“Rel, I just don’t see why you think you have to go,” Jenessa Matthews said, trying to reason with her friend.
Esmeralda pushed her wavy black hair off her neck and turned to face her friend. “Jen, do you really not get it?”
“Jen, I got kicked out of my own house! My mother doesn’t talk to me when we pass on the street. People whisper about me behind my back, and then stop talking when I enter the room. As if I can’t tell what they were talking about,” she snorted.
Jen laid a comforting hand on her friend’s arm. “It’s okay Jen. That doesn’t mean that you have to leave town.”
Esmeralda shook off her friend. “I can’t stand it here any more!” she cried, going over the window. “I hate having lived in the same town my whole life and I do one thing wrong and now everyone hates me! My own mother won’t talk to me. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t even have a place to live. I just think that it’s time for me to have a fresh start. I can’t live my whole life in shame. I’m sorry Jen.”
Jenessa sighed. “It’s okay Rel, I guess I can understand that. I just hate to think of you leaving.”
Esmeralda nodded and stuffed the last of her shirts into her already overcrowded suitcase.
Jenessa exhaled in exasperation and grabbed the suitcase out of Esmeralda’s hand, opening it. Clothes exploded everywhere.
“Hey!” Esmeralda cried. “I just got everything to fit!” She stepped forward and grasped her red blouse to put it back in her suitcase.
“Oh no you don’t!” Jenessa said, grabbing the blouse back. “Go shower, or brush your hair or something. I will finish packing. No, seriously Rel, go!” Jen said when her friend tried to protest.
Esmeralda smiled and let herself be shepherded out of the room. Without Jenessa to support her, Esmeralda would have left town long ago.
Esmeralda paced around in the hall way for a while but couldn’t take the inactivity. Finally, she went back into the room to find her suitcase packed neatly. “Jenessa!” she squealed.
The flushed girl turned from the suitcase, smiling. “Well, it took a while, but I did it!” she clapped her hands together.
Esmeralda hugged her friend. “Oh my gosh, thank you thank you thank you! I can’t believe that you actually did it!”
Jenessa shrugged. “Well I couldn’t have you getting to your new home with a suitcase full of rumpled clothing.”
Esmeralda hugged her friend tighter and tears came into her eyes. “I could never have done this without you,” she whispered into the girl’s dirty blond hair.
Jenessa sniffed and stepped away, her green eyes filled with tears. “I can’t believe that you’re really going. I wish you wouldn’t.”
Esmeralda shrugged. “I know. I have to though! There’s nothing left for me here. No one respects me, no one cares. All my friends have abandoned me. Well, all of them except for you of course,” she added with a smile.
Jenessa nodded, her smile watery. Covering her hand with her mouth, she bit the fleshy skin. “Go,” she whispered. “The cab’s already outside. Call me when you get settled, okay?”
Esmeralda nodded. “I promise.”
She turned, surprised that someone was actually talking her. Her face hardened when she saw who was calling. “Harry,” she nodded and kept walking.
Harry ran in front of her. “Listen Es, you don’t have to leave,” he said.
Esmeralda shook her head. “Yeah Harry, I do. There’s nothing left for me here.”
Harry stopped in front of the girl, hands outstretched before him. “Please Esmeralda, just listen.”
Esmeralda stopped, her wheelie suitcase behind her, her back pack slung across her back and her purse on her shoulder. She crossed her arms over her chest, waiting. “What Harry?”
“Why won’t you stay?” Harry whined.
Esmeralda shook her head and looked up at the bright sun. She had no idea how she had ever liked this guy. His black hair was too slicked back, his gray eyes were hard as steel and he was trying too hard to look tough. “We’ve been through this before Harry, when you raped me.”
Harry flinched at the hate in her voice. “Es, baby, I didn’t rape you,” he tried. “I just wanted to show you how good it felt,” he said, reaching out for her.
“Don’t touch me!” Esmeralda said, her voice like iron.
Harry pulled his hand back.
“You didn’t do anything for me Harry. You raped me on our first date!” Esmeralda cried. “Why the hell would I forgive you for that? Do you know what you did to me Harry? You got me fucking pregnant! I am now the official reject of the town! My mother-got this?-my MOTHER kicked me out of the house. She won’t even let me see my sister!”
“Es, baby, I offered to let you stay with me,” Harry put in.
“Ummmmm, Harry…why the hell would I stay with you? You’re the one that RAPED me. So, piss off Harry, I have a plane to catch,” and with that, Esmeralda went into the airport, hoping that Harry wouldn’t follow her.
Ten minutes later, Esmeralda was sitting on the plane, her suitcase checked, her back pack up in the storage compartment and her purse in her lap. The seat beside her was still empty. Esmeralda hoped that it would stay that way. Quickly, she adjusted her white t-shirt and smoothed the wrinkles out of her jeans.
“Primping?” an amused voice asked.
Esmeralda looked up quickly, a flush rushing to her already darker cheeks. A young man about her age was standing in the aisle.
“No,” she said quickly, turning to look out the window, running her fingers through her hair.
The man sat down. “Yes you were,” he said.
Esmeralda turned back to him. “I wasn’t!”
He sat back in his chair, a smile plastered on his tanned face. “I’m Eric,” he said, extending his hand.
Esmeralda took it, noticing how small her hand looked in his. “I’m Esmeralda,” she replied.
“Nice to meet you Esmeralda,” Eric said, his tongue rolling her name around.
She blushed a little and looked away, smoothing her shirt over her stomach unconsciously. “So, what are you doing…here?” Esmeralda asked, gesturing to the town outside.
“Just passing through,” Eric said. “My flight was delayed originally so I had to stay here for a day.”
“Ahhh,” Esmeralda nodded.
“What about you?” Eric asked.
“I live-lived-here,” Esmeralda said as the plane took off.
“What happened?” Eric asked.
“It’s a long story,” Esmeralda replied, gripping the arm rest. “Mainly, I guess that I got tired of living in the same town day in and day out. So, I’m out to see the world.”
Eric smiled, showing perfect white teeth. “That’s impressive. But, I can see that there’s more to the story than that.”
Esmeralda shrugged. “You can think that if you want,” she said, and settled back into her seat, closing her eyes.
Eric let her rest for five minutes before she felt something tickling her nose.
Esmeralda cracked an eye open. “Whaaaaaat?” she whined.
“Nothing,” Eric replied, and settled back in his own seat with a book.
Esmeralda stuck her tongue out at him before taking the blanket the stewardess had given her earlier and draping it over herself.
Eric poked her again.
Esmeralda sat up. “What do you want?” she asked, annoyed.
Eric looked at her innocently. “Did I do something?” he asked. A pillow hit Eric in the head, ruffling his perfect blond hair. “Hey!” he cried.
Esmeralda grabbed the pillow back. “Now let me sleep! I was up all night,” she said, and, without another word, pulled the blanket over herself and shut her eyes.