14: Oct 2016 #16 - Deidre
Authored by Isabelle Wedin
When I got to the schoolyard, she was on a swing, putting out her fourth or fifth cigarette. I was late as usual. She hugged me, longer than I expected. She smelled like ash. She asked if I went here, and I told her only for a year, I went to Catholic school until my parents ran out of money. We walked through the gate and down the block, aimless. I told her sorry I was late, and she told me it’s okay. Then she said life is shit and her mom’s a bitch. I said yeah mine too. I said this one time I don’t even know, but by the end we were crying in separate rooms, and my dad was yelling at me for it. I said I couldn’t wait to move out, burn all the photos in her backyard. She said she wanted to light her house on fire.
We stopped at the bodega for chips and soda while she told me she was homeless once for like a week. I looked at her for a second, but didn’t say anything back. We walked on, past the ugly houses, and she said, like it was nothing, you should tell your parents the truth, because they don’t deserve any better. I threw my bottle out in someone’s garbage can and tried to think of something to say. And that’s the only way to get the truth back, she said, which is good to get out of the way, even if it doesn’t change anything.
After a while we got to where the stop signs turned into street lights and I said it was getting dark. We turned the corner to find a way back and the wind was cold and dry. She wiped her nose and eyes, smearing makeup across her cheek. I wanted to ask her how she did that, how to put it on, how to be so bold. Instead I asked why we never hung out at school. She shrugged. After a minute she said something I couldn’t hear and I watched her as I nodded to see if that was the right response, but she wasn’t looking, she was turned away and her hair was covering her face.
I said something eventually, I forget what, and she said something back, but mostly she just looked sad. We got to a chain link fence in a part of town neither of us knew. There was a field, a batting cage, and another school. No, just the back of the same school, the one I went to for a year, but it looked different now from so far away. I know the way, she said, and I followed.