Thursday, November 09, 2006
Into the Mountain 1 - Sara Waits
<< read 1.1 || read 1.3 >>
“You okay? Did you have a bad day?” I asked, looking at the concrete squares of the sidewalk.
“Sucked. I need a cigarette,” Tori said.
“Can’t you wait a block before you light up? You don’t want to get another Saturday detention.”
Victoria laughed. “You think mom cares?” she asked.
My sister rolled her eyes and pulled a cigarette out of her dress somewhere.
“Geez, Tori. We’re right outside the school.”
“Are you gonna stand here all day or what?”
“I’m kinda waiting on someone,” I said. My sister’s face went rigid. I scratched my head and cowered from her, worried she would turn her glare on me. But she wasn’t mad. Just hurt. She pursed her lips in an angry kiss, and made a little grunt with her nose.
“It’s Ruben,” I explained.
At the mention of boys, Victoria softened. We never tried to compete with the opposite sex. At least, we hadn’t yet.
“Guess I’ll make the walk solo then,” she said and put the cigarette to her lips.
“Not right in front of the school,” I whispered.
“I’m walking alone today—I’ll do what I want, kid.”
I tried to pray that she wouldn’t get caught, but my prayer dissolved itself into mindless repetition. Dear God send the teachers away. Dear God send the teachers away. And I thought about my dream again, the mountain stretching up underneath my feet. I am so tired, but I put one foot in front of another. Dear God. Dear God. An endless request my mind mumbled over and over while I continued to stare at the sidewalk.
No one spoke to me. Lots of kids walked by after Victoria left, but none of them were my friends. The door clicked open, and my eyes found someone to watch. One girl walked with a strut that made her curly hair bounce. Her hair was beautiful, red. I figure she used a fancy brand of shampoo to make it like the commercials. It was too beautiful for school, really. She looked like she was on her way to an expensive restaurant or something. I noticed other people noticing her hair, too.
A guy walked out behind her, wearing fancy faded jeans. My jeans were just faded. He didn’t seem to know the girl, but I pretended that he did. I imagined that they were really popular instead of just pretty and rich. He was her boyfriend, of course. But she was mad at him because it was their three-month anniversary and he forgot. Three months! And he didn’t even bring a fake flower or a card or a piece of candy. Worse—when he found out, when she told him at lunch that he had forgotten their anniversary, he didn’t seem to care. He even got a little mad. She was too occupied with her own hair to realize that he was mad at himself, not her.
Around 4:30 I gave up on finding Ruben.