Another one of my original stories.
I thought about you today and I almost drove by your house. I actually made it to the end of your block before I made the last second right that led me back to my parent’s house. Back to my side of the subdivision. It was always that way with us, your side and mine. Warring nations always talking of peace but never quite able to achieve it.
I didn’t go home. I drove around in squares—past the park where we broke curfew because Dana had dumped you. You climbed on top of the jungle gym and screamed out the ache in your heart, while I made monkey noises and told you she was never good enough for you. She wasn’t, but not for my reasons. I went by Tommy’s porch, and I thought of the first time I saw you cry. We compared soap opera families and a tear fell down your cheek when you spoke of the tone of pride your parents adopted when talking about your sister, a tone that never uttered your name. I smiled as the spot I first fell in love with you came into view. We’d been out on a scavenger hunt for a friend’s birthday. It was chilly and you gave me your jacket. As you put it on me, warmth swept over my body. Whether it was form the jacket or the way your fingers brushed across my skin is still a mystery to me. You breathed in deeply and told me my hair smelled sweet, like honeysuckle. I still use that shampoo that brought the wry, crooked smile to your face.
As I looked around, I realized I’d been making my way back to your house. I wanted to drive by this time, but it stuck me that you might not live there anymore. Time has changed both of us and you many not recognize me. Or worse, you may, and turn your back to walk away from me. I remember we did not part well. Our last words were hurled across a room in anger.
I made another quick turn, a block short of your house and realized this is where our friendship died. I pulled my car to the side of the road and slowly took the keys out of the ignition. I stared intently at the road, almost through it, looking for the exact spot. I found it after a few minutes and could not take my eyes from it. It was small and had turned black over the years, but I closed my eyes and remembered the deep red of eight years ago. I sat cross-legged and cautiously touched it, part of me expecting to feel the warm stickiness from that night. I closed my eyes and darkness became a picture show of the past. I heard tires screech and a scream. My body tensed and my head reeled. I expected to hear more screams and sobbing. Instead, I heard a horn and opened my eyes in confusion. There was a car in front of me and a man yelling obscenities. I jumped up quickly and fled to my car. Fucking idiot! He shouted as he reved his engine and flew past me. I sighed, glanced once more at the spot and climbed back into my car.
At dinner tonight my father tells me there was an accident a few weeks ago in a neighboring town. A group of kids, goofing off in a parking lot. One thought he was invincible and jumped. He was wrong. You were lucky, he tells me. I look up from my potato and nod, tears welling up in my eyes. I never thought of that. You were invincible. It was our friendship that wasn’t.