I’m not sure if I said it, screamed it, or typed it. Possibly all three. I sat longer than I should have staring at three empty and hollow words, I love you. Each letter was a dagger ripping into my chest doing more damage than bullets ever could.
If you loved me, you wouldn’t do this!
My heart started pounding harder than using a sledgehammer for a small nail. It went through my chest, vibrated my hands. Find a phone, call her, my rational brain explained calmly. My eyes stung like acid was being poured into them. She’s going to do it, she’s actually going to do it this time. Please no. Please don’t. Wait, just wait for me.
Frantic, I found her picture in my phone, the one of her and Baxter, and jammed my finger into the little green send. Straight to voicemail. Fuck! Her phone is off, fuck, her phone is off! The coherent voice started screaming, and that’s when I knew, my best friend would kill herself.
Hyperventilating, I called her parents, my parents, and the cops. They told me to relax, they’d investigate. Nothing in their voices reassured me. Throwing on my five-finger running shoes, I tore off my shirt and sprinted the six mile run to her house.
Hours later, I was clutching a black stuffed dog that was missing an eye, and rocking back and forth when the house phone finally phone rang.
Please be her, please be her. “Hello?” I asked breathless from flying down the stairs. Liz hadn’t been home when I’d arrived at her house, anxiety and shakiness only filling me more. I couldn’t find a note, anything that would lead me to her.
It had been hours since our conversation, each minute that passed was a century of uncertainty. Please,
this better be you. This isn’t funny. Elizabeth
“Claire,” my sister spoke in my ear. My name was shaky on her lips, and a cold chill enveloped my body. Somehow, though she was a million miles away, someone found out before I did and called her to break the news.
“She’s dead isn’t she?” I asked in a cracking voice.
“I’m so sorry.”
Without another word, I hung up and threw the phone against the wall, shattering it into four different pieces.
I’d learn later that night that
body was found in the river. Though everyone I’d called told me she was going
through a phase, I knew it wasn’t, and now my best friend was dead. Not
just dead, a suicide, a high school statistic.
Maybe if I’d tried to call her right away, maybe if I’d stolen a car to get to her house rather than run there she’d still be alive. But I didn’t. I fucking ran there, and I wasn’t there in time.
You love me, huh? I asked the girl who was no longer here. If you loved me, you never would have done this.
Ice began overtaking my heart, and spreading through my limbs, numbing and freezing everything in and around me. It started to harden into granite. I tried to cry, but found no tears coming to my eyes.
In the place of sorrow, I found fury. Pure, unadulterated, uncontrollable, fury.
It was then that the fox appeared.
~The Little Prince
11 Months Later
I’m sweating my balls off as I sit shot gun in a U-haul. Meanwhile, Mom drones on about how great this new school will be for me. “They have football, and baseball, and rumor of a hockey team starting up,” she says energetically.
I could remind her that I don’t play any of those sports, but I don’t because she wouldn’t listen, anyway. Hockey would be cool to watch…or at least the fights would be, but she’s only heard a rumor, so who knows?
Instead of being a participant in this conversation, I am a sloth sitting here, looking at the bright white and blue sky hoping it turns grey and cold soon. If that’s not going to happen, then at least a good thunderstorm, otherwise, this Summer shit is going to get old, fast.
“Plus, school just started, I think a week ago. You won’t be very far behind!” My mother could win awards for one sided conversations.
Funny. At my school, I wouldn’t be behind at all.
I didn’t want this relocation but after Dad left, she said it was best for us. So a week later, my room, once full of smelly clothes, posters, and snowboards, was in boxes. Uniformed guys hauled the couch down four flights of stairs because I refused to help her lift the heavy stuff. No matter how many times she’d tried to sucker me into it, “You’re the man of the house, use your muscles,” I sat and ate potato chips, glairing as the men were getting paid for what would been slave labor for me.
“We’re here!” she says happily while attempting to maneuver the truck next to the curb. There’s a slight jostle, a roller coaster slamming to a stop, when the tire collides but doesn’t hop the raised cement. “Oops,” she laughs pushing the shifter into park.
Shoot me, I plead to the neighboring houses. Please shoot me. Now.
She starts to get out of the truck as a flash of neon catches my attention just outside my window. It’s a sports bra, blindly neon pink that could light up any room. If you don’t want guys to stare, you shouldn’t be wearing only a neon bra. Momentarily, I give myself permission to continue staring.
Beneath the fantastically bouncing bra is a flat stomach that my dick tells my fingers I want to touch. The skin on her shoulders looks like summer, glistening tan in the
sunlight, and each time she swings her arms, pale white skin pokes out from under
the bra. Though I’m already hot in this U-haul, the temperature just went up
about eighty more degrees.
On her rib cage, there are some black marks, that at first I think are dirt, and then realize it’s a tattoo. My crotch also wants me to be close enough to read what the words say.
As I look further south, I expect girly short shorts that are barely there. Instead, the blue mesh hangs barely above the girl’s tan knees like boy basketball shorts. Her bra and her shorts don’t exactly go together, and the shorts swallow her like she’s stolen her boyfriend’s clothing, but she doesn’t seem to care.
I stare at her smooth muscular calves probably longer than I should before finally looking at her face. A small glittering eyebrow ring rests just above her eye, and just below her…holy crap. Is that? Yea, it is. Dark purple hair. She has an eyebrow ring under dark purple hair.
As her feet pound by the truck in measured strides that announce to the world she’s a distance runner, a lit cigarette dangles from her soft pink lips.
How are you running and smoking? Are you even old enough to smoke? I wonder, torn between feelings of awe and disgust.
When there wasn’t snow in
I was prone to running. There were times I’d pass a smoker, breathe in, and
want to vomit, die, or punch them. Running and smoking seems like pure death.
But running while smoking? With a cigarette in your mouth as you run,
blowing smoke back into your face? That’s a whole new level of self punishment.
Even for the kid who got a concussion on the slopes and continued riding rails
without a helmet.
As I open the door, she comes to a thudding stop, weird ass shoes slapping the pavement like a car screeching to a halt. When her tits are no longer in motion, my dick is sad, but at least the temperature drops, slightly.
I jam my hands into my pockets. Please don’t have just seen me checking you out…or currently trying to read your tattoo. All I can make out are the words Shut Up and some numbers.
She takes a deep drag on the cigarette and then coughs and spits into the yard. I knew that couldn’t have felt good.
Say something cool! Get her attention! “Attractive,” I say with mustered humor in my voice. I can see each of her individual toes in her shoes. Five-toed shoes or something. Closer to barefoot running, I think.
As though she’s noticing me or the huge ass truck behind me for the first time, her eyes dart in my direction. I can’t tell if they look me over, like maybe she’s checking me out, too?
Then again, I’ve been in the U-haul for the last, what? Twelve hours? My clothes are damp with sweat, and my deodorant stopped working somewhere around the
state line, and I slept in these pants.
Before any hope builds, she says, “Yea, whatever,” and marches up to her front steps, flinging the cigarette butt just short of my feet.
Say something, dude! Get her to stay talk to you! I stare after her, mouth gaping open and shut, trying to formulate words and watching the way she walks. It’s not graceful like most girls, the ones who wear globs of make-up and high heels in winter. Instead, she walks like a linebacker, ready to take on the world at the drop of a hat. I’ve never seen any girl walk that way before. I’ve also never seen a girl with purple hair look so damn good. Then again, I’ve never seen a runner run with a cigarette, either.
Her feet take turns stomping against the ground and I fear for the ants that may get in her path. A herd of rhinos would be gentler. The door screeches open and slams so hard I think the surrounding three miles of neighbors heard it.
She is not pissed at me, I determine while something like curiosity takes a hold. I stare at the house she’s gone into for a second, before looking across the road at our Sold! sign. Dear God, please let her be my neighbor. Please let there be a silver lining in this crapstorm of a move.
“Andrew, come help with the boxes,” my mom calls from behind the truck.