Part 20

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20. Seth



If I've ever felt hopelessly and aimlessly alone in my life, these past two weeks put those emotions to shame. I never knew you could feel so incredibly lonely and miss someone so much when they're still with you. It's agonizing and frustrating and I never in my life would have thought that I was capable of feeling like this.



Arya is on campus for another week but I know she has already checked out emotionally. I've been away for a couple of days for an away game and every hour that passed without her felt like hell. No words could do that sort of pain justice. There are no words to describe what this feels like.



My phone rings in my pocket when I climb out of the bus, followed by my team mates. All I want to do is run to her. Being able to wrap my arms around her, hold her, love her is all that's been on my mind for days.



I mutter a quick goodbye to my teammates, grabbing my duffle-bag from the trunk of the bus. The phone is still vibrating so I fish it out of my pocket and hit answer.



"Seth?" The sound of my sister Paulina's voice fills me with warmth.



God, I've missed her so much.



"Poppy! How are you? Everything alright over there?" I ask enthusiastically, making my way towards Arya's dorm building.



"I miss you," she mutters breathlessly and I know she's about to cry.



"I miss you, too, baby girl." I take a deep breath and choke down my own emotions. "Guess what!"



"What?" She asks, voice wobbly.



"I'm coming home to visit you and mommy soon. Only one more week and I'll be there with you," I try to sound as cheery as possible. "How's school been? Tell me everything."



Paulina had just started first grade this summer. To say that I feel guilty about not being there for her in this important part of her life is an understatement. Ever since my dead-beat dad left us for good, she's been my mother's first and only priority, though. That makes me feel slightly better about being away from them.



As Paulina starts telling me about her friends, favorite teachers and how she dislikes most subjects, I enter the huge dorm building. Paulina rambles on and on and the sound of her voice drains all tension from my body and mind.



"...so then Danny said I shouldn't use the blue crayons because I'm a girl but I think that's silly and... Yes, mommy?" She calls into the phone loudly. "Seth? Mommy says I need to hang up now."



"That's ok, Pops. I'll see you in a week, ok?"



"Hmm..."



"Don't be sad. I'll be there in no time! I love you, ok?" I drop my duffle-bag in front of Arya's dorm and lean against the wall beside it, pinching the bridge of my nose.



"I love you, too, Seth." That's when she bursts into tears and my heart breaks for her. "No! Mommy, give the phone back!"



There's shuffling in the background and finally I hear Paulina yelling at my mother and stomping off in a temper. Damn, she has grown up!



"Seth?" My mother's voice asks gently through the phone. "I've needed to tell you something."



Alarm signals go off in my head immediately. No positive conversation has ever started like that.



"Can't it wait? I'm exhausted and about to drop," I mutter and yawn for effect. "Whatever it is, I'm sure it can wait a couple more hours. You're prepared for me coming home next week, right?"

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