Friday, December 4, 2009

Walking Home

What I'm Listening to: Different Names for the Same Thing (Death Cab for Cutie) Being sixteen and not having your own car is practically murder. Especially when you have a license. I am one of those many unfortunate, carless teenage souls. I draw the line when it comes to riding the bus, though. Parents, if they choose not to invest in their teenagers in this area, should be obligated to drive them to school to save them from the horrors of the bus. The only problem with that is my parents are both frequently late and forgetful. After half an hour of waiting outside the high school in sub-freezing temperatures, I called my mom and told her I was walking home. She met me after I had walked about a mile and apologized for losing track of time. Shivering and shaking, I massaged my frozen legs and nodded. Despite the cold, I have to admit the walk was pretty nice. Maybe it was my feeling of independence; maybe it was my suddenly slowed pace. But either way, it felt good to get outside and breathe the crisp, cool Washington air. If it weren't so cold, maybe I'd walk home from school once in awhile. And now the long-awaited seventh installment of After the Crash: Bronze I am horrified to realize I have drifted off...again. "David!" I croak. "David's in surgery," a voice says from behind the curtain. "Who are you?" "Just the nurse," he replies. A man-nurse? What else is new? I purse my lips together and ask politely what surgery he is having. He tells me David fell out of his bed last night and broke his leg again, and a few bones in his wrist. My eyes open wide. I ask him if he will be all right. He tells me oh, yes. It will just take a while, is all. I let a breath out hesitantly. I am beginning to get a strange sense of déjà vu. I outlined my eyes in a black pencil and stepped into a knee-length boring black dress. I examined my face in the mirror and sighed. Why in the world did I put on eyeliner today? The streaks only added to my sense of melancholy. I let down my hair that I had tied into a bun. The less people that saw my miserable state, the better. My boots were somewhere under the piles of clothes and junk food, but I had no idea where. Somewhat reluctantly, I settled for a simple pair of black flats. A fluid, single note stirred the blood in my veins. The doorbell. I smoothed my skirt and stood up, letting several shirts and shoes fall to the floor. "Coming," I called emotionlessly. The girl at the door had flaxen hair and a blank expression. "You must be the boss," I said almost kindly. "Oh. I guess he told you about me." "Vaguely," I admitted, and shook her cold, lifeless hand. She led me to her car--a white Lexus--and I climbed in. The journey was spent in perfect silence. I stared out the window, watching the cars and pedestrians, thinking they had it so much luckier than I. The girl and I stood next to each other, next to the gaping hole in the ground and the caramel-colored box with a nameplate of bronze. His name. The color I had only so recently associated with his hair, never to grow again. "How did this happen?" I heard myself say in barely a whisper. The boss said someone came into the firm with a gun and shot whoever was in sight. She could never have done anything. She was lucky they got him--and not her. I don't think she understood me. I knew the fundamentals. But why? How? I had not idea. I gazed at his normally tan face, his bloodless lips, his shut brown eyes. He was beautiful even in death. I reached out a hand and touched him softly on the lips only I--and I presumed his manager--had known. They were cold and stiff with fatality. I shuddered and drew away my hand. Forever how I would remember him: cold, lifeless, and dead. Not the vitality and bronze I had come to love.

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