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Linda and Jace (Vignettes)
"It's not funny!" I shouted.
Sometimes I wonder why I hang out with such horrible people. "Who, exactly, is it not funny for, Linda?" My friend Ruth asked, chuckling inanely. "I find it really, really amusing".
"You know, I did not call to be mocked." I said reproachfully.
"I’ve had a really bad day, and so I called my best friend for a little commiseration. I guess that’s too much to ask."
"So you said it's broken?" she asked, holding back giggles.
"Yes, and he's going to hate me forever." I whined miserably.
"Could you blame him if he did?" she asked with infuriating practicality. "You could have killed him."
"It was an accident." I said, feeling like I wanted to rip her head off.
"Only you could've shoved somebody down a flight of stairs accidentally", she said.
"I'm going to get a snack. I'll talk to you later." I replied shortly, to keep from screaming like an insane woman who's recently been bitten by a rabid animal.
"OK, bye Lindy" she said.
I went and looked in the pantry. "Ooh, whipped cream." I cooed. I got a piece of the apple tart my mom had "made" (She never cooks, but does occasionally buy desert at the supermarket and try to pass it off as homemade) and a plate and sat down at the table. Unfortunately, the entire world was against me today, and I somehow managed to spray some of the sweet white cream in my eye. Don't ask how that's possible. I am not even sure myself to this day.
"Ow!" I screamed. I let out a long string of swears in English, Spanish, and a few Turkish that my friend Phyllis had taught me. Just as I was exercising my excellent vocabulary, my mom walked in. Crap, I forgot she was getting home early for that dentist appointment, I thought.
"Wow, I haven't heard that one before." She said wryly. "What have you done to yourself this time?"
I ignored her and walked to the bathroom (running did not seem a particularly safe idea, considering that the universe hated me) to wash the stupid whipped cream from my face.
When I walked back out to the kitchen my mom was waiting, ready to ambush me. Or at least that's the way it seemed when she asked me, "So, did you do anything exciting today? How was school? Do you have any homework?"
"No. Fine. No." I said as briefly as I could.
"Are you okay?" She said, looking at me closely. "Yes. No! I don't know." I said confusedly.
Then I just told her the whole story.
"Wow. Do you want me to bring you to the hospital?” she asked generously.
"Trust me, mom, he does not want me over there." I said as emotionlessly as I could.
Jace's Unfortunate Accident
"So, Katie. How's everything going with yearbook?" I asked conversationally. She was walking next to me, and we were chatting until we got to our classes, which were right next door. She had been watching me as if she was worried I was going to do something stupid, like drop all of my books on the floor in front of everyone. She'd been like that ever since I'd slipped on an actual, real life banana peel last year. That was so not my fault. Who just leaves banana peels lying around? I knew yearbook was a subject I could successfully redirect her attention to.
"Oh, I don't know what I'm going to do! Our photographer has mono, and we don't have a replacement. No one else in school can take a decent photograph if I held a gun to their head. I told you kissing Abby Coralgo would give a person in-fectious diseases. Remember when I said that? And now it’s come true." She ranted. I think she was going to say more about the unfortunate Abby Coralgo, but she was distracted by something. "Hey, look, it's your lover boy." She said in an irritating sing- song voice. I turned to look where she was pointing, knowing before I saw him that it would be Jace, my un-requited crush. I spent a few moments contemplating his beautiful face, with its perfect, large, black- brown eyes, sculpted nose, and exquisitely shaped lips. They were so full… I was jerked back into reality by the feeling of someone banging into me from behind. Apparently I had stopped short as I was gazing at Jace's face in front of me, and the (huge) boy behind me hadn't had time to avoid bumping me. I tried in vain to keep my balance and a hold on my books, but they went flying. Right into Jace's path. He in turn slipped on my history, bio, and geometry texts, right down the unfortunately placed stairwell. I stifled a scream of horror and ran to see if he was okay. Most of the school seemed immobilized by shock; I just had time to notice as I ran for the top of the stairs. "Jace!" I yelled. He didn't respond. He must be unconscious, I thought. It was then that I noticed how his arm was bent unnaturally at a place that shouldn't have a joint.
I moaned with guilt. Wow. I had managed to seriously maim the boy I liked. Maybe it would be safer if I just stayed away from humanity in general. Then I regained my senses and called 911. "Hello, yes. I am at Stony Brooke high school and a boy has just fallen down the stairs. Yes. His arm. We are in the main wing, in front of the cafeteria. Thanks." I hung up.
Eventually the EMT's came and took him away. I was herded to my next class, where fortunately I wasn't expected to do anything requiring actual intellectual process. I couldn't think of anything but whether or not Jace was okay.
"Hey, Linda." Called aunt Suze. "Aunty Suzy, hi!" I shouted in my childish eight-year-old voice. I ran towards her gleefully. Suze was my favorite aunt. This was actually saying something, because my mom has 4 sisters, and my dad has 3. Any ways, I was so glad to see her that I didn't pay any attention where I was walking, and tripped over my own feet, falling onto the hard cement of the drive way. "Oh, Lindy, not again!" She said in dismay. She came over to pick me up, and carefully brought me back inside, where my mother patched up my skinned knees.
Later that night, as I lay in bed, drifting to sleep, I overheard my mom talking to Suze in the living room. "She sure is a clumsy child." said Suze.
I was sure my mom replied, but I never heard what it was, because I was so crushed. My favorite aunt thought I was a klutz! I cried myself to sleep.
I couldn't believe I was about to do this. Getting married! I stared at my reflection in the mirror. The girl staring back was not me. For one thing she was much too pretty. The makeup artists that had been hired were magical. Plus the white dress she was wearing was completely irreconcilable with the way I saw myself. A wife!
Then I remembered who I was getting married to. And suddenly I realized I couldn't wait to see him again. "Come on, Lin-da. It's time for you to go out there!” called one of my bridesmaids. I did. I went out there and when the time came to say "I do", I didn't even hesitate.
The Overly Revealing Dress, or; Jace Actually Talks To Me
"NO!" I said vehemently. "You can't make me do it!"
"Linda, you're overreacting." my mom said calmingly. "No." I repeated.
"It's just a camera, Linda. Now let them take the picture and let's go." said my date, Joe, sounding reasonably impatient.
But the thing was, I just didn't want to have my picture taken in this dress that made me feel ridiculous. It was purple, skin-tight satin, and had a low neckline and a slit running up to the thigh. I had not picked it out. Well, supposedly I did, but really it had been my mom's idea. "You only have a junior prom once, Linda. Might as well make the best of it" She'd said, holding out the atrocity.
It's not like it wasn't a pretty dress, but it made me feel exposed, and kind of like a child playing dress up. And I agreed to buy it, because I figured nothing could make this night worse. Being paraded around, and made to dance, which everyone knew I couldn't do. Ugh. But I was wrong. The dress was making my night worse. Because my parents were making me stand here in the living room and argue with them, while Joe got more and more impatient to go to the horrible festivity, and I kept feeling less and less like even going, and my strapless bra kept simultaneously being too tight and feeling like it was going to slip down.
Finally they gave up, and we left for the prom. On the car ride there Joe was silent, which I supposed was to punish me for taking so long, but actually gave me a chance to think. About one thing in particular I was worried about. I had been able to avoid Jace and his broken arm for about a month and a half, but there was no way to keep from seeing him at this stupid dance. No doubt he blamed me for practically throwing him down the stairs. And even though the cast would come off in two or three weeks, I still blamed myself for causing him such trouble.
I was pulled out of my reverie by the sound of Joe opening my door. I got out and walked with him to the dance floor. To make a long, ugly story short, I danced with Joe for about four songs, continually stepping on his feet, before some girl spared me by asking if she could cut in.
Unfortunately Joe, I guess, decided she was more fun, and simply kept dancing with her, effectively ditching me. I stood by the refreshment table, wishing I could go home, until Jace approached me. "O- Oh! Hi J-Jace", I stuttered feeling trapped. "How are you?" he asked politely. "Well. Thanks. And you."
"Great." He said. There was an awkward silence.
"Listen. Do you want to dance?" He asked unexpectedly.
"Dance?" I asked stupidly.
"I mean if you don't, never mind, I Just thoughtï¼"
"Wait, you mean you don't hate me?" I asked, interrupting him."No, of course not! Why would you think that?"
"Well, I did make you fall down a flight of stairs." I said.
"So that's why you've been avoiding me." He said, "I thought you hated me! Of course I don't blame you. So how about that dance?"
"Yeah, sure. But where's your date?" I asked.
"With yours. That's Catalina over there, chatting up Joe." He answered
We danced all night, and he didn't even care that I stepped on his toes.
The Wedding Dance
One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. I repeated over and over in my head. While I had become a little more graceful since my awkward teenage years, the waltz would never be my favorite activity. The only way I could manage was to chant in my head as I danced. Don't fall. Don't misstep. Don't step on his toes. Damn! I swore in my head as I proceeded to step very hard on my gorgeous dancing partner's toes. Again!
"Sorry”, I muttered. I looked up into his beautiful brown- black eyes, the deepest I had ever seen.
"Don't worry about it." Jace said, grinning down at me. "I'm used to it by now."