Friends Forever?

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
September/October 2006

Michael Scognamiglio

 

“Wheeee!” We must have been going fifty, maybe sixty miles per hour in his new Whaler speedboat, and I loved every minute of it. Janet, lying down in the bow to perfect her supermodel tan, gripped onto the handrails at this sudden shift of speed. I laughed next to Jesse, my six-foot-one, fifteen-year-old friend from two houses down. His sandy-blond hair was erupting from his worn Boston Red Sox cap that looked like it went through just as much abuse as the team itself. His emerald eyes were shielded by a brand new, gleaming pair of black Oakleys so as to impress the ladies. I on the other hand was uncomfortably placed on the driver’s seat next to him, attempting to look half as cool. I strained my eyes behind the dashboard and I could barely make out our destination in the distance.

Friends Forever? on a boat

VVe must have been going fifty, maybe sixty miles per how; and I loved every minute of it

I stepped off the Kiss My Bass and lingered on the dock as Jesse fastened the bow rope to the dock post. My fifteen-year-old sister, Janet, a brown-haired, fashion-loving, shoe-collecting diva, was right behind me, sporting a J-Crew skirt and an Anthropology T-shirt. Then I noticed her earrings, sparkling like tiny suns dangling from her earlobes. Why has she suddenly started wearing earrings? I thought to myself. Who is she trying to impress? It’s not like we’re in the city… we’re on a boat heading into a fisherman’s diner! However, the thought of melt-in-your-mouth, luscious, buttermilk pancakes quickly took over my mind and I had to cup my hand up to my mouth to stop the cascading drops of drool. Jesse jogged up the walkway, slowly putting his wife beater over his bare chest, and I thought I saw Janet’s stare linger for a couple of seconds before she looked down at her feet.

You see, the story of our friendship is a complicated one and may not be for the weak of heart. Back in the day, when I was a mere six years old, I met Jesse on the sandy shoreline of Wingaersheek beach. He looked a lot like me, only two years older with some buck teeth, but I didn’t care and we soon become two peas in a pod. One day I brought him to my humble abode, and we ran into my sister. Coincidentally, the two knew each other from sailing. However, they were not buddies. Jesse would tease her incessantly and Janet hated him. The awkwardness that followed was so tangible it was hard to breathe. In the following summers, Janet and Jesse warmed up to each other, but it was obvious that Jesse and I were closer buddies than him and Janet. I selfishly enjoyed this knowledge, but that would all end soon.

Jesse taught me everything about sports, girls, video games, baseball cards, and everything in between! Soon, Janet became accepted into our Rat Pack, and we’d all hang out together. But recently, I started to feel that maybe I was becoming the outcast…

We walked through the rickety, weather- beaten door of Charlie’s Restaurant. The jingle-jangle of the two bells taped to the front door caught the attention of the waitress and she pointed us to a corner booth. I slid down the bouncy seat, and Jesse followed behind me as Janet sat opposite from him, directly opposite. A rumbling feeling erupted from my stomach, my calling card for hunger. Or was it something else? I ordered my buttermilk pancakes and Janet and Jesse decided to split a short stack of chocolate chip pancakes. “You like chocolate chip pancakes?” my sister giddily exclaimed. “Me too!”

Suddenly, they started to talk non-stop and every time I tried to get a word in edgewise, I was cut off by banter of shoes or high school. What has happened to our friendship? Our gang? And then I was struck with the most hideous, repulsive, barf-inducing thought. Do—do my friends LIKE each other? Oh—oh no, it can’t be! But even as I denied this horrible idea, the two were having a staring contest and my sister laughed the most girlish giggle I had ever heard from her. My heart sank as our waitress named Pam set out my steaming, juicy set of carb-filled happiness. The two clanged their forks together as I tried to bury my heartbroken face into my cup of milk.

Friends Forever? boy biking

With each round of the pedals I felt more confident that this was the right thing to do

I walked alone down Wingaersheek Beach, the same beach where Jesse and I used to practice football plays in the sand and where we would point out all of the beach babes soaking up the rays. The clouds had swallowed the sun, leaving only a dull shine on one end of the beach. Every step I took, I could not believe my luck (or lack thereof). All of the signs, how did I miss them? Their lone walks together when I was at tennis, her always dressing up nice even when we were eating pizza, Jesse always calling and asking for Janet instead of me, I felt so alone. He was my best friend, the only one I had, and I was losing him and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

But, maybe it was time I met someone else, someone my own age. There were the Silverman kids on the next street over; one of them looks around thirteen. Maybe it’s time that I took control, to stop feeling alone and left out. I ran up my beach path, snapped on my sandals, slammed on my helmet, and biked to the next street over. With each round of the pedals I felt more confident that this was the right thing to do. I was sick of wasting away my summer with two kids who thought of me as an annoying little brother rather than a friend. Quickly I skidded to a stop, kicking up flecks of dust, sand, and rubble in front of my new destination. Then, I started to second-guess myself. Maybe this isn’t a good idea. I mean, maybe I’m all wrong about this. This is foolish; I’m being a baby. I looked up at the blue beach house with its quaint patio furniture and the brightly glowing doorbell. I looked down the gray, rocky street leading to the main road.

I had never heard a more beautiful doorbell.

Friends Forever? Michael Scognamiglio

Michael Scognamiglio,13
Saddle River, New Jersey

Friends Forever? Sofia deGraff-Ford

Sofia deGraff-Ford, 13
Duncan, British Columbia,
Canada

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