Tiffany Yang, Grade 10
We sat on a bus on the way home, and as it rattled, we moved with it.
"I made you something." I'd whispered low and breathy.
"Yeah?" You replied.
Your arm was rested along the edge of the window, with your right hand clutching your cocked head.
"Yeah." I mumbled.
I flipped my bag over and slid your present out the front.
The glittery wrapping blinked back at me and I stared down at it. You hadn't looked at it yet. So I took hold of your closed fist, opened it, and placed the gift on your open palm.
I sat on my two hands to stop me from moving, and from the excessive nervous sweating I did.
Your hands are pale and full. I like watching them move. They peeled the tape of the top and front.
I started to look at you, maybe for you to force a reaction. I like those. You made faces that seemed surprised and grateful, although I knew they weren't.
I knew they weren't because you'd done them before.
You held my CD in your hands.
But you had held someone else's too.
One time, I was in your room, waiting for you to come downstairs, and I saw your collection.
Next to your Billie Holiday CD, I saw two more CDs. One was labeled
'For you, volume one.',
and another labeled
'For you, volume two.'
They had hearts and swirly drawings in texter and was signed by someone called Brandy.
That's where I got the idea.
Not very orginal, I know. But you kept her present in your room for a very long time, so I figured you'd keep mine for a very long time too.
On the back was a setlist of all the songs. All my favourite songs. All the ones I never bothered to show my brothers because I knew they would tell me I was lame.
You looked at it for a long time.
When your stop was near, I was about to stand up so you could leave. But you told me to sit. So I did.
I sat quietly, and we drove past your house.
Sometimes you get quiet and very still. And in those moments I feel like you're mad at me. You almost never are, though.
"I have to leave soon." I whispered.
You didn't say anything.
I felt awkward.
You didn't tell me you liked your present.
On your 15th birthday, I baked cookies and scrapbooked a picture of us.
You told me I was cute. And that you loved me. And you hugged me.
And on the first time we spent Christmas together, I had surprised you with a drawing I did of Tess. You told me it was the best drawing of the dog you'd ever seen, and that I was talented and sweet. You kissed my forehead.
Today, though, you stayed quiet and still.
And that's when I started to cry.
You didn't hear what I wanted to tell you.
My tears weren't enough to make you move, though.
My house neared, and I stood up quickly. You looked at me.
And then your eyes became soft and sad.
You took the CD and gently stretched your arm out.
"I'm sorry, I can't take it." You looked at me.
"Please give it to someone that'll listen to you." Your eyes stayed warm and truthful, and you continued to say,
"I'm sorry I never listened to you."
You got off with me and walked in the other direction.
I stared at your back as you walked away.
I think somewhere along the line you realised that you didn't really care about me. It's okay, though. I'm not mad.
I think you looked at the songs and didn't know any of the bands, even though I talk about them all the time.
I think you realised you hurt me because you never listened to me.
I think I realised that I did the exact same thing to you.
I began to tolerate you, and quiet company with you was the best form of toleration.
I'm not writing this because I want an explanation, I'm writing this to tell you that I'm sorry.
I'm sorry that you realized that day that I didn't know you at all, either.
You don't even like songs with lyrics, (apart from Billie Holiday), nor do you even own a CD player anymore. You lost it when you moved here.
And I regret it all.