Olive Branches, Chapter 6

This chapter was written by sci_geeek.

Monday, September 7 – Hannah Perales

I burst into the girl’s restroom, Dee-Kay following close behind. As soon as the door clicks behind her a teasing grin spreads across her face. “Hannah and Omari sitting in a tree—”

“No Dee-Kayyyy,” I beg, but I can’t help laughing a little. “Stop it!”


I grab her shoulders. 

“No, seriously,” I tell her, more firmly this time. “Don’t…it’s embarrassing,” I add, dissolving into giggles as I stare at the comical expression on Dee-Kay’s face. 

It’s so hard to be mad at her. So instead I rant about myself. 

“Why Dee-Kay, whyyy,” I moan. My fingers interlace into the locks of my dark wavy hair, which falls just below my shoulders. At least that was looking nice today. It was pretty embarrassing that Omari and I were wearing matching sweaters. 

“It’s sooo easy to realize when you like someone,” giggles Dee-Kay. “You get absurdly talkative. You just talk and talk and talk and…”

“…and talk and talk,” I sigh. “Why, Dee-Kay, whyyyy…No wonder guys stop liking me once they get to meet me. By the time I realise I’m making a fool of myself and I get really shy again, they’re sure I’m always like that. What will I dooo?”

“Can’t help you there,” laughs Dee-Kay. She’s always talkative.

I groan. “Sheesh! I even asked him to sit next to me…” 

My mind wanders back to meeting Omari. For once I could look someone other than a sixth-grader directly in the eyes. Poor guy, that means he’s my height — only five feet. At least his afro makes him look a little taller, and he’ll most likely grow some more in the future. I will always be the short kid.

It feels good to talk with Dee-Kay after two long months. We’ve been friends since I moved to Thunder Bay. We know pretty much everything about each other.

Fortunately, Dee-Kay changes the subject. “Hey, Remember that time you nearly cracked your skull open when we tried jumping together on the same pogo stick?”

I chuckle. Sure I remember—stupid pogo stick. Also, stupid me. I should’ve known it wouldn’t be safe. Frankly, I don’t recall any of Dee-Kay’s interests being safe. Well, there was that time in third grade that I taught her how to draw, but even so, her drawings often depicted scientists falling into volcanoes. She got pretty good at drawing agonised faces.

But then the questions stop being so harmless.

“Anyway, how are your parents? Can I come over one of these days to check out your latest painting? I’ve also been craving those paperas your dad makes…”

I sigh. I don’t even bother to tell her that what she means is arepas, and that paperas is Spanish for mumps. It’s my fault—ever since that time I jokingly called the food paperas in eighth grade, all of my friends call it that. If it were last school year, I would’ve corrected her, but it’s not last school year. Over the summer my life was turned upside down and there’s no way I can turn it right-side up. I hate that. I hate not being in control.

“We’ll see, Dee-Kay,” I tell her, my voice tense. Man, I sound like my mom! At least I don’t have that fake pasted-on smile Mom’s always showing off—I’m just not smiling at all.

“Are you OK, Hannah?” Dee-Kay asks. She sounds concerned. “You’re acting idiosyncratic.”

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think she just called me a moron. And right now I’m so scared that she might ask me the wrong question that I hardly know any better. 

“What?” I stammer.

“I mean, are you OK? You’re acting weird,” she clarifies.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that question. Mostly from family, though. “Hannah, are you OK? You just don’t seem right.” At least I know Dee-Kay cares. My parents don’t care about half the things I do and my cousins just ask to spite me. 

Well, my aunt once asked because she was actually worried: members of my immediate and extended family tend to have quick tempers, and she thought I was too passive or something like that. She probably thought I was clinically depressed. She got enraged—see what I mean?—when I wouldn’t tell her “the truth.”

Passive. Funny word. I’m not used to being compared to verb usage, so that was kind of weird. 

Maybe I should tell her everything. She already knows everything about me, so I might as well tell her what’s going on at home. 

Sixteen years ago an ambitious young man named Chuy Perales came from Caracas, Venezuela, to start a business somewhere in the States — that somewhere being Boston, Massachusetts. There he met a blonde named Emily. A year later they got married and a year after that they had a little girl named Hannah. Six years after that the family moved to Canada and the rest is history.

The first time Mom and Dad met, it was love at first sight — at least that’s what they told me before they stopped loving each other. 



“Are you OK?” she repeats.

I force myself to look her in the eye. I try the Emily Perales smile. “Yeah.”

“Are you positive?”

“I am.” 


The door opens and Avalon comes in. She’s come to wash her hands before lunch, like us. Oops, I forgot. Dee-Kay seems to have realized the same thing because both of us go wash our hands.

Dee-Kay tries to strike up a conversation with Avalon. “So! What’s your favourite subject?” she asks, her gestures causing water to splash on the mirror.

“I don’t like any,” Avalon says, and then she leaves. Honestly, what a jerk. 

Then Ayesha comes in. “Hi!” she greets us. She’s really nice and always smiling.

As soon as Ayesha disappears into one of the stalls, Dee-Kay exclaims, “Hannah, that’s Omari’s sister!”

“Shh!” My face grows hot. How many more years till it dawns on her that bathroom stalls aren’t exactly soundproof? Now I’m actually angry at her. She’s always so embarrassing! 

“I’m going to get my lunch now,” I announce, running out of the bathroom, my face still burning. I’m so glad I didn’t tell her about the divorce.

4 thoughts on “Olive Branches, Chapter 6”

  1. Oh, wow! I love this chapter! It’s a fresh look on the story since it’s after the introduction sequence, and it’s kind of relatable actually. I can’t wait to see more of the story! A Guide story project while ago was definitely a great, fun idea! 💖

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Olive Branches, Chapter 6

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