Jeremy sat down next to Michael, slushie in hand. Last day before he flies to Israel for a month. Last day to hang out with his best friend in person.
“I’m gonna miss Jersey,” he said, sipping from his drink. “A bit.”
“What are you gonna miss?”
He looked at his best friend, still not used to his new, short haircut. “I’m gonna miss the nice weather. It’s way hotter there. Also gonna miss hanging out in your basement and playing Pokemon.”
Michael laughed. “I’m gonna miss it too. Can’t believe you’re leaving me for an entire month, dude. That’s harsh.”
“It’ll pass by quickly. Before you know it, I’ll be back.”
“Yeah. Guess you’re right.”
They both took a sip from their slushies, staying in silence for a bit before Michael spoke up. “Want to go to the park near my house?”
Michael smirked. “English, Jer. Remember what your dad said-”
“Only English with Michael, blah blah blah. You understood what I said, le’mi ekhpat?”
His friend laughed, shoving him lightly. “I care. I don’t always understand.”
“But you understood this!”
“Michael, you’re a piece of shit.”
“Also maybe.” He laughed again, getting up. “Now let’s go. We don’t have a lot of time.”
Michael put out his hand for Jeremy, who grabbed it and got up, trying not to trip as his friend pulled him towards the park. He was going to miss him a lot. Israel was amazing, but without Michael he felt alone. He wanted to tell him that, but also felt embarrassed - he was always being made fun of in school for being too affectionate, and the gay rumors weren’t offensive, but sure got on his nerves. Instead, he kept quiet, hurrying after Michael who walked slightly too quick.
“Slow down, Mikha! God, it’s the summer khofesh, P.E. is not something I should think about right now.”
He slowed down, confused. “H- Ho.. hofash?”
“Khofesh. Uh.. Y’know, like… no school? When you don’t have school?”
Michael laughed. “Okay, okay. Fine, I’ll slow down.”
Jeremy finally caught up, sipping from his melting slushie. They walked in silence, both boys feeling calm, yet slightly sad.
“Tokhal ta’lev!” Jeremy yelled, laughing. He just won the Mario Kart round, for the first time in a while, and was clearly excited about it.
“Eat.. the heart..?”
“No! Well, yeah, but.. No! Not exactly!”
“It’s like, slang, y’know? Um.. Kind of like ‘to your face’, I think.”
“Ooh. Uh, repeat that again.”
“Close, but not exactly. To-khal ta-lev.”
“To-” Michael struggled for a few moments. “-hal ta-lev.”
Michael laughed, his loss already forgotten. “I’m so gonna use that. What else can you teach me?”
“Uuh.. Mekalef avocado ba’khoshekh.”
“And.. The hell is that?”
“Peels avocados in the dark.”
“Not helpful, Jeremy.”
“Oh. Oh. I don’t even like avocados, damn it.”
Now it was Jeremy’s turn to laugh, turning fully towards his friend. “Sucks to be you.”
“Oh, fuck off.”
Jeremy giggled, leaning his head on Michael’s shoulder. “Don’t be mean, Mikha.”
“Then don’t give me a reason to be mean.”
“Mikhaaa,” Jeremy whined. “I’m leaving tomorrow. Be nice to me.”
“Fine.” Michael’s face softened up a bit, his eyes losing a bit of their spark. Jeremy moved closer to his best friend, silent. I’m leaving tomorrow.
“I’m gonna miss you.”
“I’m gonna miss you too,” Michael replied, voice quiet. The atmosphere in the room changed, all the laughs suddenly forgotten, as if they were never there in the first place. Silence replaced it.
Jeremy wrapped a hand around Michael, closing his eyes. He suddenly felt exhausted, heavy. He didn’t like it.
“Sorry for bringing it up.”
“It’s okay, Jer. It would’ve happened eventually anyway.”
“Wanna go back to video games?”
Jeremy’s phone rang. He paused the game, picking it up and answering the call.
“Jeremy, you need to get home soon.”
“When is soon..?”
“Get ready and start walking in five minutes. We need to finish getting ready. Your mother and I can’t do this alone.”
“Okay.” He stayed quiet for a moment. “See you soon, abba.”
“See you soon, ben.”
His dad hung up, Jeremy keeping the phone next to his ear for a few more moments before closing it and putting it in his pocket.
“I need to start leaving soon.”
Michael stood up, not sure what to do with his hands, so he shoved them in the pockets of his shorts.
“Yeah.” Jeremy looked up at him, stepping closer and hugging him. “I’m going to miss you.”
Michael hugged him back. “I’m going to miss you too. Write to me.”
“Of course I will.” He chuckled. “God, it’s just for a month, we’re useless.”
Michael let out a sad chuckle, hugging Jeremy tighter before letting go. “Yeah. Want me to walk you home?”
Jeremy nodded. “Please. I don’t wanna walk alone, and I think it’s nice outside.”
They gathered their stuff and went outside, enjoying the early evening summer breeze as they talked about anything except how Jeremy is leaving tomorrow. At one point they started humming a song together, laughing and bumping into each other as it got darker around them, forgetting just for a few moments about anyone else.