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"Youth" by Troye Sivan, was playing on the radio my way to the grocery store. It reminds me to cherish youth and to enjoy being young. Sometimes, when I feel depressed, which is obviously often, I listen to the song.
A few years ago, it seemed like everyone knew what they were going to do with their lives. Both of my sisters moved out, my mom now owns a store, my dad is doing his own thing, and well, I am sitting here, waiting for time to pass by. I began to fret about it and stressed very often because I felt like I was lazy and irresponsible. Part of that was true, but that didn’t mean that I had to try to do everything at that moment. I realized that I had time to figure that out and I will along the way. Sometimes, I still feel that way. I feel like I have no purpose.
I opened the car door and grabbed a basket from the basket holder.
If there is anything that I hate doing, it is going to the store. People stare at me up and down. Their glances tease me about who I am. They'll look super hard. Not to be rude, but it’s mostly the older people who didn’t grow up in this generation, so they wouldn’t understand.
I don’t know who I fully am yet, but I like to express some of myself through my clothing. I have three piercings along my ear lobes, an earring cuff chain, Doc Martens that have a platform on them, skinny jeans and I wear abnormally over-sized shirts. This is my style and I don’t care what anyone says. I just keep walking and ignore them. If they had something to say, then maybe they would say it, but I doubt it. That’s the thing with people. They will have a perspective of you and then never even say anything to you. Communication is the reason as to why everyone is so divided.
The cold breeze from the inside of the store hit me in the face as I walked in the building.
I went and picked up a can of mushroom soup, dressing mix, a turkey, and some paper towels. By the list, I could tell my mom was making dressing, which could only mean one thing: my siblings were coming into town. I felt drool slide down my chin as I thought about it. My mom makes dressing twice a year. She makes it on Thanksgiving and when my siblings come home. This it’s a pretty important event. It’s not just any dressing, it’s her dressing.
Most of my precious memories with my siblings had this delicious dish involved. One time, Max, my older sister, ate so much that her stomach was swollen. She couldn’t laugh, talk, sneeze, or breathe. That is how good it is.
The sad part is that my mom doesn’t even like her own recipe. We try to tell her how crucial it is to survival, but she just doesn’t understand.
I collected all of the items and the last thing that I had to do was grab the paper towels. I happily stride down the aisle because this was the last item on the list and I was ready to go home. As usual.
My smile faded when I arrived. Of course, it was the only one left and it was 12-feet high. My 5-foot three stature was struggling to get it, so I did what any other person would do. I looked to the right and left to see if anyone was watching, and I began to jump like a crazy person.
“Ugh! Come on! Almost there.” I grunted.
This guy, about 5 foot 10, was staring at me the whole time. You know I hate that. I noticed that he wasn’t staring to be in a disgusted way, but in an interested way. By his outfit, I could tell that he was no more than two years older than me.
He smiled, and subtlely waved. I shook my head as if to say, “nothing to see here.”
I would glance, and he would look away. This went on for like two minutes. But then I realized that he was kind of cute. Not that it matters, but he was.
I found it fun to mess with him, so I would stare at him on purpose because every time I did, his reaction was hilarious. He would look at the all-purpose cleaner and pretend that he wasn’t looking at me. He seemed awkward and shy.
All was well until he walked towards me, grabbed my paper towels, handed them to me, and walked away. I guess he was tired of the fun I was having.
I am fine as long as you don’t get close to me. When you do, I lose it and I get shy, like I don’t know how to talk. Though he was cute, I was interested in something much more than his face. He wore a green over-sized plaid jacket, khaki pants that were folded at the bottom, and the ugliest shoes I have ever seen. He was like a walking 90s. I mean don’t get me wrong, his aura was pleasing, and I love the 90s, but those shoes were awful. They were like these chunky things and… I don’t even think I can describe them. Fortunately for him, he made me want to get to know him and I think he felt the same way.
I found myself standing there, looking into space. I had to snap out of it, though, because the last time I liked someone, my sister got married to him. I remember like it was yesterday.
We had just moved into our new house and he was our neighbor. This is the same one who taught me about photography. He was so kind and helped us move in. J.K., our neighbor, who was going to be my brother-in-law, picked up a box, looked at me, and then winked. Which is funny because he was usually shy around girls. I guess it was because I am a lot younger than him. The wink was when it all started. I liked him for three years. My sister didn’t notice him until a little over two ago.
One day, J.K. took her out to a play for their first date. I thought that it was suspicious because my mom didn’t tell me that it was a date because she knew I liked him. That night, I heard a car door close. I slid the curtain aside and opened my blinds to find J.K. walking Max to the front door. He took her by the hands and planted a soft kiss on her lips. He smiled, then she smiled, and it was like a clown fest because everyone was smiling.
J.K. is six and a half years older than me and my sister is six years older than me. That makes him half of a year older than her.
My sister and I had an argument over him.
She walked into my room to find me beside my bed, crying.
“Gabe? I hear you, but I don’t see you.” She said in a singsong voice. I was obviously upset. The fact that everyone kept this a secret from only me, made me feel left out.
She looked behind my bed and I quickly wiped away my tears.
“Why are you behind your bed, weirdo?” she asked.
I wouldn’t talk to her and she got upset.
“I know you hear me talking to you.” I still ignored her.
“Gabe? What in the world is wrong with you? And don’t say, 'nothing' because I know that there is something wrong.” She said. Finally, I blew up saying.
“You didn’t even notice him until I did!” I yelled. I turned my back and crossed arms.
She stood there with her hands on her hips and asked, “What are you talking about?”
“What do you mean?! You’re dating him, and you didn’t even tell me!” I stood up and walked away to my nightstand, where my inhaler was. My asthma flares up when I get upset. Then, I stepped away from my nightstand and grabbed a pillow...
“You are a liar and I don’t like you!” I yelled while throwing the pillows at her. Max was the type of person who hated when people lash out on her. So, she defended herself.
“What does it matter?! He’s seven years older than you!” she yelled while picking up the pillows and throwing them back at me.
“Six and a half!” I yelled back.
“Whatever! He is still too old for you.”
I ignored her. She stopped throwing the pillows and said,
“You are ridiculous! This whole thing is ridiculous!”
“Its not, because this isn’t the only time this has happened! I am tired of you always being in the spotlight and taking the people I like, away from me!”
“I am not taking anyone away from you! He wasn’t yours in the first place!”
“Where were you when he taught me how to do photography?! Where were you when he taught me how to do a handstand?! You were inside that stupid school! Still he chooses you and he and I hung out the most!”
“That doesn’t matter.”
“Yes, it does! I wanted to marry him as soon as I turned 18.”
“That is three years from now!” she scoffed.
“It doesn’t matter! He can wait for me if he waited for you this long! But I assure you that he would rather have some selfish twit like you!” I hated that I said that because I didn’t mean it.
“You want to know why you have no friends?” she asked. She was still mad. I scrunched my face like a two-year-old.
“Because you push people away for stupid reasons like this! And I would feel bad for anyone who knows you!” she yelled.
“Well maybe I want it like that! If people like you keep secrets for four months, then I do want to be alone!” I yelled back.
She walked out of my room and slammed the door. Since then, Max and I, who are usually close, were never the same after that. I apologized for the way I acted. We still talked and laughed, but things were never the same. J.K. would look at me and wink and I would immediately turn my head. It wasn’t the same between us either.
It was just last year when they married, and I haven’t seen or talked to them since I went to their wedding. I was upset for a while, but then I came to grips that J.K., who was six and a half years older than me, was too old for me and I only liked him because he was cute. Well, and other reasons, but mainly because he was cute. That wasn’t fair and that whole argument was for nothing. That is why I must not let this boy get to me. 🤔