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Some Kind of Closure This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     The undulating ring of the phone wasmuffled, but still audible. Blaire groaned as she slid out of bed tofind it. She crawled around on the floor, shifting piles ofAlicia’s clothes. The dorm room the two juniors shared was a mess,and Blaire thought it a perfect metaphor for what happened when theirconflicting personalities met.

More like collided head-on andburst into flames, Blaire thought, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.Alicia pretends to be such a cookie-cutter sorority chick. If only shefaked being neat as well as she fakes being nice.

Finally, shefound the phone. Lying on her back, she stared at the cracks in theceiling and muttered, “Hello?”

“Hey,Blaire.” She tried to place the vaguely familiar voice.

“Who is this? Go back to sleep and leave me alone.It’s Sunday,” she drawled.

A deep voice chuckled intoher ear. “Blaire, babe, I hate to wake you, but it’s already12:30. Time to get up.”

Blaire sat straight up, completelyflabbergasted. Only one person called her babe. Mark Singer was calling?She wracked her brain, trying to think of a reason for her phone-phobicex-boyfriend to call. “Um ... hang on a second?” Hernormally raspy voice was high-pitched, as if she were trying to bepolite. Which I’m not, Blaire reminded herself. She stood anddropped the phone, pacing around the room. But I’m not nervous.I’m mad.

Blaire and Mark had split up three months before.Blaire (claiming to be unbiased) told her friends that dating Mark waslike dating a five-year-old with a commitment problem and bad breath.Mark didn’t have to give any reasons since none of his friends orfamily knew about Blaire, which her friends suspected was the reasonthey had broken up. God, I wish it were that dull, she thought.It’s so much more dramatic to say that you were the girl yourboyfriend used to cheat on his girlfriend.

Even holding the phoneat her side, Blaire could hear Mark sigh. “Blaire, don’t belame. I know you’re there.” He’s right, don’t bepathetic. Pull yourself together.

“Of course I’mstill here, babe,” Blaire retorted. She hated being in thevulnerable position, and she hated that it was a familiar one with Mark.“I’m just trying to figure out why you’re calling.What if Michelle finds out?” She walked into the bathroom andstood in front of the mirror, making a face at her bed head.

Markmade an “aw, shucks” noise, enjoying the banter.“She’s out for the day. C’mon, Blaire, can’t aguy call his old girlfriend?”

“Old? More like ex. Webroke up, remember? I came in, screamed at you a lot, then left ...that’s called breaking up out here in the real world.”

“Fine. Ex-girlfriend, then.”

“Unfortunately,” Blaire retorted.

“Oh,unfortunately we’re not together? Sorry, but I’m stilltaken.” Mark passed off the jab with a light, jokingtone.

“And I am too, so don’t be a jerk, Mark. Whydid you call?” Blaire made her raspy voice clear that she wantedto end this conversation.

“Just wanted to. We broke up, sowhat? That doesn’t mean I canoh-migawd-never-call-you-again!” he said in a girlyfalsetto.

Blaire rolled her eyes. “Okay, Mark, I’lljust brush my teeth while you try to find words.”

Markgroaned, still stalling. “Blaire, you’re soirritating.”

“Nye doun has hoo be nishe tofoo.” Blaire took the toothbrush out of her mouth, spitting intothe sink noisily.

“Huh? I couldn’t hear you throughall that phlegm. Real sexy, by the way.”

“I said, Idon’t have to be nice to you.” Blaire over-enunciated herwords, now enjoying the verbal sparring. Her mind was on edge, hernerves were humming. Just picture Mark Singer throwing himself aroundhis crummy apartment, dashing good looks distorted as he tries to get meback. I bet he’s picking his teeth. How sad.

Reality, ofcourse, contradicted her fantasy. Mark, who, Blaire figured, wasenjoying their spat as much as she, suddenly becameserious.

“Look, can you stop being a b---- for twoseconds?” His voice suddenly sounded important and mature,something Blaire wasn’t used to. “I’d ask you not toget all mad, but -”

“Yeah, I know. It didn’twork the last time.” Blaire sat on the tub and calmed herselfdown. “What’s up?” she asked casually.

Markfinally said why he’d called. “Uh, I heard about you andTom. That’s awesome.” His voice, though superficiallyexcited, was still layered with monotony. You sound so ecstatic. But thethought of Tom made Blaire forget her sarcastic comment, and instead shegrinned.

A month after she and Mark broke up, Blaire had met TomPoehler in her Chaucer class. The course was the only one she took whereshe encountered relatively smart people, but his cute dreads, adorablesmile and the Flaming Lips she’d heard blasting from his iPod werethe only reasons she hadn’t dropped the incredibly boring class.

After Tom inched a few seats closer to her each day for a month,he finally asked if she’d like to see “The Triplets ofBelleville.” Surprised by his directness when she’d expectedhesitancy, she said yes right away, making Tom the first guy in a whilewhom she hadn’t led on first. She attributed this to the successof their relationship. That and the fact that Tom is the cutest, mosthilarious, most intelligent guy I’ve ever met! Blaire thoughtgiddily. The heady, happy period of their relationship had lasted wellover the customary month, and Blaire was starting to think this mightreally be it.

Blaire cleared her throat, breaking the silence.“Yeah, thanks. He’s great. Have you met him?” God, Ihope not. Tom will tease me forever about dating a wrestler. He’sseen “The Breakfast Club,” he’ll start calling himAndy, and then he’d probably start calling me Claire, andI’ll never hear the end of it.

“No, but I ran intoAlicia last week and she told me. Guess she didn’t mentionit.”

That brat, Blaire thought. “Nope,” shereplied, unable to hide her annoyance.

“Yeah, he soundslike an okay guy.”

“Um, thanks, I guess,”Blaire said, unsure where he was going with this. He chuckled.“Don’t sound so grateful. I just wanted to let you know thatI’m not gonna pull a Danny Ocean on you.” He paused, waitingfor her to get it. “You know, like ‘Ocean’s11.’”

Blaire raised her eyebrows. “Pleasedon’t rob Tom’s casino.” She could feel him rollinghis eyes.

“I meant by being all, ‘your new boyfriendsucks, I won’t let you date him.’ Yeah. He’s cool withme, though. I won’t do that.”

Blairecouldn’t help herself. “Aw, Mark, that’s sweet. Butyou know I’d kick your butt if you did.”

“Hey, Blaire, I’m just trying to give you my blessinghere,” Mark replied indignantly.

“Yourwhat?”

“So you’d know I was cool with youdating again.”

Blaire laughed outright. “Oh, Mark,are you serious? Look, I know I said I’d be cool, but come on. Ineed your opinion about as much as I need a hole in my head. Don’tyou remember why we broke up?” She paused. “I’ll giveyou a hint: you’re still dating her.”

Mark matchedher incredulity. “And I can’t believe you’re still madabout that!”

“I’m not!” Blaire snapped.“I’m just mad you’d assume -”

Mark cuther off impatiently. “Look, Blaire, you can’t be mad that Iwanted to stay with the girl I’d been with for, like, half mylife.”

“Mark, I know that, but you’ve got toadmit it might have been a little shocking to hear you were breaking upwith me because you had another girlfriend.” Blaire paused for amoment, debating whether to bring up what had been bothering her most.“She wasn’t the only one you cheated on!” Markignored that.

“Whatever. Which would you pick,Blaire? A seven-year relationship or a one-night-stand that turned intoa two-month guilt trip?”

“Oh, so now I’m aguilt trip?” Blaire shouted. “More like a warm body comparedwith your frigid holier-than-thou girlfriend!”

“Whatever, Blaire. I love Michelle, sex isn’timportant.” That mature voice again, now smug from having gotBlaire to drop her lackadaisical attitude.

“So why do youcare if I date again?” she asked, sounding bored.

“Idon’t care,” he replied defensively. Then you wouldn’thave called, genius, she thought.

“I thought you werecalling to ask for some shirt back or to invite me to hang out so wecould stay friends,” Blaire snorted, disgusted. “Not to fixyour guilt complex. You’re giving me your blessing?”

“Well, yeah.” Blaire could hear Mark pound somethingin frustration. “Whatever. I was trying to end on a good note. Ishouldn’t have called.”

“For once weagree.”

“I know I screwed up,” hemuttered.

“More like screwed around,” Blaire said,and laughed in spite of herself. “Giving me your blessing does notmake up for what you did to me. Or Michelle,” she added. Butthat’s the closest I’ll ever get to an apology.“I’m still mad at you.”

“You’llnever change, Blaire,” he said bluntly. She heard the click as hehung up the phone.

Blaire shook her head in annoyance, tossingthe phone onto a pile of laundry. That’s so unfair. I’llnever change? Like he will. So much for closure.

Evensarcastically, the word closure made her pause. Well, why can’tthat be closure? I’ll probably never hear from him again now thatwe’re on “good terms,” she thought. He isn’tapologizing, and he definitely isn’t coming back. Do I want himto? Blaire wondered. I don’t think so. I really like Tom.I’m happy. There’s no reason to go around yelling at him forthe rest of my life. It’s never made me feel any better. Hedoesn’t care anymore. Why should I? Blaire sighed, feeling thetension beginning to lift from her body. Mark said she’d neverchange, but she had. She was over him. Or she would be, eventually. Andthat was good enough for her.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Emmy13329 said...
Apr. 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm
Greart!! I really like it,check out my work sometime if u want........:D:D
 
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