Love Me Back

By: Michelle Lynn

Chapter 1 – 11 years old

“Madeline Dolores Jennings” Bryan yells up teasing me from the bottom of the hill.

“What do you want Bryan Otto Edwards?”

“Hey, I’m just joking, Maddy.” Bryan runs up the hill throwing his arm around me. “You knew it had to be coming, I have been holding it in all day since Kenna slipped at lunch.”

I hate the days my mom ‘worked late’. It entails me having to walk up the grassy hill from my grade school to my brother Jack’s, football practice with the other latchkey brothers and sisters of the football heroes of our small town. There were half dozen of us that made the trek every day, all boys except for Mackenna Ross and myself.

Mackenna Ross is my best friend and our polar opposite personalities only enhance our different qualities. She is free spirited where I am more conservative. She speaks her mind and I keep my thoughts to myself. We share a love for tennis, swimming and the game MASH (mansion, apartment, shack or house), where we try to map out our perfect lives.

Our brothers are teammates but not the best of friends. In fact they have been known to fight with each other on several occasions. Currently over a girl named Cindy Rydel. I don’t see what is so intriguing about her but I am not a seventeen year old hormone induced boy either. It doesn’t matter to Kenna and myself that they don’t get along as long as it doesn’t keep us away from each other.

Jack glances up to the bleachers on his way to the field giving me a wave checking to make sure I made it safely across the hill from our schools. I wave back and take my seat next to MacKenna. She already has her notebook out wanting to go first. We keep all our MASH’s in a binder marking stars next to the lives we want. I grab her notebook, flipping to the next blank page.

“Alright Kenna, four boys?” I ask.

“Let’s do five today, I can’t decide who to leave out, Jackson or Tyler.” She puts her finger tapping her lips.

“Fine, five.” I reply. Mackenna never changes her cars she desires or where she wants to live but the boy’s list is forever rotating between the boys in our school.

“Ok, well my usual four boys and…” she pauses glancing over to the field next to us where the younger latchkey boys are tossing a football around. “Bryan” she spits it out so fast I barely catch it.

“What?” I scream at her. Bryan just told her that her butt is big two days ago and now she is picking him to be her future husband.

“Maddy! Shhh…it’s my choice. Write it down.” She points to the paper with her neon green painted nail.

“Alright but I don’t understand you at all.” I shake my head back and forth writing it down hoping the rotation eliminates him. I love Mackenna but Bryan is a jerk, I would not let her marry him.

Luckily after I am done Mackenna is married to Tyler, living in a shack in California with her eight kids driving her Range Rover. I am happy Bryan lost out on the third elimination round.

“Not my best life but I’ll take it. I got my Range Rover.” Mackenna shrugs her shoulders slowly moving her eyes towards the grass area again but quickly turns them back towards me. “Your turn, hand it over.” She puts her hand out.

I dig through my bag and pull out my purple binder handing it over to her.

“Maddy, you cannot put Trent down four times this time, you have to choose other boys.” She starts writing MASH across the white sheet of paper.

“I only did that once Kenna.” I look over at Trent throwing the ball to Bryan. “I don’t like him anymore.” I say trying to convince myself as much as Mackenna.

“I’ve heard that before” she taps the pen to the paper.

I have known Trent my whole life. His brother Doug is Jack’s best friend. We have been thrown together during cub scouts, t-ball and football our whole life. We would play together when we were little but as we get older, we learn to ignore each other, doing our own thing when forced to be around each other. Mackenna is right though if I am honest with myself, I have had a crush on him my whole life. I have written Mrs. Trent Basso millions of times and scribbled over it a zillion more. Regardless of where my mind is with Trent he is always on my MASH for future husband.

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