I kept looking down the blocks the bus was going down, not recognizing any of the stores or buildings that passed by. I know I should’ve gone home after school; I wasn’t planning to get lost in the city with a boy that my mum already has second opinions on. But, I also really wanted to hang out with Milo. I feel like it’s been ages since we saw each other in school, and with him not being in band class anymore, it was nearly impossible to see him at school.
“You’re okay Scout?” I heard Milo ask me. I turned my head, trying to hide the fact that I was nervous. If anyone was able to read through me, it was Milo. He looked away for a slight moment before looking back at me. “Tell me about your piece for the showcase,” he smiled as he said.
“My piece?” I asked. Milo gently nodded. “Well, we’re doing two pieces; one piece from the year we were born, and the second piece is the string orchestra’s cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which is the song I have the small solo in.” Milo kept his eyes on me as I spoke, which was comforting. He smiled as I spoke about the string orchestra; no one ever smiled whenever the string orchestra was being talked about unless it was something negative. It really made me think if going to Waverly was the best decision or if I should’ve just gone to a regular high school where I wasn’t surrounded by other talented students. But then when I sit here and see Milo excited about string orchestra for me, it makes it all worth it. At least I have someone supporting me.
“Mama, just killed a man,” Milo began to sing, and I couldn’t help but laugh. Even when Milo was joking around, his voice was angelic. It wasn’t your typical top-40 boy band singing voice; it was high-pitched but so controlled and smooth. Milo doesn’t sing often outside of school but, I’m always happy when he does.
“Did anyone ever tell you that you have an amazing voice?” I asked. It was a stupid question; of course, he’s literally in the vocal program, Sophie. “I mean, you probably get told that a lot.”
“Actually,” Milo began. “Not really, and family doesn’t count.”
“Did you get your singing ability from your family?” I asked. Another dumb question, Sophie.
Milo’s family was big and unique; he is the oldest of his siblings and his dad is married to Jennifer. Milo once told me he felt like an outsider in his family since Jennifer isn’t his biological mother. But every time I go over to Milo’s house, I see just how much of a family Milo has. To have both parents in the house that love each other and are supportive of their oldest son and younger children, sometimes makes me jealous. It would’ve been nice to have a sibling to talk to about things that I can’t talk to anyone else about. It would’ve been nice to have both of my parents still here with me; instead, our family dinners happen over a zoom call every other Saturday.
“I did,” Milo began to say. “My dad was a dual major when he went to Waverly; vocal and band, like me. He was in a band and everything. Jennifer was also a student at Waverly; she was just in the vocal program though. They were in a band together with their other friends, and Jennifer was the lead singer.” It was so interesting to learn about Milo’s background. I knew he had a passion for music, but I never realized that it was because he grew up with music all around him. I wonder if he really wanted to be a dual major, or if he wanted to be one because his father was one.
“How about your mum?” I asked. Milo didn’t talk about his biological mum a lot, but whenever he does I try to listen to every word he says. I know Milo talking about his mum isn’t easy, so I’m glad that he feels comfortable talking about her with me. He nodded his head before answering back.
“She also went to Waverly,” Milo began. “She was in the string orchestra, I think.” My eyebrows went up; I was surprised to hear that his um was also a member of the string orchestra. Maybe that’s why he actually appreciates the sting orchestra.
“Is that how your dad met your mum?” I asked.
“Sorta, one of my dad’s friends introduced them to each other,” Milo looked out the window briefly. I didn’t push him any further; maybe the conversation was getting too uncomfortable for him. He turned back to face me, quickly smiling at me. I know he does that when he doesn’t want me to worry about him.
“You don’t have to talk about it anymore if you’re not comfortable,” I suggested. Milo shook his head so that I wouldn’t worry or feel bad for asking him these questions. I know Milo Kamalani; he’s not going to tell people that some of the things others say or do actually affect him. “I mean it, Milo.”
“Nah, it’s just that sometimes I wish I was able to explain why I do certain things that my dad doesn’t do… I wonder if that’s because some of the things I do or say or think are just things I take after my mom.” Milo shared. I realized that I was able to relate to Milo in a way. There are some things I do or think that my mum wouldn’t understand, but know that my father would. That’s the thing: I know that there are some things that I take after my father because I know him. I grew up with my father in my life, and I know that some of his mannerisms reflect my own because I picked them up as I got older. Even though my father isn’t here with my mum and me, I know him well enough to know that these are some things I have because of him. But Milo, he’s never met his mother. He doesn’t know if the things he says and thinks are because he takes after his mum. Milo’s mum passed away when Milo was just a baby; he doesn’t remember her well enough to know if he takes after his mum. All he has is his father’s word that some of the things he sees in Milo remind him of his mother. He doesn’t really know that for himself.
I don’t say anything back out of fear that I would say the wrong thing. The bus stopped in front of a bus stop, and Milo gets up from his seat to exit. I followed him out of the bus; at this point, I have no idea where in Brooklyn we’re in. I guess I’m following Milo wherever he’s going.
We walk out of the bus and start to walk down the street. I keep looking at Milo, who continues to look forward as we walked. Did I upset him? I didn’t know what was going on in Milo’s mind. We kept walking until we hit a dead end of a street.
“Milo?” I called out his name. I was getting nervous now. “Where are we going?” Milo looked at me. He didn’t say anything but instead flashed a smile.
“I want to show you some of my favorite places,” Milo answered. I tilted my head; I was confused. Didn’t we do this back in middle school for our Teenage Tell-Tale project? He grabbed my hand and we continued to walk down the side of the road, away from the dead end. What was Milo’s favorite place that he didn’t show me before?
After a short walk down the road, we stopped at a really tall gate. I looked around, not really understanding why we were here in the font place. This wasn’t a park or a treehouse area or anything that shows civilization or interest to Milo. He looked at me and I looked at him, waiting for him to explain where we were.
“This might be weird, but…” Milo drifted off before he was able to finish his sentence. He took a deep breath as he looked toward the gates. “I want you to meet my mom.”
It quickly clicked: we were at the cemetery.