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egg1291
September 24th, 2010, 11:38 AM
Haven't been on here for a while so here's just a short story I've written recently. All feedback is welcome.

August 6th

The setting sun finds its way around the branches and leaves and through the side windows making its way onto my sun burnt neck. My brown shirt shows subtle sweat marks and I open a window to let the cool air in. I usually don’t find it too difficult to get here but somehow today was different. Swooping right by her street I blindly drive forward, as far as the road takes me. Driving down the tree lined street, past a school building and onward. Only until the houses begin to drastically change in appearance do I notice how far I have driven.

“It’s Indian Springs,” I say as I gently press down on the brake pedal.

“Ok, make a right,” and I do “you gotta keep going and then it’s the first left, or did you pass it already?” she asks.

“No, I see it, I got it from here thanks,” I spit out quickly.

“Wait, what? Do you know where you’re going?”

“I’ll figure it out thanks,”

“Hold up you’re gonna get lost again just listen,” I follow her continued directions which lead me to her house. Her screen door closed but front door open, she stands in between watching me pull in. She turns and sticks her head around the door- probably yelling something to her mom. Coming down the steps I see she’s wearing a little black dress that tightens up around her waist. The dress hangs on two black straps that wrap around her tan shoulders. Before I can set my eyes on anything else she opens the passenger door and gets in.

Sliding onto the passenger seat, shutting the door behind her, Mandy drops her purse to the floor and turns to face me. She inspects me with her dark brown eyes running up and down my body. The gloomy smile I flash tells her all she needs to know.

“What’s wrong?” she says quicker than I expected and I am lost.

“What?”

“You ok?”

“Yeah...I’m just all over the place right now,” I say as I put the car in reverse and begin to back out. The dark street swallows my car and with one swift motion of the wheel my car begins accelerating forward

“Ok…Well, are you gonna say anything or…” her voice fade and I set my eyes on the yield sign and my eyes trace all three corners of the yellow sign. I slow down without looking at either side and begin to turn. A cop car passes in front of me and I hit the break just in time. He doesn’t slow down and now my eyes are set on him. Waiting for the flashing lights to go on, for him to turn around, but he doesn’t. The cop car continues forward, completely ignoring the near collision we just avoided.

She doesn’t say anything but I can see her body tightening up. Her knees cave in and her shoulders jump up and straighten themselves. Fixing her glasses she turns to me trying to find the words to describe how she’s feeling. Only until I run a red does she say anything.

“Sam!” she raises her voice and I have nothing to say back.

“What is going on?” she continues, emphasizing every first syllable.

Still unable to say anything she continues to glare at me. In my head I begin to think of a response while trying to remember the directions my GPS has failed to provide. Waiting in the left turn lane I finally decide to speak.

“Sorry it’s just been a really long day. I really don’t know what’s going on with me.”

“Well you disappeared on us the whole day not to mention you show up an hour late and you’re driving like you’re on drugs or something.”

“I was just busy, I’m sorry,” I say as the cars in front of me begin to move and I follow.

“That doesn’t explain anything, have you talked to Josh yet? He’s been calling you all day and so has Michelle,” she spits out quickly and once again I have nothing to say back.

I continue forward silently, merging onto the right lane as my lane ends. I’m looking at the road but I know she’s staring at me. Half the time I try to think about what to tell her, and the other half I try to get my head back on my shoulders. Trying to gather my thoughts in my head begins to seem more and more impossible and instead I begin to space out. As soon as I compose a thought in my mind it instantly begins to drown in the puddle of thoughts that are my mind right now. A mess of conflicting ideas and memories swarm in my mind and I can’t seem to find a balance to it all.

“Sam…?” she says and I realize she’s still here.

“Oh, ahh...Sorry what were we talking about?”

“Just forget it, you’re...”

“I’m sorry today was just a rough day. What have you been up to?”

“Well I’ve been home all day cleaning, I already told you though,”

“Oh yeah, I guess I just forgot, why were you cleaning all day?”

“I told you, I’m moving. We had people coming over to look at the house.”

“Oh yeah, you’re moving to Summit Grove, that should be fun.”

“Yeah we could’ve been neighbors, too bad you’re leaving,”

“I know it sucks, I wish I could stay,”

“Yeah me too,” she says quietly and I turn to look at her for the first time since she entered the car. Her black hair is now up behind her head exposing her shoulders. Her dress goes down to just a little past her thigh but a good amount above her knee and I begin to develop the same bittersweet feeling I always get when I am around her.

Our time together was short. One month, maybe less. And here I am again losing my grip on something I love. And there it goes. I say it and my mind begins to fight itself. Maybe it’s something I wouldn’t say to her, maybe it’s something I don’t mean, but it is something I enjoy: this connection, the way we are, I adore it- that feeling of a new relationship where possibilities are endless; that crossroad where you decide to make it something instead of nothing; that moment you let her in, the moment where you want to be together for a while. You want her by your side and you wouldn’t mind giving it a label. You wouldn’t care if people knew; you wouldn’t care if Susie knew about her. Everyone around you begins to notice and starts making sly remarks about how “cute you guys are together”. And for now we are an “us”, grouped together prematurely but not falsely. I try not to make it more than it is but it’s hard.

I continue to move my eyes back and forth between the road and her and she’s starting to notice. She blushes and looks away to face the window. Her little elbow mounts itself between the door handle and the window and she places her chin over her palm. Whirlwinds of cliché thoughts begin to emerge and I call myself out on them. One in particular continues to come back to me and I don’t want to admit it but I end up helplessly accepting it. I remember the day she entered our group of friends, through Michelle. I remember how she stood out. Something so subtle but still immensely noticed. I notice how the time passes quicker with each glance at her and I don’t want to drown myself any further in these thoughts. I omit everything from my head and try to focus on the road. I look up at the stoplight and the unfamiliar street signs inform me I am lost.

“What’s going on?” My sudden U-turn tells her something is wrong and I try to explain that we are lost but instead end up making excuses for my failure to pay attention.

“Sorry this construction messed me up, don’t worry they’re probably not even there yet.”

“Okay…” she says stretching the last syllable as she twirls her hair.

“Can you tell me what’s up now? You’ve been acting so shady all day, what’s wrong?” she says continuing the integration she previously stopped.

“I don’t know, my head is just all over the place right now, I’ll be fine we just have to get back on Willow.”

She nods and I focus my eyes on the road again. My mind now finds itself split in two, half wants to tell her while the other feels I can’t. Every five minutes I build myself up and as soon as I turn to her I change my mind. And right now she feels it and she knows that I know it. She tilts her head on its side facing me, waiting. Waiting for something, waiting for anything to come out of my mouth and in the end nothing comes out.

I pull into the parking spot not too far from the restaurant and I turn the car off. We come out together and instantly we feel as if the car had split us apart. I look over as I come onto the sidewalk where we meet and once again we are together. That awkward feeling of connection is something we both recognize but only I make a move to fix it. I come towards her with my arm out; my keys dangle in front of her. She had already gotten used to the procedure and places them in her bag. The air feels incredibly light and I begin to notice all of the lights: streetlights, headlights, lights coming from inside stores, and finally the moon, probably providing the least amount of light. Walking almost shoulder to shoulder we both feel the other’s presence and remember to stay close. There is a premeditated notion of togetherness, something we have built in these past few weeks and something I must break in the following.

I look at her and try to envision the situation from her side. Here I am, getting her as close as I can to myself only to abandon her. Maybe she doesn’t know how this is happening only because of the one before her or maybe she does. I don’t even know if this happened because of Susie or if it was natural. I feel every relationship now will either be compared to the last one or happen in reaction to it. I try to emit anything having to do with Susie and try to sort out my true feelings towards Mandy.

At first it’s all silence. My mind empty and not functioning, finally I try to begin somewhere and I begin three weeks ago. My mind paints the picture of the first time we kissed in that dark basement on the uncomfortable floor, trying not to wake the five or six people around us. My body weightlessly above hers, my eyes locked with hers and I stuttered for a second thinking about what I was doing. That insecurity and fear of what’s about to happen rushed through me and I just went with it. I remember trying to figure out how she would react and then realizing how much I overreacted. She accepted the kiss and since then we have been together, that unofficial together, where you know, and she knows, and so does everyone around you, but no one says anything. And maybe it’s my fault for not talking about it, but now I just figure it’s too late

She gives me a nudge before crossing the street that I ignore only to be followed by the inevitable confrontation.

“I’m not going any further until you tell me what’s going on,” she commands placing me in an odd spot once again. I turn to see her standing a few steps back from the edge of the sidewalk facing me with her arms crossed. She inspects me silently awaiting my reply. For a moment I imagine myself being able to swiftly explain all that is going on but the more I begin to think about it the more I realize how little she knows of me- the truth, the honest truth, which I wish to tell her, but feel as though I cannot. Masked by the premature hope for our relationship and young aspiration for success I haven’t come to realize how distant we still are. Just a few passionate nights, a few long conversations, a couple moments of trust, and a couple moments of fear are all we’ve had. Conversations spanning from believing we are ready to thinking we should wait. All of which come back to this dreaded feeling of indecision, neither taking the lead neither opening up, and unable to make the next move, unable to go back. We are stuck.
I want to tell her the significance of today, but now the thought of our relationship at its brink overshadows my previous woes. My mind tries to formulate a reasonable answer but I am drawn back to two things. First I think of telling her about what happened today. What happened four years ago, tell her everything. Go back there and let her in. And then I think about confronting her about where we are. Not physically, but in our relationship. Each subject in my mind is valuable, but with two very different possible outcomes. I choose the latter.

“I’m sorry, I’ve just been thinking about us,” I chose my words wisely setting up the conversation in the way I imagined it but knowing eventually I will not be able to control it.

“What do you mean?” she asks still in her stance, holding strong.

“I don’t know, you tell me,” I ask.

“What? What do you mean?”

“I don’t know, what’s going on with us? What’s happening?”

“Nothing…” she pauses to think.

“I don’t know, I’m sorry I just don’t know what’s happening or gonna happen between us and it’s been bugging me lately, you know, just the thought of us doing this. Coming together, like this, doing what we do. I don’t know what I’m getting at but just, you know, I want to know. I want to know how you feel.” I state, repeating it all in my head trying to figure out if it at all seemed comprehendible.

“…About us?” she asks pausing for more time and I nod.

“Well I told you, I thought you knew. You know how I feel, I don’t get why this is coming out all of the sudden now,”

“I don’t know I’ve just had so much on my mind lately, with everything you know, so I just want to figure something out. I wanna know where we are.”

“Well nothing has changed yet, what do you mean?”

“I don’t know maybe it was dumb bringing it up,”

“No, stop,” she glares at me as she comes a step closer and her arms tighten.

“If you brought it up it clearly means you want to talk about it,”

“I do, it’s just I don’t know what I could say or even do right now,”

“Why do we have to do anything?” she poses a simple question and I have no answer for her.

“Why do we have to come to some sort of agreement right now, what’s the point of it? Listen, I know you’re leaving in a week but while you’re here, stay here. Look I’m right here. So are you. For now, just stay here. Don’t complicate things. I’m not dumb I know what’s going on. I know you want to know about Chris and I know about Susie. Maybe you are just doing it to get over her, but listen- right now we are here, nothing more than us here, on this street with the restaurant behind us, the cement pavement beneath us. You can’t make this more complicated than it is. It’s the beauty of it, the subtle mystery. Before you know it you’ll be gone, and trust me in some way I will be with you. But this way I won’t be suffocating you. I know I don’t act like I know a whole lot but it doesn’t mean I don’t understand what’s happening right now,”

“You’re trying to get over her. You don’t need me to suffocate you with another relationship. Do you think either of us is really ready? We’ve never even talked about Chris; this is literally the deepest conversation we’ve had. We got the most we could out of this last month. Don’t bring more baggage upon yourself, especially when you’re so close to starting your new life. I don’t like to express myself like this a lot so just don’t make this weird. I care about you, a lot. You treat me so well and I couldn’t ask for more but right now with everything from my past I can’t just move on and make something of this. Do you get what I’m saying?” she takes a breath and I feel as if the wind was knocked out of me. For a moment I just observe her, telling myself it is Mandy standing in front of me, telling me this. Her words float around in my head for a while eventually coming together to form sentences and then whole thoughts. I look at her and try to keep a calm face

“Sam? Do you understand?” she asks again and I try to find the words to counter her but I cannot.

“Please, don’t make this weird. Let’s just preserve whatever time we have left, enjoy it. The rest will follow.” She finishes off and my head feels light and heavy all at once. I can’t find the words to even come close to a suitable response for what she had just said and how on-point she was so I just nod.

“I know it’s hard to swallow, but I’ve been thinking about it for the last couple of days and I realized that I like you and if we had to rush things right now it might ruin it. Look maybe in time when I get my stuff together and you get settled in, maybe then we can make this more official. But for now, you know how complicated it is. Let’s just enjoy this time, right now, and the times you come back to visit and maybe in some time we can come back here and see what we want to do. Does that sound ok?” she asks and my mind tries to force feed all this information at once until I realize what she is saying. And then, just like that. I stopped. I stopped thinking. I halted the million and one thoughts in my head and just listened. Not to her, because she had stopped speaking, but just listened. I listened to the cool night air, listened to the people walking by and to the cars driving on along the street.

“Ok,” I told her with the most beautiful feeling of bliss. Or possibly something more, but I wasn’t about to put that under a microscope and inspect it. Debate it and calculate it. I looked at her and gave her a smile, a plain smile. The one she had become accustomed to and with little to no thought I walk forward and slid my hand along hers, slowly closing my fingers around hers.