Posts I guess

“God, there you are. What are you doing up …wait, how did you get up there?”
“I’m talented,” Kennedy says.
“Bunch of people are looking for you.”
“Yet you found me. You knew where to find me. You know me better than anyone.”
I run my fingers over my buzzcut. “Bad fight this time?”
“Yeah,” he says softly.
“You’ve been crying.”
“Shut up.” Kennedy says, but there is no sharpness to it. He sounds tired.
“Come on down,” I say. “Come back to my room. My mom will make you tea.”
Kennedy glances at the sunset. “I feel like jumping off of this. Just so hard right now.”
“What? No. Nooo. NO no no you are not committing suicide. This whole thing with your dad is dumb and by the time you’re 25 this bullshit from when you’re 18 will be a distant memory. You’ll be looking to your life ahead in the career you want, not what you dad wants. Not looking behind. You’ll find a nice boy to marry, have a nice life. Christ, you’ll be out of this dump at least.”
Kennedy sighed. “It is a dump. Even if the sunset is nice.”
I wait. He doesn’t move. “If you aren’t coming down, I’m coming up.”
I walk over the pole and kick off my shoes.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m gonna walk up. Like a coconut picker.”
Kennedy laughs. “I gotta see this.”
I grab the pole and then jump up to grab the pole with both feet. But my feet are sweaty from my shoes and the pole is slick. My upper body strength wasn’t the best, and I finally had to drop to the ground. I’m happy to hear Kennedy giggling.
I glance up at him. “How did you get up there?”
“I pulled myself up from the net.”
“Must be nice to be tall,” I said matter-of-factly.
He grins. “It is. The view is nice.”

I hold out my hand. “Come on down, ok? Let’s go home. My mom will feed you and make tea.”
“Why can’t my parents be like yours?” Kennedy asks me.
“I don’t know…but I’m kinda glad.”
“Yeah, cause you come over to our house and spend time with me when you fight,” I grumble. “I like hanging out in my room with you, playing Mario. When your parents don’t fight you hide in your room avoiding them and play by yourself.”
Kennedy brushes tears away. “Fuck.”
I give him a moment.
Kennedy sniffles. “Tea sounds good now actually.” Kennedy climbs down until he’s hanging off the part of the pole parallel to the ground. He lets himself hang for a moment and drops.
“Good dismount.” I say.
I give him a hug and Kennedy crushes me in his embrace. I pat him on the back and I guide him in the directions of our home with my arm around him. I text another friend I found him, and I know this friend will let everyone know I’m taking Kennedy home. We hold hands the whole way.

My mom fusses over Kennedy. She offers him a miscellaneous assort of things – miso and senbei crackers and onigiri and tea. She offers him a bath. Kennedy is bowled over by the attention. He tries to remember the Japanese I taught him. We sip tea and nibble on rice crackers as my mom fusses around and forms rice around salmon left over from dinner.
“Ah, arigatou,” Kennedy stammers as he is given two giant onigiri. I try not to laugh at how big my mom packed them.
“You want bath? I draw bath.” She’s already shuffling off.
Kennedy looks at me. “I love your mom.”
I smile. “She’s awesome.”
“Can you teach me more Japanese? While we play Mario?”
“Yeah, I can. Let’s take a bath first ok?”
Kennedy exhales and leans back. “A soak sounds awesome.” He sips his tea. “Man. I can’t believe I was going to commit suicide. Seems so dumb now.”

I squeeze his shoulder. “You hit the bottom and bounced. I’m glad you’re here.”
Kennedy smiles. “Me too.” He picks up a rice ball. “What’s the word you say when eating again?”
“Ita-da-kima-su.” Kennedy bites into a rice ball. “God this is good!”

I watch this skinny teenage boy with red eyes gobble up the onigiri with fresh energy. I decide at that moment he’s spending the rest of our senior year with us. This way, I can keep Kennedy safe. Maybe at some point I’ll beat him at Mario too.

Captions are fictional.


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