Unforgotten

By
Music poured with impenetrable fierceness from the headphones, heavy metal volume nine kinds of loud, no doubt causing passerbys to fear for the listener’s hearing ability.

Body angled just right, inky-lashed eyes reduced to slits against the chill air, the lean form tearing down the uneven, gravelly New York street possessed nary a thought for anything but the wheeled board beneath her.

A jolt delivered by a pothole filled with leftover rain sent an unexpected tremor through her bones. Immediately she welcomed it, arching in an athletically feline manner and leaving the scene behind her with only a spray of water clinging to her jeans.

Swerving to dodge a pair of sofa-toting movers, a razorblade smirk graced her lips in triumph of her control. This moment belonged to her.

Caught up in the familiarity that came with cruising Brooklyn’s backstreets, she allowed the soaring feeling that always accompanied skateboarding to claim her, cocooning her in a blanket of thrill. She had no worry of losing herself; this part of town was etched into her nervous system; she knew it like the chewed nubs of her fingernails. And where she was headed was painstakingly clear.
There was no time spent considering what might come of this impulsive decision. There never was, not when she was suspended in the glorious sensation of earth-bound flight. Deal with it when it happens, as per usual. Acting at a minute’s notice was something she had taught herself to become very well accustomed with.
Early September wind froze solid in her throat, making her feel as if she were sucking in the endlessly blue firmament, choking happily on a cloud. Her head spun as the world grew claw sharp around the peripheries, vision cutting deeper with her increasing speed.
In a burst, her focus erupted into something so recognizable that her stomach clenched. Involuntarily, of course. It was cool, she could handle this.
Coasting to an absent halt, she shoved the headphones from her ears, flicking her music player off, double checking that it stayed snugly protected in her pocket. It was highly important among the scanty amount of things she owned, second best to her board.
Slowly, very slowly, she tilted her visage to her acquired destination.
The weather-worn complex that towered over her seemed to beckon her towards it with outstretched arms. Taking it all in, purposefully sliding her intense, cerulean gaze over every scratch, chip and imperfection the apartment building exhibited, she could do nothing to prevent a smile of remembrance. Grace Court Alley, she thought. To say she had grown up there would be ignoring the truth. Over years, moving from foster home to foster home to orphanage had forced her to mature in advance. Life had pitted her stoically in front of a parentless onslaught. She had toughened and she had survived, just as she’d promised herself. But within these warm, enclosed walls still lay the memory of a family she couldn’t force herself to abandon. The best, most safe months of her being had been spent to the fullest in the restful security of that limited accommodation, only to be shuffled again between the government’s merciless deck of cards. One pale, long-fingered hand curled into a fist at that mentally conjured fact. Despite the power figures that loomed over her like the dark, foreboding sky of a tempest, the Wrynns had acted as nurturing sunshine when she most needed them. That was what made them unforgettable. And that was why she had to see them again, today of all days.
Her teeth came down on her lower lip. Hard. Happy seventeenth, Jack. You’re gonna make yourself miserable.
Jacqueline Renata Pires slammed her tattered sneaker against the closest edge of her skateboard, sending it airborne. The hunk of flattened, grippy wood flipped straight to her arms, landing there smoothly as she shook her long, low ponytail from the collar of her threadbare jacket, letting it stream free in an obsidian waterfall of split ends.
The lungs she kept attempting to fill resisted and a wave of disgust towards her behavior made her eyes narrow venomously.
Nothing to be afraid of, you idiot.
Yet a million possibilities swarmed her normally straightforward brain, each more horrible than the next. And when chiseled even, they all pointed their lurid, neon signs to the last strikingly feared outcome. Rejection.
Shut up shut up shut freakin’ up.
Jack rested her board lightly on the side of her right thigh, pushing her willowy form forward, gait tentative. The call box glared at her tauntingly, several buttons near the middle ripped clean off. Unkempt springs and colored wires stood from its back as if antenna, deeming it insectlike. Jack returned the machine’s daring gaze, her fair-skinned face radiating a scowl as she scanned the rows for surnames beginning with ‘W.’
Wrynn. Her finger somehow found the dingy label, tracing the letters with a kind of gentleness not often displayed by the young woman.
Never know if you don’t try.
With a dominant inhale, she lifted her chin, punching her fingertip to the cold, disbelieving ringer.
Happy Birthday.





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A fan of yours said...
Oct. 20, 2008 at 6:51 pm
Warm story! I like the way you use adjectives. Keep sharing your work with us, we are always impressed!!!
 
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