Late Bloomer

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I don't know
what wrong with me.
Am I going insane?
I think I
might be.
How do you even
tell these things?
Does it suddenly come to you:
"Hey,
by the way, Matty,
you're going crazy.
Just thought that
you should know."

Thanks, brain.
You're doing a
good job
up there...

But okay, I know
that I'm not making any sense.
It's all to do with
Eunice's friends,
honestly -
Natalia, more specifically.
For some reason,
ever since I
met her that
one brief time, I can't
get her out of
my mind.
I don't know
what's going on.
It's been at least
a week, and I haven't
even seen her again,
unless you count that one time
I saw her in the hallway
between homeroom and math class.
I think I almost
ran into a locker then, too.

It's scary, though.
I don't want to
end up being one of those
stalker weirdos
who follow people around
and take candid pictures
of them on their
dinosaur-age flip phones.
Maybe I've just been
watching too much TV, though.
Euni has had
all those crime shows on
these days, the weird ones with
cringe-worthy pedophiles
and stuff like that.
Gross.

Tonight, Matthias has
brought his girlfriend home
for dinner.
I haven't seen Sara in
quite a while;
she and Thias have been dating
for a couple years now,
but she went on a cruise
for part of the summer,
and then to her grandmother's
in Florida
for the rest of it.
She and Thias used to skype
almost every night
until school started up again,
keeping Eddie up past
his bedtime,
to Mom's irritation.

She's a really sweet girl,
and we've all agreed that
she and Thias are
perfect for each other.
Euni's favorite way of
teasing him now
is to ask when
he's going to propose to her.
His ears will get red first,
and then he'll mumble
some kind of excuse
about how he's still
in high school,
and even if she hadn't been
a year his elder, it would
be very weird for a
high school senior
to be married already.

Then Eunice will tell him
to stop taking things
so seriously
and smack him
on the arm.
Usually, that'll start
an even bigger commotion
than she originally planned for.

But tonight, it's peaceful -
peaceful enough for us
to talk like civilized folk,
that is.
Sara politely inquires
about my parents' jobs
to start with,
and again laments
that she doesn't have
either of them
for her English class
this semester.
Mom seems flattered, if anything;
Dad, in all of his
usual self-deprication,
insists that her professor,
whoever it is,
is probably a lot better qualified
than he is, anyway.
Mom slaps his arm,
much like Euni does to Thias,
but more covertly.
I have a feeling that she
kicks his ankle, too,
under the table.

"How is school going
for you?"
Sara asks me at last
to break up the awkwardness
that is my parents.
"Anything exciting happening
for you this year?"

Matthias' girlfriend has always
been a sort of
older sister figure for me,
even before they started dating,
and in spite of the fact
that I already have
an older sister.
Eunice doesn't always
act the part, though -
and besides, Sara has
been a shoulder to lean on
for a long time now.
She's listened to me when
no one else would.

"Not really,"
I answer her with
a smile -
and inexplicably, my thoughts
go straight to Natalia.
Like I said,
I'm probably going crazy.
I try to shove
her face from my mind as
Sara starts speaking again.

"Is there
a guy in the picture?"
she asks bluntly,
a mischievous glint
in her eyes.
She must have picked up on
my momentary distraction
and assumed I was thinking
about someone I liked.
That's the only explanation
I can think of.
Beside me, Eunice
chokes on her pasta
trying to suppress a laugh,
and Matthias looks a little
bewildered
by the sudden change in topic.
My parents have studiously
averted their gazes,
tending to Eddie
and examining their plates.

I, for my part,
just feel a little confused.
Inexplicably,
Natalia's face flits
into my mind again,
that bright smile of hers...
I can't say why
for sure.

"No,"
I answer Sara truthfully -
but she doesn't seem convinced.

"You sure?"
she laughs.
"Isn't there any boy that's
at least caught your eye?
I know this guy here-"
she lightly elbows
Thias in the ribs -
"was on my mind
twenty-four seven
when I was your age -
before I'd even
met him, even."

Now Matthias looks
rather uncomfortable.
His ears turn red
with embarrassment as
Eunice barks out a laugh
from behind her fork.

"No,"
I tell his girlfriend again.
Honestly, I've never really
had much of an interest
in boys.
My mom tells me
that I'm probably just
a 'late bloomer' or something,
and that at my age,
it's probably better to
concentrate on schoolwork
and other more important things,
anyway.
I've never questioned it -
not until now,
that is.
Though Sara drops the subject
in another moment or two,
I still can't help
the lingering uneasiness
that her questioning had
left behind.

Is it wrong
that I'm not
interested in any boys?
Is there something
the matter with me?

The ceiling above my bed
gives me no answers
as I lie awake that night.
Eventually,
I just fall asleep,
none the wiser.

×

I dunno about y'all, but I love Matty's family to death;;; I mean, they have problems, like all families do, but that'll come later okay, shit's gonna go down sooner or later, just you guys watch--

But for real, I love writing about these guys, and I'm totally envious of Matty 'cause I've always wanted cool older siblings like her. Cool, dorky, adorable older siblings...sigh.

Anywho, if you guys liked this chapter, I'd love it you would vote and leave me some feedback! It would be very much appreciated c:

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