A Love Story, Part 1

Bananas, or My First Lesson

 

Everyday I take the same way home after school; go left out of the main entrance, walk three blocks, turn right, pass the zoo, and my house is four blocks down on the left. Its a simple route that my dad taught me when I was in 3rd grade and I’ve been taking it ever since. I’m nearing the end of 8th grade now and soon I’ll be in a new school, and I’ll have to take a different way home; maybe I’ll have to take the bus, maybe it’ll be miles away and there won’t even be a bus. As I was overthinking every possible danger of my new route I heard the familiar howl of my friend bananas.

 

“Bananas,” I call back with the name I’d given him the first day I walked home on my own.

 

“Where are you, I hear you but I can’t see you” I yell to him playfully as he bursts out of the trees and lands on the bars. He howls and screeches at me as if he’s catching me up on the events of his day. I pull out the banana I always bring to give him on my way home. He crawls down the bars to meet me at shoulder level and starts grabbing at the banana.

 

“No, Bananas, what did I tell you about manners? Now ask politely.” He complies and asks in his native tongue for his banana as I peel it, “here, since you asked so nicely” I hand him his banana then unwrap my own. We sit for a moment enjoying our fruit, usually I run my mouth when I meet up with bananas at the end of the day but today, I guess, I just had too much on my mind, or not enough. He just sits there, though, as unexpectant as ever. I’ve always like that about him, sometimes its nice not having another person around. They always expect you to contribute when sometimes you just want to focus on yourself.

 

“I’m going to miss you bananas, next year, when I’m off to high school. I really hope I can make time to see you, but my older brother keeps telling me ‘enjoy this time, you’re not going to have time to later.’ He’s an idiot though, he always tries to scare me with that stuff.” I pet bananas as I explain, he lengthens his body to extend the feeling of my hand on his fur each time I stroke it. “I don’t know, maybe he’s right, he always comes home and closes his door and doesn’t come out until dinner. Mom and Dad did just give him a computer though, he’s probably just playing with it the whole time. I can’t wait to get my own though, he says its the best thing ever. Well, he says the internet is the best thing ever, he never says why though, I mean I’ve used it before, it is pretty cool; I can do all my school work on it without having to go the library and carry books, but I’m always locked out of stuff on it.”

 

I continue absent-mindedly petting him, he purrs and closes his eyes, he still hangs on the bars, lower now as I’d taken a seat against the fence, and enjoys his banana. I take a bite out of mine. We sit again in silence. The only sounds are the common and usually ignored; cars passing on the street behind me, passersby patting the ground with their feet, and sometimes brief confused whispers between pedestrians as they pass by me sitting at the fence of the zoo as I stare glassy-eyed in no particular direction while I stroke my friend.

 

“You know, Bananas, I think you’re the only one that ever listens to me. Yeah, my parents always say I can tell them anything but its so uncomfortable talking to them about… stuff. Mom always tells me to talk to Dad, Dad always tells me to talk to my brother, and he just tells me to google it and when I do its blocked. I just want to know why Jenny makes me feel weird.” Bananas twitched drowsily while I continued to pet his soft little body. “I just get so… so weird when I talk to her now; like, my body tenses up, I start mumbling and forgetting my words, then, the worst part, my stomach feels like it’s fallen out completely and I feel like I might throw up all over her. I’ve known her all my life, and, I mean, we’ve grown up together. We’ve always been in the same grade. We used to live next door to each other and play everyday. I remember our moms used to wash us in the bathtub together when we came inside covered in dirt.” Bananas wriggled under my hand so I took it off and let him stretch, when he was done he laid on his belly, fully extended now in the dirt on the edge of his habitat. He opens one eye and looks up at me expectantly so I continue to stroke him. “We did everything together; made mudpies, played doctor, climbed trees. She’s my best friend and now I can hardly look her in the eye.”

 

“Who in the eye?” Bananas and I both jump out of our skin, he curls up and retreats slightly under a bush as I look around to see a familiar face.

 

“Jenny, hi!” The words stumble out of my mouth as I fall over myself to greet her.

 

“Hey I thought I’d find you here, I wanted to hang out with you after school but you left in such a hurry.” She says as I hug her. My stomach flips upside down and I can’t find anything to say to her.

 

After a pause she says, “Who were you talking to?”

 

“Just bananas, he’s my friend.” I reply, I really hope she didn’t just hear my voice crack.

 

She giggled even before I finished my thought, and it just made my stomach churn even more. “It’s been such a long time since I’ve seen him,” she goes over to the edge of the fence and begins calling him out of his hiding place. “Bananas, Bananaaas,” she repeats this a few times until he eventually crawls out from under his bush, “Hi, Bananas, its been a long time huh?” She croons to him.

 

As she bent over to say, “come here boy, come here,” my eyes, uncontrollably and unnaturally, run the length of her body. When did her skin get so smooth? Had her hair always been so soft looking? Then, when my breathless eyes finally ended on her chest I thought, what are those; had those always been there?

 

I catch myself before she does and step a little closer to her. She already got bananas to fully come out of his bush and was petting him gently but firmly.

 

“I think he likes you more than me,” I say as I watch my monkey wriggle and purr more than I’d ever seen him before.

 

She giggles again, like she wants me to faint, and says, “yeah, I think I have a softer touch because I’m a girl.”

 

“Yeah,” I say back, forgetting every other word I’d ever heard.

 

“Hey, Timmy…” She pauses, seemingly entranced by petting Bananas. I noticed he was fully extended on the ground, trying to feel her hand on as much of his body as he could. It looked as if he’d never felt anything so perfect in his life. Just as I began wishing that was me Jenny looks up at me and says, “I came here to find you because today was the last day of school and I just really wanted to tell you, I think I really like you, like, like you, like you.”

 

I feel my heart fly right out of my chest, my stomach, nowhere to be found. My palms start sweating and my face explodes with fire, I finally manage to say, “uhh… bluh… guh…” She just continues to stare at me while she absent-mindedly pets bananas into an absolute frenzy.

She stops immediately and jumps away in terror, straight into me, knocking us onto the ground. I just lay there dazzled by her sparkling green eyes, “I never really noticed how pretty your eyes were.” She smiles the biggest most heartfelt smile I’d ever seen and wraps her arms around me pulling us up. Her arms still holding me tight. I wrap mine around hers, but now It doesn’t feel so weird, now I just feel perfect; whole.

Birds of a Feather

Note from the author: Hey every one this is another flash fiction thing I had to do for class “2030, Iceland, A Story of Love in Multiple Forms,” now simply called “A Love Story” is almost complete, I just need to do some finishing touches and I will release it episodically in the coming weeks. I thought you all might be becoming disillusioned at the lack of new content so here you go, enjoy. 

“Excuse me, Ms. S. I need to go pee!” I said squirming the same horribly small desk-chair combos I’ve had to have sat in for the past 7 years.

“No, Steven, Timothy’s already in the bathroom; you know the rule.” She said while continuing to write the pythaguras theory she’d been going on about.

Screw Tim, she let’s him do whatever he wants, it’s my turn, “Okay, so Tim gets to spend 15 minutes in the bathroom while I get to pee myself all over this beautiful desk.” As soon as I finish Tim walks in with his hands in his pockets and his eyes to his feet. One of the girls, a couple columns over, giggled and whispered something I didn’t catch. “Ms. S. I’m going to the bathroom now.” With that and nothing else I’m already passing Tim out of the door.

“What’s so exciting, Tim?” I heard someone say behind me as I passed into to the hallway. Red, white, and blue blur together as I rush through locker hall and tackle the swinging door to relief. After I finished I decided to take my time going back to class. I looked through the stalls, opening them one by one; nothing, ew god gross, toilet overflowing with toilet paper, Kamel Reds, fuck yeah! I put my prize in my kangaroo pocket, hiding it with my hands against the fabric while I walked back into class.

I spun into my seat with my back to the teacher while I dropped the cigarettes into my backpack. Rachel looked at me and smirked, my heart skipped a beat; she took a smile from me in return. “Hey, Steven what you got there?” She asked leaning across the aisle.

“Shh, I’ll show you at lunch, come with me to the portables?” My voice cracked from astonishment, she giggles into her sleeve and nods. Woohoo!

I notice Tim talking to the girl next to him, again, while the teacher explains how A and B make C. She’s giggling, watching him adjust himself in his seat by the window. Birds congregated on the tree that grew above the wall around the school, tweeting and flying in circles around each other. Two of the birds flitted with each other concentrically, coming together a few feet above the others. One fell away and landed between two sitting on a branch, it pecked each on either side of it while its friend flew over them. It left the two on the branch to fly with its mate again. The quartet then flew together in separate circles above and under and around each other until I couldn’t tell which was which.

Something cracked, I twisted my head to the front. Ms. Smith was leaning over me, dry erase marker pressed against my desk “what’s so interesting Steven? Care to share it with the class?”

“Uh… Uhm, well there’s these bir-” BEEP, BEEEEP, BEEP. One short, one long, and another short; lunch time. I stood up with my bag and looked the teacher in the eye while I left the classroom with the other students. Single file out the door, stay in the same line, parallel with the others. Tim walked hunched over ahead of me, encroaching on the boy ahead of him.

We exit through the grey-green double doors to the concrete square. Vending machines with colorful screens line the walls of the square, my classmates swarm their gentle glow. Every time, thank you mom for packing my lunch. I felt something brush against my leg, “Oh, hey, Tim what’s-” he looked at me terrified then quickly dropped his head and ran away, “up? That was weird.” I said to myself.

I waded through the sea of classmates and the din of chatter, laughter, and the occasional screech out of the main lunch area. There was an overhang with an expansive mural displaying an american eagle, with the appropriate flag, raining stars down on an open field with children playing. One of the students was etching an elephant in the faded red lunch table as I walked to where Rachel was waiting for me in the sun just past the awning; her fly-aways refracted the light around her brown hair. “Hey,” she said, pulling another smile from me.

“Hi,” I throw my hand up then quickly it’s back at my side in a kind of awkward wave. “You have your lunch already?”

“Yeah, my dad makes it for me,” she answers, then bashfully adds, “want to go over to the portables?”

Smile still uncontrollably plastered on my face I lead her to my spot between the portables and the wall. It was perfect: I could see everything coming this way, but one could see me. We sat down across each other and looked in our brown bags, almost in unison we pull out our lunch. She takes out the brightest fuji apple as I pull out the same apple that’s lost its sheen. She set it on her lap and took out a salad, it was all sorts of red, green, yellow, purple, and white in their purest form. I pulled out a squished peanut butter and jelly with a purple-brown spot soaking through one side. We sat and ate looking down at our food, I’d chance a glance at her but she was either chewing or looking at her phone, or both.

“What is Tim doing?” I said, she looked up at me in confusion; she was facing the wall. I pointed around the corner where Tim was standing a few feet away. He’d just been pushed away from an embrace with a belligerent 8th grade football player. As the bull ran after the matador I saw a girl in a loose dress with golden-brown hair keeled over in laughter farther in the distance. Immediately, I heard hurried footsteps to my right. Tim launched himself over rachel and past me then hid under the wheelchair ramp.

“Did you see some skinny little gaybo run through here?” The football player asked while gasping for breath; he looked like a lineman, not muscular though.

“Uh, well… no its just been us back here,” I replied standing as straight as I could, he still towered over me. He leaned into me until his nose almost touched mine, forcefully exhaled onto my upper lip and skulked away. I turned around to tell Tim of his safety, but he was already wrapped around me. He drew me in close; I felt something press against my leg, what? Does he… oh, no that’s not his. I press myself into him until I feel the rigid lump crumple against his pelvis; he fell on his back in apparent agony.

“Hey woah, Tim get up,” Without turning my head I scanned to see if anyone was looking. The golden-haired girl, wiping her cheeks and regaining control of her laughter, was walking this way. He was holding his crotch and crying, “my dick! My dick! Oh god, my dick!”

“Dude! Your dick! What did I do?” I replied in hyperbolic concern.

“You pushed it back in!” He declared as he slowly lifted himself from the ground. Suddenly he sprung himself around me again, legs and everything, and ecstatically exclaimed, next to my ear, “Thank you!” He dropped to his feet and continued, “finally, I was so scared it was going to fall off. It came out and wouldn’t go back in.”

I stood there, bewildered, for a few seconds, looking him in the eye; I broke down. I couldn’t control my laughter. By the time that girl had shown up I was in tears, curled into a ball. How does he think of this shit? How does he do this shit? Mid thought I was lifted to my feet and greeted to toothy grin that reached twin blue eyes behind a shade of dark hair. “Hey man, thank you: no one else had the balls to help me.”

“Stop… Stop please… It’s too much,” I sputter through my convulsions. I couldn’t handle it; this was the funniest kid alive. I leaned back against the wall, resting my head against it and closing my eyes. I listened to the birds chirping in the trees just outside, the cars out on the freeway, and, lastly, someone clapping by my nose, pulling me back.

“Hey, how’d you know?” Tim was standing directly in front of me at this point, still giddy.

“Know what? That you had a toilet paper roll for a wiener?”

“Yeah,” he replied his eyes focused on mine, anticipation?

“Well, you know, I felt a wiener before, in my life, that wasn’t one. Was that why you spent 15 minutes in the bathroom?”

He blurt out a short laugh, “Yeah why?”

“Ms. S wouldn’t let me leave until you got back, douche.”

Without offense, he replied flatly, “oh, well if you really had to go you should have gone before me.”

“Yeah, or you shouldn’t take 15 minutes in the bathroom,” I replied feigning indignation.

After a short, silent pause Tim stuck out his hand, “I’m Tim, this is Jenny, we used to live next door, but she moved,” with his other hand he pointed to Jenny.

I looked down at his hand, “I know who you are, we’ve been in the same grade for 7 years.”

“Hey rachel, hey steven,” Jenny said brightly as Tim put his hand by his side and she put hers on his shoulder.

“Oh, well we never talked before so I felt awkwa- like I had to introduce myself.” He said smoothly, I almost didn’t catch the slip.

Rachel drew closer to Jenny, “Hey, Jen, oh I was going to ask you what I should wear to your sleepover,” I immediately tuned out of that conversation.

Tim comes close to me and whispers, “So what are you guys doing back here,” winking at me.

“Just eating some lunch,” I said nonchalantly.

“Just some lunch?” He repeated dubiously while backing out of my space.

I turn and point to our lunch, “Yup, just some lunch,” which had been trampled, to my surprise.

“Oh, man, I’m so sorry, here (hands me a few dollars) Jenny’s mom made enough for both of us today, but my mom gave me this; I don’t need it.”

“Thanks, but I’m full, plus I can’t stand the food they have in there,” I said keeping my hands to myself.

“Well, take it, maybe sh-you’ll be hungry after school.”

“You know what I will take it, because…” I paused for dramatic effect while I reached into my bag, “of this,” I ecstatically presented the Kamels I’d found this morning.

Jenny stops mid conversation, her and Tim’s eyes widen, she spoke first, “what are those?” She said without any discernable emotion.

“They’re Kamel Reds, my older cousin says they’re the best,” I responded less enthusiastically.

“C…can I have one?” Tim asked, in a surprisingly timid voice.

“Of course,” I said as my heart slowed its beat. I opened the pack and offered it around, everyone took one. Jenny had a lighter in her dress and lit us all up. In the next second we were hacking in a circle. It felt like I swallowed razors, but it tasted like… nothing I’d ever had before. It was delicious. I took another drag immediately after I recovered; the razors dulled. Jenny was sitting serenely on the handrails above the ramp dragging her cigarette, how?

Rachel sat by my feet against the wall and looked up at me, I sat next to her. She asked me what I liked to do outside of school, when I told her she seemed interested. She even asked if she could join me sometime as she realized we live in the same neighborhood. Tim and Jenny joined their conversation with ours while we finished our cigarettes, then left us there alone. Rachel and I talked until the bell rang and we had to join everyone back in the classroom.