Authors: Courtney Noel
When I Forget You
By Courtney Noel
"Be careful not to hurt people. They can begin to love you less. The pain you cause can chisel their hearts, until there's nothing left."
- Brigitte Nicole
For the two strongest women I know: (You have your own novel coming, Mom)
Lourdes, you are my favorite person to come home to and make brownies with and just talk about the most random things. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you. You are like a mother to me. I look up to you.
Auntie Julie, if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be alive. I just wanted you to know how much I love you. I am so blessed to have you. You inspire me constantly. You are an amazing woman; never ever forget that. You help me constantly through my struggles, but when you’re struggling you need to let me, and the rest of the family, help you. It’s okay to need support. And it’s okay not to be okay.
Of course, thank you always to my Mom and Dad. Daddy, thank you for always believing in my writing and thank you for giving me your wonderful talents. I am so lucky you passed down your natural writing gift. And thank you for suggesting I publish my book. Little did you know I would actually want to publish my book. Mommy, thank you for always supporting me. Your love and hugs get me through everything, including every break down when thinking I will never be able to actually finish writing a book at the age of fifteen. Mostly, though, thank you for all your help while I was dealing with the abusive friendship I was in. I could always come home and cry to you, and sometimes that’s all I really needed. You are my biggest fan, and I appreciate that so much. You both are the best things in my life. I love you both.
To my best friend, Gianna. Thank you for your endless advice and love for Kade and Becca. You read my book over and over again until you were sure it was absolute perfection. You are always there for me and always here to keep me sane. I love you, sissy.
To my brothers Ryan and Tyler, thank you for your witty remarks and constant inspiration. I am so proud of both of you boys. You guys are so successful and most of the time motivated to be the best you can be. I want to be just like you guys- sensitive, fun, loving, caring, and hilarious. You guys drive me crazy, but I love you both.
Thank you to Haven for always telling me my writing is something very
, very special.
To my two grandmas, my lovely supporters. Thank you for always believing I could do anything I set my mind to. I will always be your “little writer.”
To my grandpa, for always reminding me I am your special little girl. It helps me through a lot more than you think.
Lastly, I know this sounds cheesy, but thank you to my puppies for all their love and support when I am at my best and when I am at my worst. The doggies who see who I really am.
To my family in general, my best friends. You guys provide more inspiration for writing than you could possibly imagine. Without you guys, I think I would be a selfish bitch. But I’m not, so thank you for that.
Preface: How I Felt Before
Forewarning: This story doesn’t really have a beginning or an end. Actually, this story is still unfolding, and I hope it goes on forever. Life is hard, but you have to fight for the ones you love. That's what this life event taught me. I live by the saying “Go with the flow because the flow knows where it’s going.” However, if you wait for the flow to show you the way, you might be waiting for a very LONG time, so sometimes you have to suck it up, get those balls, and go for what you want. This experience taught me a lot of life lessons. You can’t always wait for the other person to make the first move. Sometimes you have to do the hard stuff, even if you don’t want to.
Halfway through my sophomore year, I met my best friend. He has blonde hair and pale skin, with the deepest ocean blue eyes that will make a girl fall in love in an instant. I think what really caught my eye was the way he walks, though. He walks with a posture that says “I know what I’m doing so don’t fuck with me.” He inspired. I met a true friend. Part of me knew he was going to be my best friend right when we met. The way his blue eyes stared into my brown ones made me feel this certain connection that I know is so special. Things were great until the summer before junior year came. Then things started to get complicated, and I realized the people you love will, usually, hurt you. Sometimes they mean to; sometimes they don’t.
The Real Henry is like my kryptonite. Usually I’m really good at keeping my feelings hidden away so people can’t see my weaknesses, but he had me figured out within days. Ever since the day I met him, I haven’t been able to keep anything from him. He knew when I was extremely happy, or insanely sad. I have been able to tell him everything.
We all have that one person that is just a challenge for us. That’s Henry for me. He’s that person I have clicked with since day one. He’s the one I couldn’t seem to stay mad at for more than a day – not because I have stuff to tell him, but because I just miss him too much. We all have that one guy or girl we know will hurt us, but we just can’t seem to keep our guard up when we’re with them. I tried to be careful with Henry and make sure I didn’t get hurt, but I could never seem to keep my guard up and not get too attached. However, that was physically and mentally impossible for Henry and me; we were already as close as can be.
Henry’s the one I can’t stand to have mad at me. I go crazy and do anything to apologize. He has a way of getting into my mind, messing with it, and then never leaving my thoughts. The last time I was mad at him I couldn’t concentrate in school. He was the only thing my mind could think about. I wondered if I was going to see him in the hall during the next passing period, or if I was going to see him at lunch or after school. He makes me crazy when he ignores me. I can’t get him out of my mind.
I think the reason I have such a hard time figuring things out when it comes to Henry is because there’s no one to compare him to. He’s one in a billion and I’ve never met anyone like him. I can’t use previous events from my life to help me get through things with him, because I’ve never experienced anything like him. He knows exactly how to get through to me, hit my sensitive spots, and hurt me spot on. For example, he knows I hate being called stupid. Because in my mind, I am stupid. So he telling me I am just makes the negative thoughts in my head even worse. I am stupid. I always take the harsh things that come out of his mouth so personally. I don’t know why the mean words he says to me once in a while hurt me so much. With any other guy, it hurts for a couple days, but then I just blow them off. But with Henry, if he says something mean to me I cry and it sticks with me.
Henry frustrates me more than anyone. He’s annoying, and does some of the stuff I clearly tell him not to do. If I tell him not to overreact to something I am about to tell him, he gets mad even before I say what I’m about to say. He loves to think he is the only thing in life I care and think about. But he’s not, and he’s not quite okay with that. He makes me mad, confused, upset, pissed off, but I would never want it any other way. Honestly, all the shit he puts me through every day is 100% worth it because he makes me happy. I love having his company, and I love to learn new things about him every day. Like how he’s allergic to cantaloupe and refuses to sit in the back row of the movie theater because he saw a horror movie about a couple who got kidnapped just because they were making out in the back row. I get excited when I see him in the hall and upset when I don’t. My favorite part of the day is walking to the car with him when we carpool home. I love having him around and I keep him in my mind no matter where I am. When we aren’t talking it’s like a part of me is missing – a big part of me. He means so much to me, and I don’t regret one day I have spent with him. He lights up my face and makes my eyes sparkle.
My mom doesn’t even have to ask who I am talking to anymore if I’m laughing to myself while staring at my computer or phone. Henry is probably one of the very few people I would do almost about anything for. If he walked away, I would go after him. I would lie to my parents and to everyone, say I’m going somewhere, and go after him and not leave him until he agrees to come back. I have nightmares of him getting hurt or killed; I wake up in tears sweating and screaming. I would have the hardest time without him and I cherish all the moments we are together. If he pushes me away, I’ll give him space, but I will always be there to catch him if he falls. And if some girl hurts him I will kick her ass because he is the nicest guy in the world. No girl will ever be good enough for him in my eyes. I will never approve of a girl for him. He’s too good for any bitch out there looking for a guy. Because he’s not a guy, he’s Henry. And there’s a huge difference. He’s much better. He’s my best friend. Irreplaceable, indescribable, rude, harsh, mean, and hurtful, but he is one of the greatest things in my life. He could never be replaced, and he never will be. I’m not really sure what I’m doing with him, but whatever I’m doing (right and wrong) I’m going to keep doing, because it’s teaching me some fantastic life lessons, and I’m having the most amazing roller coaster ride with him. I wouldn’t change a single thing. He deals with me, gets me like no one else does, helps me with anything, and even listens to my girly problems. No matter what, I know he is there for me. I may not be as good as he is when it comes to showing it, but I am always there for him. I may have a hard time expressing how I feel when I’m confused, but I get it out somehow. Whether its writing letters I will never send to him, praying to God about him, or writing a story, I always get it out. He has it all.
No matter what, I will never let him go.
: Healing -->
“Are you going to help me or what, Barbie?” Kade looks at me and winks. Ugh what a pig. I would call him a dog, but that would be an insult to dogs. We’re standing in my driveway unloading the truck full of suitcases and moving boxes. Could the guy have more stuff? Yes, MY driveway. NOT HIS. MINE.
“In your dreams.” I reply as Kade walks up the steps that lead to the front door. YES, MY FRONT DOOR. I open the front door for him and he carries his bags into MY house. Yes, MY house. Not his. Following him in the door comes his little dog, Terance follows behind him. Yes, a very stupid name for a dog. NO I did not pick it out. But I have to admit, the dog is the freaking cutest thing like ever. The best part about Terance coming to live with us is that my dog, also a Chihuahua just like Terance, is absolutely in love with the little boy. I mean it’s puppy love! So cute. Now don’t go making fun of my dog’s name. I was watching a commercial on TV about new rims for someone’s car (whatever that means), and I just decided to name her Carr. Stupid, yes. Adorable, yes.
“Don’t want to ruin your perfect manicure, Barbie?” He licks his lips. Mission completed, asshole. He finishes putting all his boxes at the bottom of the grand staircase and is now starting to take up the heavy boxes one by one to his room. I should mention, it’s right across mine. MY ROOM. HE WILL BE SLEEPING IN THE ROOM TEN FEET ACROSS FROM MINE. And it is a very narrow hallway that connects the sides. It seems like Kade is already way too close. I wish he could sleep in the extra room downstairs, down the hall from the kitchen, but my mom said she would feel more comfortable if he was upstairs. You know, so in case anything happened during the night he would be close to my parent’s room. It is our job to keep him safe until he turns eighteen, my mother says, and we are going to do it right, I guess.
“My name isn’t Barbie. Do you even know my real name?” I yell to him from the bottom of the stairs and taking a box to follow him up. I don’t want to get yelled at by my parents for not helping. Because trust me, they will yell. They think everything between Kade and I are perfect. Nothing weird. No hard feelings. Just two really good family friends now living under the same roof for their senior year. Friends, ha, yeah right. No biggie, right? Wrong. I walk down the hall after I finish the last step, and walk into his room.
Kade looks up from the clothes laid out on his bed. “Yes, Becca. Look I know we haven’t seen each other in a while, besides school, but I’ve known you my whole life. I think I would know your name.” He takes the hangers out of the package my mom put in his closet and starts to hang his clothes up. Gosh I cannot believe he’s going to live here for over a year, and it’s only the first day. I swear I’m going to college a hundred miles away. Actually, I’ll send him to a college over three hundred miles away, so I don’t have to leave California! Before I give him the glare he deserves, my mom appears in the door way. She takes another pile of clothes out of a suitcase on the floor and puts them on the bed.
“Alright, now that Kade will be living with us, Becca, I think it’s time we set some ground rules.” She looks up from Kade’s clothes at me. Yep. That’s right. Living with my mom, dad, and me. For Kade and I’s senior year. And for the whole summer before school starts. Why?
Let me fill you in.
Three days earlier I walked downstairs in my fuzzy pajamas and monkey slippers. It’s ten o’clock. See, usually, I don’t sleep in; most of the time I’m always up at five-ish. But since it’s a weekend where I’m obsessed with a really good book, I stayed up ‘til two in the morning trying to see if the couple was going to get back together or not. (Yes, I like romance novels. I like to read books that are so much better than my life; it gives me something to be excited about. However, when there’s tons of drama and the chick’s life is falling apart, I get excited about how drama-free my life is.) But the book just kept going on and on and on, so I finally had to turn off the lights and crash. It’s bright and sunny this morning; you can see the ocean from my window. Life is just the way it should be on a morning in Santa Barbra in the middle of July, and it’s my day off. I’m a dancer and singer for my high school. Even though it’s summer, coach has us practicing six times a week. Summer? Never heard of such an irrational thing.
I hear people talking in the kitchen right as I enter the room, so sadly I don’t have time to escape back to bed. I don’t like having guests in the morning right when I wake up. I’m very focused on keeping my appearance perfect. I want perfect skin, clothes, and hair. This gets tiring sometimes, but the comments about how great I look everyday are very rewarding.
When I see him, I want to run upstairs, but it’s too late. Kade caught me in my monkey slippers, warm fuzzy pajamas, uncombed hair and no makeup of any sort. Am I even wearing a bra? Please, God, let me magically wake up with a bra on. My mom, Kade, Rey, and Cynthia are standing around our island counter in the kitchen. Cynthia was my nanny when I was little, but when it got to the time where I no longer needed a nanny, she became just a family friend and family member. Cynthia is like my second mom. I have no idea where I would be in life without her. She’s the person I look to for help and support. She’s my best friend. Rey is her husband who I adore also, and Kade is their son, who I used to adore in middle school until we both hit puberty. Puberty is such an awkward stage; I don’t know how I got through it.
“What’s going on?” I usually only see Cynthia at my house and sometimes Rey, but I never see Kade anymore. I rub my eyes and try to wake up, maybe I’m dreaming. Slap yourself in the face, Becca. I haven’t seen him much since we both got into high school except for the occasional carpooling to or from school. Even then, things have been weird between us.
Nope. Sadly, I’m definitely not dreaming. Cynthia has been crying; she has red marks on the apples of her cheeks and she isn’t wearing her glasses. I know Cynthia’s crying routine. When she first starts crying, she wipes her tears away while still keeping her glasses on, but when it gets to the stage where the tears are just overflowing, Cynthia takes off her glasses. God I know her so well, it’s kind of creepy. She looks at my mom, waiting for her to speak.
“Honey, Cynthia and Rey can no longer afford to stay in the US. They have to move back to Mexico. Ever since Destiny ran away, we haven’t received any of the money she’s making at work. Those checks she gave Cynthia and Rey every month really helped. Now that we aren’t getting them, they can’t afford to live here.” I go blank. My body feels cold and my head feels warm. Literally, blank. Like nothing. Just a big blob of nada. Destiny is Kade’s older sister and practically mine too. She had been acting kind of weird throughout the last year we had contact with her, but about four months ago she took her car, packed a bag, and we haven’t heard from her since. Cynthia has been a wreck. I mean, I would be a wreck too if my daughter ran away from me without telling me where she was going. Sadly, Destiny is twenty-two so she doesn’t really have to listen to any of us. If Cynthia had it her way, Destiny would have been back home and grounded an hour within leaving.
“Honey, I think you should sit down.” I have to sit down, mom’s right. I’m not being dramatic. I can feel Kade watching me; I pretend not to notice. I can’t look at him right now. I wish he weren’t here. I hate crying in front of Kade. I mean, I know I cried in front of him all the time when we were kids, but not now. At least Cynthia is used to my teenage crying.
“Why can’t we just call Destiny and tell her we need the money?” Why do my mom and I keep saying “we?” It’s really Cynthia and Rey that need the money, not us. But they’re basically my second parents, so I think of it as we are all going through this crappy event together.
“I don’t think you quite get it, Bebé, we have no way of contacting Destiny. We have no idea where she is or what her number is, or anything.” Cynthia finally talks, but she doesn’t look at me. She looks at the counter and the windows. At least she called me Bebé. She has always called me that, ever since I was two. And she also said “we.” That means she knows I’m in this situation just as much as she is, and it hurts me just as much. Every moment Cynthia and I have shared together flashes back through my memory. The late nights watching movies while she massages my feet. Not that I asked her to, she just wanted to. The braids that I called “little lambs” in my hair when I was little. The brownie mix she would always mix for me after my arms would get tired. She’s been with me through everything. I don’t know what I am going to do without her. Plus, it’s my senior year. I need her here.
“What about you? We start senior year in less than a month.” I finally look at Kade. He’s wearing a green t-shirt that matches his eyes and brown khakis. His green eyes meet mine, then look at the ground. He runs his hand through his dark brown hair and looks at my mom.
“Becca, I know it will be an adjustment, but Kade is going to come live with us. It’s best for all of us. You and Kade can finish high school under our roof and then you will both go off to college.” My mom rubs my back as I start to sob. Kade sighs. I don’t want Cynthia and Rey to move; I really don’t want Kade to live with us. What the hell am I going to do? And typically, you won’t hear me cuss. But seriously, what the HELL am I going to do?
I’m still crying, sitting on the couch with Rey and Cynthia sitting on each side of me. My mom is on the love seat with my dad. Kade is still in the kitchen and hasn’t moved. Even though my back is to him, I can feel him watching me. I really wish he wasn’t here. As if he can hear what I’m thinking, I hear footsteps walking on the tile of the kitchen. He’s coming over here. Then, I see his body. He’s walking out of the kitchen, down the hall, and out the door.
A day later I ball my eyes out when I hug Cynthia goodbye at the border. Her Cynthia smell, not perfume or body wash, just her scent, makes me want to find a way to keep her here. If I didn’t have to focus on my senior year, I would probably sacrifice my sanity and work at Walmart to make the money she needs to keep living in the US. Now that is sacrifice. She’s always there when I need to talk to someone, or when I need a good, warm, “home” meal. She did my hair for every special event. Cynthia has always been the best at doing hair. Her favorite thing to do is braids, since my hair is so long. She says my hair is the perfect color. You can’t call it dirty blonde, because truly it’s not. It’s the perfect golden color. It’s light at the top and tips, and my perfect dark under layers compliment the lighter streaks. It makes me cry even harder when I hear her sniff as she lets go of me.
She wipes my tear away. “Becca, listen to me. You can come visit anytime you want. If you call me within an hour, I can be right back here at the border. You need me and I am here.” I cough like a horse then try to keep my mascara from running down my cheeks. “And Kade, he won’t bite. He tries to be tough, but the truth is he’s all mushy inside. If he does give you a hard time, you come to me.” She winks at me, then turns me around. She rubs my back then gives it a pat, signaling for me to walk away. I try to remind myself that this isn’t goodbye. It’s simply her going on vacation and leaving me and Kade for a while. Kade and I will be fine without her. We’ll just miss her. But it’s a chance for us to see what it will be like when we go off to college. It’ll be okay. She will be back. I know it. “Be good. Don’t kill each other.” Cynthia points at Kade and I, giving us the evil eye. God, this is going to be the longest year of my life. Kade living in the room across from me? I’m not quite sure how this is going to work. I cross my arms and look at Rey.
“No promises.” Kade looks at me and winks. I roll my eyes and put my arms to my side, then get into the back seat of the car. I watch Kade hug his mom and dad. Cynthia says something to him, then pokes him in the chest. She’s probably telling him to leave me alone. I immediately pretend I’m not watching them when Kade turns around and walks to the opposite side of the car. He opens the door to the back seat and gets in, but not in the middle next to me. He takes the seat farthest away from me. Good, hopefully Cynthia scared him. I’m a whole five feet, and I’m definitely not what guys call “scary.” My dad puts the car in drive and we go. I want to look back and watch as Cynthia and Rey drive away until we can no longer see them, but I don’t want to burst out sobbing again. For one thing, I’m not a pretty crier and second, we’re in a car and there’s no fresh air; I hate the smell of tears. Kade puts his iPod headphones in and I start a movie.
About an hour into the drive back to Santa Barbra (which is a frickin’ five hour shit long ride), I see Cynthia’s name blink on my mom’s phone. She was calling already; she promised to call twice a day. I paused my movie and listened to the conversation. I don’t think I’m supposed to, but whatever.
“Watch those two,” Cynthia tells my mom over the Bluetooth.
“Why?” My dad asks.
“Because, things have always been weird between them.