Thursday, February 16, 2017


"AUBRIE!" I turned around to see Paige running to catch up with me. He looked like he was working a little harder than usual. His face was flushed, sweaty and his eyes were bloodshot. He caught up in a few long strides and plopped on the steps next to me. "Holy Jesus! Deaf much?" He asked. I smirked, "Depends." I sat down next to him. "Yeah, well. You seemed to be worlds away. I was trying to catch up to you since you parked. What the hell man!" Okay? In my defense, I was awake more than half the night watching the storm. He looked like shit today, which is a difficult task for someone as anal-retentive about his looks as Paige. His hair was a mess, eyes bloodshot and he was quite possibly wearing the same clothes from yesterday. Very much out of character for Paige. "Sorry, I guess I was kinda distracted. Didn't get much sleep last night. I tossed and turned most of the night… then that storm rolled in… it was gorgeous!" "And loud… Loud as hell." He shook his head as he spoke. "Yeah, it was pretty loud I guess. It woke me up for god's sake." "Yeah, me too. But… I had this crazy ass dream." "Oh yeah?" I didn't want be the one who mentioned all the craziness that happened in my dream last night especially if his dream was on the normal side. So I waited patiently and chewed on the skin by my nail beds that chose to stand up and annoy me just about every single day. "I dunno man, just some crazy shit." He rubbed the back of his neck as he spoke, once again, not a gesture I would expect out of Paige. "There was so much going on, everyone was panicking and running. I mean, one minute we were kicking ass on the field and the next minute it seemed like a scene from a Stephen King movie!" His face was slightly pale and for Paige that was impressive considering he's been a polished shade of alabaster his whole life. I swear, the guy has never had a tan. "There were so many people. All of them, shoving and pushing. Man. It was just crazy. And one guy actually grabbed at me and shoved me down cuz I was in his way. Dude, I couldn't breathe. There were so many people stepping on me as they panicked and ran in all directions… they didn't even care!" His face now a contorted version of his usual content and laid back demeanor. The dream really freaked him out. That's interesting. I looked away. I couldn't stand seeing him like this. "Then the weird part happened, I was up and walking around the field looking for you but I couldn't find you. It was like I was in a bubble and you couldn't see me or hear me. Then this lightning bolt came out of nowhere. I watched it hit you man… Aubrie, it hit you so hard it took you a good foot and a half in the air before you landed on the ground." I looked at him and he was scared, truly scared. Paige prides himself on control and poise; he should he's a black belt in Karate and has been since his freshmen year of high school. It’s second nature to him. To see him lose direction right now scared me a little. He just looked at the ground and shook his head slowly. "I knew before I got to you, I knew you were… Well..." His voice became strangled and low as he spoke, and his hands were shaking. He shut his eyes and looked up at the bright morning sky as if to gain strength from the warm rays of the sun. "Brie… Man... You were gone… You weren’t moving or anything." He looked away this time and seemed to be internally fighting himself again. Gaining composure seemed to be a difficult task for him right now. I moved my feet out from under me, stretched my legs some, and wiggled my feet.
I had to initiate circulation again otherwise I wasn't going to be making homeroom on time. It was enough to break the moment for him. He looked at me with wet, bloodshot eyes as if he were looking at an animated corpse. I tried to smile but failed miserably. I had to do something. He was my best friend. Dammit, I needed him to help me. Humor was the best route. Right?
"Nice. And did Della Reese and Roma Downey pop out of nowhere? They tell you an awesome passage or inspirational quote to help you with your grief?" I half chuckled. Touched by an Angel was his mother's favorite show. "No. This isn't a joke Aubrie. You were dead. As in, not breathing. Not living. No movement in your body at all… Gone." Shit."

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