I watched as Kamryn got into her car and drove herself and our friendship away. Her scent lingered in the night air. She always smelled like a mix of coffee and spring time. I hated the way the bangs of her hair hid her eyes or how she was always catching strands in her mouth when she talked. She was so petite, I'd swear when it was windy she would blow away. And that dimple, that signature dimple. It was the cave in her cheek that held all the secret things that made her smile. And apparently, I was one of them. Or at least I was.
I walked into my apartment. Tired from the day. Drained from the conversation. I hated it when girls cried. I hated making them cry, but they always cried. Well Kamryn always cried. She's emotional. Always has been. Let her tell it however, she was passionate. Nah, I'd call it emotional. I smiled. We got into that debate a million times. I would always win, because the debate would end in Kamryn throwing a hissy fit. "See," I'd say, "case and point. Emotional." I shook my head and opened my refrigerator and then shook me head again as I closed it. Wish I hadn't pissed off Kam, then maybe I'd be eating right now. All I had to do was text her and tell her I was hungry and she'd prepare some elaborate meal. She loved to cook, so technically I was doing her the favor.
Her confession wasn't much of a confession to me as I believe it was to herself. I could look in her eyes and know that she loved me. Anyone could. Everyone did. I just pretended not to see it. Like I did with everything that involved change, vulnerability, and emotion. If I didn't see fit to acknowledge it, then it must not exist. That philosophy has gotten me far. Frustrates the heck out of everyone else though.
I got out my guitar. Les Paul Gibson. A gift. From Kamryn. I'm not a jerk. I love her. I do. Always have. I just can't love her the way she needs to be. The way she deserves to be.
I remember the first time I met Kamryn. She was with her mom and Sophia moving into the house next door. I was 16 at the time. Noah, who lived down the block from us wanted hot white chicks to move in. Zuri just didn't want any more white families coming in and taking over the neighborhood. I didn't care either way. In the end though, it seemed we all ended up being pleased with what we got. My mom made Zuri and I go introduce ourselves with her. After the initial introductions, Zuri and I offered to help with the moving. Southern hospitality. I could tell they weren't used to it. City girls.
"I can handle it," Sophia said when I reached out for the box she was holding. "
Ok then," I said as I lifted my hands in defeat. I looked over at Zuri who rolled her eyes and followed her into the house.
"I could use help with this one," Kamryn said pointing to box.
"Sure thing," I said. I went to lift it speedily and nearly stumbled over, surprised by its weight. "Shh.." I stopped myself, "what the heck is in this box?" I asked.
"Its just my books," she said softly.
"Guess you read a lot, " I said as I got a better grip and walked into the house.
"Yeah, but most of them were my fathers. He left them to me. He was a professor. But he died a few months ago," she said solemnly.
"Oh, sorry to hear that," I said uncomfortable with her truth.
"Thanks. It's the room to the left."
We walked into her room, which was an amazing. Windows that stretched from floor to ceiling lined the right side of the room and were accompanied by a window seat. The opposite wall was lined with espresso colored book shelves from floor to ceiling. I walked in the direction of the shelves, which had the beginnings of decor: photos of Kam, her sister and others.
"So you're a cheerleader? Middle school out here doesn't have sports."
"Really? Well that really doesn't matter to us, considering we're both in high school," she retorted.
"My bad, you looked kinda young."
"Yeah, I get that all the time. I'm 17. Sophia is 15."
"And you're the oldest? Never would have thought that."
"Yeah. Get that all the time too."
"Well I'm on the varsity basketball team," I boasted.
"You a senior too?"
"Nah, a sophomore."
"Guess you look a lot older than your age," she said with a smile and at that moment I was formerly introduced to that dimple.
"Yeah, I get that a lot," I smiled back.
Zuri and I ended up spending that entire day with the Williams sisters. I called Noah over and he helped to. We got them all moved in and then Mom invited them over and Dad cooked out on the grill. I watched the girls carefully. They were both very pretty but polar opposites from each other. Sophia was tall, her skin dark, but complexion smooth and gorgeous. She had a cute round face and a button nose. She was built like an athlete. She was forceful, loud, smart-mouthed, daring, independent. She didn't look or act like a girl who had just lost her dad. Kam was petite. Small stature. Fit, but curvy in all the right places. Mocha-colored. Reserved. Well-poised. Observant. Cautious. Kam wore the worry in her heart on her face.
Time passed and it was always the 5 of us. It's like we were each random dots, connected by the lines of chance to make a family. Through high school sports, homecoming dances, stealing liquor out of our parents liquor cabinets and getting trashed. Through boyfriends and girlfriends, college applications, snowboarding trips, college parties, through my parent's divorce, Noah's mom's sickness, Soph's PMS moments, Kam's valedictorian speech, me, Soph's & Noah's senior prank... I could fill countless of pages filled with priceless memories.
It always amazed me, how as a group we were all close, but individually we held our own relationships as well. I vibed more with Soph. We were a lot alike. I could hang with Soph for hours doing absolutely nothing. Soph could hold her own if I picked a fight, verbally or otherwise. I could tell crude jokes around her without worrying she'd be offended. She was one of the guys, but as we got older I began to notice how much of a girl she was. I reserved it in the back of my mind, visited it once, made promises never to visit it again. Soph and I had our secrets. Secrets Noah or Kam or Zuri didn't know about. Secrets that were the reason Kam cried tonight, though she would never know it.
Kam was the mother of us all. Her soul way older than she was. She was like a security blanket. I knew I could always count on her. I allowed myself to tell her things I wouldn't tell anyone else. Asked her questions about girls, let her cook for me, talk to her about music. Kam intimidated me, with her it always had to mean something, she was always trying to read in between the lines. She knew what I needed way before I even knew I needed it. She nurtured and catered. I knew Kam could see me for who I really was and that terrified me. Naturally, I was physically attracted to Kam as well. But with Kam it was overwhelming. With Soph it was easy...
The next morning I woke up to a text message from Soph. It read, "She told you how she felt didn't she?"
I responded, "Yeah."
"Did you tell her about us?" she replied minutes later.
"I told you I wouldn't," I texted back.
When I got her reply back I swear I could hear her sigh of relief, "Thank you."
I asked her how Kam was doing.
"How do you think?"
Then I thought of a better question, "How are you doing?"
Her response, a duplicate of her answer before, "How do you think?"