Issue 68 Jan 2019

Issue 68 Jan 2019

Great. Just great.

I was mumbling to myself again. Not anything unusual for an only child. It's pretty much just me and my shadow hanging out, when I'm not with my one good friend.

This was just terrific.

I stared again at the crumpled piece of paper in my hand. The handwriting was a bit messy, but the message the letters carried screamed at me like a bullhorn:

Do you want to go out with me?

I sighed. Any other girl. God. Any other girl. Any other freshman in the whole class would go crazy to get a note from Justin Freeman. Not just any note, but the one I held in my hand. The other girls would be lime green with envy.

Please. Any other girl.

She had never met him, or heard his voice, or seen his face, or read a single word he wrote, or knew how old he was, or where he lived, or whether he was in fact a “he,” and she loved him all the same.

Cellphone in hand and headphones in ears, Claire stepped off her bus. The doors hissed shut and it rumbled away. Her breath lifted off her lips, shredded to scraps, and vanished in winter wind.

She hit Play on his recent playlist, and the music started. A warm daydream faded in, of seeing him after he’d flown in from wherever he’d flown, and met her at the airport, and said her name, transforming it from dull to divine.

She walked into her house. Her mom was scrubbing the kitchen with a lemon-scented cleaner that tickled her nose. Her mom saw Claire, rolled her eyes and pointed at her own ear.

Claire took one headphone out, a millimeter, and raised one eyebrow, a millimeter.

“Note from school,” her mom nodded at the table in the living room, cluttered with a heap of unopened letters and bills and magazines.