us. It was Sabin after all. The moment I introduced him to my friends, he was extremely friendly. He was a great person all around and it didn’t matter if he knew the person for years or if it was someone who he had just met. He treated everyone with equal respect. For a moment we sat in silence until I had a light bulb moment.

“What’s up?”

“Why don’t you invite Otto to join us?”

Sabin smirked and nodded. “Sure. I don’t think he has any plans tonight, so I’ll ask him.”

Now, I wasn’t trying to set anything up. I simply wanted good company for a movie night, but I guess I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t hoping for some sort of spark. Otto was one of the nicest people I had ever met. He was with Sabin for a long time. They had gone through a lot together, so it certainly said something special about him. I loved Dani like a sister, so I only wanted her to be happy. At least if Otto was there for our movie night, it wouldn’t seem so much like her being a third wheel.

Who knew, maybe the move night would prove to be the right distraction for Dani. If she ended up having a great time and making a new friend in the process, then how could any of that go wrong?

All I ever wanted was to know my friends were happy and if there was anything that I could do, then well…

I would do it.

[Author’s Note: To my readers in the good ‘ol USA: Happy Independence Day 🙂 ]


Leave a comment

Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Eighteen: Part One

Recently, I spent some time thinking about the events in my life that led me to where I currently was. When I looked back to the times when I was worrying about college and my classes, I almost feel silly. If I didn’t get into one school, then I could have applied to another. If I didn’t like a class, then I would take another. If I didn’t do well, then I would try again. At that stage in my life there were so many opportunities to fix every little mistake, but I always made it seem like the sky would come crashing down at any moment. Now, things were different. Having the perspective of issues that were much more grand, I was beginning to learn how fragile life was, and how different my challenges were becoming as I was getting closer to graduating.

Which led me back home to talk about some of the big changes in my life.

“I’m sorry–what was that?” Mom squeaked.

I sipped my coffee slowly while Mom hovered over me. I was home for winter break and I finally spilled the beans to her about Sabin. It felt like the right time to do it since he was actually invited over the a classic Wells Christmas. The least I could do was give her some background. Well, more than I did when I first announced we were dating. Since things were a little vague between us, I never went into more details. Plus telling my mom that my boyfriend was much older than me and had PTSD wasn’t exactly a conversation that one has over the phone, or over text.

Especially over text!

Since I dropped that bombshell on her while we were in the middle of having a nice chat, I could understand why Mom was leaning against the counter with both her thumb and index finger around the bridge of her nose. It was a lot to take in. Not only was Sabin eleven years older than me, but he was also dealing with his past–a past that now I was learning about. Since telling me about his PTSD, I only heard bits and pieces of what happened, but honestly, I didn’t know if I would ever know the full story.

screenshot-174

“PTSD?” She sighed. “Well that sure is a lot of information to take in at once.”

My fingers fiddled around with the ear of the mug. What could I say? I looked over at my puzzled mother and offered her the most sincere smile I could manage. By sincere, I meant a very crooked attempt at a smile. I knew it was a lot to handle. I was still struggling with being around Sabin whenever he had an episode, but I was still around and I had no intention of disappearing. I was not about to budge. Sabin was worth it.

I didn’t tell anyone yet, not even the man himself, but I was in love with him.

“I know it’s a lot to hear, Mom, but I just want you to know. I really care about him, and he’s a big part of my life now,” I admitted.

Mom nodded. There was that Wells approval. “I understand that, but this isn’t like some baggage from a previous family, or even helping someone recover from an injury. This is something that can also take a toll on you. PTSD is no joke.”

I knew that very well. Sometimes it would get so bad he wouldn’t want me near him. We were rarely intimate, and if we were, then we would have to be very careful. Apparently he was working on that in therapy, because he wanted to feel close to me without any triggers. It was our work in progress.

“Alma, are you listening?”

“I know it’s not a joke. I know it’s a lot to hear, but I just need you to know. So, please don’t ask about his service, because I don’t think he’s ready to talk about that just yet.”

“Okay, I get it.”

There was a silence between us–a growing tension that someone could cut with a knife.

Screenshot-179.jpg

“You’re not going to tell Dad, are you?” I asked softly without looking up from my drink. Seeing how Mom reacted, I wasn’t about to go through all that with Dad. He was like a bulldog when it came to that.

Mom laughed almost instantly as she grabbed her cookbook from the counter. As she walked towards me, she stopped and shook her head. “Honey, this is all you. It’s none of my business to tell him these things, but it would be good if he knew. You know how much he cares about you.”

With that, she stepped out of the kitchen and waltzed out into the living room.

Now I was left with the weight of time that was left before I would be forced to talk with my Dad. I had a relationship before and even some issues we talked about, but even then he got all riled up and wanted to “make things right”. Whatever that meant.

Luckily my was cup was still full, so I wasn’t about to race upstairs to tell Pops the great news. I was going to embrace every single sip of the magical drink if it meant that I had more time to mull over the speech I was writing in my head. However not all moments were meant to be dragged out like I wanted.

Screenshot-184.jpg

“Hey, kiddo. I didn’t hear you come in!”

Well, here goes nothing…

 

 


5 Comments

Gen.10- Alma. Chapter Six

~*~Isobel’s Point of View~*~

Screenshot-712

There was rarely a day where looking out the window wouldn’t result in the sight of my daughter down on her knees in her garden. It was hard to believe that just a few years prior the flourishing garden was nothing but a patch of soil with seeds we didn’t have too much hope for. The land wasn’t exactly the best in terms of fertility, but Alma didn’t want to give up. She mixed fertilizers, soils, and vitamins which resulted in what we had today. I couldn’t even put together the right combination of words to truly explain how I felt about Alma’s dedication to her garden. She reminded me so much of myself with my art, and so much of Cateo when he fought hard to make his voice heard. She was our daughter from her head and down to her toes. So, if I was so proud of her, then why was I keeping her college letter in the drawer of my desk?

It was only yesterday that it came in the mail and Alma wasn’t hopping to the mailbox with the same zeal that she had just a few weeks ago. I admit it was strange, but after everything that happened in just the last few months alone, I honestly didn’t blame her. I never truly got the full story, but what the judges must have said to her about her plant definitely didn’t give her a great sense of worth in their little community. They were snobs, I told her so many times. Stinkin’ snobs who couldn’t recognize the blood, sweat, and tears of hard work if bit them on the fucking ass! I hated them for doing that to my little girl, but since then she was so involved at home. She stopped worrying about school, and she even stopped wondering about what assignments she would have the next semester. It wasn’t that she wasn’t working hard anymore, but she wasn’t so stressed. Part of me worried her passions were dwindling, but seeing her hard work in her garden kept me trying to think of a good moment to hand her the big envelope with her name stamped on it. As much as I didn’t want Alma to leave my little cozy nest that I created with Cateo, I knew I had to let her know that she could start planning the next phase of her life. But…maybe I would wait until dinner.

Screenshot-695

“You know you’ll have to give her that letter sooner or later, kitty,” Cateo murmured from the stool as he quietly strummed his guitar.

“I know, I know!” I groaned and dragged my feet along my studio floor. “After everything, I just want her to feel happy, you know? I mean, she worked her ass off for this. She already has her major in mind and the classes she wants to take. Cateo, what if she changed her mind?”

“Then she’ll change her mind,” he simply replied. “Clearly she still loves gardening.” As a frown began to creep across my plump lips, I watched him set his guitar against the stool. “But I don’t think it’s Alma’s love for gardening or that competition that’s keeping that letter hidden in your desk.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I said, crossing my arms.

“Right,” Cateo chuckled, walking to me with his eyes breaking down my defense without even breaking a sweat. “Alma’s not a little kitten anymore, Bel. I hate to admit it too, but I think we should be proud of her. Look at how dedicated she is to what she loves,” he said, pointing out the widow. “That’s our flesh and blood. She’s going to do just fine. Hell, maybe she’ll become some big time botanist! Think of how hard you worked to get to where you are now. She has your drive, Bel.”

Everything he said made so much sense, but it wasn’t anything that I didn’t already know. I knew my sweet Alma wasn’t a little girl anymore. Ah yes, my little girl who refused to keep her diaper on. My little girl who helped me plant the herbs in our first garden.

My little girl…

Screenshot-714

“Hey now,” Cateo whispered as his arms wrapped around me. “It’s okay, Mama,” he said, kissing my cheek and then the warm skin of my shoulder.

“It’s–it’s just that fucking dust, I-I swear…” I managed a chuckle when his facial hair tickled my neck, but regardless a few tears escaped me.

Right, like there was any way I could fake my heartache. I was so proud of her, but damn it–I was a mother and I had every right to cry knowing my daughter would be graduating and heading off to college!

I pulled my body away from him, knowing very well what I had to do the moment I would step out of that room.

In my heart, it was now or never.

Screenshot-719

Outside the soft breeze blew the hint of spring through my hair. You could almost smell it in the air–Alma’s garden was on the brink of a blossom. No wonder she was tending to her plants like a mother to her children. She didn’t even hear me walk out, so I approached her slowly, the grass between my toes restrained me.

Take your time, Isobel. Fumble with anything and you’ll confuse the girl into thinking she’s getting bad news. Just think of her happiness…

“Alma,” I finally said, raising my hand that held onto the large envelope. It was now crumpled and even a little stained–blotches of dark spots were on the recycled paper. My tears were like acid. Alma, without a doubt, was distracted by the soundtrack of her garden, so I stepped closer, beginning to utter her name like a song.

When her head turned at attention, I didn’t say a word. The only communication I had to give her was a small wave of the envelope. The rustle within showed promise and I knew she felt it too. Alma hopped to her feet and didn’t bother wiping off the dirt from her pants, or even her hands. There was nothing else in her line of vision, but the envelope that was snatched from my grip within moments. The life in her eyes couldn’t have been mistaken for anything else.

Alma knew exactly what was going on.

~*~Alma’s Point of View~*

I had no words when I held the envelope in my hands. No words at all. I was worried sick for months–not so secretly anticipating a thin envelope. After my confidence was rattled by those judges, I didn’t think I’d be able to recover in the eyes of the college board. I thought of the worst scenarios where they built me up only to bring me down. Luckily it was all in my head. All of my cruel thoughts were wrong–oh, so very wrong! In my hands was an envelope as thick as a short novel. It was heavy in my hand, like the weight that I used to feel on my shoulders. This was the weight–the answer within was what drove me nuts for months!

I looked at Mom. She looked blurry to me, and I had no doubt that I looked blurry to her.

“Go ahead,” she managed to say then sniffled noisily.

My mind screeched for me to tear the envelope to shreds, and to free the papers inside it, but my hands were trembling far too much. It was as if I lost my motor functions just out of pure excitement. Oye, how was I going to do this? I finally forced myself to tear open the top of the envelope that crinkled with each touch. Careful, I thought, you don’t want to tear the message you’ve been waiting to hear.

Screenshot-726

Oh my god. I couldn’t believe this was happening. Did they not get news of my failure at the competition? Did they not know? Or…did they not care?

Regardless, I reached into the package and pulled out the contents. I knew well what was going on at the presence of catalogs and pamphlets for the school. but all I cared abut was the single-sided piece of paper that I brought close to my face and failed to even read aloud before bursting into a frenzy of incoherent blubbering. I couldn’t believe it.

I did it–I actually did!

I stopped quickly to hug my sobbing mother before running inside where Dad stood with a much brighter expression than Mom. He congratulated me with a tight hug that sent me a bolt of energy to sprint up the stairs for me phone so I could tell Dani. She got her letter a few weeks before I did, mainly because I procrastinated getting my application in till the final minute. Of course with my adrenaline keeping me on a super-high, I did my best to refrain from even trying to type a message after my fifth attempt of writing “I got in!”. Dani was usually great when it came to deciphering messages, but even this one would be difficult for her since we hadn’t talked about college at all. Part of me worried that we wouldn’t get into the same school, but dang it–“ERT GT UNN!”

Screenshot-730

Send.

“Mom, Dad!” I shouted from upstairs as I began running down. My feet stomped down hard against the steps. “I’m going to the Lace’s! I’ll take my bike!”

Screenshot-739

I didn’t even wait for them to say anything. Dinner wasn’t for a few hours, so there was no harm in going out to visit my best friend at work! The bike ride was exhilarating. The wind whipped against my cheeks and cooled off my heated brow. Honestly, I didn’t care if a few bugs ran into my teeth. I was too excited; I was in academic ecstasy!  When I made it to the diner, I hopped off my bike and busted through the door, panting and wheezing like someone running away from the terrible danger of a zombie, or a coyote–whatever worked, right?

“Oh my!” Mrs. Lace yelped, nearly dropping her notepad. “Alma, is everything alright?”

“Y–” I stopped for a moment to catch my breath. “I…”

“No rush, sweetie. Breathe, please,” she giggled.

“Is Dani working today?” I finally managed to spit out.

Screenshot-744

“She sure is.” She pointed toward the cafe side of the diner. The moment I heard the confirmation, I rushed through the doors connecting the two places. All I was able to shout were quick thanks before continuing my rush to Dani.

She was expecting me, because I found her leaning against the counter where she kept all sorts of sweets that her dad made. With her elbow on the counter and her other hand clutching her phone, she wiggled it around and called out to me.

“Were you high when you wrote this?” She joked.

“I have news! I declared.

Suddenly, all jokes aside, Dani straightened out and looked at me. I had a feeling that part of her knew what I was going to say, but she waited for me to confirm. “Don’t keep me waiting, lady. I’ve tried make sense of this for the last two minutes. You’re lucky no one wanted coffee recently, otherwise I would’ve been a horrible barista…”

Screenshot-747

My jacket was rummaged through quickly in search of the acceptance letter I had stuffed into one of the pockets. I was so excited that I even forgot, for a moment, where I had stuffed it. When I did eventually find it, I stuck it out in front of Dani and squealed. “I did it!”

Dani yanked the letter out of my hands and quickly scanned it. First, she read the heading and her eyes widened at the college insignia at the top. It was the same school she got accepted to. Not a sound left her open mouth, but I watched her mouth “No way!”

“I got in, Dani!”

Dani stuffed the letter back into my pocket and we grabbed each other by the wrists before jumping up and down the way we used to when we were younger. There was relief in the moment and another wave of excitement. With us going to the school, we could consider rooming together, which was always the fantasy we played out during out little make-believe games. Dani and Alma–stuck at the hip since Day 1. Dani was like my sister, so knowing she would be at the same school just made it all seem better. I guess we were each others support systems. We talked about boys, school, my garden, and more boys–when it came to Dani’s life. I mean, she was like my other half. I loved my other friends, but there was a bond that some friends shared, the one that ran almost as deep as blood.

Screenshot-755

The cheering and squealing soon subsided and Dani reached up to high-five me.  The clap of our hands was like a roll of thunder. Strong and bold.

“I can’t believe it. Sucks that Gia isn’t with us, but at least we’ll have the breaks to spend time together,” Dani mentioned. “So, it’s not like we’ll never see each other after high school. Now that would really stink!”

“Yeah,” I confirmed. “We can definitely make it work, but I’m just so relieved because this school has the best gardening program. They have two huge greenhouses, they have amazing botany courses and just–“

Dani rolled her eyes and bumped me with her hip. “Like I’ve been telling you, woman. One mistake won’t cost you your career. Even doctors fuck up every now and then, but they learn.”

“Doctors?” Laughing, I shuddered. “I don’t need to hear that sort of stuff, Dani! But I guess that’s true. I’ll finally get my chance.”

Before long I realized that we had spent a few hours talking about what we were looking forward to about starting school somewhere else. The excitement was all too real and then we started making mental notes of the shopping that was ahead of us. We had so much ahead of us and knowing we wouldn’t be apart made it that much more special. But the time for all that would come eventually. For now, I had to head back home before my mother would lose her mind from my sudden fleeing.

But, soon enough, Dani and I both knew that our college preparations would stop being just talks of fantasies and daydreams. Soon, it would all become a reality. Holy crap…

Screenshot-767

Th rest of the day, I enjoyed my high. I think after being worked up all the time for the last few months granted me that sort of ease. Dani and I were going to attend the same University. It was going to be around a seven hour drive from our homes, but it would be worth it. Plus, wouldn’t this be our opportunity to truly explore and bask in what the college experience should be? Well, what we got from the movies and such! I couldn’t wait! I was so eager to learn and to see what that sort of experience would bring me. Who knew, maybe I would meet some famous botanists and maybe even go to some parties! Amazing! I scrolled through my e-mails on my phone to see that I even got a welcoming message from the school. A piece of paper was solid proof that I got in, but it didn’t stop me from feeling like it was all so surreal. The more I read, the more excited I got. This was no longer a fantasy of mine, but a wish that was coming true.

Three knocks sounded against my door frame, which ushered my attention away from the bright screen. I didn’t even bother shutting my door.

“Hope you’re not busy,” Kaden said, then slowly revealed that he wasn’t alone. Holding his hand was Claudine who walked in with a shy smile spread across her face. “Claudine bears a gift…”

Screenshot-781

She was carrying a bag of goodies. I knew they were the work of her dad, because I knew they were my favorite: cosmic brownies that smelled like my childhood. How could I say no to that? Well, plus I had a hell of a sweet tooth. Chocolate was my weakness and sugary sprinkles were the drug that went hand in hand with chocolate. YUM!

“Thanks so much,” I said, sitting up on my bed. “Wanna share some now? We all know that I’ll just polish them off the moment I’m left alone with them”

Kaden looked at Claudine and shrugged. He let go of her hand and walked in deeper into the room. I did admit that I invited them to stay for more than one reason. My brother was finally public about his relationship with my best friends sister. It was really sweet to see them together since you know, she was basically the reason my brother smiled more. It was kinda sweet, you know–the puppy love that we all hoped would last. Plus, it was interesting to me that my brother had an actual love life, unlike me. My love life consisted of tending to a garden and serenading plants in need of cheering up. Yeah. That was about it.

Screenshot-786

Regardless of my feelings, I enjoyed their company in my room. Claudine was a sweetheart and congratulated me on my recent acceptance into the college. She joked and asked for me and Dani to invite her and Kaden to all the college parties. Yeah, because I could definitely imagine them doing all of those crazy things–beer pong, keg stands, streaking–well, um, whatever actually happened at those parties. How should I know? My only knowledge about those things was from movies and books. If people really ran around in togas, then that would be insane.

“I have to ask, Alma,” Claudine stopped her giggling and touched me on the shoulder. “Are you scared at all about the change? I mean, the school year is almost over. You’ll be moving to another state over the summer. Does not being only a mile or two away from home scare you?”

I tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear and shrugged. It was something I thought of, yeah, but did I fear this kind of change?

“No,” I replied. “I think I’m a lot more excited than I am scared. Home will always be home, but this experience is something that can bring about the best change in my life.”

Oh, how I hoped I was telling not only Claudine, but myself, the truth.