I sat up on the edge of my bed with one leg dangling over. It was two thirty in the morning and I was sitting on my bed, unable to fall asleep. I tossed and turned over with my eyes closed. I couldn't get Karen off my mind.
I couldn't wait a year to see her again. I needed her now.
Or I at least needed the memories.
I snuck outside, just like we used to. With a Pepsi in one hand and a flashlight in the other, I tiptoed through the woods. Leaves crushed underneath my bare feet.
Way back in the woods, I found our logs. They were diagonal from each other. I sat down on one log and ran my finger over the wood. I could feel the carvings of words. Words that meant something to us. I shined my flashlight over them. "If you're lost when it comes to love, look to the stars." Something always pulled us through our rough patches. But what about now?
I looked up and saw twinkling lights scattered across the sky. We used to sit here together, holding hands. I remember when tears were rare. Now, they were all I had.
I couldn't sleep. Not now. Not when I was miles and miles away from the love of my life.
I knew I shouldn't do it, but I couldn't resist. The temptation grew every minute. I picked up my phone and dialed his number.
Eagerly, I waited for an answer. Although I was only half expecting one considering it was the middle of the night. When I reached Logan's voicemail, I pulled the phone away from my ear and hung up.
It wasn't worth it anyway. I slumped back down against my pillows. Just as I closed my eyes, ready to drift away into sleep, I felt my phone vibrate.
Logan was calling.
"Hey," I said.
"Hi, Karen." His voice was shaky.
"I can't sleep."
"Neither can I. I'm in the woods."
"At our logs?"
I smiled. "I wish I could be there with you."
"If you're lost when it comes to love look to the stars." I recognized the familiar quote. I'd carved it into one log over a year ago.
"Logan . . . How are we going to get through this? I miss you and I can't live like this. I can't sleep, I can't eat . . ." I know if he were here right now, he'd grab my hand and tell me everything's going to be okay. But now he couldn't. Everything wasn't going to be okay, anyway.
"I know, it's hard. But I think the best way to get over it is - " He hesitated. "Well, we probably shouldn't talk anymore. Hearing your voice only makes me want to see you again, which won't happen for - "
"At least a year." We chorused.
I sighed. "I still love you."
"I love you, too."
We both hung up without saying good bye. Because good byes were too difficult to get over.
I spent the next few days alone. All by myself. I needed some time to think things though.
But now it was the first day back to school. As I backed out of my driveway, I cranked up the radio. I sang at the top of my lungs the whole way to school. I knew I wasn't very good, but it was fun. And fun was something I hadn't experienced for a while.
I parked and hopped out just as Justin and Liam walked over. "Hey, Logan. It's been a while."
"Yeah, what's up guys?"
Hannah trailed towards me with Anna and Lindsay close behind. She pulled me into a gentle hug. "Hey! We haven't talked all summer, huh?"
"Yeah, what's been goin' on?" Lindsay asked with a sweet smile.
"It's been kinda rough . . . Karen moved to New York."
Anna stopped dead in her tracks and stared at me. "Karen? As in, your girlfriend Karen?"
"Yeah," I sighed.
"Oh, Logan . . . I'm so sorry. Are you still, you know . . . Dating?" Hannah asked with a smirk.
I woke up exhausted. I hadn't actually slept for a week. I knew I'd better fix that, though. School was starting tomorrow.
Tomorrow was going to be my first day of tenth grade. And my first day at my new high school. I didn't want to start at a new school. I'd rather be with people I already know. I'm not in the mood to make any new friends when I'm busy thinking about my old ones. The ones I just lost.
I wondered how Logan was holding up today. He was starting eleventh grade without me there with him. Would he come home from school with a new girlfriend today? I mean, it's not like I really should matter to him anymore. I wasn't around to see him. And I wasn't around to stop all those girls from getting him.
I kept telling myself Logan still loved me. I'm sure somewhere deep down inside I knew he really did. But my brain was telling me otherwise. Besides, Logan wouldn't just give up on me like that. I know Logan better than he even knows himself.
Hannah pulled me aside after school and wrote down her address for me. "I think we need to talk." She said.
She handed me a slip of paper and told me to meet her there. "About what?" I asked, shoving the paper into my pocket.
"Just show up, okay?" She winked and hopped into her own car. She sped off, out of sight.
I strolled down to my car, parked on the other side of the parking lot. My keys jingled around my finger. I hopped in and rolled down the window. As I backed out, I put my sunglasses over my eyes.
About half an hour later, I pulled up to Hannah's house. I saw her car already parked in the driveway. I parked next to her.
She bolted out the front door and opened my car door for me. "Hey," I said.
"Come, on. Let's go up to my room." She grabbed my hand and dragged me upstairs.
"Karen!" Mom called from downstairs.
"Come down here!"
I crossed the hallway and ran my fingers across the staircase's railing as I made my way down the steps. I found Mom by the front door.
She waved at me, signaling me to come me over to her. "This is my daughter, Karen." Looking at me, she said, "Karen, these are our neighbors, Liz and Brad Otey."
"Hi," I said with a smile. They were a younger couple. Not much younger then Mom, though.
"We have a daughter who will be in tenth grade, as well." Liz said. "Her name is Madison. She's not home right now, but we?ll send her over to meet you when she gets home in . . . I guess about two hours."
"Oh, awesome!" I wasn't in the mood to talk. But I guess meeting Madison later wouldn't be too bad. At least it'd take my mind off Logan.
"We thought you could use a friend on the first day," Brad said.
"My husband, Andrew, won't be home until about . . ." Mom checked her watch. "Six tonight. I'm sure he'd love to meet you though."
"Sounds good! Maybe we could even get together this week for dinner? We also have a son, Bobby, in sixth grade." Liz said.
"Yeah, come on in. Let me write down are number for you and we can . . ." Mom's voice grew distant. They were back in the kitchen now.
I ran back upstairs and got dressed. I brushed my hair and even curled it today. I put makeup on and looked at myself in the mirror with a quick smile. Just one more hour until Madison would be over.