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Melting Rooftops

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Have you ever tripped over cracked pine needles on a Wednesday? Maybe mid-December heat pumping through your wool gloves caught you just in time. Or not.


Dan loved her but he never understood her. Or her goddamn mother; if Allie ever had an evil clone, he knew it would be her mother. Allie's first 'I love you' was when he held her hair back after the party as she threw up in the guest bathroom. She said she was just drunk; she would never do this to herself on purpose. He almost believed her.


It was a Tuesday when he stopped by. He snaked through her house, calling her name past the picture frames on the cracked wall. She was balled up in the corner of her room, rocking. Back and forth, back and forth. She was accustomed to the rhythm by the time he got there. He saw the garbage can next to her filled with vomit, burning his brain when he understood.


Allie's mother was on the couch painting her nails. Their identical features were almost sickening for him to recognize; but Allie was nothing like this woman. Dan knew Allie's mother never saw her; only everything she was not. He held Allie close as he carried her out the door. Her breath smelled of acetone and he knew it was almost too late. 'Have a good time,' her mother said. Dan wanted to shove her Louis Vuitton pumps up her ass.


They met for the first time at the winter dance. He cut in while Allie was dancing with some other guy that he couldn't care less about. She was in the choir and her voice kept Dan up at night. He sat behind her in almost every class and he knew this was his chance. Her face was curious as he took her hand and introduced himself. 'I'm Dan,' he said lowly. She looked up and smiled as he twirled her past the punch. 'I know.'


Her dad ran out when she was ten.
'I can't stand that woman. I just need to leave,' Allie overheard her father telling her aunt.
'What about Allie?' her aunt asked.
'She has her mother,' he said as he folded his last shirt. His eyes were sad but not sad enough. Allie hid behind the large plant as he stalked out the door for the last time. The only part of him Allie had left was the gold pendant shaped as a music note that he gave her for her seventh birthday. She had always wanted to be a singer.


Dan kissed Allie's hair as he carried her to the car. He tried to be stable for her. He worked hard to maintain a neutral face, steady hands' at least some confidence that this will be okay. It didn't work. His hands were shaking as he started the ignition. He felt everything in one moment: the hunger in his chest when her eyes pleaded with him to get her way; the feeling of her hands on the back of his neck burning his skin; the rage when he saw her on her bedroom floor, letting go to the worst of her. He should have known. He should've been able to see through her pretenses. Dan drove as fast as he could, determined to save her. He would make a different ending to the story he's heard a hundred times over. Allie had to be different. Dan held her hand the whole ride there.

He screamed at the doctors that said there was nothing they could do. That's impossible he yelled as his fist cracked the Clorox-white walls. His mind went blank when they told him she didn't make it; this has just been going on for too long. They told him she hasn't allowed her stomach to keep almost anything down for the past year. Three of the idiots pulled him back when he tried to open the locked door. She was on the other side, if he could just please see her again. He screamed her name as they pulled him back. It was the first time he cried.


He walked out of the hospital and let the wind slap his face. He couldn't breathe anymore; standing straight was not an option. He just needed to fall. He felt something ripping through his skin cutting him deeper than a knife ever can. Allie was everything. He remembered her humming when they drove in his car, her voice made him shake now as he walked through the busy streets. He just needed to fall; he hated walking when he knew she couldn't anymore. He made sure his feet got caught in the pile of pine needles and his face hit the cold ground faster than he expected.

It was a Wednesday and Dan let himself lie on the concrete; staring at everyone Allie could not become.





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