I met Cully outside of the cafeteria at school and I was determined to get some answers from him about that night. I had to. I don’t remember any of it, so something had to have happened.
Cully set his tray of food down on the table and sat down. He looked straight at me.
“Cully, I need to ask you something and I need you to be honest, okay?”
He took a bite of his food. The school district’s version of gumbo. Always too much spice. Some of it dripped down Cully’s chin and he wiped it away with his hand.
I looked at him, somewhat scared out of my mind. I had to ask him.
So ask already. Stop putting it off.
“What happened that night? I can’t remember any of it. I just need some clarity on this because I’m freaking out, man.”
He kept eating and slurping his gumbo. Slurping has always such a pet peeve of mine. I get so irritated that I always have to either leave the room or firmly ask the person to stop slurping.
“Dude, please tell me what happened.”
He kept slurping and ignoring me.
I could feel my hands clenching underneath the table. I was getting frustrated. Not frustrated, angry.
Hit him. Hit him. Hit him.
Next thing I knew, I stood up and slammed my fists on the table. The entire cafeteria was looking at me while Cully just sat there holding his spoon in one hand and telling me to calm down with the other. He looked scared, but also concerned. I stared him in the eyes.
“Why are you ignoring me, Cully? Tell me what happened. Please.”
Cully picked up his backpack and tray of food and started walking off, but then looked behind him. I looked at him waiting for him to say something, but nothing happened. He brought his tray to the sink and walked off.
I stood there stunned. I decided to follow him into the hallway. I needed clarity and he was ghosting me all of a sudden? No way. I’m not letting that happen.
“Cully!” I grabbed his backpack that was on his back and pulled him backward.
“What the hell is wrong with you, Jax?! What do you want?!”
“You know what I want! I asked you a question in there and you straight ignored me! Tell me what happened!”
By that time, we were yelling, and everyone was staring at us again. Mr. Kern walked up to us and quietly lead us to a corner in the hallway.
“Boys, is there a problem?”
I crossed my arms and looked away. Cully looked at me and rolled his eyes.
“No sir, no problem here. Just goofing around. Sorry for the excessive noise my friend Jax here is making.”
Mr. Kern wasn’t sold on this pitch that Cully made but nodded his head and walked away anyway. I looked at Cully again.
“Dude, tell me what happened.”
“Jax, leave me alone, man. I don’t want to talk about this anymore. It’s over with. It’s done. Move on.”
As soon as I started to say something, he walked away. He was fine to get the peroxide and clean up the scene, but he’s not fine to just tell me what happened? Am I missing something here? I couldn’t help but feel the sense that he was hiding something, but there’s no way. Right?
I walked out of the door and started walking home. School can wait. I’m going to figure out what happened on my own. How? I don’t know. But I have to.
I woke up to a text. It’s from Cully. I looked at the time. 3:00 in the morning. I waited for my eyes to adjust a little bit more so I could read the text. When they finally adjusted, my jaw dropped.