Nick and I were invited to a birthday party the other night, and we were the last two people to leave. Even the girl whose birthday it was had left. It was 1AM, can you blame her? After all, she did get surprised big time that night.
We held the birthday surprise at one of our hangouts, The Lonely Corner. If you saw how crowded it always is, you’d think the name was pretty ironic. Anyway, behind The Lonely Corner lied a swing set. Nick was like, “Hey! I haven’t sat on a swing in ages. Look, I’m 10 again.” I sat on the swing right next to his and acted a little childlike myself.
Nick stopped swinging. He saw me rubbing my hands together and blowing some hot air into my palms, trying to feel warm. Before I knew it, he took off his jacket and covered my shoulders.
“No, Nick, now you will feel cold and I don’t want you to get sic-” I said, a little aggressively.
He insisted I wear it, and that was when he looked straight into my eyes. He smiled.
“You know what’s funny?” I said. “I never noticed that little twinkle in your eyes.”
“Well, you have beautiful eyes too… and they talk to me.”
“And what are they saying?”
“That I looked absolutely hot tonight,” he said, and we both burst out laughing. He then continued saying, “I don’t always tell you this, but when I want to, I don’t get the chance to do so.”
“You know how we’ll be off to college soon? Yeah, well, among all the people that I could possibly stop talking to in the future, or all the people that I might let go of, I pray you’ll never be one of them.”
A smile was drawn on my face. I couldn’t believe what I was just told. You probably are wondering why I was so stunned, considering Nick and I were best friends and all, but what you don’t know is that Nick and I had had a huge argument a month ago, and made up after tons of apology attempts. You didn’t know about this simply because we didn’t tell anyone.
“I feel the same way,” I finally uttered.
Nick started blowing hot air into his palms. “Told you you’d feel cold,” I said, “My hands are warm now, hand me yours.”
I grabbed his frozen fingers and I could see he felt better. I looked at him firmly, and said, “Tell me something. Anything.”
“I love you.”
“Tell me something I don’t know.”
“Okay. I’ve been having a great time lately. Everything’s been going great; my football team won the finals, my grades are outstanding, and I have healthy relationships with everyone. I’m happy.”
I looked down, and bit my lip. Then I contemplated Nick’s face attentively. “How do you do it?”
“How are you so good at everything you do? How do you maintain strong connections with everyone at all times? How do you not stress out all the time? How do you do it?”
“Alright, fine. I want to tell you something I don’t usually talk about. The truth is I don’t know if I’m ready to go to New York for college. I’m scared, Jane. I don’t know how I’ll handle a long-distance relationship with Rosie. I don’t know how I’ll keep in touch with my parents all the time. I don’t know how I’ll handle being in New York while you’re here in Chicago.”
I grinned again.
“And who says I don’t stress out?” he continued. “I’m at the top level of stressing out right now. Oh, and one more thing: it’s important to keep in mind that the most essential thing is to be someone good, someone passionate, someone loyal, someone determined, and someone who loves. It’s hard, but I manage.”
“My best friend is so wise.” I said with a cheeky smile.
“I’m wise and am the way I am because my best friend always motivated me to be the best I can be. Because my best friend told me about a quadrillion times that life doesn’t stop at failure. Because my best friend was awesome to me, and I wanted to be like her to other people.”
“You wanted to be like me? But I’ve always wanted to be like you!”
“Yes, Jane. You’ve had a great impact on my life. You don’t know how many problems I had before we met. My parents were trying to help, but you made things right again.”
And at this moment, we stopped talking, started swinging again, looked at each other and laughed…and that was when we saw car lights. Our moms were here to pick us up.
“And…Nick? Promise me we’ll always push each other to do our best, and that no matter what happens, no matter where we end up in college, no matter in which country life puts us in, we’ll always talk.”
“I promise. I love you.” He turned around and headed towards the car.
“I love you way more,” I whispered as I watched him walk away.