[22] not so bad

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"what're you reading?" gavi had come over again... uninvited and without any warning. i was trying to watch a movie when he whipped out a large flat book. "the reading portion of the drivers test."

"you don't need to study for that. it should be all common knowledge!"

"did you pass yours?" well... no. my silence speaks for me as he gives me a cheeky look as i kick his thigh. "okay but seriously, are you gonna hit a fan while driving?"


"right so i don't see the need for that part! they should just put me in front of the wheel already."

in mexico you start driving when they tell you it's your time. i've been on the road there a few times.

though, my mom found out what my dad and i were up to once... it resulted in her not letting me out unless it was with her that summer. "this is why you're most likely to hit someone."

"i hope it's you." i whisper as i resume the movie. "remind me why we're friends again?" he asks out of nowhere and i pause the movie once more so i can get up. "that was a joke, lay back down, camile."

"no you're right, but you remind me."

"i wanted to know you better. now lay down." i don't believe it still and my piercing stare into his eyes could tell anyone that.

but i let it go and didn't bother to start the movie again. instead, i leaned over the side of the couch where i fell on purpose. "camile!"

i was fine. i fell on my back anyways. "i'm was getting bored on the couch."

my feet on the other hand were propped on the couch. "come here." i signal him and he looks at me weird as i cross my arms behind my head for support. "why'd you have to fall like that though?!"

"to scare you." and it worked!

he rolled his eyes as he got off the couch and propped his legs the same way mine were. "you're so lucky you get to play." i say out of nowhere. "maybe, but rest never hurt anyone."

rest for such a small injury. it's just precaution at this point. "it's hurting my spirit."

"sorry to hear that, camile."

me too. i take a deep sigh when i bring my head back enough to see a ball under my coffee table and reach for it.

i throw it up in the air and i watch as gavi looks over. without any warning, i hit it with my head in his direction.

i don't even think he thought twice about hitting it back. "pablo?" i go to ask.

i can't see him all that well, but mentally i know he isn't here. "mhm?" he hums back and that's all i need to know. "what're you thinking about?" this time, i caught the ball before it could make contact with my head and place it on my side, turning my head towards him too. "things to ask you."

"oh yeah? like what?"

"why do you let the comparisons get to you?"

suddenly, i was regretting asking him.

even he could tell when i got up and my legs dropped back to the floor only so i could bring them up to my chest. "christ, pablo," is all i mumbled.

"you don't have to answer—"

"i want to. we're friend now, no?" he too got up by now after seeing my reaction. now we were both propped up, sitting on the floor just waiting for a response.

"can i be honest, pablo?"

"claro (of course), camile."

"when i was watching the final, the commentators couldn't get enough of you. one of them went onto say 'xavi for gavi' because that's who you're meant to be. that's the part they want you to play, and that's why all eyes are on you."

if it hadn't been for that man at the immersive museum that day, i never would've imagined being told i played even remotely close to xavi.

"i consider you lucky than most. the pressure's a lot, but that's because people want you to succeed. and i guess... it all goes to say that i'd kill to be the greats too. more one day to the point where people expect me to fill shoes too."

i will say this,

that night at the camp nou gave me hope.

when everyone chanted my name... the same way they would and still chant messi's at the tenth minute gave me hope.

but even then... was it enough?

"camile," i hadn't even realized i stared off till my name from his mouth caught my attention. "i've seen you play. i just as anyone could be able to tell that you'll be more."

my eyes soften at his words. the tone and everything made me believe him faster than i imagined i would. "since we're talking about this... i'm sorry." i say for what sounds like an apology out of the blue for him, but to me, it was was something he deserved to hear.

"para que? (for what?)"

"well, for if i ever made you think that getting compared to you was offensive, but most of all blaming you for everyone else's opinion's. you can't control it and i refused to get that."

i'm constantly being told to just not say anything in response at all.

they think it'll die down if i don't respond but i don't think anything ever actually stops it. and because i'm made to do that, i pointed every finger at him for no reason.

he didn't deserve that. "never apologize for something so dumb again, camile."

"it wasn't—"

"it was. we can't control it but the least we can do is ignore it together, yeah?"

he clearly wanted me to agree when he looked into my eyes, waiting for any response possible.

"i think we can do that."

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