It was midnight on a Friday night. I was doing what I would normally do on nights like these—get the house all cleaned up and ready for when my girlfriend came over. My parents usually left the house to me from Friday morning till late night Sunday. I used to have a babysitter come stay and watch me, but that stopped after I told them I was old enough to watch myself. I mean, come on now, what kind of eighteen-year-old needs a babysitter? As for my girlfriend coming over, my parents loved her. We’d been dating for nearly a year, and I saw us going somewhere. She normally stayed the weekends with me, but since her mom left out of state for business, leaving her with her stepdad, she wants to stay every night she could. It didn’t bother me. The more she stayed over, the closer we got, the more my heart knew she was the one for me.
I was done straightening the house up, taking a shower and cleaning my room by 1 a.m. She normally walked over; she didn’t really believe in wasting gas, especially since we lived not even ten minutes away. Driving to go and get her was out of the question. She was an environmentalist, which I thought was really cute. I peeped out the window, hoping to see the silhouette of my baby at the front door.
She was standing in the little glow of my porch light, so I went to open the door.
She came in without a word spoken, which was highly unusual. I leaned in for a hug. Just like any normal couple would. She went around me, so I just played it off and closed the door—locked. She took off her shoes at the door before she stepped onto the carpet, and continued to my room. I soon followed.
I sat back down on the floor, and continued watching the movie I had started, before I started cleaning. A couple of scenes had gone by before I even remembered Mina was still not there with me. I looked over at my room door, and she was just standing there looking down.
“Crap babe, you scared the hell out of me. You okay?” I asked her as I turned the movie off. “Hon, what’s wrong?”
She didn’t know what to say. I could tell by the look on her face as she glanced up at me. I got up from the floor and started walking towards her. I broke midpoint, and she fell to the ground. I took a huge step towards her, as if I could catch her before she hit the floor.
“I have—,” she took a deep breath in, “I have something to tell you. I-I’m just so scared,” she said in a soft tone, almost whisper-like. Her voice was cracking every other word.
“Mina, baby, what’s going on? Please don’t tell me, you cheated on me.” It had to be something that bad—if not worse. She tells me everything, as I do her. We have an open relationship.
I was standing directly in front of her. She was wearing her favorite pair of skinny jeans, deep blue, and I loved her in them. She had on her little green jacket, with pink and white strips on the shoulders,unzipped half way. She wore two hair clips to pin the sides of her hair back—her grandmother gave them to her just before she passed away—but her bangs were just hanging there like wind chimes, blowing softly from the AC vent above her. She was my everything and it was killing me to see her this way.
I bent down to her level, and leaned in closer. I put my arms around her half-frozen body. “C’mon. Let’s get you warmed up.” I spoke in a normal tone as I helped her up to the bathroom. I noticed her clothes were damp, “it’s not raining outside is it?”
She shook her head “no,” removed her jacket and threw it on the bed. I looked at my hands and noticed it wasn’t just wet, it was also red . . . I didn’t know of anybody who sweat red.
Ali, eleventh grade, Manor Accelerated Academic Recovery Center
This week, we’ll be posting the finalists for the Rose Million Healey Award in Short Fiction. Come out to our community-wide reading Saturday, May 2, to meet the authors and find out who the winner is.