It was that day again. That stupid, stupid day seemed to come faster every year. This year it snuck up on me, because I didn't have a lot of time to think about it. I guess I should have been keeping a better eye on the calendar to prepare myself.
Fletcher looked up from his notebook and stared at me, open mouthed. "Red?" he asked, shocked, "Are... are you alright?" I shook my head, biting my lip so hard it threatened to bleed. The world seemed to turn sideways as I stumbled to the door, clutching at the frame to hold myself up. Not here. Not now.
"What's going on?" my observant partner demanded, standing right behind me. I pulled myself into the men's washroom and to the sinks. The room was empty, thank God. My sniffling could only be heard by Half Moon, who stood awkwardly next to the bathroom door, staring at me as if he'd never seen an almost-full-grown-man cry before.
I glared at myself in the mirror, begging the tears to stop. The red rims around my eyes and pale complexion weren't exactly cool-looking either, but the tears had to stop or I wouldn't be able to get home until after the library closed, lest someone else see me cry.
"Give me a moment, alright?"
I was usually so careful. How could I have let the anniversary of my mother's death sneak up on me?
It barely registered when I heard Half Moon close the door to the bathroom and lock it, but I was grateful for it. I hung my head over the sink and slowly pulled myself together while Fletcher waited patiently. Sometimes it was amazing to have a best friend.
"Are you ok now?" he asked when I'd stopped sniffling pathetically. He knew this wasn't like me. "What the heck happened out there?"
"My mum..." I managed to get out, breathing hard. "When... and... I..." After that I wasn't really making any sense, and I had the feeling I was completely alienating my cohort. He had told me on numerous occasions that he can't stand it when females around him start bawling because he never has a clue what to do, and my crying was probably freaking him out even more.
But he seemed to understand something in my gibberish, and gently put a hand on my shaking arm. "Red, calm down. Shh. It's ok."
I took deep breaths, and slowly began to explain myself. "I just... my mother died on today and I didn't know today was today or else I wouldn't have come." Well, at least that sort of made sense. Half Moon's face turned sympathetic, and he looked for a moment like he was considering saying something, but ultimately changed his mind, so I just continued. "I saw the book and it just hit me what day it was. I'm sorry; this is probably so weird for you..." I pulled my arm from his grasp and wiped my nose loudly on my sleeve.
"Red, I'm so sorry. If I'd've known what today was, I would never have scheduled a tutor-day for this afternoon." He put his hand back on my arm (after pulling his sleeve down over his hand to avoid cross-contamination to my snot, I guess) and looked up at me with sad eyes. "You need to tell me these kinds of things. That's what best friends are for."
I guess I was in one of those sappy moods, because I spontaneously found myself with my arms wrapped around the smaller boy in a tight hug. He cautiously patted me on the back, and I grinned into his shoulder.
"Thanks, Fletch. I'll remember that next time," I grumbled and let go of him. He had turned a dark shade of pink, and I almost laughed. He brushed himself off as though I had gotten something on him, straightening his shirt uncomfortably.
"No problem Red. Just... try not to hug me next time, alright? That was kind of weird." His expression was just so hilarious I couldn't help bark out a short laugh as I slapped my hand to his shoulder.
"Sure, Fletch. Now come on, let's get our trigonometry on! SAH TOH COA!" I punched my fist in the air in fake enthusiasm. He rolled his eyes.
"It's SOH CAH TOA, Red. Sin equals opposite over hypotenuse, not alternate over hypotenuse!"
Yeah, like I could remember that crap.
"Sure, kid. Whatever you say."