As A Circle

The room was loud, a cacophony of voices sporadically harmonizing together. Unwanted ideas littered the floor like fallen soldiers, their scratchy fabrics too tight or too blue or too baggy. Girls danced around the room, trading makeup and clothes and perfume. The air was thick with whatever the girls in the next room were smoking. Probably weed, because none of the girls had enough funding to afford anything better.

Lacey sat on the bed nearest the window, clad only in Hannah’s green skirt and a bra. The shirt she had planned on claiming had been wickedly stolen from under her fingers by Frances, who had snatched it up with the savagery of a wolverine. She had to admit, at least to herself, that the shirt looked better on the skinny torso and protruding bust of her friend than it did on her anyway.

When the digital clock on their mutual bedside table decided that it was time to go, they spirited out of the room and down the hall as if they had never had free time before in their lives. Lacey, having decided upon a dark blue tank that more or less went well with the skirt, awkwardly hurried after them. She kept the 7:00 pm curfew issued by the school in her mind as she followed the beautiful girls like a puppy, wondering how much they could figure out in those three measly hours they were allowed out.

The other girls paused by statues on the way to the rink, stretching their thin bodies into suggestive poses with the alabaster and marble figures. Lacey averted her eyes, trying not to tantalize her wayward brain with those tempting images, though she had to join in or else they would become suspicious. She twined herself around a certain Herman Melville, some kind of long-dead famous guy, and heard her uniquely gravely laugh resounding along with the others’. She pried herself away from the cold chest of the statue, unnerved by the inhuman cold touch of too-smooth marble.

“where are my—I must’ve left them in the room! Lacey, come with me?” Hannah asked, frantically probing through her oversized purse for the key. She nodded, and followed the hasty girl through the darkening streets of Massachusetts.

When they reached the room, Lacey was overwhelmed by the alluring truth; the only ones in the dark room were her, her roommate, and her terrible secret. She caught herself, more than once in the slight moments it took for Hannah to locate the ragged backpack containing the skates, almost letting the curly words slide out of her mouth like the water used to make ice-rinks. After a few mostly silent moments, Hannah emerged from within depths of the girls’ shared bedroom, her fair curls twining around in ringlets that imitated the curly tendrils of Lacey’s errant feelings.

The steady, easy slicing thumps of shiny silver blades on the frozen rink became an ignorable soundtrack to the three-hour night, only barely audible over the giggling beats that came from the people populating the rink at that hour. They were the only ones from the boarding school, travelling in a tightly-packed bunch to stay warm. The stars materialized above them, twinkling round dots that Lacey could not imagine as huge balls of flaming gas so very far away.

“We’ve got to go—it’s 6:50!” Beth exclaimed, after three hours had slipped past in ten minutes. The girls loped towards the school, Hannah and Lacey falling once again behind the others. While running, the two bumped into each other, flames racing up the veins and arteries of the contrary girl. She flinched away, certain that Hannah could feel the secret in that brief meeting.

They made it just barely before curfew, with heavy breaths and relieved high-fives. The four rushed upstairs, into the dark hallways and recesses where they resided far away from home. Hannah claimed first shower, allowing the curvilinear girl to sit on the bed nearest the window and fall deep into thoughts about her roommate. The betraying thoughts about her friend pulling the bright red shirt up and off of her chest, too-tight skinny jeans falling to the shower floor entered her mind, and she injudiciously allowed them to remain in her deliberations. She glared into the dark and promised herself that she will confess her feelings toward her lodger the next day.

As she stared at the furniture in the dim room, she noticed how the dark made everything look fuzzy and obscure, rounded and curving inwards. She decided, suddenly, that most everything in the world is a lot like her; straight as a circle.





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