Tag Archives: new friendships

Life Passages XVI – A New Feeling

Madeleine can’t help herself. She knows that it is impolite to stare. Even down right creepy if its overt. Still, she uncontrollably gazes at all the teens, and young adults laughing, chewing at pizza slices and taking turns at sharing one funny story after the other. Everyone had been extremely cordial, and  welcoming toward her. Quite frankly, Madeleine had never met such a friendly bunch of young people in her whole life. What was even more peculiar was that they didn’t seem to want anything from her but seemed to genuinely want to know who she is. She really is. Hmmm…

She also couldn’t take her eyes off of Samantha. The lean eighteen year old with thick caramel brown curly locks, darker than her own intense auburn hair, appeared to have a special bond with Devon. They seemed to almost finish each other sentences. Madeleine’s eyes are repeatedly drawn to the young woman. She carried herself as though she didn’t have a care in the world, and easily made conversation with the diverse group of individuals. Madeleine deduced that there were at least six different cultures represented there. Still, here attention kept meandering back to Samantha. A tinge of jealously began to surface. She felt it pricking at her, like small pins being used to hem the edges of her soul. Madeleine shakes her head hoping it will dispel any negative thoughts, and feelings, all at once. Suddenly, Devon slips in next to her after animatedly telling a story on his feet. “Hey! You okay?” Devon stared into her eyes searching for her true, and immediate feelings. “I know that this bunch can be overwhelming, but they are harmless.” His grin warmed her, filling in any spaces of loneliness amidst this group. Surprised by her own new feelings she shifts her body ever so slightly away from Devon. Her heart racing, she gestures to stand up.

“Um…Devon, I…um…should get going.” Madeleine is half way up from the community bench, her knees bent, with an apologetic look on her face. “I am having a good time…It’s great to meet your friends, but you know how my parents are about um…punctuality.” She is fully standing at this juncture, using her body language to petition to Devon to let her pass him.

Devon stands and faces Madeleine, blocking her from slipping pass him. “See! I knew something was up. Too much too soon, huh?” Devon is playful, grinning from ear to ear.  “At least let me walk you home.” Devon’s voice couldn’t have sounded any kinder right then, and there as far as Madeleine was concerned. “Oh Com’on! Okay. I am not taking no for an answer, you know?” Devon cleared the way, and let Madeleine by. She slips out easily, gently waving to the others who one by one began to notice that she was leaving. “Are you leaving already?” Samantha jumped up and drew closer to her from the other side of the communal table in the pizza shop. “You just got here! So, when are we going to see you again?” Samantha smiles broadly, radiating a natural beauty that makes Madeleine want to fade into the background.

Somewhat intimidated, Madeleine attempts to present her case to Samantha. “Um…I just have lots to do. You know?” Madeleine begins to feel the words coming more easily. “Not sure when I will see you guys again. We’ll see.” Madeleine forces a smile at Samantha, the young adults seated, and then at Devon on her left, hoping she’s sold her position well. “So…I’ll see you guys. Thanks again. It’s been great! Goodbye.” Madeleine waves at the crowd, and starts moving toward the door, still unable to make a clean getaway. Devon stares at Madeleine, almost sympathetically. Eventually he stands aside, allowing Madeleine to slip by.

“Alright then, if you must.” Devon relents shaking his head, unable to get it straight as to what else it would take to convince Mads that she can trust him. She can trust his friendship. “So like I said, I’m not taking no for an answer.” Devon begins to follow Madeleine out of his group’s popular hangout spot. She looks back over her shoulder. Her stomach turns just a bit. She keeps walking forward. When she clears the store’s entrance she turns around to face Devon on the sidewalk.

“Seriously! I’m good. I can make it home alone.” Madeline didn’t mean to sound as firm as she did. “I mean…please go have fun with your friends.” Madeleine hopes her second attempt worked to accomplish her, now very familiar, escape. She held her breath waiting for him to respond. “Here’s the thing Mads, I get it. Maybe I should have had you hang out with just Sam and I at first, then introduced you to the larger group.” Madeleine swallows hard. Her suspicions are being confirmed by the second. Samantha is someone special to Devon.

“It’s cool.” Madeleine is anxious to leave. “I got to go. Bye Devon.” Madeleine smiles sweetly at the young man whose brilliant brown eyes she’s grown fond of looking into now. She begins to twist her shoulders, motioning to walk away again. This time Devon tugs her left wrist, with his right hand. “Mads, I think you should chill with a bunch like this. They don’t mean any harm. Seriously.” Devon is sincere. He is intent on selling her the idea of friendship again.

Madeleine can’t help but search Devon’s eyes for what seemed like a very long thirty seconds, or even a minute. She had to know if he was really as nice as he seemed. Can he be trusted? Can she let her guard down? Can she let him in completely? “Oh really?” Is all she could manage to respond. Ahem. Madeleine clears her throat. “Devon, I don’t know…um, can I think about it?” Her eyes are wide. They’re pleading with Devon to understand her position. Pleading with him to give her the space she needs. Devon studies Madeleine closely too. His faith dictates that he look out for the opportunity to guide the loss back home. He terribly hoped that Madeleine could see he has no schemes up his sleeves to hurt her, in the least bit. “Please.” She makes one last effort.

Devon takes Madeleine’s two hands into his, and stares empathetically into her jade green eyes. “I understand. You think about it.” Madeleine’s stomach makes a complete flip. Ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum. Her heart races, the sound growing louder, and louder filling her ear drums. She can’t take it. The sound of it, as though her chest was near exploding. She pulls her hands away with a strong force, and stares at her feet. A somewhat startled Devon pauses and watches the young woman across from him for a long while. Madeleine’s eyes are fixed on the ground. She can’t bear to look up at him just yet.

Like a message from the heavens, it dawns on Devon that he has perhaps gone too far? He takes one step forward to present his case. Madeleine immediately takes one step back barely looking up at Devon. Devon stops. His eyes are still fixed on Madeleine, carefully observing her body language. Not quite sure what to say or do. He makes an attempt anyway. “Um…Mads, are you okay?” Madeleine desperately wants to run away, as usual, but this time the touch of Devon’s hands has left her somewhat paralyzed. She takes her time, trying to calculate the correct reply or next move to  make. She swallows long, and slowly.

“I am okay. I just need to head home. I…I think I may be coming down with something. Don’t want to spread it.” Her words are calculated, accompanied by strained laughter. Eventually she looks straight into Devon’s eyes. “Got to go Devon. I’ll see you…Thanks. Bye.” She’s assertive but with kind. She inches away still facing Devon for a few seconds, then turns and walks away briskly leaving Devon staring on, transfixed. He isn’t quite sure what he should do. He genuinely wants to help Madeleine. He wants to help her to break down her walls, and let community in. The right sort of community. Individuals who acted out of a sense of purpose, rooted in faith. But had he gone about it the wrong way? He truly…truly wondered. Madeleine is fun. Madeleine is intelligent. Madeleine loves graphic novels, just like him. Madeleine is lonely. As he stood watching her walk away alone, he strongly considered whether his intentions for gaining her friendship were purely to help a lonely, and hurt girl find true friendship again, or whether it was something else.

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Life Passages XIV – Breaking Ground

Madeleine sits on a wooden bench, under a humungous tree. It has foliage so thick that it provides ample shade for reading. Madeleine has taken her favorite past time-actually obsession, to the park two blocks away from home. She throws herself  into the graphic novel she purchased at Solomon’s bookstore. It is her third go at the book, since she purchased it two days ago.

She looked forward to escaping school, and sitting at the park all day. It has been quite a feat to avoid Devon though. Aside from several text messages, and  a few missed calls, he near followed her around the school halls-besides during classes-today. The evening following Madeliene’s odd departure from his grandfather’s store, the day before yesterday, Devon spent a great deal of time processing what occurred. He eventually gave up working things out on his own, and had a talk with Solomon the next evening.

“I get the impression Madeleine was startled Devon.” Solomon begins to offer his opinion.

“Startled at what Grandpa? I told her I would meet her here after basketball practice. She knew I would show up.” Devon interjects.

“Yes, but did she expect your posse?” Solomon says with a smile.

It’s as though a light comes on in Devon’s 17 year old brian. He pauses. He ponders. “No…no she didn’t.” Devon hangs his head, almost ashamed that he wasn’t more in tune to that. “I forget…Mads likes to get lost in books. She’s not big on crowds.” Devon sums up. He begins to recall how he met Madeleine. It was while he, himself escaped to the school library to parttake in his love of reading, in private. Devon works hard to live in between two worlds-and keep them seperate. He took great lengths to not let his basketball buddies into his “book sphere”, but that infamous day, when they scared Madeleine away, they had pestered him about where he was running off to, where he goes when he suddenly disappears, and some more taunts. He couldn’t shake them.

Devon eventually gave in. He thought, Well it’s only the comic books, and they’re cool, so why not. Still, he forgot that the Madeleine he met, that day in the library, was more like the book nerd side of him. As a matter of fact, while speaking with his grandfather, he realizes that he had not really seen Madeleine hanging out with anyone else at school. “I guess my first thought to keep my ‘two worlds’ separate was the right one.” He concludes. Solomon chuckles.

“Don’t worry too much, son. Give Madeleine a call…straighten everything out. I’m sure she’d understand.” Solomon begun to advise. “But Devon, I sense Madeleine had a reason, bigger than you, for walking out. Be patient.” Devon nodded.

Today, Devon tries his very best to catch up with Madeleine, to explain his side of things to her. She eludes him so well, you would think she’s had expert training in covert ops. Devon doesn’t give up. He’s quite crafty himself. He foregoes one afternoon of practice, and manages to follow Madeleine’s seemingly evasive trail to the park.

“Hey!” Devon says apprehensively to Madeleine, looking down at her sitting on the park bench.

Madeleine lifts her head slowly. “What are you doing here?” She says surprised that Devon was able to catch up with her.

“Um, I…What’s up? You left Grandpa’s store in hurry the other day.” Devon answers, working to regain his confidence.

Madeleine rolls her eyes, and shakes her head. She just wants to be left alone. She hasn’t known Devon that long, and severing whatever friendship they were building now, is for the best, as far as she is concerned.

“Just forget about it, alright?” Madeleine insists.

Devon grows impatient. “What do you mean, forget about it!”

Devon’s tone startles Madeleine. She looks up at him to find a genuinely confused expression on his face. She looks down at her book again. Then makes a second attempt to shake Devon off. “I needed to leave. I had somewhere to be. It’s not a big deal, so don’t make it one, okay?” Madeleine tells him. Then before Devon can utter one other word Madeleine quips, “Besides you had tons of company, so what difference does it make?”

“There it is! I knew it!” Devon stands directly in front of Madeleine now. He is still looking down at her. “You had a problem with my friends.” Devon delivers.

Madeleine looks up at Devon. She is upset, but refuses to invest any more emotion in to the situation. Well, at least not demonstrate any for Devon’s benefit. She slowly stands to her feet. Still not quite eye to eye with Devon, she looks into his radiant brown eyes. “You’re interrupting me. I’m trying to read. So, I’m going to leave.” Madeleine says nonchalantly, and begins to step away from Devon.

“So that’s it? I’m interrupting your reading? That’s all?” Devon says with a chuckle, then leaps forward toward Madeleine, and begins to walk alongside her. “What’s really going on Mads?” Devon recalls his Grandfather’s intuitive suspicion.

“What’s really going on is that you’re bothering me.” Madeline says firmly. For some reason, Devon thinks Madeleine’s attitude is hilarious.

“Ok. Well, since I am already bothering you…For the record, I couldn’t shake those guys the other day. They were hot on my heels, and all up in my business.” Devon explains.

Desperate to be left alone, Madeline softens her tone. “It’s cool, okay? You have friends. It’s done. See you at school.” Madeline speeds up. However, Devon stops in his tracks bewildered.

“So, wait! That’s it? We’re cool?” Devon shouts after Madeleine. She doesn’t respond, or look back at him. She keeps walking, and fast. As a result, Devon jogs a bit to catch up with her. He doesn’t speak right away. He looks down at Madeleine’s hands clutching her book.

“That book is dope! I’ve read it like five times myself.” Madeleine looks down at her hand, grabbing firmly on to the book. She swallows hard. She remembers that books are what brought her and Devon together in the first place. She stops abruptly, and turns to him. Devon halts, turns toward Madeleine, and smiles. He observes a few strands of her reddish brunette, blunt hair blowing into her greenish brown eyes. He smiles. He assesses that just like her personality, she also possesses a unique appearance. “So do you like it?” He eventually asks about the book.

“Yep!” Madeleine says quickly. “Again, thanks for introducing me to your Grandfather’s book store. I guess I’ll see you whenever you ‘escape’ to the library again.”  Madeline says politely, and resumes walking home. Devon takes a large step, with his long legs and catches up again. “Aw, C’mon! You have to visit Solomon again. He’s going to miss you.” Devon says playfully.

Madeleine can’t help but laugh. For some reason, Devon knows how to make her do just that, even when she doesn’t want to. “It wouldn’t happen again! We can meet there on the days I don’t have practice, and you can go on the days I do, and I wouldn’t come.” Devon says, determined to regain the friendship. Madeleine thinks for a few seconds.

“It’s not a big deal Devon. Really! I’m glad for the reading material, but the library is fine.” Madeleine says thoughtfully. Devon gives Madeleine’s words some thought as well. “What are you so afraid of Mads?” Madeleine stops walking again. She turns to look at the young man, who has now turned around to face her. Her face becomes warm, and noticeably red. “I am not afraid of anything! I just want to be left alone!” Madeleine says, and stomps off. Devon shakes his head. “Here we go again.” He mutters to himself “Well, it’s obvious something’s got you spooked.” He shouts after Madeleine. She doesn’t look back. Madeleine walks on for a few more paces. Suddenly, Madeleine turns around. She is surprised to see Devon still standing there, just looking at her. “What are you doing?” She hurls at him. Devon shrugs his shoulders. He’s convinced now that his grandfather was right. To add to that, he fully understands the life of a loner. The life of an introvert. However, his love for sports is what drew him out of it.

Devon slowly walks toward Madeline. She doesn’t move. When he almost reaches her, about three feet away, he slows, and stops. “I didn’t always have friends at school. My grandfather was my only friend for a long time. Loving sports broke that but…” Madeleine interrupts Devon’s speech. “I don’t need friends. I’m happier alone.” She tells him passionately, and stares at him with wide eyes. “Are you really?” Devon replies, trying to stifle a laugh.

“Yep! Uh-Huh!” Madeleine retorts then continues on her way home.

“I don’t believe that for one-second Madeleine! You’re not going to shake me that easily! See you in the Library tomorrow!” Devon shouts after Madeleine as she exits the park and walks on to the neighborhood streets toward home

To Be Continued…

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Life Passages XI – The Fall Out

“Mads! Wait up!” Devon calls after Madeleine while running out of his Grandfather’s Collector’s Bookstore. “Oh Come On Madeleine!…Please!”

Madeleine continues walking briskly ahead. The sound of Devon’s voice rings in her ears. After a few more paces, Madeleine halts to a stop, and swivels around. “What do you want Devon?”

Devon takes a deep breath. “What’s wrong with you? What’s made you upset?”

Madeleine stares at Devon curiously. “You seriously don’t know what you did?”

“No. I don’t Mads.” He says in a calm tone as he draws closer to her. “What did I do?”

Completely heated, Madeleine fires off. “You embarrassed me back there. How could you allude to my being some spoilt rich kid?”

Devon chuckles. “Allude, huh? I see you use big words when you get angry.” Devon laughs out loud.

Madeleine stomps her foot, turns and walks away.

“Oh Come on Mads! I was just joking. Come O-N!” Devon shouts after Madeleine and jogs to catch up with her.

Devon comes alongside Madeleine. He breathes a brief sigh. “Look, I’m sorry Mads. I didn’t mean anything by what I said.” Devon sighs once more. “I think that my Grandfather was right. I am jealous that you get to soak up all those books any day of the week that you want.” Devon takes a third breath. “Are we cool?”

Madeleine continues to stew a little longer, and walks beside Devon in silence till they hit the city’s main street then halts abruptly. “Are you following me home now?”

Devon smiles. He’s relieved that Madeline has finally spoken to him. “I can.” He offers sarcastically.

Madeleine rolls her eyes. “I don’t think that is a good idea Devon.”

Devon’s eyes widen. “What, you don’t want your parents to see me, or something?”

Madeleine’s mouth gaps open. “What is with your diarrhea of the mouth today? Geez! …You know what? Thank you for taking me to your Grandfather’s amazing store. I can get home all on my own. So, GOOD-BYE!” Madeleine says forcibly with one hand in front of Devon’s face as though stopping traffic. She then speeds forward a few steps, turns down a side street and disappears.

Devon stands still, almost paralyzed at the events that occurred that afternoon. “What just happened?” He thought to himself. “How did I get here? I’ve made a girl apocalypse-sized angry…AND, I’ve tried to stay clear of them all year, to focus on basketball!…Absolutely weird!”

Devon bows his head slightly, shakes it, then turns around to head toward home.

To Be Continued…

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