Friday, January 8, 2010

School Days: Sophomore Year

Chapter 1: Summer Vacation

I stared at my computer screen. The document was totally blank and the words simply wouldn't come to me. I reached for the "Esc" button - this was stupid. I didn't even have this assignment yet, I hadn't even gone back to school yet! But I wanted to put it all down in words so I pulled my hand back and started typing.

What I Did on Summer Vacation
By Genevieve Bartlett

This is supposed to be about my summer I suppose but I'll get around to that less interesting topic later. While I stayed home, my friends went off to have their own adventures this summer and sent back stories and pictures about them.

Mei-Ling, now settled back with her family in China, returned to the hill she'd taken Todd on our trip. She wasn't sure why she came back to this place but she was drawn there and every time she reached the top she felt the urge to cry.

She wondered how Todd was doing but hadn't mustered up the courage to call. She wasn't sure she wanted to hear his voice yet so she stuck to emails. Trying to regain some focus, she returned to training with her old martial arts Master. It took her most of the summer to keep her emotions in check while training and sparring - much to the disappointment of her Master.

As the summer progressed, her emails started to sounds a little better. Meanwhile Timothy hopped on a plane only a week after we'd returned from China. This time bound for Egypt! An uncle of his was working on a large excavation and had invited Timothy to come join him. Timothy, of course, was thrilled at the prospect of digging up ancient relics. He arrived at base camp and felt the first warm rays of the sun on his skin. Being in Egypt, ready to dig up history, was enough the make him grin as he cross the camp for the first time.

His uncle had a few pointers and instructions for him before assigning him an area to dig in. Over the months he lost his glasses twice, spent many hours lugging supplies from camp to the excavation site and of course spent much of his time under the Egyptian sun. As a result he got the first hints of a tan and new glasses by the time summer was winding up. He also collected a few relics both for the institution sponsoring the dig and for himself.

I wonder if he's going to cut his hair before school goes back. Veronica's parents, anxious to go on some world tour - alone - sent her to California to spend the summer with her great aunt. Veronica was upset about it, picturing her great aunt as some wrinkled, wheelchair bound woman who would stop her from doing anything fun in California. As it turned out her great aunt wasn't wheelchair bound at all and owned one of the largest vineyards in California. And while she expected Veronica to contribute some to household chores - she had her own social calendar that didn't involve a teenage girl.

Although the machine nearest the field was mostly for show for the visitors, it still worked and Veronica was encouraged by her aunt and many of the field workers to give it a shot. So she picked a few varieties of the fruits fresh from their branches and tossed them in. She had a small audience of workers leaning against their tools but Veronica was never one to shy from an audience - even if she fell on her butt.

She laughed it off while hiding her flaming cheeks from view. In spite of that embarrassing incident and in spite of having to do some actual chores, her emails and calls were happy and upbeat. She spoke highly of her great aunt and animatedly about the view from the fields at sunset.

Erik went back to Virginia as I expected. As conflicted as I was over our break up, I knew he needed to be there this summer with his mom. Most of what happened to him I had to piece together from other sources as he didn't email or call me except once to announce his brother's birth. Lydia, his mom, was put on hospital bed rest toward the end of her pregnancy due to complications. Ultimately, she ended up having a cesarean section with Erik by here side. I'm not entirely sure why her fiance wasn't there at the time.

John Lynch, her fiance, showed up later while Lydia was napping after the surgery.

When she woke up, Erik left to give them some time together and to give John some time with his son. That is when he found a computer in order to send out a quick birth announcement to all of us and called a few people. The baby, named Gavin, was a cute baby.

Only Todd and I stayed here for the summer out of our friends from last year. At least one was gone for good, possibly two. No one knew if Erik was coming back. Even his dad, who I'd seen a few times around town, said he didn't know. He mentioned having talked a few times with Erik and his ex-wife over the summer but he really didn't know what Erik's plans were.

Todd and I spent most of the summer hanging out together. We were both pretty pitiful. He was missing Mei-Ling but varied between determination to put her behind him and a lonely mess. Meanwhile, I was questioning myself over the breakup. I still cared a great deal about Erik and despite our break up, I wanted him to come back in hopes of at least restoring our friendship. His almost total silence over the summer hurt me, I suspected he was upset with me and that made me feel retched. Taking a page from Todd's book, I decided the best thing I could do would be to put him behind me in case he didn't come back.

"What did you do?!" Todd asked looking at my new hair cut. I'd chopped off several inches that morning, thinking change would be good - like it would help in my drive to move on.

"You don't like it?" I asked fingering the short strands distressed.

"It's not that....I'm just surprised!" Todd said. He ran his fingers through it as well. "It's very cute....just different." he said trying to recover from his outburst.

I laughed and nudged him to the sofa. We had plans to vedge all day playing video games and watching movies. "Come on, you owe me a rematch" I said.

"Ya know, you're not really one to talk about differences" I said glancing over at him mid-game. "You with the gel and the little patch on your chin."

"What's wrong with my 'little patch'?" he asked distracted long enough for me to swoop in a kick his character's butt.

"Well it's just..." I trailed off trying to find the words. "I hate it." I said with a laugh.

Todd just hmphed at me and kept playing but I could see him grinning. We'd had this discussion before, probably doing the same thing. It had been a pretty boring summer with our joint pity parties.

After we were all played out on the games, we switched to movies and the first one that caught Todd's eyes was a vampire movie. It played for about three minutes before I flipped the channel.

"What'd ya do that for?" Todd asked.

I shrugged. "That was the movie playing when I went to the Castle with Erik." I said simply.

Todd nodded and put his arm around me. After several minutes of silence from both of us, Todd squeezed my shoulder. "We'll be okay." he said simply. "School goes back next week and we will both be okay...."

"Right." I said. "Of course we will." I didn't believe myself so I'm sure he didn't either but he didn't say anything.

End Chapter.

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