>> Wednesday, April 8, 2009
It's been two weeks since I was last at school. It feels weird to be back, but I promised my grandmother. I hope she's finally proud of me.
I swipe at my eyes while trying to will away the puffiness.
In the classroom, I'm alone. No one else has arrived yet. So I take my old seat in the back corner.
The past two weeks-- I don't know how to describe it or explain it all. And I'd rather not right now. I will say that it's reminded me an awful lot of when I was little, and I would stand staring at my shadow as the sun began to sink and the sky started darkening. My shadow would slowly grow tall and thin right before it started to fade with the approaching darkness. And during that hour of day, despite the orange light from the setting sun which so facinated me, I would feel so alone. The lonliness would simply settle over my shoulders like a shawl as if to protect me from the cold.
The two weeks passed in that same way. Each day seemed to sprawl out longer and longer, and I had this feeling that night time was coming. As bad as I felt, it would only get worse. I didn't want to be alone.
"Berta!" Kate suddenly runs through the door, wrapping her arms around me so tightly that the only thing I can do is squeeze her back or start to cry.
"You know I hate when you call me that," I say while trying not to sniffle.
"Where have you been? We were so worried!" She whispers in my ear. "Don't do that again without calling me or something." When she finally lets go and takes her seat, I have to turn my head away so she won't see my eyes starting to fill with tears. "I missed you so much!"
I can hear the other students chatting in the hall as they wait for Ms. Kerr to start class. One person doesn't wait though, and at the sight of him, my stomach jumps. Gabe stands near my desk for a second smiling down at me. "It's good to see you back. We thought you might have transferred schools."
His voice is so soft when he talks to me. It was that way when I ran into him after Glenda told me that he and Kate...
"I was taking care of my grandmother. She got sick." My own voice sounds like a robot's in comparison to Kate's worry filled voice and Gabe's sweet sounding one.
Gabe takes his seat next to Kate as she says, "Oh geeze! That's probably my fault. I shouldn't've come to school, but I couldn't stay away any more." Gabe says something under his breath that I don't catch, but he smiles even as Kate hits his arm.
My stomach twists again like it wants to turn inside out. I don't want to see them together being playful or anything else together. So I look away to study the blank wall like there's something there worth looking at.
Ms. Kerr enters and the other students follow. There's the ruffling of note books being opened and pens being prepped as the lecture begins.