Adam got visibly upset when he saw me laughing at something I was watching from my phone, despite incomplete homework still spread out before me. Apparently, it took me five minutes to notice he was there.
Which made sense, because I was always chasing after my assignments to get them done on time (sometimes unsuccessfully). Even his assignments. If anything, as a student, I should’ve known better. Following him out of the near empty library, I attempted to explain with, “It was only ten seconds. I was working the whole time in the library otherwise.”
He paused in his tracks. As we were now outside in an empty quad, we could finally talk freely to each other.
“Lilette,” he said, turning towards me, in his disciplinary voice reserved for students caught watching Instagram stories on their phones. I winched, realizing I probably shouldn’t stick out my tongue this time.
Despite the shell of protection around me, I would still slip out to be misled by a false sense of desire. My younger sister Kaitlyn, my mom, and Adam himself wouldn’t be able to prevent me from being foolish, as I apparently find something in him that I missed since landing in the U.S.
Gooey, cheese-ridden pretzels and vanilla/chocolate chip cookie dough milkshakes would’ve been good, except for the chilly polar bear roaming around in the room.
A.k.a., a past boyfriend that called for one last dinner while you were stressing over a manuscript due to your publisher in two weeks. It’d been cloudy then, the skies thick and pungent with an anger soon to take over in the form of pouring water. Musky and wet, the very air signaled rain, which had once alluded to spicy cinnamon hot chocolate with fragrant strawberry candles and all curtains drawn. With your Maltese teacup snoozing on your lap, fingertips would’ve tap-danced on your keyboard until intestines growled for some food, often in the form of ramen as your buzzed head would finally rest from all the radiation. That’d basically be the day.
But here’s a shift in routine – a jarring jump into the past that’d left you shaken, unsure of what to say or do. Though you’d crawled out of your studio cocoon for him, you weren’t even sure at this point if this was right. Letting go was letting go, and you thought you were sure.
And the skies too thought they would rain. It didn’t though, and neither had you stuck to your “break.”
I shouldn’t have expected her to run towards me. I should’ve made the first move – to tug on her arm even if it meant disfiguring her arm socket, or pushing her back so I’d be the one hit by the asshole drunk. But instead, this whole thing is incredibly ironic. And so, so haunting I could die myself.
In our case, not long after I pushed her to the brink, I’ve been hit with forced closure. Life did not, could not, wait to force-feed me the consequences of my actions that, currently, I can only choke on.
I still miss Alice. I should’ve been the one rushing across the street, never making it to the sidewalk in time.
I wish I took the responsibility for her brokenness, with the correct foresight.
We as spectators view the girl from an unknown camera, as she sits huddled in the lightless room. The lens attempt to capture the details surrounding her, but the lack of light renders the feat to be difficult. We are silent, crouched in a space where she won’t see us. We know her name is Hatty, and that her older sister is Hailey. 23 and 25.
What we don’t know is how she feels after what just transpired.
“It’s not my fault,” she mumbled, breaking her silence. “It’s not.”
Through the lens, we view her eyes flitting to her closed door – wondering if someone is beyond the doorway.