I’ve never seen someone as brown as Petal become so pale before. With each sentence I could feel the campus grass tickling my ankles like prickly nudges that urged me to, Stop talking! Several times she looked as if she was starting to walk away, but I was having none of that. I’d touch her arm and make an attempt to steer the conversation elsewhere so that we wouldn’t leave each other sourly, but then I’d find myself mentioning some inappropriate fact like having to plan the baby shower and wondering aloud if she was going to have one herself. In this hour, I hate my brother.

Now that I think about it, she never even got a chance to say anything. There were moments when it looked as though she would interrupt, but then she wasn’t raised to be so rude. That would be my mother’s explanation anyway. She was good for complimenting someone while taking a jab at me. I would have deserved it this time, though.

When my “verbal diarrhea” finally stopped, I didn’t ask how Petal was doing. Just stood, squinting under the sun, which seemed to want to burn into my cheeks as punishment for breaking Petal’s heart a hundred times before she could process the first. I finally ran out of words. Naturally I waited for her to catch me up on some things. But – nothing. She must’ve tuned me out at some point because she was studying the grass blades, mumbling. I imagined she was lecturing the blades for not weaving themselves into ropes and dragging me away by my feet. I became aware of myself then: how my books were getting heavy, sticking to the sweat on my arms.

The monologue I’d just given began to replay in my mind. The sun was making its way down my neck, the heat pressing on my chest. I thought of my brother, Corey and my heart pounded. This is sure to end with him disowning me before he passed down Mommy’s old Firebird. Hot summers on the bus, here I come. Bomba-clot!

I released Petal. “Good to see you again.” She rushed off like she was late for something, holding her mouth as if she was concealing vomit. Mommy would’ve scolded me. If there was a competition for foolishness, you just earned top ranking.

Leave a Reply