Clarity

She wore ill-fitting navy-blue flats, the shoes she wore to church with her parents. They were the only thing that matched her outfit, which she hoped looked casual, like she hadn’t thought about it too much, like she went on dates all the time. She thought about wearing her gold sandals, she loved the way they made her feet look like a more mature version of themselves, but she did not want to look too dressed up, too invested, as though she thought they were going to a red carpet event. Trey would probably be wearing shorts. That’s how boys were.

But Katie was invested. She had not been on many dates, and she would be in college soon. She had arrived at her high school sophomore year with the aloof-but-desperate look of a military kid who moved around a lot, had promptly joined the extra-curriculars and corresponding social groups appropriate for her status level (drama, wind ensemble, photography club), and had quickly made friends, mostly the forgettable sort of friends she made everywhere she’d lived. Periodically, there were boys who were rumored to like her, and she would go with them to a dance, to Denny’s after the cast party, or even to their house to watch a movie. She had been kissed exactly three times: once, too eagerly, by Michael Smelzer after a band concert (she’d thought what the heck, but had drawn back in horror when he immediately tried to stick his tongue in her mouth), and twice by a boy named Brandon who was a day camp counselor with her at Brookside Camp, where her job was to make yarn crafts with dozens of screaming ten-year-olds whose parents worked. It was a nice kiss until he said, “Wanna go in the tool shed on our break?” She’d replied, “Um…. not really…” To which he’d said, “Cool,” and never paid her any attention again.

The fourth kiss, the best one, really, would be from Trey Andrews, a lacrosse-playing senior, leagues beyond her socially, who had inexplicably left his team senior year and tried out for a school play, and wound up playing Benedick opposite her Beatrice in a very abridged version of Much Ado. He was olive skinned and blue eyed and had that jock swagger that other theater boys did not have, and he was not gay. Katie knew, because Trey Andrews had dated Lisette Peterson, and had a string of girlfriends before her. He looked cocky and made a good Benedick, and they had chemistry, something she’d never had with anyone on stage, or anyone off stage for that matter, except maybe her friend Parker, who did not do theater but who was gay.

Trey Andrews ignored Katie, mostly, for the first three weeks of rehearsal, except to say lines with her and then leave in the car of some other lacrosse-playing senior, engine revving over laughter and music, like in a movie, while Katie left in the passenger seat of her mom’s minivan. But at some point the week before tech week, when she’d decided to really commit to being a good Beatrice, to really nail her lines–especially the argument scene where she says even if Benedick’s face got scratched by a dog, it wouldn’t be worse–he did start to pay attention to her, a little. It had felt good to hurl insults at Trey Andrews, because it was something. He would never like her, pay attention to her, so at least she could have this contrived passion with him on stage, even if they mostly hated each other in the abridged version. At least she could have something with him. Surprisingly, he actually got his lines memorized–nobody thought he would–and he was good at them, and by the end of tech week, Katie thought maybe they were friends. Slightly flirty friends, which was thrilling and unsettling.

And then on a Thursday after school, when the play was over and there was really no reason for them to be seen together, Trey Andrews stopped by Katie’s locker and asked her what she was doing on Saturday. For a moment her mind raced: was there some mandatory meeting of cast members? Did he need to borrow notes for a class? She couldn’t think why he was asking.

And now here she was, eating a nice dinner with Trey Andrews at a fancy-ish restaurant, not a Denny’s or a Chipotle but a date restaurant, her tight, ugly shoes kicked off under the table. The shoes didn’t matter because he had the bluest eyes and ordered like a grown up, raising an eyebrow at her to indicate that she could order first, which made her a little dizzy. The waiter was in his twenties, so Trey was younger, but he wasn’t nervous at all and even seemed to brush the waiter off just a little, which was so adult. Trey wasn’t actually rude or anything, just confident, Katie told herself. And maybe he felt just a teeny bit cooler than the waiter even though he was younger, because the waiter was chubby. Athletes were like that, they couldn’t help it. Plus, Trey made her laugh at dinner, talking about his team and his friends, and when she reached for her little purse when the bill came, he’d said I got this and put a gold credit card in the wallet thingy they give you, sliding it in the pocket like he did it all the time.  

Walking to his car, he’d taken her hand for a minute, sliding his fingers down her arm first, then letting go. He’d tilted her face up, right there in the parking lot, and she’d thought oh, so that’s what they mean in books when it says her knees went weak…

 What do you want to do now? He’d asked, in an almost-whisper, and her stomach flip flopped. Another first. She’d been ready for the question, though: there was an old movie playing at the dollar theater, she told him, the one where the guy dances in roller skates and it’s amazing. It was a really old movie but her grandmother liked it, her grandmother had grown up in California and lived near the famous dancing actor when she was a little girl. Plus, it was two dollar popcorn night.

Trey had made a strange face and said wouldn’t that take like two hours? Yes, she’d said, it would, and then suggested they go to the bookstore on Princess Street instead, they had outdoor seating and they let you take books out there even if you weren’t buying them. Sometimes they had live music.

Trey had sighed at that, which Katie couldn’t understand, but he’d said okay and started driving in that direction. Was there something you wanted to do? She’d asked, and he’d said no, this was fine, but something in the atmosphere had changed. Or maybe she was overthinking it.

Pulling into the parking lot of Cyrano’s Books and getting out of the car, Katie heard a little flapping noise in the grassy median that separated the two halves of the parking lot. A small bird was just feet away from her, flapping and then stopping to rest, its beak open a little.

“Oh, gosh, oh no, the poor little guy, I think he’s hurt,” Katie said, a small, sad panic rising up from deep inside her. She could tell the bird’s wing was badly hurt, and she instantly decided two things without even thinking: that this was a boy bird, she would call him him, and that something had to be done for him, though the prognosis was grim.

“Leave it,” Trey said, just ask Katie bent down to scoop the bird up in her sweater. Did Trey have anything like a little shoe box in his car, she wondered? Or even a hat or something? If she took off her sweater, maybe she could wrap the bird in it to keep him still while they found help.

“What?” she said, taking off her cardigan. Had he just said leave it?

“That’s so gross, leave it alone,” he repeated.

Katie swallowed. “He’s hurt,” she began. “It’s his wing I think. There are animal rescue places that might take him, we could at least call–”

“God, what’s wrong with you?” Trey said, a sneer on his face, confusion in his eyes. “Just leave it, it’s dirty, and–”

“He’s hurt, and he’s not that dirty, plus I think he’s a bluebird, and if we could just find some help–”

“Jesus, that’s so fucking weird, I should have known,” Trey said, rolling his eyes. Somebody from the patio of the bookstore looked over at them as he raised his voice, “Just leave the stupid thing, it’s just going to die–”

“I KNOW IT’S GOING TO DIE!” Katie shouted, and now several people from the patio looked over at them, and slowly returned to their conversations. The bird’s head, she now saw, was sort of at an odd angle. “I know that,” she said again, quietly this time. Her throat was suddenly sore, and she felt the cool sting of tears in her eyes, but she willed them back down to wherever they came from. “But if there is a chance we could save him, like find a vet or something, we should at least try. Or we could at least, I don’t know… take him somewhere…” Her voice trailed off. She really didn’t know what her plan was. Maybe they could call a vet with after hours.

Trey starred at her, and she knew he was analyzing something, calculating. She also knew, in that instant, that he didn’t really like her, and if he did, she did not care. She took off her sweater, a whisper-thin, light blue cotton shrug her mom bought her at a beach when she was fifteen. She bent down and wrapped the bird in it; it did not put up a fight.

“I think you should take me home,” she told Trey, meeting his gaze.

“Jesus,” he said again, getting into the car and slamming his door, not helping her with her door this time, though she was cradling the bird-sweater now.

They didn’t speak all the way to Katie’s house. The bird died in her sweater, in her arms, as she thought it might. She looked straight ahead and did not cry. It was only a twelve-minute drive to her house, but she saw, stretched before her, a whole future, more clearly than anything she’d imagined before. She would continue to act; she was surprisingly good at it. Maybe not for a job, but maybe. She would study what she wanted, learn as much as she could, and stop imagining other people were cooler than her, better than her. She would stop waiting for everything to happen to her and decide what she wanted to happen to her instead. She would throw the navy-blue flats in the garbage.

Trey Andrews stopped in front of Katie’s house exactly long enough for her to get out before he sped away. Walking toward her front door, carrying a small, dead bird wrapped in her sweater, she felt, suddenly, as light as air. She felt free.

Previous

Evergreen

Next

Paige’s Favorite Books and Best Things of 2019!

87 Comments

  1. Thanks with regard to delivering many of these substantial articles. Roselin Skell Easter

  2. Enjoyed every bit of your article. Really looking forward to read more. Really Great. Gwendolen Roldan Yorgen

  3. need help writing a paper http://essay2y.com/ top essay writers Akmkxf vrmjkb

  4. pay for paper writing http://essaynyc.com/ cheap essay online Otrtiz xzoxec

  5. writing assignments http://essayhhelp.com/ college essay for sale Zrnxww zoueyp

  6. order fluticasone online http://allergicpls.com/ buying essay Iluero dyexps

  7. buy fexofenadine fir sale http://allergicxl.com/ research paper website Wcetwz mgvrfs

  8. buy poultry antibiotics http://antibioticpl.com/ paperwriter Cdcndr mpceuw

  9. Just started CPP at 60. Retired 5 years ago and delaying another 5 years would result in 10 years of zero contributions to go along with several years with no contributions while going to school. Piper Cyrille Ellwood

  10. dental abscess antibiotics http://antibioticxp.com/ how to write an essay about my family Uktpbu wjjbzn

  11. I read previously that the redirect gaskets are not suggested by the Instant Pot company because they can damage the machine and void the warranty. Probably something to verify with the company, I would think. Ardith Leighton Cristi

  12. Howdy! I simply would like to offer you a big thumbs up for the excellent info you have here on this post. I am coming back to your blog for more soon. Elicia Chaddy Gee

  13. Thanks a lot Archana. Please do try, I am sure you will love the taste. You can also make these without any mould. Just gently flatten with your palm. Miran Urson Emmit

  14. Respect to website author , some wonderful entropy. Letizia Alistair Nova

  15. best prices on cialis http://edppharmacy.com/ pay for essay writing uk Kdvhnk jinssj

  16. goodrx cialis http://pisiapills.com/ professional letter writing services Jwghfw qirdry

  17. free cialis http://edsilap.com/ help with papers Xxsdqy wmoydo

  18. tadalafil no prescription http://edsilap.com/ academic writing uk Pbypmz tbnkcu

  19. viagra 50 mg http://virviaga.com/ writing a paper Ypxewv nvwdtc

  20. order viagra http://usviagpll.com/ custom dissertation services Rugzmn muawuu

  21. ed treatment drugs http://pllsed.com/ buy an assignment Mcaoew awcmeb

  22. top rated ed pills http://strongplled.com/ online thesis writing Oqgpdh aysumy

  23. my canadian pharmacy reviews http://phapll.com/ need help writing a paper Gkdpqk gobucn

  24. Hi there! I just want to give an enormous thumbs up for the great information you could have right here on this post. I will be coming back to your weblog for more soon. Poppy Dimitry Arnoldo

  25. Hello. impressive job. I did not expect this. This is a excellent story. Thanks! Andriana Kip Starla

  26. You should be a part of a contest for one of the greatest websites online. I most certainly will highly recommend this site! Lolly Had Knorring

  27. Breath-taking pictures, Daniel. You are such a talented photographer, and this trip must have been truly amazing. Thanks for sharing. Aurore Rossy Scammon

  28. casino games online http://realgamescas.com/ professional research paper writers Yqjywz teqtek

  29. pay for dissertation http://payxessays.com/ buy an essay cheap Fhomtk zafakv

  30. write research paper for me http://writexessays.com/ pay for assignments Bssnqp rnrnre

  31. buy minocycline generic http://antibitc.com/ pre written essays for sale Oqvznz kdfyfb

  32. erythromycin price http://abiotab.com/ cheap essay online Hbypyy rhzfbp

  33. Accede to to our gigantic bit and muff the gaff onus in ruminate on to you that created such unemotional. Brigitte Carson Tingey

  34. cialis canadian cost http://ciapili.com/ purchase term paper Bzfnig xfszrh

  35. order generic cialis online http://edpll.com/ how to write my thesis Hpbtml doyenr

  36. Hi to all, how is all, I think every one is getting more from this website, and your views are nice in favor of new users. Ariella Hughie Sidwohl

  37. http://bio-catalyst.com/ – clindamycin price
    generic roxithromycin
    [url=http://bio-catalyst.com/]buy trimox[/url] keftab tablets

  38. buy essay now http://essaywrw.com/ buy an assignment Dfdqsp lvwvvr

  39. cheap essay online http://wrtessay.com/ custom written papers Oqpehl stoozg

  40. slots real money http://cacinowina.com/ real money casino app Gzaylq kyqawd

  41. hard rock casino online http://cacinobz.com/ casino online gambling Jrfcxs mesfsc

  42. help writing research paper http://boessay.com/ edit letter Niqnzy nvcjyw

  43. write thesis http://geivermectin.com/ academic writing is Tzjvaj szqaiu

  44. professional research paper writers http://ivermectinpls.com/ essay writing Idqqpb mcsdvl

  45. modafinil reddit http://modafinipls.com/ modafinil adhd Ptbqef xxttdh

  46. provigil cost http://provipls.com/ provigil 200mg Sivhnp fjswgt

  47. stromectol online – http://ivermectipl.com/ ivermectin syrup

  48. stromectol online – http://stromectopl.com/ where can i buy oral ivermectin

  49. compare ed drugs – erectile dysfunction symptoms ed medications

  50. help with my assignment – http://edubibliography.com/ affordable essay writing

  51. Marcosnef

    tadalafil pills 20mg: http://tadalafilonline20.com/ tadalafil pills 20mg

  52. Hi, of course this piece of writing is actually pleasant and I have learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.
    click here=Here is my web site – 부달

  53. Jasonbaina

    meds without a doctor prescription meds online without doctor prescription

  54. Jasonbaina

    drugs without doctor script: https://genericwdp.com/ pills without a doctor prescription

  55. Hi, of course this piece of writing is actually pleasant and I have learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.
    click here=Here is my web site – 오피

  56. JasonLow

    viagra from canada viagra online usa
    where to buy viagra

  57. JasonLow

    best place to buy generic viagra online order viagra online
    viagra online usa

  58. Hi, of course this piece of writing is actually pleasant and I have learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.
    click here=Here is my web site – 출장안마

  59. JasonLow

    viagra over the counter viagra from india
    buy real viagra online

  60. JasonLow

    order viagra online viagra discount
    price of viagra

  61. JasonLow

    viagra from india cost of viagra
    viagra amazon

  62. JasonLow

    online doctor prescription for viagra 100mg viagra
    п»їviagra pills

  63. Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

  64. MichaelWob

    http://propeciafavdr.com/ – propecia sale
    buy erection pills

  65. Hi, of course this piece of writing is actually pleasant and I have learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.
    click here=Here is my web site – 안마

  66. MichaelWob

    https://aralenph.com/ – buy chloroquine phosphate
    cheap ed pills

  67. personal ads free
    [url=”http://freedatingsitesus.com/?”]chat free dating site [/url]

  68. Kevinsen

    viagra without a doctor prescription usa https://viagrapills100.com/ viagra from canada

  69. Kevinsen

    best place to buy generic viagra online https://viagrapills100.com/ how much is viagra

  70. dating personal ads
    [url=”http://stfreeonlinedating.com/?”]dating sites free no registration [/url]

  71. best free dating site for serious relationships
    [url=”http://freedatingste.com/?”]completely free dating site [/url]

  72. Hi, of course this piece of writing is actually pleasant and I have learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.
    click here=Here is my web site – 부산오피

  73. Hi, of course this piece of writing is actually pleasant and I have learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.
    click here=Here is my web site – 출장마사지

  74. Terrylic

    buy ed pills from canada cheap ed pills from canada
    ed pills without a doctor prescription

  75. senior dating site
    [url=”http://stfreeonlinedating.com/?”]dating personal ads [/url]

  76. Hi, of course this piece of writing is actually pleasant and I have learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.
    click here=Here is my web site – 대구출장

  77. RafaelDof

    https://zithromaxproff.com/# zithromax 250mg
    cost of generic zithromax

  78. singles near you
    [url=”http://stfreeonlinedating.com/?”]sexy dating sites [/url]

  79. Hi, of course this piece of writing is actually pleasant and I have learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.
    click here=Here is my web site – 출장마사지

  80. jimdofreeviero

    The road seemed to stretch on endlessly before us, but Alexis assured me that our journey was near an end. We’d turn before long into thick woods and travel through narrow, winding roads until we reached her family’s cabin. I had no choice but to trust her as GPS had given out nearly 20 minutes ago.

    “There’s good wifi and okay reception at the cabin,” she’d told me, “but you can’t get there unless you know the way.”

    So here I was, driving alone in the middle of god knows where with a girl who was my student just a couple of weeks ago. Her and her four best friends had been together from first grade all the way through high school and now they had graduated with very different futures ahead of them. They had decided to kick off “the best summer ever” with a week long stay at Alexis’s family cabin. Alexis and I were heading up before everyone else, the four other girls and four guys.

  81. Robertdar

    best erectile dysfunction pills: https://edpillsonline24.com/# red erectile dysfunction pill

  82. The road seemed to stretch on endlessly before us, but Alexis assured me that our journey was near an end. We’d turn before long into thick woods and travel through narrow, winding roads until we reached her family’s cabin. I had no choice but to trust her as GPS had given out nearly 20 minutes ago.

    “There’s good wifi and okay reception at the cabin,” she’d told me, “but you can’t get there unless you know the way.”
    https://modric31696374.jimdofree.com/
    So here I was, driving alone in the middle of god knows where with a girl who was my student just a couple of weeks ago. Her and her four best friends had been together from first grade all the way through high school and now they had graduated with very different futures ahead of them. They had decided to kick off “the best summer ever” with a week long stay at Alexis’s family cabin. Alexis and I were heading up before everyone else, the four other girls and four guys.

  83. Robertdar

    levitra pills: https://edpillsonline24.com/# pills for erectile dysfunction

  84. Robertdar

    ed pills: https://edpillsonline24.com/# generic viagra pills

  85. MichaelBIT

    online viagra prescription: viagra online without prescription viagra without a doctor prescription canada

  86. MichaelBIT

    viagra 100mg: viagra without a doctor prescription viagra prescription

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén