Monday, February 16, 2009


Maddie stopped in the bathroom and wiped her face with a damp paper towel. Damned cheap stuff, it felt like sandpaper. She leaned against the wall, trying to talk herself out of skipping the rest of the afternoon.

Two girls came in, giggling. They were in her History class. They ignored her. Or maybe she really was invisible. She held up her hands, fingers splayed wide. Her mother had had piano virtuoso dreams for those long fingers, dreams dashed by Maddie’s complete lack of musical talent.

Maddie left the bathroom and walked down the hall as slowly as she could. Her next class was Chemistry. The thought of the lab, its normal plethora of scents intensified in the heat, sent a wave of nausea through her. She ducked in to a stairwell and made her way to the first floor.

It felt cooler outside. At least there was a real breeze, not just a fan moving the same hot air around. Maddie walked boldly, out in the open. She’d found that if you didn’t look like you weren’t supposed to be leaving, the security guard would leave you alone.

"Hey! Maddie!"

She turned her head toward the voice, barely slowing. It was Shelly, one of her former circle of best friends. The first to stop calling.

"You cutting?" Shelly whispered.

Maddie stopped. "I’m going home."

"Can I bum a ride?"

Maddie’s car was the fifteen year old Honda that Wyatt had bought for himself when he was in high school. He drove their mom’s car. His car now, she supposed. The Honda hadn’t been in great shape to begin with and three years of carting teenage boys around hadn’t helped.

Maddie turned the air conditioner up as high as it would go. That and the Sheryl Crowe CD she’d left in the player helped cover up the awkward silence filling the car. Or maybe Maddie just felt awkward. Shelly spewed a constant stream of words, working herself in to a proper frenzy about what-if they got caught. Maddie put the car in gear and drove off campus.

"So," Shelly said, relaxing once they were out on the main highway. "Are you just so stoked about graduation?"

"I guess."

"God! My mom is going ape-shit about the senior cruise. She’s on my back every minute. She’s about to drive me out of my freaking mind."

Maddie just nodded, not noticing that Shelly had brought both her hands to her mouth.

"OMG, Maddie, I’m so sorry."

Maddie just shrugged. "It’s okay. Really. It’s cool."

The silence played out for a moment. "So, I guess you aren’t going, huh?"


Things like senior cruises and proms and graduation parties were so far removed from Maddie’s life that she didn’t even feel the loss. She now lived in an entirely different world.

"So, did you decide on college?"

Maddie had been accepted early into several colleges. Duke and UVA were her top two choices. Had been her top two choices. Shelly didn’t need to know that though.

"Duke probably."

Maddie bit at the inside of her cheek. They had planned it out. Once she graduated, they could live in dorms. Wyatt at the College of Charleston and Maddie at Duke. That wasn’t going to work now. The baby was going to change everything. There was no way she was going to college this fall.

She dropped Shelly off in the neighborhood where they both used to live. Maddie drove around the shady streets for a few minutes, remembering. Birthday parties, swim meets, sleepovers. She didn’t drive past her old house though.


  1. Wow! JanetLee, I'm completely hooked!

  2. I'm looking forward to seeing where you're going with this. By the way, zero followers of this blog are listed, but I'm following. And when I tried to sign up again, I got the message I was already following this blog. Go figure. I wonder how many followers you really have?