I woke up after barely two hours of sleep. I walked outside expecting to have the patio to myself, but I found Mike and Tory swimming near the shore together.
“Did you guys sleep at all!?” I asked.
“Nope, we were too busy having fun!” shouted Mike.
“With what?” I asked, astonished that why could have possibly had fun without me assisting them.
“We watched the sunrise, played some card games and then decided to go for an early morning swim,” Tory responded.
This was bad for me because I always liked to show Mike that I had more energy than he did. But at the moment, I was exhausted. Even worse, Mike asked me if I wanted to go for a RUN! He said he felt like doing a couple laps down the street and asked if I could be his guide.
“I don’t know. I’m really tired and I did a huge workout yesterday.”
“Quit acting like a little bitch Johan!”
I turned around ready to yell at Liam, who had walked outside with Patricia. They both carried mugs of tea and took them over to the table.
My mom stopped me, and told me to enjoy my time with my friends. It was a little difficult to do since they didn’t seem to be my friends at the moment. Tory wasn’t praising me and Mike wasn’t following any of my commands. They were both acting completely out of character.
“Sorry man, I’m just too tired at the moment”
Mike left on his run. I was sure he’d be back within a few minutes due to his exhaustion from not sleeping. Ten minutes passed, and he wasn’t back yet. I figured he was just going super slow…thirty minutes…an hour AND A HALF! Oh my god! Oh my god! He’s dead on the side of the road. I knew I shouldn’t have let him go without me. What was I thinking? He can’t do anything without my guidance.
“Tory,” I screamed.
“Yeah,” she said as she looked up from her book.
“We need to find Mike!”
“I’m sure he’s fine.”
That just made me even more angry. Everyone in this house dismissed my feelings so quickly. I was about to respond when my phone started ringing. The number was unfamiliar, but I picked it up anyway.
“Hello,” I said softly.
“Hey Johan! I got lost and I’m at a stranger’s house near this Indian restaurant. I think I’m roughly five miles from your house. Can you come get me?”
I didn’t have my license yet, so my mom wouldn’t give me the car keys. She made Liam drive Tory and I to the random old house. When we got there Mike was hanging out as if I was picking him up from his own home. “Hey Johan, welcome!” He rocked back and forth on a clean white rocking chair and sipped a cup of water.
“Welcome?” I thought. WELCOME! I thought I was coming to identify a body and you greet me by saying “welcome”?! This isn’t even your house. Where exactly is it you are welcoming me to anyway? I didn’t actually say any of this out loud because I was just thankful Mike was alive. Although I couldn’t let him know that.
“Just get in the car, Mike,” I said.
He waved bye to the elderly couple and then took the passenger seat. “That was fun,” he said. After no sleep and five miles, he didn’t even look tired. I, on the other hand, felt like I was about to pass out from exhaustion and anger.
“You worried us,” Tory said. Mike just smiled at her.
“No you didn’t!” I yelled. He couldn’t know that I freaked out so I tried to make it sound like we only came because Tory and Liam missed him.
When we got back to the beach house, I asked my mom if I could hold his head underwater to remind him who’s in charge. Her jaw literally dropped. Instead of speaking, she shook her head and walked away from me. Arthur had no problem telling me what to do though. He wasn’t even my dad!
“Johan, you need to be nicer to your friends. They came here for you.”
“No, apparently they came here for each other!”
I knelt down and prayed to God that he would send me better friends. But alas, nothing about the day changed. At least, not until my mom walked up to me and said it was time to go to the county fair.
I found Tory and Mike giggling like idiots by the beach.
“What’s so funny?” I asked.
“You wouldn’t get it,” Mike shot back and then they continued to laugh.
“My mom says it’s time for the county fair.”
Mike’s eyes lit up because he remembered all of the exciting things I told him about it. Too bad it wasn’t true.
Well it was all true the last time I went. Which was when I was four. Back then all the rides seemed huge and the music so exciting.
Mike and Tory gabbed the entire way there, talking about how excited they were to go on rides together. But when my mom’s van pulled up to the rocky parking lot, Mike’s face fell. Okay, so this was even lamer than I even imagined.
I remembered the hayride being terrifying. But then I remembered it’s because the guy who ran it turned out to be a criminal. All those years I thought I dreamed it, but my mom had a special talk with me when I got older.
Besides that, the county fair had an antique show, a pie-eating contest and a few random games mixed in. Not even a Ferris Wheel or a farm animal in sight. Did I mention this was a small beach town?
“Johan,” Mike said. “Why did you lie to me?”
“I thought it would be funny to see your reaction.”
Mike laughed a lot and liked to have fun. But in this moment, there wasn’t a hint of humor in his voice. He looked at Tory and then back at me. “Come on Tory, let’s go on the hayride.”
“What about me?” I asked.
“Go enjoy all the rides,” he said. I had no choice but to follow my mom through the rows of antiques, while my two friends tried to have as much fun as possible at this shithole.