“Winter” by Leo Russell and Sophie Alzona

Summer had lung cancer.  Why?  Why did this happen to me?  Why me?  I loved her.

“Hey,” she said, reaching for my hand. We were in the hospital; I was sitting on the cot in the white room while she was tucked into the covers.

I pulled my hand away with tears in my eyes. She looked so innocent lying on her hospital bed, she was barely able to breathe, probably. “I love you but,” I said as a tear rolled down my cheek, “I can’t be with you. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. I’m sorry.”

Summer looked defeated. Guilt swelled up in my chest. It was the right thing to do. I loved her, but I didn’t feel the love anymore.

I quickly exited the hospital room, exiting Summer’s life as well.

Soon after, a girl named Spring walked into my life.  We had met in Science class, when these girls were bullying her.

“Omigosh, she’s so gay!  No girl in their right mind would like her back!”  one of them taunted.

“Stop,” she said calmly, but I could see tears forming in her eyes and barely spilling onto her cheeks, as one of them shoved her against the wall.

“Admit it,” another said.

Tears were now streaming clearly down her face.  “Shut up!” I yelled.  The group turned to look at me.

“What is your problem?” I cried.  “Why would you do that to her?”

The girl, who had stunning green eyes, looked up at me once the girls were gone.  “Why did you do that?” she asked, with quite a lot of courage.

“U-uh, I know what it’s like to be homosexual,” I stuttered, feeling my cheeks heating up.

“Okay,” she says, pulling me into a hug.  Once she pulls back, she says, “It’s okay.  I’m Spring, your average high school gay.”

I stick out my hand in what I hope is not a nerdy manner.  “I’m Winter.”

“See you around, Winter,” she says, shaking it.  She then turns and walks away, leaving me with a shocked expression on my face and a blush creeping up onto my cheeks.

A couple weeks later, I was with my friends at Starbucks.  Suddenly, the bell rang, and that same girl walked in.  The girl with dark mocha hair and bright green eyes.  Spring.

“Hey,” she said, noticing me, speaking in a loud voice.  “Aren’t you Winter?”

I made a shushing motion and then pointed to my friends.  “L-let’s go somewhere else,” I said quietly.

“Sure,” she drawled.

“Hey,” I said to my close friend, Ann, “I gotta go to the bathroom.”

“Sure,” Ann responded.  “Go hang with your girlfriend.  Just leave us here.”

“Thanks,” Spring said, either not understanding or not caring.  She grabbed my hand and pulled me over to another table.  “Stay here,” she said.  “I’m gonna go get an iced tea.”

She then left me standing there, staring at her skinny, black ripped jeans that hung super low on her waist, Fall Out Boy shirt, and stylish pinstripe scarf that she wore almost like a jacket.  Just staring.  Again.

“Hey,” she said when she got back.  “Want something?” She handed me five dollars, and I shoved it right back at her.

“N-no,” I said, trying to hide my stutter.  “Y-you don’t need to, uh, pay for me.  I can, um, uh, pay for myself.”

She just grinned, shoved the money back in her pocket, and sat down next to me, a little too close for comfort.

“U-uh,” I stuttered.  “I, um, like F-Fall Out Boy, too.”

“You wanna hang out sometime, other than now at a Starbucks? I mean, if you want to,” she rambled on.  “We can just sit and listen to music or something.  Only if you want.  I don’t want to make you come over, but if you want to?”

“S-sure,” I said.

A few months later, we met up for the fifth time, at my house.  My parents weren’t home.  As soon as I told her that, she started screaming and running around the house, throwing her stuff all over the floor.  We laughed and played around until she stopped suddenly, staring at me with those bright green eyes that I had grown to love.

“What?” I screeched, tossing a pillow at her.

“Nothing, nothing,” she said quickly, turning away.  Her phone buzzed and she looked down at it. “Huh.”

“What?” I asked, softer this time.

“I-I gotta go home,” she said.  This was the first time I had seen her flustered.

“Okay,” I said, understanding.  She didn’t want to hang out with me anymore.  Of course I had to blow it.

“It’s got nothing to do with you!” she said, reading my face.  “I really, really like you, Winter!  My dad just got fired, I’m really sorry.  Maybe you could come over next week, just not right now.  We could do something fun!”

“Sure,” I replied, weakly.  I had known her for a while now. Something was wrong, really wrong, but I still let her go.  “Okay.”

“Thank you so much,” she said, her voice tone changing.  “I’m so, so, sorry that this had to happen right now. I mean, I’m sorry.”  She looked down at the ground then kissed my cheek quickly.

“Bye!” she said.  She grabbed her stuff and left.

I couldn’t help worrying about her.

The next week, we didn’t meet up at all, unlike what she had suggested.  She barely looked up in the hallways, and when she did, she just sighed and looked down again.

When we got to Science class, all she did was take a seat as far as possible away from me and pull her knees up to her chest.

She was wearing an oversized blue sweater and a very short galaxy skirt that probably broke the dress code, along with white high-knee socks and black high-heeled loafers.  She had on a dark grey scarf that was almost black, that was styled in a double-knot, something she had shown me but I had never gotten.

In other words, she looked absolutely stunning.

I slowly walked over to her, holding my breath.  She looked over at me when I sat down in the seat next to her, dropping my binder onto the shared table with a clatter.

“What?” she said, turning away.

“N-n-nothing,” I responded, trying not to let my stutter show.

“It must be something,” she snapped, “if you walk all the way over here to sit next to me.”  She said her name like it was a dirty word.  I instantly felt bad for her and felt my madness fading away.

“I just wanted to see if you were okay,” I said, leaning in to wrap my arms around her.

“Go away!” she said.  “You’re already dating Summer and now I know it!”

I was shocked. “What?!” I cried.

“I think we need to talk this out,” she said without a trace of regret.  She tugged at my sleeve and pulled me outside.

“Sure,” I said, reluctantly.  She dragged me through the hallway, carefully drawing no attention.  She pulled her arm away after we had gotten outside.

“Follow me,” she said.

“Sure,” I said, “where are we going?  What are we doing?”

“The bench, skipping class.”

“Do you do this every day?”  I asked, scared for the answer.

“Nope,” she responded.  “You’re special.”  She tapped me on the nose and I reddened from her touch.  After I giggled, she recoiled, as though remembering something.

“Oh, y-yeah, about why you’re so cranky,” I started.

“I’ll talk to you about it if you listen.”

 

 

 

 

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