Run

October 31, 2018

Early Fall

“Hate to break it to you, but you’re never going to understand it.”

The boy stands at my shoe, toe to toe. I look up from my seat under the oak tree but can’t see his face through the sun.

“It’s Faulkner,” I say.

“I know.”

“If you know, how do you know I won’t understand it?” I lift a hand to shade my view, but all I can see is easy bones and white teeth.

“It’s Faulkner, isn’t it? Stream-of-consciousness bullshit.”

“Bullshit. According to you.”

“According to me.” He leans against the tree like he owns it. I don’t like him.

“What if I say it isn’t bullshit? What if I think it’s kind of brilliant?”

Piss off, I think. I don’t like your dimples and I don’t like your smile or your sandy hair and I don’t like your effortless way that you hold your shoulders. Piss off.

He doesn’t piss off. Instead, he sits on the ground beside me.

He takes the book out of my hands. “Then I guess it’s not bullshit.” He grins, opens and scans the page: “The guy wrote drunk, you know that, right?'”

“Maybe guys who write drunk are my thing.”

“I don’t think so.”

“You don’t know enough about me to think so.”

He closes the book and hands it back to me. “I do think so. Because you’re about 50 pages into it and yesterday you were sitting here, same spot, and about 50 pages into it. So.”

He gives me a pointed look, launches himself off the ground and his eyes are greengreen and dammit.

***

Later Fall

“What is it about you and a perch?” he says, leaning against the doorway.

I am tucked into a corner of my dorm-issue bed, surrounded by pillows, several blankets and at least four books. “Point?”

“You…perch,” he shrugs, gesturing to the bed. “Whenever I knock on the door, there you are. Bird on a wire, but with books.”

“I hate birds,” I say.

“I know,” he says. “But for a girl who hates birds, you do perch.”

He walks across the room and slides in, burrowing under blankets. He reaches for my wrist and closes.

“Dinner? I think you need dinner.”

“I have to study.”

“I think you need to eat.”

“I think you need to go.” I press my lips hard between neck and collar.

***

“Lunch? Girl’s gotta feed the machine sometime.”

“I have class.”

“Ice cream?” He smiles. Jackal in frayed t-shirt. “C’mon, D. Say yes to ice cream, unless you are heartless and not human.”

“What if I say I only like vanilla?”

“Best flavor. Blank canvas. Let’s go.”

“No,” I laugh. “I have to go.”

“Of course you do. ‘I have to go, I have to go, I have to go.'” He catches my hand before I can stop him.

“What?”

“Just. Hey.” He looks too close and frowns. “Can we just…stop…for a second?”

I try to stop, I do.

“You’re always running away,” he says softly. “I feel like I never can catch up. Like you’re always two steps ahead, and there I am, running like an idiot.”

“I don’t run. And you’re not an idiot.”

I give up my shoulders and lean in, inhaling everything that is open and solid and exactly him. “Well, I mean, you probably are an idiot. But I don’t mind and I don’t run. I don’t.”

***

Way Later Fall

Knockknock. Bang.

“Hey. You in there?”

I slouch in the corner, among moving boxes.

Bang.

“D. Look, it’s way too quiet in there. I know Meg’s not there; she can’t be. There’s no Love and Rockets blaring.”

Soft knock.

“D. Hey. Open the door.”

Knock.

“If you open up, I’ll even like Faulkner.”

“Jesus Fuck,” I mutter. I kick the boxes into the closet throw the door a fraction.

“You don’t decide you like Faulkner. Faulkner chooses you.”

He laughs, greengreen, and sticks a toe through the narrow opening.

“That sounds ridiculous and snotty but hey, if Faulkner gets me through the door, I’m in.”  He nudges and I give one more inch. “Okay. Tell me which book to love.”

“You know absolutely zero about me, do you?” I smile.

***

My mother pulls up in the roundabout in front of the dorm. I’m on the curb, boxes at my feet.

My eyes well up at the sight of her silver Audi. It’s snowing like a bastard and I wipe my hand across my face.

And damned if he isn’t right there, out of my corners.

“Hey! Those look crazy heavy,” he says, jogging through the sludge, leaning in to lift the weightiest boxes. He places his hand on the small of my back. “You’ve gotta be freezing. Let’s get ’em in.”

“Taking some things home before break?” he says, opening the car door.

“Yeah. Just for a while.”

“Drive safe, okay?”

The hum and thrum of the Audi’s motor still isn’t enough to kill the noise in my head.

“Who was that boy?” my mother asks.

I curl hard into the passenger side, holding my face flush against the icy window.

“It’s nothing,” I say.

“THAT was not nothing,” my mother laughs, looking at me sideways. “That boy was beautiful.”

“I know.”

“And?”

“Please take me home,” I say.

 

 

I run.

 

 

 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Kel November 4, 2018 at 8:12 am

Not sure I could possibly adore you more than I do right now.

I also admire you for sharing something like this. Not sure I could.

Reply

Dana Talusani November 4, 2018 at 11:44 am

Kel,

Thank you. This one’s been a long time coming, but I always have moments where I wonder if I should just keep this crap buried. But then again, maybe it helps.

Reply

Kel November 4, 2018 at 1:37 pm

I hear you. However, I’ve learned first hand the dangers of keeping stuff buried. It doesn’t disappear – it just contaminates everything around it.

You’re a beautiful, sensitive, intelligent, hilarious human being. Just know that you’re loved and valued.

Reply

Dana Talusani November 4, 2018 at 5:10 pm

Kel,

How on Earth did you get so wise? Never mind. I’m just glad that you are here.

Reply

Arnebya November 10, 2018 at 4:16 pm

Shit.

Reply

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