Mom: What are you doing today?
Me: I’m probably seeing Drake.
I finish getting ready and grab my car keys. The dogs are outside so they don’t follow me to the door. I tell Dad I’m going out and I leave.
All I know is that I’ll be dreading coming back. Sometimes when class lets out I sit in my car for an extra thirty minutes just to prolong the hopelessness my father will feel when I stick my key in the door.
Drake is the only one home when I get to his house. I walk through his front door and find him in his room. His room is pretty small, but he has a room all to himself so I’m still jealous.
“Where do you want to eat?” I ask.
Drake is a big guy, but he’s like a giant fluffy bear. His heart is the size of my head and there’s never a time when he’s not smiling. He’s my best friend and I don’t know what I’d do without him.
“How about Burger Fi? I’ve not been there yet.”
“I’ve been once. It’s really good. I gotta get gas on the way though.”
“That’s fine.” He slips his shoes on and follows me to my car.
We strap ourselves in and I stick the key in the ignition. “Now, fair warning, my car is starting to break again so don’t be alarmed when it slips.”
He holds a wary smile. “Thanks for that.”
I laugh and turn the key. I stop at Wawa for gas. Drake gets out with me. “Why are you getting out?”
“I feel weird sitting in the car.”
I shrug. It’s a fair excuse. I pull out Mom’s credit card and slide it in the slot. “So my mom gave me her card.” I punch in the zip code.
“So I don’t have to pay for gas when I need it.”
He chuckles. “Lucky.” I unscrew my gas cap and slide the nozzle in the car. “Regular?”
“Yeah.” He pushes the button for me.
I lean against the car. It’s now or never. He’s going to bring it up. I stare at the gas cap. “So the update with my family is that my mom hasn’t come home for like three weeks.”
I glance at him as his brows raise. “Oh, I’m sorry.”
I check the gas meter. Not quite near twelve gallons yet. “I mean, it’s whatever.”
After gas, food, and several stores, we head back to Drake’s house. It’s about eight o’clock and everyone is home when we walk through the door.
They all announce that Drake is home and they say hello to me. Drake’s brother, Chris is in Drake’s room.
“Hey guys,” Chris says. “Load up.” He tosses us Nerf guns and throws darts at us.
“Wait I’ve never done this before.” I grab several bullets and run after Drake toward the kitchen. I take cover behind the wall. Drake loads up his shot gun with six bullets. I stick my bullets in the three openings on the nozzle. “How do I fire this?”
“Just pull the lever down.” He pulls it down for me and cocks his gun.
“Are you guys ready?” Chris yells.
“Ready,” Drake replies.
“Three, two, one…”
I stick my key in the door and push it open. My dogs greet me with wagging tails and smiles. They jump on me before I shut the door. “Guys, get down, get down.” I kick the door shut.
I walk through the house. “Oliva.”
She’s not in our room, but in the adjoining bathroom. “Yeah.”
“I had a Nerf gun fight.” Dad walks into the room.
“Isn’t it fun?” she says thorugh the door.
“Dude, it’s so much fun. I want one now. Drake said that when we get our own place, Nerf guns are on the list.”
“I’m on your team,” Olivia says.
Dad walks out of the room. I follow him. “So my car is getting bad again,” I say.
“It’s like squealing and sliding again.”
“Yeah I’ve never heard it do it before. It’s kinda scary.”
“I’ll take it out for a drive tomorrow.”
I walk into the kitchen and open the cabinet. “Where’s Georgia?” Georgia is my youngest sister. She’s normally home by now, considering the time.
Dad answers from the living room, “She’s still at school, helping out.”
I grab a bag of chips and walk back into the living room. “I’ll get her.” Dad nods, engrossed in the TV. It reminds me of when I used to read a lot. But then my reality finally became something worth experiencing so I stopped reading. I’ve started to read again.