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- I had this weird dream last night. I don't remember much of it, but it was just some faded old memory about my mom and dad taking me to this huge amusement park, and having me drag them to every fright inducing ride that I could find. I remember how...happy we all were back then. I remember them being so close, sharing the occasional smooch, smiling from ear to ear as they watched me having a ball.

Things seemed so easy back then. I can barely remember where the road forked anymore. I don't remember where we all went wrong.

My mom made me breakfast as usual this morning, and I remember her yawning at the stove. I couldn't help but think about what Trace said yesterday about appreciating my dad for being so cool about having him stay there, and how doing a few chores wasn't that big of a deal when compared to what got in return.

I don't know....I just...I saw her yawning and making me breakfast, and I just...I knew I was taking her for granted. Maybe I should help out more around the house. She really does do a lot for me, and I just 'expect' her to keep it up without ever saying thanks. I took a step towards being better this morning by just hugging her around the waist and kissing her on the cheek before leaving for school. She gave me the weirdest look at first. As though I was getting ready to tell her to hide a murder weapon for me or something. But then...this really soothing smile spread across her lips, and she said, "Ok. You're welcome." She grinned slightly as I walked out the back door, and she called, "Be safe."

Funny. It takes so little to make certain people happy sometimes. So little.

I, unfortunately, am not one of those people. I think it takes more. At least it does these days.

I'm not sure what made me feel so isolated from the rest of the world today, but it hung over me like this weird little storm cloud. It wasn't anything overly dramatic or depressing...but it was there. It's always there. Lingering. Just waiting for some random even to trigger that exposed nerve and re-open whatever wounds I had been trying to get rid of.

I think today's particular came around lunch time when I went outside to eat a small sack lunch that I brought with me. I didn't have any reason to eat in the cafeteria anymore. Sitting there at one of those giant tables all by myself? It just looks sad and lonely, you know? And sitting at one of those giant tables with a bunch of strangers who didn't even acknowledge my existence because they were all there together? That's even sadder and lonelier. So sitting out on the steps would be better. I thought.

As I was opening a soda, I heard some laughter coming from a place not too far away from me, and I saw Sam and Michelle sorta spinning around and playing some kind of flirty little game with one another. Just...I don't know. He seemed like he was smitten all over again. Just like with Joanna. I don't think he even saw me. Then again, I was kinda hidden behind the bricks next to me. So I just sat there and sorta...watched him for a while. I really missed that smile. I miss being close to him. It left me feeling al edgy and weird.

I didn't even hear the door open behind me. Some footsteps come down to where I was, and they slowed down. I looked up to see Jimmy LaPlane looking down on me from above, and turned away. I'm like, "Hey..." But I didn't say much more. I doubt he would have listened anyway.

Surprisingly, he was like, "You ok?"

I'm like, "Don't worry about it."

He said, "Clamming up on me again, huh?"

But I just mumbled, "Whatever..."

Jimmy waited a second, then he shrugged his shoulders before starting down the steps again. But he stopped a few steps ahead of me, and he turned around with a sigh, and walked back up to sit next to me.

I was like, "What are you doing?"

Jimmy says to me, "Come on, know I can't stand to see you feeling down. Makes my tummy ache."

I told him, "You could have fooled me."

He's like, "What's that supposed to mean?"

I'm like, "Our last few conversations have been less than friendly, Jimmy."

Jimmy smiled, like, "What? You can give me a swift kick in the ass when I need it, but you can't take one in return?" He said, "You remember when I was in the hospital, and I told you that I didn't want to be here anymore? That I was going to off myself once I got out of the hospital? You were right there, day after day after day...yelling at me. For hours at a time. Hehehe, you were soooo mad. I was worried you might kill me just to keep me from doing it on my own." He smiled at the memory of it. Seems like it was so long ago. Then he's like, "And remember when I was feeling down about my break up with Lee? Remember how you nearly choked the life out of me to get me to stop crying and get over it already? And then how badly you gave it to me about being with AJ? Practically had a ten minute rant in the mall about it, remember?"

I blushed a little, but I do kinda remember doing all of those things.

Jimmy was like, "Dude....sometimes we've just gotta stop whining and crying and get up on our feet again. Everything can't be solved with sugar and cookies. Not for me. And not for you, either. So...taking a page from your own handbook...get over it. Hehehe, whatever it is. If you need help, I'll help you. If you need attention...get a cat."

It made me smile for a minute, and I looked back at Jimmy, who seemed to be proud of himself for having a positive effect on my mood. Even if it only lasted for a few seconds.

I looked back out at the field, watching Sam and Michelle bonding right in front of my eyes. Jimmy's eyes followed mine, and I softly asked him, "Sam asked her out. Didn't he?"

It was like Jimmy didn't want to answer right away. But then he said, "Yeah. He did."

I should have known. I was like, "And she said yes?"

Jimmy nodded. But he was quick to add, "It hasn't been very long. I mean, I would hardly say that they were dating or anything. It's not that serious."

But I knew better. It would be. And I probably drove him to it. My little eager sexcapade with him probably has him all worried about his sexuality and stuff. Which is something that I never intended. I didn't even realize that I was saying it out loud when I was like, "I really miss him, you know?"

Jimmy was like, "I mentioned your name around him a few times. Mostly by accident."

I'm like, "Did he scoff and roll his eyes?"

But Jimmy said, "No. In fact, he seemed kinda sad. In fact, he had almost the exact same look on his face that you do now."

Jimmy grinned.

I didn't.

I was like, "He was my best friend."

Jimmy said, "He still is. I have a feeling that he's just being stubborn."

I said, "You know...I was convinced that we'd be inseparable for the rest of our lives. We played together, laughed together...even got into fights together. Sam wouldn't let a single person put their hands on me. We talked about everything. I mean everything. We were the two musketeers...with no need for a third. If only I could describe how close we were. We never spoke a sentence that we couldn't finish for one another." I smiled at the memories that came to mind. I said, "Sam was one of the first people I ever came out to. Heh...his reaction was 'Ewww! Why???' Hahaha!" It made Jimmy laugh too. It should. I can still remember the sour look on his face. I said, "But, despite the initial shock...he stood right by me. Even tried to look for somebody to set me up with. He supported me, and he'd ball up his fists and knock anybody on their ass who had a mean word to say about me. You don't find many people in your life who are willing to do that. Not many." I got a bit of a lump in the back of my throat, and decided to wrap up my lunch so I could go back in the building.

Jimmy saw me looking for a way out of this conversation and he said, "Friendships like that are harder to break than you might think, Billy." Then he stood up with me, and he said, "Remember what I said...about the sugar and cookies. Sometimes best friends need a swift kick in the ass too." He began to walk away from me, but not before turning around to say, "We're all stubborn, Billy. Everybody wants to be on top. Everybody want to know it all and pretend that they're always right. But's best to just enjoy the ride as best we can. Life is more fun that way."

I don't know if that made me feel better or not. Maybe a little bit. I should talk to Jimmy more often. Maybe he can help me sort things out when I get like this. As long as I don't have people yelling at me. It's insulting. I hurt enough on a daily basis without their help. But like Jimmy says, everybody wants to pretend they have all the answers. If so, then I suppose their lives must be perfect. Right? 100 Percent perfect. Must be nice.

Anyway, I've gotta go. Homework is getting worse now that we're getting so close to the end of the school year. Can't wait until Summer. This drama is killing me. mom made meatloaf for dinner. I just remember that yawn from this morning. And as soon as we finished, I made sure to get up before she did...and I cleared the table. Her plate and mine. Then I washed the dishes and wiped down the counter tops. It's just the two of us, so the hole process took me all of twenty five minutes. Trace was right. It really wasn't all that hard at all. I kissed my mom again, and I think she's wondering if I'm on drugs or something. But so be it. I think I need to make a habit out of this kind of thing.

I've taken her for granted, I've taken Sam for granted, I even took Brandon for granted when we were together. Sometimes, a little change is good.

Huh....a swift kick, indeed.


- Billy

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