Weeks have flown by, since I told the guys about the Jenny news. My focus towards school, Jenny, and practice have changed. I’m focusing more on school and practices. I have had more time and brain space; now, that Jenny isn’t my main focus. Jenny…Jenny had taken a new role in my head and heart. She was now just my first crush turned good friend.
Believe me, a couple weeks ago I was not like this. Earlier, in the moving on process, the guys had to slap me a few times to snap me out of it. Classes and practice were my only escape from my crush depression. Which is why now, I have prioritized my focuses: Swimming, school, the guys, and then Jenny. After last week, of me still acting weird around Jenny, the guys insisted that I move on; as they said, ‘I was embarrassing them and myself.’ I spent a whole week focusing on keeping Jenny in the friend-zone. When she asked me to hang out I would answer ‘no’, and instead do something with the guys. Whenever she smiled, I would acknowledge but then quickly turn to someone else and start a new conversation.
Just like now, as I’m getting ready for school, I’m only worrying about what my mom will say if I don’t wear this tie today. She told me a few days ago she would picking me up today and that I needed to be presentable; so for no criticism, I will wear the tie. This is a new feeling for me; my first concern is not first what Jenny might say. I’m not even worried about what the guy’s will say. As I finished that thought, I realize I might have brainwashed myself into an emotionless robot.
Whatever I grab my homework, backpack, and phone, and then I rush into the kitchen to grab my breakfast. Dad is sitting on a bar stool, at the island, with his head in his hands; he didn’t look too great and he didn’t respond to my entrance. “Dad?” No response. “Dad, you okay,” I said placing a hand on his shoulder.
He jumped at the touch and quickly lifted his head, “Oh, George. Sorry I was lost in thought. What were you saying to me?”
He didn’t look so good; he looked like he had aged ten years since the last time I stopped to look at him. He wasn’t the carefree singer songwriter he was a week ago. Maybe since I had been in my funk of changing, I hadn’t been paying attention to anyone except myself. I’ll have to add family to that list from earlier: Family, swimming, school, and the buds. Oh, and Jenny. “You sure your okay, Dad? You don’t look too good. Have you been sleeping alright?”
“Yeah, don’t worry about it. You should be heading out. I’m proud of how you have been so focused on school and swimming; don’t let your efforts falter. Your old man will take care of himself,” Dad said, as if he mustered up every ounce he had, trying to seem okay.
“Okay, I’ll be heading out. Don’t forget. Mom is taking me somewhere after school today; I’ll be late because I will have to drive the jeep home,” I saw a small hint of something flash over my dad’s expression, but I am unable to name it.
“Thanks for the reminder. Don’t worry about driving home; I’ll go over to the school later and drive the jeep home for you. You, uh, just enjoy your time with your mom,” he talked as he got up to search for the spare key. “Got it!”
“Okay Dad. See ya later,” I said as I grabbed my keys and headed out the door. That was weird. Dad is acting strange today. Wanting to stay, I instead jump into my jeep. My mind was still on Dad as I pulled into the school’s parking lot; after spending time with Mom tonight, I’ll make sure to check on him when I get home. First school and practice, second Mom, and third Dad. Begin list now.
Where is she? Mom was supposed to be here close to thirty minutes ago. I was standing in front of the school lobby doors. The school door were locked. Dad had already taken my jeep home; or I would taken just driven myself to wherever my mom was.
Well, I guess I’ll recap the day with this new found time: Jenny was absent today; the rumors hadn’t gotten any better; instead, the rumors were morphing into horrible gossips. Midterms are coming up so teachers let us self study today; which entailed most of the students to mess around and not study. Coach did a ‘you choose‘ day; we choose the stroke and he chose the yardage and intervals. I thought I was clever and choose breaststroke. ‘Yeah, Coach saw through my idea, three thousand breaststroke straight. All you non swimmers, one hundred and twenty laps non stop.’ I shudder still feeling the burn in my muscles. Never again. However now, I’m waiting for my very late mom…speak of the devil, she just pulled up.
“I’m so sorry my sweetie. I was getting our evening event ready and I lost track of time,” Mom said frantically.
“No problem mom. Just next time, I’ll drive myself to the venue. What do you mean our evening event?” Realizing what she meant and rolling my eyes, “not another party? I thought it was just going to be the two of us.”
Mom didn’t hesitate, “Don’t worry sweetie its only a few people. You should know most of them. I see you are wearing a tie; thank you so much for dressing up. I know you are not a big…”
I stopped listening to her for myself, but also your sanity. It’s difficult to listen to my mom when she begins her various rants. She is still going. I’ll just summarize the key points for you.
‘You look so handsome, which comes from my beauty genes… I have great sense of fashion; at least my son knows I choose great clothes… The people at this party are on the upper level of success; you should try and use these people to replace your old friends… Your current friends will never be on our level… etc.,‘ directly from my mom’s mouth. I’m sorry, but I can’t listen to her nonsense or comments anymore. Instead we will ignore her and sit in silence; as we drive towards a night filled of people spewing their own opinions, and everyone else fighting for the spotlight. ‘Great. Wish I had stayed home.’