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Girl on the Run

I waited for the truck to pull out, then applied the accelerator full force and sped out across two lanes. I checked in the rearview mirror for any sign of police, but there was nothing to worry about, just my parents reaction once they heard I dropped out of Westland University.

It had been my mother’s dream to go to college, get a degree and land a firm career in one of the biggest companies out there. She wanted me to become a millionaire, either by getting rich myself or marrying a prince. But her dream never meant much to me. All I wanted was to survive; I didn’t care how I got there.

Jane was going to be the perfect roommate. The day we both moved into Rushmore Estates, a dorm for mostly freshmen and sophomores, we became good friends. Not like most college friends that pretend to like each other just to stay in one piece while studying in their dorm rooms, but we actually had a lot in common. Jane and I both spent our Sunday mornings drinking hot tea with one sugar and two creams, and humming along to old Beatles records we stole from our parents’ attic. We both loved going to Bingo in the hall on Friday nights instead of getting high, and we hated when someone left tooth paste in the one of the sinks. The only thing was we weren’t the kind of friends to discuss our problems.

The night of her death, Jane and I got in a fight over something stupid. I don’t remember exactly what happened now, but I remember it starting out in the laundry room over who was going to have to wait the longest for their clothes to finish. Only now am I realizing that Jane was having a bad day, and I had made it ten times worse.

Jane had this sweatshirt she loved to wear, with a printed picture of Paul McCartney’s face. We always joked about it being proof that she was a murderer and would someday use it to track down Paul McCartney himself, and have him assassinated. We both knew it was only a joke. But that night, she was wearing the sweatshirt while waiting for her laundry to finish when I dropped my bucket of dirty clothes on the cement floor right beside her. She had laughed when she saw that we were both wearing Beatles’ shirts; mine the album with all five stretched out across the famous Abbey Road.

“Adele, you’re stealing my wardrobe again.” Jane giggled.

I opened one of the washing machines and began piling the clothes inside.

“No, silly, this is definitely my shirt, because The Beatles are my band and I’m not sharing Paul or John with anyone else ever.” I smiled her way, to let her know I wasn’t serious. But she responded in an unexpectedly.

She stopped everything and just stared at me. “Excuse me? You know how much I am infatuated with Paul. He is all mine, and I would never share him with someone like you.”

“Someone like me?”

My mouth fell open, and for a second I forgot we were in a confined basement; a basement with walls that echo.

We both backed off and Jane finished her laundry, going back upstairs to our room.

But when I went upstairs, I noticed the door was locked. I glared at the blank, white-board hanging outside the door, not really knowing what to do. I hadn’t thought she was that mad at me.

After about five minutes of banging on the door, I turned around and walked down to the cafeteria. I figured she needed to be left alone to cool off; I never thought that would be the last day I would see her alive. Of course no one expects things like that. But the worst thing was the blame.

Jane overdosed on prescription pills that night. She had started taking vicodin because of a bad sports injury about two years ago while in high school. That was as much as she told me. She said she had recovered from the injury but couldn’t stop taking the pills, and she soon became dependent on them. I don’t believe she meant to die. I still think she just took too many at once, like she did a few months back. The first time she overdosed on the vicodin, her parents had threatened to pull her out of college, and into a rehab for addiction. I guess she never recovered.

When the police broke open the door of our dorm room, they found her lying across her bed in a strange, outstretched position. They found an open bag of potato chips thrown at the foot of her bed and most importantly, they found my fingerprints along her skin.

Jane mixed the heavy dose of vicodin with alcohol, leading to liver failure which eventually killed her. After further investigation they found a bottle of Smirnoff hidden in the lower drawer of her desk, which she had kept cleverly hidden away even from me.

Betrayal didn’t even begin to describe the emotions I felt.

When the police broke open the door of our dorm room, they found her lying across her bed in a strange, outstretched position. They found an open bag of potato chips thrown at the foot of her bed and most importantly, they found my fingerprints along her skin.

Its funny how we much we act without really thinking. I don’t remember exactly what I said to make Jane snap, or if I said anything to make her snap at all. I reacted subconsciously, banging on the door of our room and cursing our friendship when I should’ve spent the time thinking about an apology.

What if someone across the hall saw me standing outside our door like a lunatic? I was so tired that night; I barely knew what I was doing. What if someone made up a lie to tell the cops and give them the impression that I had assisted in her death? My head was starting to spin; the cars speeding by me in the next lanes all seemed like blurred shapes. I remembered their accusations, telling me they had evidence of my fingerprints on the corpse, and that being her roommate made me the number one suspect. But I would never kill someone, especially one of my good friends.

A tear bled into the fabric of my jeans, soaking my vision. I saw the blue lights reflecting off of the metal car beside me and I jumped.

I was more afraid of what they would think if they pulled me over and took a good look at my face; covered with scratches and bite marks, followed by a thin film of dirt and grime. I looked more like a criminal than I felt. So instead of pulling off to the side rail like the cop wanted, I leaned all my weight on the accelerator and sped off the highway into the exit for Lawrence/Lowell. It was time to re-unite with an old friend.





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