|January 27th 2018|
With sweating palms, I rang the doorbell to the house across the street. It had been more than three years since the last time. Back then I never rang the bell or knocked, instead walked in knowing I was as welcome there as if it were my own house. But that was a long time ago. Things have changed since then. Or maybe they haven’t as much as I’d like to think. Either way, desperate times called for desperate measures and I was desperate.I finally got the go ahead on the play I’d written. It was my ticket out of here. The only problem- there hadn’t been a dramatic production at my high school in over a decade. It had taken some serious effort to find a teacher willing to sponsor the play and participate as the resident voice of authority over the newly formed drama club, of which I was currently the president and only member.
And so here I was, at the house across the street. Because everyone knows any great production needed a celebrity. And Cole Parker was the closest thing to a celebrity our little town could claim.
I laughed, because even though I hadn’t talked to Cole in a long time, I felt certain she was right. Taking a deep breath, I took the first step leading to the second story of the Parker’s home. Memories pulsed through my mind with each one. Cole and I as little kids, sliding down the steps in slick sleeping bags. Picnics on the landing with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and grape Kool-Aid. Building castles and spaceships with Legos in his room for hours and hours until his mom called us down for dinner. Forcing him to play house after his sister, Macy, was born, pretending she was our daughter. Ha. Maybe I could use that one as blackmail.
Too soon, I stood in front of his door. I slid my damp palms down the thighs of my bootcut jeans. Through the door, I heard sports commentators. I pictured Cole easily in my mind. Just because we hadn’t spoken in years didn’t mean I hadn’t seen him as recently as a couple of hours ago. In fact, I’d seen him not thirty minutes ago when he pulled his beat up old Camaro into the driveway out front. I’d given it that long to shower and eat.
Cole would be reclined on his bed, books strewn around him. He was a good student and would get his homework done, even with SportsCenter on. His dark brown hair would still be damp from his shower and he’d smell like Acqua Di Gio. He’d started wearing it before- well, just before. And he’d be wearing some kind of Cambridge High garb. Sweats and a t-shirt. If I was a betting girl, that’s what I’d gamble on.
He’d caught my eye a few times since well, then, and I’d seen it in his eyes. The confusion. The anger. Emotions he attempted to hide behind a mask of indifference. Every time, I turned away from him as quickly as I could. It was fine. He didn’t need me. And I didn’t need him. He had his football team. His basketball team. The love and adoration of the whole school. What did it matter he didn’t have me? It didn’t.
I had my writing. And as soon as I could- I’d be out of here.