Palms and Pockets
by Paul Diaz
by Paul Diaz
Chapter 20: Scooters
The sun shone brightly Monday morning but it could not match the smile John had on his face. As they entered the gate he greeted every schoolmate that looked at them. “John, why are you saying good morning to everyone we meet?” Anne whispered. “Is it bad? It’s a wonderful morning and I am so full of energy and I want to share it with everyone! Good morning…good morning…and a good morning to you too” he said and the young woman held on to his shirt and laughed.
“Someone seems to be very happy today” a guy’s voice said so the two turned around. It was Rick and Raven and John immediately moved closer to his bestfriend. “Did you bring it?” he whispered. “Oh shoot I forgot. Will tomorrow be alright?” Rick replied. “Of course its alright. No worried my friend, oh good morning to you” John said and he hugged Rick and kissed him on the cheek.
Anne and Raven burst in laughter as Rick jumped around wiping his face. “And good morning to you too Raven!” John exclaimed. Rick’s younger sister’s eye grew bigger as the young man hugged. He was about to kiss her on the cheek but Anne pulled him away. “You need to accompany me to the library before the bell rings” she said.
Rick secretly laughed as John was being pulled away. He was backpedaling but his eyes were sparkling and there was a wide grin on his face. “Geez he really pulled it off” Rick whispered and Raven had her eyebrows raised and was furious. “And you are happy for him instead of feeling sorry me, your sister” she said.
“You really like him?” Rick asked as he looked at her sister. “Isnt it obvious? Do I really have to say it aloud?” she replied. “I thought you were just kidding. So you really like him. Well I really don’t see why you do like him” Rick said. “Dummy of course you are a guy. How should you know” his sister told him.
“Oh well you just have to let go now. He is madly in love with her so if Sarah couldn’t win him back, you will just suffer the same fate” Rick told her and the young girl pouted. “What does Anne have that we don’t?” she asked and her brother looked at her. “We are not John, so we will never know” he countered.
There was something different at the cafeteria at lunch. The five of them were reunited after a long time. “John don’t you want to eat outside today?” Kevin teased and the young man stomped on his foot. “You can go ahead at the back of the school and we can bring you food you know” Jeremy added and Anne started to giggle.
“Why did you eat outside John?” she asked and the young man almost choked. The three guys were grinning and John angrily stared at them. “Well food goes well with fresh air” he said. “Then why are you in here today?” the young woman asked and John started laughing. “I don’t want to get sun burn, summer is approaching” he reasoned.
“Hmmm and if you did eat here during those days you would get heart burned?” Rick gamely asked and John’s eyes grew bigger. “Heart burn?” Anne asked and the young man slapped his forehead as his friends laughed at him. “John you have a heart problem?” the young woman asked and the more the guys laughed.
“No I don’t” John replied. “Then what’s a heart burn?” Anne asked and the young man started laughing. “I was jealous and yeah I was avoiding you” he admitted and his friends were surprised. Rick, Jeremy, and Kevin were all stunned with his admission; they slowly looked at Anne who was frozen.
“You were jealous?” she again asked and the young man sighed. “I actually was and yes I am admitting it because eventually these three here would eventually slip up and tell you” John said and he looked away. Anne tried to bite on her sandwich but deep inside she felt so happy. Their three friends were still looking at her so she shyly looked away and smiled.
The walk home that afternoon was full of laughter as John did his best to crack jokes so that Anne would not get the chance to interrogate him further. As for Anne, she missed laughing her heart out. Ever since she was with Charles she barely laughed and as far as she can remember her ex boyfriend never tried to make her do so.
Anne stopped walking and covered her mouth. John looked at her but the young woman could not hold it in so she burst in laughter. “Did I say something funny?” he asked and Anne shook her head laughing. “Then why are you laughing? I don’t get it, I was telling you about what happened in class and there is nothing funny. Why are you laughing?” he asked. “John, look where we are” she said.
The young man looked around and was surprised to see that they had already passed her house. “Oh I didn’t stop talking again did i?” he said and Anne nodded. “Why didn’t you stop me?” he asked and she playfully covered his mouth. “Because I missed your talkativeness” she said. “My talkativeness?” he asked and Anne chuckled and poked his chest. “And you” she added as she flashed him her sweetest smile.
They turned back and John remained silent. Anne again laughed and kept looking at him, “Why are you not speaking now?” she asked but the young man just looked at her and grinned. “What are you up to?” Anne asked as she started to giggle but John kept his eyes on her as they walked. The young woman was curious, she could not stop laughing because she felt he was up to something.
She pinched him several times but he didn’t stop grinning. “John! Stop it!” she yelled as she laughed louder. They reached the driveway to Anne’s home and still the young man had was looking and grinning at her. Anne pinched him the last time and ran towards the door. “Whats with you?” she yelled and the young man laughed.
“Oh that was nothing, I just wanted to stare at you for a long time because I freakingly missed you so much!!!” John yelled. Anne’s cheeks burned up as she covered her mouth and laughed. “Did you really have to grin at me?” she asked. “I wasn’t grinning. I was smiling, sorry I have not been smiling for a long time so my facial muscles are stiff. Trust me that was a smile” he explained. “Why are you two shouting?” Colleen asked and the two kept still.
“Good afternoon ma’am, I have to go now. See you tomorrow Anne!!!” John yelled. “What is wrong with him today?” Anne’s mother whispered and the young woman giggled and hugged her. “He is just happy mom” she said. “And you?” Colleen asked. “I have never been happier” Anne replied as she kissed her mother and walked inside the house humming a tune.
The following day at dismissal John was not outside Anne’s classroom. She went to check on him at his classroom but there was no one there. She went to check at the music hall but John was not there either. After twenty minutes of searching she gave up and walked towards the gate.
Gloom started to fill up her mind but she saw him outside leaning against the wall holding a scooter close to him. “What took you so long?” he asked and the young woman smiled and walked up to him. Without saying a word she quickly got on the scooter and held on to him. “I thought you lost this one?” she asked as John started to walk.
“I just hid it” he told her. “Why did you hide it?” Anne asked. “Because I didn’t want to see it” he revealed. “So why is it with you now?” the young woman inquired and John smiled. “Remember that night when I said I lost it? I came from your house then I rode it around the neighborhood. It just didn’t feel right riding it alone and I felt it lost its purpose. Today it feels right…because you are here” John explained.
The scooter was back and so were the students who acted like spies who watched them. At the school gate stood Charles and one of his friends, the two watched Anne and John as they walked away. “Dude maybe she dumped you because you were not that sweet” his friend said. “Shut up. I bought a scooter and she just laughed at me” Charles replied.
“Just friends that what she always told me. Look at them and tell me if they are just friends” he added and Stephen smiled. “Very close friends?” he teased and Charles angrily looked at him. “I never even had the chance to hug her or hold her that way. She just let me hold her hand” Anne’s ex-boyfriend related.
“At least you got to kiss her” Stephen told him and the more angry Charles got. “What would you feel if your girlfriend kissed you and you see her act all guilty after? Do you think I liked seeing her that way?” he asked. “And if the school decides to give a examination and the topic is John, oh boy I sure will ace that test” Charles said and his friend looked at him. “Every freaking day we are together she cant stop talking about him. John this, John that, and it even came to the point where she calls me John” he angrily added. Stephen burst in laughter so his friend walked out on him. “Hey John come back!” he teased and Charles gave him the dirty finger.
The next day at dismissal, John was surprised to see Anne by the his classroom door. “Role reversal?” he asked and Anne laughed. “Hmmm I just wanted to. By the way did you bring the scooter?” she asked. “Yup its in my locker, why?” he replied. “Good, don’t get go get. We don’t need it today” she told him.
“But you like riding it” John said. “Yes I do but today I have something better” Anne said and it was her turn to stare at him grinning. “Oh you have a surprise for me? Where is it?” he asked as he touched her bag. Anne ran towards the school entrance and John chased her. Just like two kids the two ran around campus not minding of the laughs and stares from their schoolmates.
Anne stopped by the gate and John grabbed her backpack. He quickly opened it but didn’t find any surprise there. “Where is it?” he asked. “You really want to see it now?” she asked. “Hell yeah! Show me” he said. Anne took a deep breath and took out something imaginary from her bag. John looked at her strangely as she started to do motions similar to what he does when he unpacks their scooter.
“Anne? What are you doing?” John asked as other students started to stare. “Shhhh just a moment” she replied. After a few seconds the young woman stood up and smiled at him. John saw her hands holding imaginary handle bars. “Come closer and I will get on now” she told him.
He didn’t want her embarrassed so John played along. He stood beside Anne and placed his hands on the imaginary handle bars. “Okay now that the scooter is steady, now we can walk home” she said as she leaned on his body and wrapped her two arms around him. John understood now what she was trying to do, his heart almost exploded and his facial muscles almost tore.
John began to walk with Anne clinging to him tightly. He didn’t mind the stares and smiles of schoolmates that saw them because at this moment he was very happy. “John” Anne whispered. “Yes Anne?” he replied. “You can put your hands down now” she said.
John released the imaginary handle bars and placed his left arm around her shoulder. Anne looked at him and smiled, “So whose scooter do you like better?” she asked. “Yours of course” he replied. “Me too” she whispered as she leaned her head against him.
Charles was once again at the gate looking at the two, he had his fists clenched but his friend Stephen patted his back. “So it wasn’t about scooters” he said. “Yeah, if she was in love with him why the hell did she even entertain me?” Charles asked. “I don’t know, ask her that” Stephen replied and the young man started to feel envious of John.
“If she gave me a chance then I can win her back right?” he asked and looked at his friend. “Dude, do you really know what youre up against? How will you be able to enter a fight with an opponent whose weapon or skills you don’t know of?” Stephen told him. “Whats your point?” Charles asked.
“Just look at them, cant you see it? You had your chance but you still lost and the worst thing is he didn’t even make a move. When there are two guys fighting over a girl what happens? The guys show what they are made of and what they are capable of. When one gains the upper hand, the other one tries to fight back and win her. You had her but she left you for him, the sad part is that he never even lifted a finger. He didn’t even try to win her back dude but still she ends up with him” Stephen explained.
“That is where you are wrong. You just cant give up” Charles said. “Youre right but its always wise to know when to quit. Its better to admit defeat from the start rather than enter a fight that you cant really win. Don’t believe such crap die trying or you lost at least you tried. It takes greater courage to admit defeat from the start, and its dumb to keep fighting even if you already know you will lose” Stephen explained and his friend fell silent.
Minutes later the two reached Anne’s home and the young woman looked at her friend. “John you have not been eating right, you grew thinner” she told him. “I did? How can you tell?” he asked. “Hmmm when I hugged you. Come inside, we still have chocolate cake left. We should get back the weight you lost” Anne said.
John sat on the couch while waiting for Anne to return with their snacks. At the kitchen Colleen was smiling while slicing the cake and her daughter noticed. “Mom, why are you smiling?” she asked. “Oh nothing dear don’t mind me” her mother replied.
“Make the slices bigger since that is his favorite” Anne said and her mother obliged. “Is he staying for dinner?” Colleen asked. “Can he?” the young woman replied and her mother smiled at her. “The question is do you want him to?” Colleen clarified and Anne joyfully nodded. “So spicy chicken it is then” her mother said.
Back at the living room Anne sat beside John holding one plate of cake. “Arent you going to eat cake too?” he asked. “I am, we are going to share this” she replied as she took a slice and fed it to him. John took the fork and got a bigger piece and fed it to Anne after which the young woman retaliated with a bigger piece.
The two were laughing with their mouths full and they were surprised to see Colleen take the empty place and replaced it a new one. There was a bigger slice of cake this time and John burst in laughter as she saw Anne cut a very large piece. The young woman grinned as she moved the cake close to John mouth. John gamely opened his mouth but Anne paused and stared at him. “Icing on your lip” she said.
“Oh thanks” John said but when he was about to lick it off Anne moved her face closer to his and kissed him. The kiss was short because they had to turn around and look if Colleen saw them. Once they saw Anne’s mother not there they smiled at each other and kissed again.
The two sat scooted down on sofa so that their heads would not be seen by Colleen. “Anne did I really become thinner?” John asked and the young woman smiled at him. “Nope” she replied and they kissed some more.