© Copyright 2022 by Melody Pender
Photo of the author.
lively chattering of students gathered together, each in groups ―
tightly knitted. From their smiles and grins, playful shoves and
silly grins, I could tell at once… they were close friends,
childhood friends perhaps.
What did I stare at them with?
I cannot remember, for I do not crave what was never mine to begin with. I never have, and never will.
Footsteps hurrying past me and curious stares from others reminds me I’m the new student, again. After attending different schools in different states during different semesters in Junior high, I’ve lost count of what number of time this was that I was being addressed and introduced as the new transfer student.
I look up at the voice that addressed me. “Hey.”
It’s a greeting. Greetings symbolizes new things, paves way for various relationships and its one of the basic foundation of any and all relationship.
“Heard that one before.”
“My name’s Melody.”
Conversations. They select which lane to ignite, dislike or the exact opposite. One the spark is struck; the lane laps up the flames like a thirsty camel. It’s a forest fire baby, there’s no going back.
If one has spoken with someone once, one seems to see them around all the time, also tends to pay more attention to who they talk to, what they snack on, what they do… if they laugh all the time with crinkles on their eyes or if they frown and are all snappish. One start to get interested in what their character’s like.
It’s like a question stuck on repeat in one’s head, walking hand in hand with curiosity.
One start to wonder about them.
Who are you really?
“What’s your family like? Do you live around?”
I blink twice and she smiles at my absentmindedness. Even though it’s been just a week in this new environment, I can’t seem to stop being around her. Even though it’s not certain if we might move again.
‘Don’t start what you can’t stop’ is a popular saying I saw on Facebook which made me to develop mine, ‘Don’t act sticky to people when you know you won’t stick around long enough.’ That was how it had been up to this moment, since I’m not gonna stay long enough, I must not be too close to anyone. That way it would be easier… easier to forget them. Like as if they were never even there.
It started not to matter anymore.
Quotes and the likes.
It didn’t matter I was in a year above her.
It didn’t matter I rarely talked to anyone in my class.
Maybe it isn’t so bad to have a friend. I started to think subconsciously even we exchanged addresses and discovered she lived just a street away from mine. This can last. We’ll make it last. I always thought with a smile I watched our siblings interact with each other too.
Did a month pass or maybe two?
Another new girl came, then another girl from my classmates.
I guess they thought me fun. We three were always together during free periods.
“Valery?” I walked up to her class to invite her to hang out with us. Before I was told, I could see her, bent over a notebook and scribbling as furiously as she could. Valery’s busy. Valery’s in class. Our schedules… don’t match.
I still had those two from my class.
It was all good. We could meet up some other time.
It slowly fell into a pattern, it was getting harder to even brush past each other as we moved up forms.
Weekends were good.
Weekends were fun.
Weekends were with Valery.
That was until I discovered… discovered Favour lived next-door to Valery.
Valery’s gates were very huge, the frostiness of the steel guarding her high walls was more than enough to keep anyone at bay. Knocking on such lifeless gates and hearing only an empty resounding echoes was enough to dampen my spirit most days.
Valery’s gates were often locked.
Where did she go? I wondered at times.
Favour’s head was always poked out, her familiar grin beckoning to me most days. “Let’s hang out,” she often says. It was easy and just as fun with her.
Holidays came and went.
I, Favour and Deborah continued to hang out. Deborah wanted me to check out her house as well, wanted us to be closer as well. I really liked adventures so venturing out wasn’t a big deal. It soon become common, we three exchanging visits — Favour the least of all being an indoors girl.
Valery found a chance.
Valery came to hang out with us.
Favour showed a drawing to Deborah and they both laughed, I was curious too so they showed me the funny doodle. It was so hilarious it sent me giggling as well; Valery wanted to see. Valery was looked at skeptically.
It made my blood boil. “She’s our friend too!”
Nervous laughter and apologies.
Valery noticed. She noticed we three had grown very close. She wanted to be among too. She started trying to hang out more with us and I was glad.
Then came the news.
We were leaving. My family and me.
It’s been a rather long while before I was able to return.
Everywhere and everyone was already different.
Deborah was gone, treading another path with a different batch of friends.
Favour seemed more or less like a known acquaintance. Memories seemed to be just that. Memories. We weren’t close anymore, I could feel it no matter how hard the small talks tried to hide the chasm. The distance and lack of communication had dug so deep, we might have to start over to become like we once were.
Valery was now a stranger. Staring into the eyes of the girl that had approached me first who I befriended I just had one thought. Regret. Her lips were curved in disdain towards me and her lips seem to ooze out lies with familiarity.
Who are you really? I couldn’t ask.
I only stared.
Then smiled wistfully.
I have never craved what wasn’t mine, I simply create. Relationships? The ficklest word on earth. But it’s fun and interesting. Still journeying on and meeting new people with each new season, I will try it out again.
No matter how fickle the word is, I will begin anew and find love and truth in the right sources.
And perhaps tend to the old surviving trees so they bear fruits once more.
Melody Pender is a freelance writer with three years of experience in the genre of fiction writing and has written four novels and one novella. Having a passion for poetry, she signed up in the upcoming ‘The Poetry Marathon’ with the hope of having to tackle the challenge of writing 12 poems for 12 hours and had a field day gathering so much experience from the marathon. Though just turning eighteen, she hopes to gather more experience in her writing career as she ages.