I was going through my stuff to prepare for Joslyn and Nawwaf moving in when I found a box of files from when I was in high school. Most of it was useless to me now- old report cards, transcripts, school newspapers- but there were a few interesting things. They were mainly old yearbooks and graduation cards, but the one thing out of all of those that mattered the most was my journal.
I smiled as I flipped through the first few pages, which talked about how Mindy had just graduated and was going to get married. They were all so promising, and the younger version of myself had been so hopeful that the same things would happen to me. But I knew what came next in this story.
Today Cris and I decided to meet up irl for the first time. We’ve been playing as teammates in our favorite video games and chatting online for awhile now, so we both figured that it was time to finally meet each other. I’m a bit nervous, though- I mean, I’ve never met up with someone that I’ve met online before. They try to warn us at school about these things, but they never tell you what to do when you think that a person is being truthful and both of you really want to meet up. I think that we’re being reasonably safe about this- we’re going to meet at the library, where we’ll have a short gaming session and probably talk for a little bit as well. Mom said to be careful and not get into one of my “moods”, but otherwise she’s ok with it. I can’t really help it, though. I mean, sometimes I just wake up a little bit angry and feel the need to just be mean to the whole world. It just makes things better for that short span of time, which is all that really matters, isn’t it?
We both just kind of knew who the other was when we met outside of the library. Plus, we were the only people standing out there, so it was kind of obvious. He doesn’t look exactly the way that I imagined him to, but I think that’s a good thing. He seemed more… I don’t know… real. Duh, of course he looked more real. I wasn’t just talking to him online now like we had been every other time. He dressed really casually, and I definitely didn’t imagine his hair right. I mean, he told me that he had long hair, but whenever I tried to picture it in my head it just looked like a photoshopped mess. The sharpness of his face made him look a lot older than he really is- in fact, we’re both the same age. Or maybe it’s just that I look a little young. Either way… that first glance will be something that I always remember. For some reason, I started blushing- maybe it’s because I’ve never felt like I was cool enough and around this guy who can draw you in with just one gaze….
Thankfully there was a table with two computers open. We both sat down silently, just looking at each other as if we were waiting to see who was going to speak first about what game to play. The one guy who was at the chess table was eying us suspiciously, but that’s what everyone does to teenagers at a library, especially when they’re together. I felt so much more nervous than before- what if I picked something stupid to play as our first game face-to-face? In the end, neither of us said anything because we realized that the library’s internet connection was way too slow to attempt to play anything.
He led me back behind the library where we looked for frogs instead. The mischievous grin on his face when he finally pulled one out of a log told me the whole story. I had worn that same grin quite a few times when pranking my sister, so I knew that he was doing the same.
He told me about how he always felt like a loner in his own family, though that’s certainly not what he had set out to be. His mom works as a waitress at a restaurant that’s pretty far from here, and his dad spends long hours doing some sort of business work from home. What exactly it is, Cris doesn’t know. He also has a younger sister, Jen, and his mom’s pregnant with a girl. Jen’s your average little girl, so she doesn’t provide him with the best company, and since they live pretty far away from any interesting places to hang out at, Cris started playing a lot of online games. Hey, at least it was socialization. He explained that he planned to put the frog in Jen’s closet so when she goes to get her clothes out in the morning she’ll find it.
I know that it’s been awhile since I’ve written in here, but it’s not like this is a school assignment or something. Cris was taking a long jog and ended up in town, so I joined up with him to jog around the richer neighborhoods of Willow Creek. I was a bit surprised when I saw him- while I was dressed in a tank top, he was shirtless… and it turns out that he has muscles that are really nice-looking. Why did I just say that? I have absolutely no idea. Since he was leading the way, I had a nice view of them the whole time. What am I saying? I thought I was into girls. Whatever. I think my brain’s too confuzzled to be writing anything right now.
Our plan for today was to take the day off from school and game all day. We decided that it would be easier to stay at our own houses since neither of us have multiple computers that we’re allowed to use, but we did decide that we would voice chat. That didn’t exactly happen. It all started when I got a text from him saying that his parents had disconnected the wifi for the day so he wouldn’t skip school to play games. I told him that he should come over to my house instead- I had it all to myself, so why not?
I guess I was in one of my “moods” today and didn’t realize it because when he got here and started explaining in detail what had happened, I found myself yelling at him for ruining our game day even though none of it was his fault.
I knew immediately that what I said was wrong, but I could tell by the look on his face that it was too late to take it back. I went into the living room and turned on the TV instead.
The only thing that’s on during the day is soap operas, so that’s what we watch. I was pretty bored, and I’m guessing that he was as well and that he was just pretending to be interested.
After whatever show it was that we were watching got over, we went up to my room so I could show him my computer setup. He was pretty impressed and actually complimented me on it.
Then his eyes traveled to a particular poster on my wall. He gave me a smirk, then started teasing me about how I liked cheerleader-type girls who had only ever played Voidcritters Go. I rolled my eyes and told him that any girl who played that was clearly a baby.
He asked me what I would say if it was a guy playing the game. I asked him if that meant that he was playing it.
He walked over and sat down on the bed next to me. Then he started hinting that maybe he did play the game.
I asked him if that meant that I was supposed to go out with him or something, and he just kind of turned away. Then I was really confused- was he trying to flirt with me?
We started joking around about what things would be like if we were a couple… until I heard a car outside and realized that my mom was home early from work and that I was still supposed to be at school. I told him to quiet down his giggling while I tried to think of a plan.
I plugged my phone into my set of speakers and started blasting music. Hopefully she would just assume that I had accidentally left it on this morning. She didn’t usually come into my room unless she had my permission first, so hopefully she would just let it play. Then I… I don’t know… I started flirting with him? I guess? I’m not really sure what can be called “flirting” anymore.
Then we started tickling each other. I’m not sure who started it- or maybe we both started at the same time. Either way, our laughs got really loud really fast, so I had to turn the music up some more in order to cover them.
I think he started tickling up my right arm because soon his arm was over my shoulders and I noticed just how close together we were sitting.
I asked him if I was supposed to whisper into his ear seductively or something, and he laughed.
Then he took his arm off of my shoulder and whispered into my ear. “You’re really cute when you start telling jokes, you know.”
Then we moved away from each other a little bit, and I coughed. He asked me if I was ok, and I said that I wasn’t used to actually talking to someone this much.
Somehow we ended up just staring at each other after that. Our arms were just barely touching, and the expression on his face was daring me to do something, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.
My phone vibrated with a new text message. It was from mom and said that she knew I was home and I was in big trouble. I told Cris that he had to leave immediately, but he said that he wanted to do one last thing.
Again I realized how close together we were. Then I realized what he had wanted to do before. I shook my head. “Let’s do it another day, when we have time. You need to leave now.”
Yesterday was that “other day”. My first date with Cris. We would’ve done it sooner if I hadn’t gotten grounded for skipping school that one day. We went to the restaurant in Windenburg where Cris’ mom works. He got home so late that night that he was pretty much forced to tell her everything, and she insisted on our first dates being here or at his house so she could “supervise” us. Our plan was to eat supper at the restaurant, stay until his mom’s shift ended, then have a sleepover at his house.
When we got to his room, we sat down on the bed and started kissing. Or maybe it was so excessive that you could technically call it making out. Whatever it was, I couldn’t get enough of it. Neither could he.
Then he pulled away, got up, and opened the closet door. I had no idea what he was planning to do.
I followed him over. “Don’t worry. I have a plan.” He always has a plan. He’s the strategist, I’m the executor.
He beckoned me to follow him in. I asked if there were any frogs in there, and he laughed and said that his closet was a frog-free zone.
Then he pulled me in. We did more than making out in there.
I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written in here, but that’s because my whole life’s been flipped upside-down. What happened that night shouldn’t have happened- no one has any explanation. My stomach started feeling funny, and I was always throwing up. There were countless doctors and tests, which all said that there was a new life growing inside of me, but none of them could explain how it had happened. I still can’t believe it. My stomach’s gotten bigger now, but it’s probably the least of my problems, even though it started them all. Let’s just say that telling people wasn’t fun- especially Cris. He’s normally pretty calm, but he just got so angry and I didn’t know what to do about it. He’s broken up with me now and for some reason he wants the baby. I certainly don’t know what to do with it, so I agreed.
It’s almost time for the baby to be born, and this is the most scared that I’ve ever been in my life. I’ll have to have surgery- according to the doctors, that’ll be the only way to get it out. I wish that none of this had ever happened. I wish I could go back and tell Cris that I didn’t want to meet him in person- that an online friendship was good enough for me.
That was where the journal ended, though much more happened after that.
When it was time to go to the hospital, the receptionist thought I was playing some sort of joke on her until I practically started screaming in pain. I had texted Cris on the way there, but he didn’t respond.
The doctors knew about the arrangements, so immediately after the baby was delivered it was sent to another room to be given a check-up while the nurse contacted Cris’ family. I was deemed as perfectly fine after words and sent home to resume my life as if nothing had ever happened. To the many people who never knew about it- such as most of Mary Anne’s family- I was a perfectly normal guy. There were some things that I could never forget, but my mom helped me through them. Then she died as well. Maybe- maybe my “moods” weren’t just plummy little things. Maybe they were side affects of my fear of being alone, of having everything taken away from me.
I know that I have a child somewhere in the world that I know nothing about, and it really does scare me. Is that child safe? Loved? Healthy? Happy? I have no idea.