Kendall stared at the words he had written in the worn-out notebook. He tore out the page and let it float to floor, where it settled among the other pages that lie there.
“Why should I care if you don’t?”
Another page torn and released to flutter down among the others.
“Lies, broken promises, regrets…what are their worth?”
He scribbled a line a page and then tore the papers out one by one and watched as they fell around his feet. He fought back the tears that were stinging at his eyes and could hear his mother’s voice, “You’re the man of the house and men don’t cry.”
Other voices flooded in from various people, “What do you have to be sad about? What’s the matter, finally realized you’re not good enough? Why can’t you get your act together and stop moping?”
“God I’m such a loser,” he thought.
He stared at the word he had just written without thinking, Friendship.
He glanced over at the framed photo on his desk and choked back a sob. Friendship, he tore the page from the notebook and let it fall as tears fell with it. He stared down at it for a few minutes and took a ragged breath as he slowly reached for his phone. He debated for a moment before sending a text, “Hey Loges, what’s up?”
He sat waiting for a reply and jumped when his phone beeped. He sighed as read the text, “Busy, can’t talk right now. Is it important?”
Kendall hesitated before replying, “Just feeling a little down and was hoping we could hang out or something?”
“Sorry buddy, trying to finish this paper and then going out to dinner with my mom.”
“Okay, well maybe later.”
“Why don’t you try Carlos?”
“Yeah, thanks,” Kendall typed and then hit send. Not receiving another reply he stared at the dark screen as he contemplated calling Carlos or James. He sighed as he sent a quick text to Carlos and waited about ten minutes for a reply. When he didn’t receive one he tried James, “Hey, wanna catch a movie or something? My mom’s out on a date and Katie is staying overnight at her friend’s house.”
He started picking up the papers as he waited for a reply, he thought about throwing them in the wastebasket, but stacked them neatly on his desk. His phone beeped and he checked his screen, “Sorry buddy, Carlos and I are double dating tonight.”
“What about later? My mom won’t be home until late and we haven’t hung out for awhile.”
“Dude, we are going on a DATE, with any luck we won’t be back until late either. Why don’t you call Logan? He’s probably just sitting at home with his nose in some book.”
“He’s busy with family stuff. What about tomorrow?” Kendall typed.
“I don’t know, we’ll have to see. I might be hanging out with Josh and Ben.”
“Come on James, we never do anything anymore. Can’t you guys hang out some other time? We could have like a guys’ day or something. Watch scary movies, have snacks and things,” Kendall asked, hating that he sounded so needy.
“We’re not twelve anymore you know. Maybe if you thought of more grown-up things to do we could hang out more,” James replied.
Kendall stared at his phone, uncertain of how to reply. On one hand he was mad and on the other he was hurt…very hurt. He typed his response carefully, “I just thought we could all hang out like we use to but nobody seems to have time anymore. I miss you guys and just thought it’d be fun.”
He sat there and bit his lip as he waited for a reply. He waited for a few minutes and when there was none, just left his phone on the bed as he grabbed the notebook and wrote again.
He pulled the page out and left it on the bed next to his phone as he stood up and went back to the desk. He looked at the stack of papers and gently pushed them and watched as they fluttered to the ground. He grabbed the framed photo and sat back down on the bed and pulled the photo out. He touched each one of his friend’s faces and then lay it next to his phone as he curled up and stared at it, “I miss you. I’m so lonely and things are so hard. I hate school, I hate work, I hate my mom’s boyfriend, and I hate my life right now. You promised you’d always be there, but you left me behind. Everyone leaves,” he said quietly to himself.
He lay there quietly for a moment and then took a deep breath. He got up, grabbed his jacket and headed downstairs and out the door, never looking back. He didn’t hear his phone beep or see the text that came across, “Sorry buddy, my phone died and I had to find my charger. You’re right, we do need to hang out so I’ll tell Carlos and you call Logan, okay? Let me know you got this message.”
The next morning James and Carlos showed up at Kendall’s house and Mrs. Knight answered. “Good morning boys, you haven’t been over in awhile.”
“Kendall wanted to hang out today and he never answered me last night so we thought we’d just head over and get an early start,” James explained.
“I think he’s still sleeping, go on up,” she smiled.
‘Thanks,” the boys smiled as they headed upstairs.
Carlos knocked on Kendall’s door but there was no answer. He knocked again, “Time to get up!”
He opened the door, but there was no one in the room. “I thought he was still sleeping?” he asked as they went into the room.
They saw the papers scattered on the floor and James spotted Kendall’s phone on the bed. He went over and picked it up, “That’s weird.”
“James…” Carlos said as he pointed at the photo and the paper that was lying next to it.
“No,” James said as he picked it up. On the paper was written one sentence, one question, one cry of loneliness and sorrow. One small sentence, but it said it all and their hearts broke as they read it.