Category Archives: My Story

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 45

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 44

CHAPTER 45

Thursday was just a day to regain a relaxed body before tomorrow. School was school; the teachers thankfully did not assign lots of homework. I was able to finish it between or during the next class. Having one less thing to think about before Finals, will be awesome.

Practice was just a long cooldown. We only did about eight hundred yards and then Coach was calling us to exit the pool. ‘Awesome!’

Sitting in our normal stretching area, “everyone should be proud of the effort they did on Wednsday. Seeing as this is our first year of having a JV swim team, I would like to say that everyone on the JV team had best times.”

‘That’s impressive,’ clapping for the JV swimmers. ‘They are the lower lanes I always talk about.’

“This year we had a total of ten varsity swimmer make it into Finals. Six of those people have successfully placed well enough to be swimming individual events.”

Again a round of applause…

“Tom: the fifty freestyle, placed fifteenth. I would like to add this is his first year making it back. Congratulations. Also Steven, in the one hundred backstroke placed
sixteenth. You two have impressed me. John and Kevin will be joining Tom and Steven for their one relay,” the applause quickly died down as Coach turned to us. “Then those four have made it back in all their races, and will have to add two relays on top of their three individual events. Let’s all wish them luck,” Coach started it off with a slow clap.

“Good luck. You are going to need it,” Michael from JV called out. The rest of the team laughed and clapped along with coach.

“Lastly. Let’s give a big round of applause to our two coaching assistants,” the loudest clap possible erupted from the team, “without these two young ladies I would have
been more overwhelmed, and would be in a worse mood. Thank you, you two.” Coach said that last part directly to Jenny and Brit. They both nodded but were probably too embarressed
to actually speak.

“Okay. Get out of here! …George,” Coach grabbed my shoulder making me stop, “stay behind. We need to discuss things. You all go on ahead.”

“We will wait out front for you, George,” Ken and Matthew called out as they headed to the locker room.

“So, I am assuming you discovered what you did wrong on Wednesday?” Coach had pulled me to the bleachers so that we could sit as we talked.

“Yeah. I was focused, but I was too focused. I didn’t realize that could happen.”

“Oh. It is definately a possiblity. I could see it before your race. Also the fact that you were too distracted to come talk to me before the race. I have to admit, you did better that I thought you would.” Coach placed a hand on my shoulder, “even though, it seems like you didn’t succeed you should still feel quite accomplished,” then he let his hand drop off.

“I don’t feel like I accomplished anything. You gave me all the tools to be great and I screwed it all up,” frustration was coming through. I guess I didn’t actually accept my mistake as much as I thought.

“Think of it this way. You still have the chance to use all the knowledge and gains I’ve given you, tomorrow. Also that you were able stay in the top three, for yes, swimming a terrible race. You have the potential to be first tomorrow; only if you swim it correctly. Race against yourself; no one else matters.”

“Roger that, Coach,” Coach always knows what I need to hear.

“Now get going. I’ve got to go pick up my daughter,” Coach said getting up and heading to his office.

Finally out of the locker rooms. ‘Hopefully Dad did not leave without me.’ I ran straight into Jenny. Grabbing her arm before she fell backwards, “Oh sorry. I wasn’t watching where I was going. You good?”

Jenny regaining her balance, “No problem George.”

Once I knew she was good I let go. Scanning, “Do you see my Dad’s truck?”

“Your Dad said he would take Ken and Matthew home. He dropped off your jeep for you,” she said as she helped turn my head towards where the jeep was parked.

“Sweet. Thanks Jenny. See you tomorrow,” I step by her and head off to the jeep. After I throw my bag into the backseat and I open my driver side door, I see Jenny standing there in front of the jeep. “You need something?” She doesn’t answer, but instead instinctively she walks to the passenger door and waits for me to unlock it. ‘I guess she needs a ride.’ I unlock her door and climb into my seat as she too sits in hers.

“I’m just assuming I am taking you home?”

“Yeah. Oh. Your Dad told me he would text you and let you know. If it’s a problem I can…” Jenny began to sit up preparing to exit the vehicle.

“You’re good. Just chill,” I push her back against the seat, “Buckle up. Let’s go.” I pull out of the parking lots and off to Jenny’s house once again.

“So…Can I ask you something?” Jenny spoke after a few minutes.

Thankfully it was not going to be another silent drive, “Sure. What’s up?”

“Why did you ignore and brush me off at the meet? It was so unlike you. Were you…like…mad at me?”

I could hear the hurt in her voice. ‘Wow. Good job George.’ “Not at all. I will admit I was a little too serious and yeah, now as I’m thinking about it I was a bit harsh, but it depends on the swimmer. I tend to enter a bubble…” she was looking at me like I was nuts. “Except for the guys, or on a relay, I will become completely
focused on swimming, and I won’t really acknowledge anyone around me. Remember you had to shake me to get my attention,” she nodded, “I was in my bubble.”

“Okay. I kind of understand. Tomorrow I won’t take it serious if you totally blow me off,” Jenny smiled, but I could still see hurt behind her smile.

“It is nothing personal. Tomorrow is going to be different than Wednesday; I am going to be focused but I am going to be more like my normal self and hang with guys,” now I understood what this terrible gut feeling was… “I feel the worst towards them. I was so focused on myself that I forgot that they also need support. I let them down, and I didn’t gain anything.”

“Don’t worry too much George. I’m sure your friends understand. What I understand about them; they do seem understanding in many different types of situations…like…,” Jenny cut herself off and obviously shut her mouth to not continue.

‘I wonder what she means by that?’ “Here we are. I probably know the way to your house by heart now, haha,” we chuckle together as she gathers her belongings. Once again
before heading to her door she comes to my window.

“I have a proposition for you,” Jenny crossed her arms in front of her body looking very determined.

“Okay. I’ll bite,” I smirk and lean out the window.

“More like a bet I guess. I bet you anything, you won’t place top two in all of your events tomorrow,” she tried but couldn’t hide her smile.

“Anything?…That is a dangerous offer…” I smile knowing what she was up to.

“Sure. Anything. But you have to be in the top two for all races, including relays.” Jenny stuck out her hand, “Deal?”

That’s a bit more difficult. Becuase relays are not just me, I have to depend on the guys.’ But I was not about to give up this chance, “You’re on!” I accepted the her hand.

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 44

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 43

CHAPTER 44

First turn. ‘Where did he go?’ Timothy was gone. ‘No way…’

Second turn. I can see his kicking. ‘I’m coming after you.’ My muscles were dying. My lunges were burning.

Third turn…‘rib cage’…

No breathing…one…two…three…

Look at the board… Lane 4 2nd 46.32… ‘Did I…get…first?’

Lane 5 3rd 46.38…‘Third!?! What is happening? Who got first?”

Lane 3 1st 46.20…Jeremy??? ‘WHAT!?!’

Confusion was an understatement. ‘How did I lose to Jeremy?’ I remember where I am, I accept Timothy’s handshake; then I peel myself out of the pool. I needed to
cooldown and figure out what went wrong…

I have no way of knowing, how long I have been swimming for. I was at least no longer sore. Still confused though…I did everything Coach has trained me to do. I put everything I had into that race. I was focused. I… I had no clue…

I grabbed my towel and was heading back to Coach; awaiting the dreaded talk. ‘Wait? How did Jerry do in the hundred freestyle? What event are they on now?’ As I made it to Coach’s chair: I peeked around the coaches’ heads and saw breaststroke…? ‘It’s already the last event?’ Coach, Jenny, and Brit were all cheering and intensely watching Ken swim. ‘Ken!?’ I forgot everything and rushed back behind Ken’s lane. The whole team was there cheering him on. Two more laps. “Come on Ken!” I yelled for my bud. He was kicking butt and taking names. A few teammates turned at the sound of my voice, but quickly returned their gaze on what was important.

“Go!… Go!… Go!” We all yelled in tempo with him as he continued to push through the water. ‘Only a few more strokes…’ “Go Ken!”

‘This.’ This is what I was missing. It wasn’t my meet. It was our meet. I should have treated this meet the same as all my previous competitions. Try, but don’t take the fun out of it. I was too focused. I should have raced myself…not lane four or lane three… I should have chased down a faster version of myself in my own lane. That’s probably what Jermey did, and that’s why he won. Touch! Ken had gotten 1st in his heat, but we would have to wait for the results to see what he got overall. The team dispersed and I made my way back over to Coach’s chair. Wednesday meet was finished. I needed to own up to my mistake.

Without talking, Coach and I looked at each other. I nodded. Then Coach nodded in return. Nothing more was said about my mistake. He read off my splts. I was surprised that I actually dropped two tenths of a second; however, Coach said I should be at a low forty-five on Friday. “Thanks Coach,” I turn to go hang with the guys and the rest of the team.

“George,” Jenny grabbed my wrist and stopped me, “Good job today!”

Based on her face, she expected more than a quick nod or rushed answer, “Thanks Jenny,” I smiled and stayed by her. Which was perfect timing because here came Ken.

“Good job Bro!” I lightly slap Ken on the back. ‘He must be dead after swimming the hardest event, at least to me.’

“Thanks Bro. Coach do you know my overall place yet?” Ken asked as he commendeered some of my towel.

I just gave in and handed him the towel. I wasn’t about to share this small towel between two teenage guys. ‘That would just be too weird.’

“Not yet. Jenny. Go check and see if the results are posted,” Jenny left quickly. Coach read off Ken’s splits.

Jenny had came back and she quietly told Coach the results. He nodded with no expression. “Well Ken. I am sorry to inform you, but you were disqualified.”

“What? No way. I was legal…” Ken started to protest.

“You got third overall,” Coach sat down, with a smirk plastered on his face.

I held in the laughter. Ken seemed to have not register what Coach had said yet. Jenny and I stared at Ken waiting for the light bulb to go off…

“Oh! Coach. Not cool. I almost had a heart attack,” Ken was not amused. But then gradually a smile crept onto his face. “Sweet Third!”

“That took him a while…” Jenny started to giggle.

“Ken is nitorious for not actually listening,” I laughed while dodging the side jab from Ken. I grabbed Jenny’s waist and pulled her towards me and away from Ken’s unexpected second jab.

“What? Oh, thanks,” Jenny said as my hand fell off of her.

“Well you two get changed. I want to be on the road as soon as possible,” Coach began gathering up his belongings, but leaving his chair. “Jenny take this to the bus,” Coach handed Jenny his bag, “I’ve got to go say goodbye to some officals.”

“Here. Give the bags,” taking Coach’s and Brit’s bag from Jenny’s shoulder; leaving her only to carry hers. “I’ll help carry these to the team spot.” Without waiting for arguing, I start walking. Jenny must have speed-walked to catch up, so we walked together to the waiting team.

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 43

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School Chapter 42

CHAPTER 43

I made it to Matthew’s lane, just as he was stepping onto the blocks.

“Take your mark…Beep!”

I wanted to cheer for him, but I need to conserve my energy, so instead I just waved him onward. He was doing great. He was lapping a few of the lanes. ‘Come on Matthew!’ The last lap…

He dropped five seconds, with a time of 1:51.96. I yell down to him a “Good job dude,” and I head over to my lane. One more heat… I had Coach’s plan drilled into my brain. ‘Take it out eighty percent, and continue to add ten percent as the race continues.’ With all the noise going on behind the blocks it is hard to stay focused. However, the guy standing next to me had his music blaring, it was ‘Eye of the Tiger.’ Classic. So of course, now the chorus is stuck in my head.

Long whistle…The three short whistles…On the blocks. ‘Let’s Go!’ “Take your mark…Beep!”

Always, always listen to coach. I got fouth overall. With a time of 1:48.52, a best time by three seconds! I don’t know why anyone would not listen to Coach, he is a genius. Matthew got twelfth overall so he too would be swimming this event again on Friday! I went straight to cooldown. Even though I was hyped from my swim, I was hurting.

“Congratulations you two! You both swam exactly as I hoped,” Coach gave us his full attention. He gave us our splits and a few things to work on for Friday. “Ken is coming up, make sure you gather the team up to cheer for him at the end of his lane.”

We nodded. Matthew left, but I needed to grab my phone from Jenny. “Hey Jenny could you,” she gave it back to me as I was talking. “Thanks.”

“No problem. Good job on your race. What do you have next?” I could tell Jenny still beamed with excitment.

“The one hundred butterfly and one hundred freestyle,” I really just wanted to get the phone and head back to my seat at the team area. She was about to speak again, “Well thanks Jenny. I’ve got to go.” I turned and left. ‘Focus George. Focus. You have only a short time before your next two races.’

I had forgotten to cheer for the guys in their events. Maybe I was being too focused? I had gotten the highlights from Tom. Ken ninth in the two-hundred medley, Jerry third and Matthew sixth in the fifty freestyle. I saw Ken in the hundred butterfly; he was a few heats before me. Ken got tenth overall. I was once again in the cool down pool; I will probably be in here until the time! I did okay in my hundred butterfly…second! Also a best time…Coach was right. This is my meet! Only one more race. ‘My future depends on this next forty something seconds.

Jerry and I were in the same heat. Jerry was lane seven, while I was lane five. Jerk Jeremy, thankfully had been avoiding me all meet, was in lane three. Leaving lane four, Timothy White. Two people I had no intention of losing to. ‘It’s almost time! Oh Crap!I forgot to talk to coach before this race.’ I looked to him. He nodded. ‘Okay. At least I got that nod.’ My plan: chase down lane four.

Long whistle…‘This is it, George.’

Tweet, tweet, tweet!…step onto the blocks. ‘Chase.’

“Take your mark…”‘Four laps. Three turns.’

BEEP!

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School Chapter 42

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 41

CHAPTER 42

Looking out the window as the bus came to a stop, wow…there it was… Belfire Pool.

This pool was once used for the Olympics in 1994. Many of the swimming legends have swum here, and now it was my turn. It was still dark outside, but a glint of sunrise was shimmering across the ocean. Yeah, this pool is right next to the beach. ‘Cool right!’

I saw Jerry gathering up his gear, so I followed pursuit. I turned down my music, but I still had one earbud in to keep my attitude upbeat.

I don’t know about everyone, but the scale and pressure of this meet was beginning to hit me. Really!! My future will be decided Friday at finals; so I need to swim my best today, and at be in the top eight…

‘Some of you might be confused… I will explain the basics real quick. Today is Prelims; Friday is finals. Top eight are in A finals. Ninth through sixteenth are B finals. If you are in either of these two group you will get to swim your races again on Friday. I know I am ranked in the top eight in my three races, so I just need to be better or stay the same.

Back to the important things. Like changing, stretching, warming up, captains meeting, coaches meeting…I was there for the captains meeting, but I wasn’t truly there. I was trying too stay focused on what really mattered. There were a few regular faces. Jacob Stevens, Ken’s rival in breastroke. Jeremy, the jerk from last week. And Timothy White…he was first in all of his races, he was the one with a target on his back.

This time Jenny and Brit went to the coaches meeting. Since there are thousands of athletes/ onlookers at this meet, coach is going to need all the help he can get making sure the lower lanes get to their races on time.

Coach, Brit, and Jenny were all walking ahead of Jerry and I. “You good dude? You weren’t very present for the meeting,” Jerry had swung his arm over my shoulder.

Shrugging his arm off of me, I need to keep my muscles relaxed, “I’m good. I am just focusing on my race. Today means everything, you know?”

“Yeah I know. Okay. Just don’t be too focused, that you miss your race or something,” he laughed as he walked faster to catch up to Coach.

‘Thanks dude. That is definately something that I or any other swimmer wants to hear…now I had something additional to focus on, not missing my races.’

Back at our team spot, Coach explained the differences of this meet to the JV swimmers “lower lanes”, they have never been to a meet this big. He handed out lists of our events, so that we could see and judge on how much rest we had between races. Since relays are swam on friday, they are starting with event number five. Today, I was swimming: event number eight: two-hundred freestyle, event number twenty-four: one hundred butterfly, and event number twenty-eight: one hundred freestyle. That was the one, the one hundred freestyle…

Now we wait. I was about to escape into my bubble of music and focus, when Jenny walked up.

“You ready for the big day today?” Jenny’s smile beamed with excitment.

“Yeah. But I’ve got to focus, so…” I lifted my earbuds to show her I wanted to be alone.

“Oh. No problem,” Jenny started to back away, “sure, you do you.”

“Thanks.” I turned away, put my earbuds in, and blasted my techno music. ‘Sorry Jenny, but this meet is different.’

I was just getting out of the warm-up pool when the announcer said, “Event number eight, heat six.” I heard the long whistle, ‘It has begun.’ You are probably wondering why I am not panicking…there are a lot of swimmers at this meet. Like in this event: two-hundred freestyle, there are one hundred and twenty-six people entered. So that means there are sixteen heats of swimmers. I am in the sixteenth heat. So I’ve got some time, don’t worry.

“You good to go, George?” Coach asked without looking at me, someone from our team was swimming.

“Yes Coach. I’ve warmed up a decent amount. Any plans for my race?” my muscles were beginning to tense so I started to strech.

“One sec…” Coach got the last split, and passed the watch to Jenny for her to take note. “Yes. Since this is not your normal race, I want you to experiment. As long as you follow my direction you should be able to bump up a few extra spots and be top four.”

“Okay. What is the plan?” I am all good for being in the top teir of swimmers.

“Jenny do we have anyone in this heat?” Coach snatched the watch from Jenny to get the start, while checking the booklet.

“Tom, but I’ll time him and watch his race; you talk to George,” Jenny swiped the watch back, and stepped in front of Coach.

Coach nodded, “It is great having help. Oh, right, George…” finally bringing his attention back to me.

I was waiting for it to be heat number fourteen before heading back behind the blocks. I had more space here by a window behind the coaches area, to stretch and jump around. I was still in my music bubble. It’s a swimmer thing.

“George. George?” Jenny shook my shoulder.

“What!?!” I took off my headphones. There stood Jenny. If she had not shook me I would have not even noticed she was there. “What’s up, Jenny?”

“Coach told me to tell you to go behind the blocks. Matthew is in heat fourteen. He wants you to go cheer for him behind the blocks,” she had reached down grabbing onto my arm trying to bring me into a standing position. She then proceeded to point to lane seven, sure enough there was Matthew preparing for the next heat.

“Okay,” good thing she came to get me; I was about to miss my race like Jerry said. “Can you hold onto this for me?” I said handing Jenny my phone and headphones. I assumed it was fine, because I had already walked away.

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 41

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 40

CHAPTER 41

“Bee…” OFF!! ‘Shut it off before it could begin!’ I was already wide awake. Believe me, I slept through the night but maybe ten minutes ago I got a spurt of energy and it was go time. Today, May 5th, was the start of the rest of my life. Well technically Friday was the day that would decide my future, but one day at a time. Sitting up, I got up from bed. Today was going to be a great day; my muscles were completely relaxed but my mind was electrified with determination.

After finishing the carb-o-load dishes yesterday, I went to my room and just chilled. Think couch potato; it was great! Once Dad got back, I had planned to help him finish cleaning up, but Dad stopped me and sent me back to my room to relax. I did not argue. I went back to my room, packed up for tomorrow, and I ended up falling asleep on the bed around nine o’clock.

Gathering my gear, ‘Man its early. I’m not tired but its dark outside.’ These past few weeks, I’ve been waking up when the sun is already shining. Much to my surprise, as I head downstairs, Dad was in the kitchen; he was making me a hearty breakfast. “Morning Dad.”

Dad looked over his shoulder, “Hey Son. I thought you would enjoy having breakfast prepared for you.” He brought me over a egg and bacon sandwhich.

‘My favorite.’ “Sweet. Thanks,” I sat down and started on the food. “Could you get me a cup of milk?”

“Wow. You are taking this a bit too far. You want me to get you a glass of milk,” Dad zombie walked to the fridge and huffed when he opened the fridge door. “Yes Master. Whatever you say, Master.”

As Dad handed me the cup he even bowed. So I took it a step farther, “Thank you peasant.” Dad’s face was great; I laughed stupidly and started choking on the milk.

“Ha! That’s karma for you,” Dad slapped me on my back as I kept sputtering. “You good though?”

“Yee…aaahh,” I gained my composure again. “I’m good. Thanks Dad,” I continued to eat my sandwhich but carefully sipped the milk.

“As soon as you are ready, I’ll get the truck warmed up,” Dad started to clean up his mess.

My phone buzzed. ‘Dude. Can you pick me up? My parents left in the night for a conference. -Matthew’ Before I could ask my dad anything, buzz buzz. ‘Bro. Can you come get me? Mom got sick and Dad doesn’t want to leave her alone.- Ken’ I waited a second to see if I would get one from Jerry. Nothing. “Hey Dad, we need to leave now. Matthew and Ken need rides.” I gulped down the rest of milk and placed my dishes in the sink.

“No problem, Son. Let’s go,” Dad went off to get the keys and was out the front door.

I grabbed my gear and followed him, but pausing just long enough to lock the front door. ‘Qualifying Champs here I come.’ I climbed into the truck.

Arriving at five twenty-eight. Two minutes till the bus was going to leave. At the bus, Jerry was standing beside the swinging doors waiting for us. We all piled out of Dad’s truck. Matthew and Ken said a quick thanks and hurried to get on the bus. I knew they would save me a seat. I walked over to Dad’s window, “Thanks for the ride Dad. Will you be coming to the meet?”

“I am going to try and make it today. For sure I will be there Friday. Is that fine?” Dad seemed worried as he pulled out his phone.

“That’s fine. Friday is the most important day of my life; I would hope my dad would be there for it. But I’ve got to go. Coach will kill me if I’m late,” I walked around the front of the truck, turned to wave, and then booked it to the bus. The truck disappeared from the parking lot. I looked at all the faces on the bus; I saw everyone I needed to. Jenny and Brit were just in front of me, but they were both fast asleep. Coach was in the seat across from them.

“Find your seat George. We need to head out,” Coach did not look up from his tablet.

‘Great. I was in trouble.’ “I can explain…”

“No need. Matthew and Ken already did. You are all good. Just take a seat so we can go,” Coach had looked up for a split second and then thumbed behind him.

I nodded and headed to the middle row when Jerry had saved me the seat across from him. It was a big enough bus for all of us to have our own seats. “I’m good Coach.”

“Bus driver, let’s head out.”

The bus driver got up and gave us the safety speech. We all answered when we needed to and stayed silent when necessary. ‘It’s just the same speech every driver has to do.’ Finally the bus pulled away from the curb and we were off.

I leaned back against the window. Almost everyone was planning on sleeping on the drive. I didn’t want my mind to doze so I pulled out my phone and earbuds. I needed some pump up tunes to get me in the mood to dominate the pool. ‘George. You have to do this! Your future depends on it.’ I closed my eyes and listened to the music blaring in my ears; getting prepared for war.

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 40

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 39

CHAPTER 40

The carb-o-load was in full swing. Everyone was either stuffing their faces, laughing, or just hanging out. Some parents came, but it was mostly just the team and coaching staff. I weaved myself through the people to the kitchen, where I found Matthew and Brit talking by the drinks.

“How’s it going you two?” as I reach between the two of them for a bottled water.

“Not too bad. Your dad throws a great party. The food is amazing as always,” Matthew said as he shoved the remaining bite of the bread roll in his mouth. Brit nodded along because her mouth was full as well.

“Sweet. Well I’ve got to go and see how the other areas are doing. Matthew do you need a ride home after the party? I see your parents didn’t come,” I asked before leaving.

“Nope. Brit said her parents can give me a ride; catch you later dude,” Matthew yelled at me as I left the calmness of the kitchen and back into the chaos.


The rest of the party went as expected. Coach ended things around six-thirty, “You all need to head home and get lots of sleep. The bus will be leaving at five-thirty sharp tomorrow morning. Do not be late.”

One by one, they all thanked Dad for the food and the hospitality and then left. Coach and Lily left quickly too; but not before Lily took all the baby animals and gave Grandpa Matthews a huge hug goodbye. Lastly, the guys and Brit came to the door. We said our quick goodbyes and they all dispersed. ‘I wonder what happened to Jenny?’ I had seen her on and off again during the party; however, I was never able to stay in one spot too long.

“Hey Dad. You seen Jenny?” I yelled into the now empty house.

“She is the kitchen with me,” Dad hollered back.

Shocking. I see Dad and Jenny washing dishes. It was kind of like deja vu from a dream. Not so long ago, I had thought about these days. Where Jenny would be my girl and she would be like this…spending time with my dad. Knowing that will never happen hasn’t been bothering me, but at this moment it stung. ‘Not happening. She is your family now. See her as family.’

“Son?”

Dad was starring at me. I guess me standing silent and still just outside the kitchen was weird, “Yep?”

“Nothing you just have been standing there for a long minute. Jenny offered to help me clean up. I told her she didn’t have to but she insisted,” Dad said playfully bumping Jenny, but causing her splash water on her shirt. “Oh. Sorry Jenny.”

The water was starting to make her shirt cling to her. “Hang on a sec,” I dashed to my room and got her one of my dark colored T-shirts. I came back into the kitchen to see an embarrassed Jenny holding her shirt away from herself. I handed Jenny the shirt and she dashed off to the bathroom. “Don’t worry about the dishes, Dad. I’ll stay and finish cleaning up, and you can give Jenny a ride home. After all the grime and food from cleaning up the tables, I welcome washing some dishes,” I stepped up to the sink, bumping Dad off to the side, and started washing before he could argue.

Jenny had came back, “Oh. Do I have a new helper now?” She said coming towards me.

Dad grabbed Jenny’s shoulders causing her to stop. “Nope. My great son has decided to do the deed of dishes for us, allowing me to take you home. You good to go?”

“Oh…yeah Mr. Matthews. See you tomorrow George,” Jenny waved goodbye.

I acknowledged with a nod and then continued washing. Dad and Jenny left finally. I didn’t really know how I was feeling, but I needed to focus on something else. ‘Dishes. You are doing the dishes.’

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 39

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 38

CHAPTER 39

Practice was nothing. We got in and swam for about thirty minutes, and then coach stopped us. I was not complaining.

“Everyone, I hope to see you at the Matthews’ house for our annual carbo-load. I already discussed it with George’s father and he will have it all ready for us,” Coach yelled at us in the pool. “So get out, head home to change, grab your parents, and maybe grab something to drink. I don’t remember if I told Adam to get drinks,” Coach turned to me.

“This is all news to me; but yeah, maybe bring your own beverge,” I yelled over my shoulder as I climbed out of the pool. “We good to go, Coach?”

“Yeah. Get out of here. See you all at the Matthews’ by four-thirty,” Coach walked off.

“You heard Coach. Get out,” I wait as all my thrilled teammates hurry to the locker rooms.

Walking in the front door, I stop suddenly…the house looked like Party City exploded. I wandered through the party decorations looking for the culprit. There he was panickily running back and forth in the kitchen. ‘My poor dad.’ Instead of interrupting the “chicken with no head”, I decided to clean and set up the living room.

The living room was done; it was not too bad now. I did not use all the decorations that Dad had chosen. Some of them were questionable; meaning too young, not too old. As I set up, I kept an eye on the panicked one; he was somewhat better now. It was about four o’clock and I was setting up my final folding chair. ‘Wow. seventy chairs later and I am finished.’

“Son. When did you get here? You set up the living room,” Dad had come up behind me!

Turning I saw one happy Dad. I thought he might cry. “Of course. You looked like you might explode when I got home, so I decided to help you out. Is it to your liking?”

“What happed to the baby farm animals. I thought Lily would enjoy those,” Dad said as he scanned the room.

“That makes sense. I was totally confused why you got baby animals for a bunch of teenager guys. Lily will definitely like the farm animals. I’ll go get them,” before Dad could stop me I was off to the guest room to gather the farm animals. ‘Dad did choose something that Lily will probably take home with her. Sorry Coach.’ I hung them up around the designated kid area. “Good?”

“Good. Do you think you help me a bit more. I just need some help dicing some vegetables,” Dad said probably dreading having to go back to the kitchen.

“No problem Dad. While we work though, I want to hear about your date?” Shoving my Dad’s body back into the kitchen. ‘Gosh. I understand why he didn’t want to come back, the kitchen had also exploded.‘ “Wow, Dad…you really did a number in here. Hopefully whoever you end up with is a wizard in the kitchen.”

Dad just chuckled and move me in front of a cutting board; my new home for the next few minutes.

“I definitely agree with your thought of finding someone who does not know me. The woman last night was too giggly and only asked me about my fame and accomplishments. I was done within the first five minutes,” Dad said as he arranged the sandwiches on a platter.

“That sucks Dad. You will find someone. But dating without them knowing YOU will be difficult. Maybe you should look into online dating. You could just upload a profile without a photo. The woman would get a big surprise once she found out who you were though,” I chuckle, while turning to look at Dad. He was doing the sandwiches; I don’t think he heard a word I said. “What are you doing? It looks like you are murdering the sandwiches.” I walked over and looked over his shoulder, ‘He was, as I expected, murdering the food.’

“I was trying to make it look elegant. Do you not see it?”

“It looks more like an elephant ran through the food,” I ducked from the smack; reflexes… because I know my dad.

“Go get ready for the people coming. They should be here…” Ding Dong! “as I said, they have arrived. I’ll attempt to make it less like an elephant mess and more like an elegant mess.”

Dad practically threw me out of the kitchen. “No appreciation for honesty. I’ll go. I’ll go,” I laughed with my hands up, as I went to answer the door.

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 38

CHAPTER 38

I wasn’t really speeding, but I was driving quicker. As I drove I thought about that crazy dream. That’s what I decided it was. Crazy. There is no way my dad could forget about me. If that was going to happen in real life, I would make the time to go his wedding or the birth of my siblings. I would have made time for the important occasions.

I got to Matthew’s house and he was pacing by the curb. We were not late, but I usually get him ten minutes earlier. I stopped next to him; and he jumped in.

“Sorry dude. I was…”

“No problem Bro. Since I didn’t get a text I assumed you were running late,” he was looking at me as I pulled away from the curb, “you don’t look so good? Are you still having trouble with your parents?”

“No. Thankfully. I just had a vivid dream, and I forgot to set an alarm. My dad woke me up and got me out the door in less than ten minutes.” While still focusing on driving I summarized my crazy dream to Matthew.

“That is complete nonsense. What did you eat for dinner last night that made your have a stupid dream?” Matthew laughed as soon as I finished. “First of all, your dad would not marry anyone without introducing you first. Second, you would have been there for all the big moments. Third, you will never come home to a surprise; you and your dad have the best father son relationship. He would tell you everything.”

“Very true. Thanks dude,” I say as we park in our normal spot and head to yard area to meet Ken and Jerry.

“No problem dude. But really what did you eat?”

Matthew told Jerry and Ken my stupid dream, and they reacted the same as Matthew.

“Is your dad dating again?” Jerry asked after the talking had died down.

“Yeah. He wants to be happy, and I want him to be happy,” relief in my tone, because I’ve now come to grips with the idea and I’m actually happy for him.

Ken intrupted my thoughts with a loud, “Ha!”

“What’s your deal?” I say trying to punch Ken for the sudden outburst.

“Nothing much. But your dad is on round two of dating and you haven’t even attempted your own round one,” Ken was trying to keep it together while he muffled his laughter.

Jerry and Matthew must have realized the truth in what Ken said, because they had started to silently chuckle as well.

Annoyed. “It’s not like I didn’t try. Jenny just was not into all of this,” I sarcastically gestured to my entire body. I too laughed at my idiotic behavior.

Silence.

“Are you really okay with joking about Jenny now?” Jerry was shocked. “This is the first time you are actually joking about the situation,” Jerry seemed to be trying to keep the shock controlled.

I looked at Matthew and Ken and they too had the same reaction as Jerry, “Yeah. I have actually moved on a while ago.”

“Since when?” Matthew asked.

We were starting to walk towards our homeroom. “I guess since I found out about my parents getting a divorce. That day really showed me that you can’t force feelings, and it’s better to end one-sided crushes. My dad was trying to save his marriage all these years because he still loved the woman mom used to be, but he was suffering all alone as he tried to force feelings. It was my breaking point with the Jenny situation.”

“Wow. I didn’t know you have matured so much,” Jerry said as he draped his arm over my shoulder.

“Yep. I am going to focus on myself for the time being. I’m going to become the swimmer I want to be before thinking about dating. I probably won’t date until after college,” laughing at the thought, but was actually serious with that idea.

“Good luck to you bro,” Ken smack me on the back and laughed, “I will start as soon as a girl sees me as a man.”

“So you will be waiting until when, thirty?” Matthew punched Ken back.

We all started laughing at Ken. ‘Thirty. That was good. Thanks Matthew.’

“Wow. Jerks,” Ken stormed off out of “annoyance” but was only through the homeroom door a few seconds before us.

‘He’s just annoyed because he knows it’s true.’

The third bell rang and in walked Ms. Chaplen. “Hello class. We will be doing a pop quiz this morning.”

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 37

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 36

Chapter 37

‘A minivan, when did we get a minivan? ‘ I walk up to the front door and hear little giggles inside. ‘Huh?’ Opening the door I see dad sprawled on the floor with a little toddler crawling on him, and an infant rolling around beside his leg.

“Oh, welcome home George,” a female voice came from the kitchen. “Honey, your son is home!”

“George. I didn’t know you would be home today; I would have come and gotten you from the airport,” Dad said getting up and walking over to me for a bear hug. “What do think? The house might be little different, but we needed a change through these years.”

I didn’t really look around when I first came in, my eyes were still glued to the children in the living room. Looking around, ‘Wow! Nothing is the same.’ Every bit of furniture, decoration, etc. was different. Like every ounce of my childhood or mom’s influence was gone. I set my bag down in the entry like always,

“George, dear, please put your belongings in your room. I really do hate a clustered entryway,” the female voice said again from the kitchen.

“Okay.” So, I headed towards the stairs.

“Oh. Your father didn’t tell you. We had to take over your room for a nursery. All your belongings have been moved to the guest room. Honey. You should have told him.”

I was starting to dislike that female voice. I turn and head down the hallway to the guest bedroom. Opening the door…‘Really!?!’ She did say all my belongings were moved, but I thought they would have set my room up; instead everything was in boxes crowed around the bed. ‘Hold in the frustration.’ I realized that Dad had not followed me; exiting “my room” and going back to the living room, I see Dad once again on the floor with the little kids. “So are you going to introduce me?”

“Oh, right. Sorry Son. My time has been completely controlled by these two; they are precious but can be a handful.” Dad said just as the toddler crawled up and suddenly turned my dad’s head back in the direction of the toddlers face and whispered something. “That’s your older brother. No need to be worried.” Dad scooped up the toddler and came towards me.

‘Brother?’

“Son, this is your little brother Kyle Matthews,” the little boy looked at me like I was a stranger invading his home. “And that one down there,” Dad turned and pointed to the little blob of a person still wiggling on its back, “your little sister Alice Matthews.”

I was shocked. Why wasn’t I told any of this. It’s not like I was too far or too busy to come visit. If I had been told my dad was getting married, I would have left college for a bit, to have been there. If I had known my stepmom was expecting, I would have been there. But I wasn’t even a thought to my dad. ‘What is going on?’ “Dad. Why didn’t you tell me…about…any of this…”

“I thought I did. I probably thought you were too busy, and wouldn’t really care since you are grown up. Also your new mom said to not to disturb your new life with our issues. I thought her reasoning was good.” He walked away from me and back to the floor with the toddler and infant.

“Yes. George dear, we did not want to disturb your new life away from home,” again the female voice.

Don’t blow up at your stepmom!’ I was standing in the living room but I seemed to be invisible to my Dad. ‘How is it possible for my dad to be so happy without me in his life anymore.’ Everyone was still ignoring me. ‘Fine. Whatever. If I’m going to be ignored I might as well go see my friends.’ I grab my keys and wallet. “I’m heading out for a bit,” no response. “Dad?” Nothing. So I give up and head to the front door.

“Dear! Our daughter is rolling over. Come quickly!” Dad yelled for the female in the kitchen, completely treating me as non existent.

“I’m coming!” the female chimmed and I heard dishes dropping and scurrying feet.

Not wanting to see the face of the female that has turned my life upside down, I leave my home. Stepping out into the bright…

“Son! Wake up! You forgot an alarm! You need to pick up Matthew. Son!?”

I was being shaken, quite hard. So now my dad is concerned about me. I open my eyes to my dad pouring over my body with his hands shaking my body.

“Son. Why are you still asleep? You were mumbling about, ‘not wanting to be home anymore,’ but that doesn’t matter. You are late! Get up. I’ll get you some breakfast and get your jeep started,” and Dad dashed out of my room and it sounded like he ran down the hallway.

“What is his deal.” I sat up and looked around. I was in my room. My actual room. In my bed. ‘Oh. Crap!‘ It was a dream. That figures. ‘But why was Dad so panicked.’ Looking at my alarm clock I see why, seven-thirty. I had thirty minutes to get Matthew and get to school. I jumped up and threw clothes on, and packed my swim bag.

“Hurry up son!” Dad’s voice echoed into my room.

I grabbed my stuff and rushed down stairs. Dad shoved a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich in my mouth, handed me my keys, and ushered my out the door. “Bye…D”

Dad closed the door before we could say goodbye. ‘No matter. I’m late!’ I throw my stuff in the back, and jump in quickly to go pick up a probably very worried Matthew.

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 36

Life Of Two Best Friends: High School CHPT 35

CHAPTER 36

Finally home. I headed into the kitchen to grab a quick snack before the crack down on homework. “Dad? Are you still home?”

“I’m upstairs,” Dad’s voice echoed down the stairs, “can you come up here a moment?”

Heading upstairs, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to just start. “Wow! Dad you look good.” Dad was wearing a nice fitted navy blue suit. He must have had a haircut and beard trim. “Why are you so snazzy for the party?” heading to the bed to relax as we talk.

“I have a date.”

I hesitated before sitting. ‘A date?’ I look up and Dad is looking at me. “What?”

“Are you good with me dating again?”

I didn’t really know. I know my parents will never get back together, and I wouldn’t want me dad to do that anyways. But do I want him to date? I looked up at the man I admire. He was worried; it was all over his face. Remembering Dad holding Lily that day, I remembered thinking it would not bother me if I had a little sibling. To do that you need a wife. Realizing my answer, I stood and walked over to my still worried Dad, “I am good with you dating again. I want my old man to be happy, and if that means I get a new mom in the process I’m good.” I turned him to the mirror and draped my arm over his shoulders; which was difficult to do since Dad is considerably over six-foot. I could still sense Dad was hesitating, “I am good Dad. After seeing you with Lily I thought it wouldn’t be so bad to have a sibling. If you go that route; you won’t have to be worried about my approval.”

Dad chuckled, “You are thinking way ahead of me. But sure, I could always try to give you a sibling if it works out.”

This talk was getting weird. “Okay. So you good?”

“Yes. Thanks son for the approval. I am nervous. This is my first date in almost twenty years. I know you don’t have experience, but any tips? For dating in the modern world?” Dad asked as he fixed his collar for the third time.

“You kind of have a trump card. Just introduce yourself and she will probably be happy. However, I will say it might be better to find someone who doesn’t know you; because, then you know she likes you for you and not your fame. Just a thought,” shrugging not really knowing if that is actually a thing in the real dating world. Just things I’ve seen from movies. Still, all this dating talk was strange for me to be talking about with my dad; making it seem like roles are reversed. Still, I was happy to help him. “You should probably get going, it’s getting late. You can never be late to a date or you never live it down.” I started ushering him downstairs and to the front door.

“But…son…I…” Dad tried to talk.

“No buts. Just go,” throwing his keys to him and pushing him out. I stood by the door until I heard his corvette start and zoom away. ‘Good.’ “Now. To my homework.”

I finished my homework and was getting ready for bed. I was brushing my teeth; looking myself in the mirror and I saw my expression. I couldn’t fool myself anymore. It bothered me. Not the idea of Dad dating so much, just that to me it seemed too soon. I just lost my mom. I know Dad has been losing mom for a while. So to him it’s been a long time. Also, I really shouldn’t be feeling this way with a woman who left me. I want to be happy for him, moving on after his toxic marriage. I just don’t really know how to describe what I’m feeling. ‘If any of you reading understand, I wish you could tell me.’ Well I can’t keep thinking about this. My bed is calling me. See you all tomorrow.