Last week I found Kimmie alone in the music room. She knows she’s not supposed to go there, especially when she’s cutting class. But there she sat, alone, pressing keys on the piano, a distant look in her eyes.
“Hey Kimmie,” I smiled, shut the door and dropped my backpack to the floor.
She looked up and met my eyes, “Skipping class?” a small smirk appeared on her face.
I giggled and sat next to her on the piano chair, “As if. I’m done early today.”
“Of course. Far be it that Raelynn Hart should ever cut class.” She said in her trademark teasing voice. She leaned into me, “Live a little!”
“Mmmm…except you don’t look like you’re living.”
The words were out of my mouth before I knew it. Thing is, when most kids bunk off, they do it to have fun. When Kimmie skips, it’s so that she can be alone and look miserable.
Kimmie stopped pressing random keys on the piano and smiled but she said nothing.
“How was your day?”
She nodded, “Good”.
“How are things with you and Ryan?”
She shrugged, “Ok, I guess. We’re going to the movies tonight.” She paused, chewing on her bottom lip. “Kevin asked me out. Again.”
“Doesn’t he get that you’re seeing someone? What is with that guy? You said, ‘no’ right?”
Kimmie hesitated, “We’re going out next week”. I recognized the look of intense guilt in her eyes so I avoided telling her the obvious.
“What would you do, Lynn?” Her eyes pleaded for help.
I took her hand and laced my fingers through hers, “Well, I would tell Kevin that he’s a nice guy but I’m dating Ryan and we’re kind of like the cutest couple in school even though we’re only freshmen – I think that’s worth holding on to.” I chuckled, “I knew high school had drama but you don’t have time for this kind…any kind actually. No matter how popular you are.”
A small smile took its place on her face, “How do you do it?”
“Not care what anyone thinks?”
I shrugged, “I do what makes me happy.”
A long silence followed in which I was almost certain she was weighing my words.
I sighed, “Look Sis, I know Kevin is the more popular one that everyone loves. But Ryan, he’s a good guy. You don’t have to date Kevin because he and all his friends expect you to. Even if the whole school expects you to. You’re with Ryan because you like him. Remember that.”
Kimmie nodded but uncertainty lingered in her eyes. “How’d you know to find me here?”
I gave her my mysterious look, “Twin intuition,” I giggled. “Plus, I followed the music.”
“I wasn’t playing anything.”
“But you will now…please? And then we can go shopping and hang out at the forest until your classes are officially out.”
“If I play something, we could get caught.”
I rolled my eyes, “I’ll pretend I’m the one cutting class and I’ll sit through your detention. Mr. Crow can barely tell us apart anyway.”
Kimmie laughed, “You’re silly. That’ll never work. Besides, the detention will still be under my name and show up in my report.”
But she played the piano anyway and she laughed. I wish I could properly describe how truly happy Kimmie was that moment. Just like when we hit the shops and hung out in the forest.
Everything was great. She was my Kimmie as always. And I thought after our talk maybe she could show that Kimmie to the world.
But today, I saw her and Kevin in the mall. Holding hands. Heading to the movies. She looked like Kim and not Kimmie. She looked happy. But I know her better than looks.
Ryan called me. She’d stood him up.
If I never succeed in doing so - if she never listens to me - I pray that one day she meets someone who brings out what makes her happy. Someone she won’t be afraid to be Kimiko Hart around. Someone who’ll like her for her even when she can’t.