The Early Ones

Chase Broadfoot

The park was green against the cloudless sky, and the slight breeze swayed the tops of the trees. It wasn’t too hot as it can sometimes be in Texas, but the high humidity made being outside uncomfortable to a small degree. Not many people were at the park, which was unusual because the fair weather often attracted families and couples. At the center was a grand gazebo that was empty, and to the side on a bench two friends were talking, a boy and a girl.

“I’m really looking forward to the break soon. I need a break,” said the boy.

“Yeah I do too. Are you going anywhere?” the girl asked.

“No. Are you?”

“No.”

“Well do you have anything planned?” The question hung for a second. “I mean like, just anything interesting,” he added quickly.

The girl looked up as if to think for a second.

“Not really.”

“Oh,” the boy looked to the side. “Well it’s nice to have a break anyways.”

“Yeah.”

“I can’t say that I’ll miss school but I don’t know how I’ll stay entertained,” the boy said smiling.

“Oh yeah like how everyone was late to class that one day. Or when the microphone didn’t work at the assembly and you were laughing so hard. Oh and the picture you sent me of the cafeteria that other day.”

They laughed.

“Or millions of other things,” the boy said, “I’m just glad to have you there so I know someone else will see how crazy it can all be.”

“Sometimes I wonder if anything gets done there,” she said.

“Sometimes I wonder if there’s anything to do there.”

“Yeah.”

The boy looked around and then at his phone.

“I wonder when the rest of the group will get here. It’s been awhile, huh.”

“Well they are really late a lot.”

“And we’re the early ones,” he said.

“Yep. that’s why we gotta stick together,” the girl said.

“Yeah. That’s why.”

The boy looked down.

“I don’t mind it though,” she said still looking at the boy.

“Oh I don’t either.”

The boy looked at the tree tops swaying in the breeze. From the bench the boy and girl could see the grand gazebo right before them. The boy noticed it was empty.

“I just feel so in-between right now,” he said.

“In-between what?” the girl asked softly.

The boy took a second to answer.

“Well a lot of things I guess. High school and college, kid and adult.” He trailed off.

The girl kept listening when he stopped.

“Yeah. A lot of things,” she said. She looked at the ground.

“It’s like I’m not sure how to take the next step. From one thing to another. Because it’s kind of a hard thing to do. If that makes sense.”

“Yeah it makes sense.”

“It’s like you’re one way for so long, and when it’s time to be more than that, it seems impossible to transition,” the boy said. “I don’t know,” he spoke softer.

“Yeah.”

The boy and the girl looked forward. They hadn’t looked each other in the eye for some time. The park stood still in the daylight.

“That’s a nice gazebo,” the girl said, breaking the silence.

“Yeah it is.”

“It looks kind of lonely though,” she said.

“How so?” The boy looked at the girl.

“I don’t know.”

He looked back at the gazebo.

“Some might say this bench looks lonely too,” the boy said.

The girl looked at the boy after he spoke.

“I don’t think so.”

“Why?” he asked.

“Well I don’t know, because we’re sitting on it.”

“Yeah.”

“I’d say we look pretty friendly,” she said.

“Exactly.”

They kept looking each other in the eyes for a second longer. They looked forward again. The gazebo remained before them. They remained on the bench. The late party arrived soon after, and the boy and the girl walked with the group apart, starting conversations with different friends. They left when night arrived.