The Guy Who...

"What? You know him! I know you're new but you have to know him!" she gave a pointed look at a guy who threw his head back and laughed. He didn't notice us though.
The laugh looked forced, but it fooled everybody.
"He's the guy who took our football team to the states finals." at my blank stare, she exhaled through her nose sharply. "The guy who helped Mrs. Rudy go to the hospital."
Sounded familiar, but I shrugged.
"He's the guy who lost his little brother in a motorcycle accident." As my eyes widened in recognition, she laughed a hard laugh. "It's funny; nobody remembers him like the hero he was. They just remember him as the guy who lost his little brother."
(Author's Note: Based on true events.)

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1. Leslie Pierce

​     ​ ​​The warm air tickles as it pulls my brown hair this way and that. I pull on my luggage, ignoring how the wheels catch on the gravel. I make no turn to look at my house, and when I get in the car, I close my eyes.

​     That home has horrible memories; so bad that I'm lucky to still care for my life. However, I've long since given up on my ability to speak, something that happened four years ago.

    "...poor thing, never going to get married..."


     "...is her tongue missing or something?..."

     "Talk! I know you can! You can't just stay silent forever!"

       But I can; because I have.

 

 

​      We arrive in California in almost the nick of time. My Aunt Lydia (on my mother's side) continues to give me sideway glances. We talked-well she did-and after a hour of my head nodding or shaking, she finally gives up.

​     Aunt Lydia is pretty; reddish brown hair with a curl that she keeps in a bun, wide green eyes that sing every emotion she's feeling, a gentle nose, and thin lips that she continues to lick nervously.

    It's okay, Auntie, I'm fine.

   ​I imagine saying those words to her. I imagine if lying is better than telling the truth.

​    In the end, I stay silent.

​    Her home is beautiful; a three story house with four bedrooms. She has an extra room, which is going to be mine, and in the front yard, I see a playful golden retriever playing with a thirteen-year-old boy.

​    Maddix; I haven't seen him since he was eight. He looks gangly, tall with shaggy red brown hair. He jumps backward as the dog jumps up, and his brown eyes light up in laughter.

​    ​He looks happy, ​I think, as we pull up in the driveway.

​   "Do you want me to get Imogen to help you with your luggage?" she asks, as she pulls open her door.

    I want to say no; I nod my head yes.

​     Aunt Lydia yells at Maddix to get his older sister. With a bob of his head, he disappears through the inside of the door. I get out of the car, hands shaking, and I breathe in the warm air.

    Safe. ​I feel it everywhere in my body. I want to do something-say something-but instead I go to the back of the SUV to get my stuff.

​    A girl has beaten me to it; she's tall, slender like a dancer, and has her brown hair pulled in a low ponytail. She wears cutoff shorts that show off tan legs, and a t-shirt with her shoulder showing. When she glances up, her brown eyes warm, and she throws her arms around me.

​    "It's good to see you, Leslie."

    I nod in agreement.

 

 

​     When all my stuff is in the room, I have some time alone. I like it, not needing to pretend that I'm all right, when deep within me, I'm breaking to pieces. I sit in the middle of my queen sized bed, and draw my knees up to my chin, hugging them.

    And I sob soundlessly into my thighs.


 

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