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Lakewood Times

Deja Vu Story

Between the overlapping shouting and the sound of the marching band filling up the stadium, it was impossible to decipher what Tristan was trying to explain to me. The air has a bite to it tonight as we stand on the bleachers watching the last football game of the season before we graduate. Do I understand football? Not at all. I am here only because I simply have a soft spot for the game, and for the fact that my best friend, Tristan, refused to attend without me. At this point, instead of trying to find out what he is saying, I just nod and smile with the hopes that he was saying something where that would be the appropriate reaction. I turn back towards the field and try to catch myself up on what has been happening. I glance over at the scoreboard and quickly frown as I notice that our school is down by thirty points. To my surprise, I get yanked out of reality when I am suddenly ambushed by an inflatable beach ball that has been flying through the air for the past forty-five minutes. 

“Karlie, you have to catch the ball with your hands, not your face.” My father says with a smile on his face, tossing the inflatable ball that just collided with my nose towards the section next to ours. My little brother, Oliver, giggles when he hears this comment and I playfully shove him with my shoulder to retaliate while rubbing my sore nose. Today was one of the most important football games, according to Dad. Granted, I believe he thinks that every football game is the most important football game. I don’t have the heart to tell him that I don’t really understand football, (or like it for that matter), but I tolerate it because I know bonding over football with Oliver and I brings him joy. 

I blink my eyes excessively, bringing myself back into the moment. After the initial shock of experiencing Deja Vu, a soft smile forms on my face as I recall this fond memory. It feels like we went to that football game just yesterday but also seven years ago, time works in such odd ways. Tristan begins to shout at my side which brings my attention back to the game I am currently attending. He is now clapping his hands together in union, appreciating what our highschool must have just accomplished. Trying to fit in, I begin to clap my hands as well and throw in a quick whoop to make it seem as if I am completely engaged. I rub my hands together to bring myself warmth before tapping Tristan on the shoulder to get his attention. 

“Hey, I’m gonna run up to the concessions to grab a snack, do you want anything?” I ask him. Without his eyes ever leaving the field, he mutters a quick “No thank you,” before I squeeze past the people we are sharing a row of bleachers with. I walk up to the woman running the concession stand and glance up at what I could purchase to make this experience a bit more enjoyable. Just then, I notice the picture of a cup of hot cocoa and my mind is instantly made up. The short woman is bundled up in multiple, colorful layers and shoots me a warm smile as I approach her. 

“What could I get for you, sweetheart?” She asks me.  

“Could I just get one hot cocoa, please?” I responded, handing her the cash I had tucked away in my jacket pocket. She gives me a thumbs up and spins around to grab a cup. I step back so people can see the menu, then inch back up once she extends the cup of liquid happiness out to me. I begin to walk back to where Tristan is standing when I am suddenly hit with another wave of Deja Vu. 

When we had first arrived at the field, it was very sunny and only slightly chilly. By the fourth quarter, Oliver was completely over it and made it clear how much he preferred watching the game from the comfort of our own couch while being buried in blankets. I didn’t say anything, but I think I prefer it that way as well. At least if we were at home, Mom could make us her signature hot cocoa, (which she tells absolutely no one what ingredients she puts inside to make it extra delicious). 

“Dad, I want to go home so Mom can make us hot chocolate. Think about it! Doesn’t that just sound delicious?” Oliver pleads. 

Dad lets out a chuckle, I turn towards him and pout so that he feels he needs to oblige. Dad stood up and held out both of his hands as a gesture for us to take them. Oliver and I looked at each other before giggling and intertwining our hands with his. Dad took us up the never ending flight of stairs so I felt as if both of my legs were jelly once we reached the top. We walked up to a slim man who wore a black baseball cap and a white apron, welcoming us to concessions with a wave. Dad and the cashier exchange words that Oliver and I are too short to hear before Dad turns around with three small white cups threatening to slip out of his hands. I throw my arms up into the air, desperate to retrieve my hot cocoa before my brother. 

I shake my head, trying to rid the odd feeling of remembrance. I started down the stairs back to Tristan, and quickly realized that this hot cocoa was absolutely vile. Unfortunately, it was meeting its fate inside the garbage can outside of the restrooms. Once I returned, it was brought to my attention that I was gone for longer than I thought and the game had begun to wrap up. At this point, I could not even see Tristan’s neon orange hawaiian button up or tall curly hair, so I just made my way to the parking lot to take myself home. 

My feet were submerged in puddles as I searched for my car, a soggy noise presenting itself with each step that I now took. Before I knew it, I found my silver Toyota and climbed into the driver’s seat. Upon my arrival, I took off my now drenched sneakers and threw them onto the passenger’s side floor. Taking a deep breath, I turned on the radio, wrapped the lei I was previously wearing onto my mirror, and started the car. On the drive home, I acknowledged the giant full moon that radiated against the navy blue sky. The stars compliment it so well, swimming around the pool of darkness. The moon followed me all the way home and as I began pulling into my driveway, I took a moment to just listen to the vibrations of the music as it courses throughout the car. 

I walk through the door and toss my shoes in the mud room before walking into the living room. My fathers face lights up when he is aware of my presence. He is sitting down on our brown leather couch with a bowl of pretzels and raises one into the air, offering it to me. I ran over to him and grabbed the pretzel, and shortly after snatched the whole bowl. Before he could protest, Oliver walked in through the front door as well. Mom peeks her head around the corner for a moment, I assume to take a headcount, before retreating back to the kitchen. Both Dad and I pat the couch, inviting Oliver to join us. He looks hesitant, but then Mom walks out with three mugs of her steaming hot cocoa which grabs his attention and convinces him to stay. All four of us settle into the couch as it consumes us and Dad reaches for the remote. After a few clicks of a button, the tv flashes on with the football game taking up every inch of the screen, and we all sip the cocoa that warms both our hands and our hearts.

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