I met Louise Crenshaw on my very first day at school. She was sitting on the swing in the playground dragging her foot across the sand, swinging ever so slightly. The swing next to her was empty, and since I loved to swing so much, I plopped myself into the one next to her. I started to pump my legs, going higher and higher, watching as the ground fell behind me, came closer, and fell behind again. And I watched as little Louise stayed in virtually the same spot, pushing herself along with her feet.
I kept whooshing by, until suddenly, I put my feet down and skidded to a stop. I turned to the little girl next to me and asked, “Why aren’t you swinging? It’s so much fun.”
The little girl swung her blonde pigtails out of her face and replied with wide brown eyes, “I need someone to push me; I don’t know how to swing by myself.”
Me, being the nice girl that I was, taught her to swing, saying that she had to pump her legs back and forth and eventually you would go higher and higher. Soon she was swinging as high as I was and we both laughed with such childlike joy, that from then on, we were best friends.
I can still see us from my mind’s eye, two little girls playing on the swings, in the crisp September sun.
“Petunia, I’m moving.” We were sitting together on the school bus, where we always sat, three rows behind the bus driver, four rows in front of the popular kids, and across the aisle from Teresa Boylston.
It didn’t quite register at first. I sat there for a minute before exclaiming, “WHAT!” It was very loud, but when I turned to look to see if anyone else had noticed, the cool kids were still chattering, the bus driver was adjusting the radio, and Teresa was absorbed in her book.
I turned back to Louise, “When? Where? Why? Seriously?”
Louise took a breath. “My dad’s company is sending him overseas to France, we’re moving a month from now, and yes, I am being serious.” Her eyes were starting to fill with tears. “Petunia, I’m sorry, I know that you’re sister’s gone, and that you’ve still got three more years of school to go, but…I really- my dad’s work- I don’t know!”
That was just like Louise, she used to think of how everyone else would be before she thought of herself.
“No, Louise, I’ll be fine…but you’re really moving?” She nodded, tears starting to roll down her cheeks. I gave her a hug. “It’ll be okay, you’ll come back to visit, and I’ll visit you in the summer…” I could feel myself getting choked up.
“It’ll be just fine…” I hoped.
Louise moved a month later, to France, and we made a bunch of promises to write frequently, to visit, and so forth…many of those promises were kept for some time, but eventually we just grew apart.
I haven’t heard from Louise in many, many years.
On the bus, I still rode in the same seat I had always sat at, staring out the window. I only had two months left of school and I was getting rather lonely. It’s not that I didn’t have any friends besides Louise; it’s just that, besides her, everyone else was more of a friendly acquaintance, not an actual friend.
I was staring drearily out the window when I heard someone fall into the seat next to me. She had short brown hair and bright blue eyes. She was laughing at her friends in the back, the cool kids. She made a face at one of the boys before turning around and noticing me. “Oh, hello, sorry, it’s just that he’s in a bit of a mood today, must be his time of the month…” She laughed to herself. “You’re Petunia. Evans, isn’t it? You probably already know me; I’m Yvonne, Yvonne Carey.”
I nodded. “Yeah, you’re in my writing class, you sit in front of me.”
Something seemed to dawn in her eyes. “Ohhh, that’s right. I knew you were in one of my classes.” She gave me a grin. “Do you mind if I sit here today?”
I shook my head. “Go right ahead.”
She gave an almost self satisfied smile before babbling on about something, I don’t remember what it was. After awhile she turned to me and whispered, “See that girl over there, isn’t she kind of creepy? I mean look at her, no friends, nothing, she just sits in the back of the classroom reading or doodling. I’d hate to know what’s going on in her mind.”
I looked over at Teresa. I personally don’t see anything wrong with her, I also like to read and be quiet every once in a while. She didn’t seem creepy to me, but if Yvonne thought so…
“Hi Teresa!” Yvonne said with a bright cheery smile. “What’re you reading?”
Teresa looked at us with her eyebrows slightly raised. She gave a skeptical grin before replying, “Oh, just a book. See?” She held up her book and I could see that it was one of those fantasy novels, with magic and dragons and so forth. She then turned her attention away from us and continued to read, as if Yvonne hadn’t spoken to her.
Yvonne turned back to me, the bright smile sliding off her face when she noticed that Teresa had more or less ended the conversation. She scowled slightly. “What’s her problem? I wasn’t done talking…”
I noticed her bitterness and decided that it was my time to shine. I knelt closer and whispered, “It’s probably better that she stopped, at least this way her breath won’t…emanate over here.”
Yvonne sat for a minute letting it all sink in before she gave a great big smile. “Hahaha, I like you Petunia, you’re funny. You should come and sit with me and my friends tomorrow, there’s always room for one more.”
I gave a grin. “Sure.” Yvonne smiled back just as the bus pulled to a stop in front of the school. As we were getting off, I turned back to look at Teresa. She frowned at me, something she never used to do before. I turned around started talking with Yvonne.
Maybe if Teresa wasn’t so weird, she might have made some friends.
Okay, a few things I would like to address. 1) Lily was absent from this chap, 2) it was very short, 3) Yvonne actually is canon, in the first book she was Petunia's friend on vacation in Majorca. If it weren't for ember75 mentioning her in her story, I might have completely forgotten about this particular friend. So if you're reading this ember75, thank you. Lily should be back next chap, and this chap was short, but I thought it was necessary to take a break from her relationship with Lily to show a different aspect of her life. There will be other chapters without Lily in the future...at least one more.
And thank you to everyone who reviewed . I appreciate it.