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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: February 28, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 28, 2018





She doesn’t remember that night. But she remembers the next day.


Perry lurched forward, allowing the eggshell-colored bedspread to billow, then fall away, in such a way that called forth her blue lace bralette to peek through the thin sheets that draped themselves haphazardly across her shoulders. The pale lace was a blue that reminded Perry of the ocean. It wasn’t necessarily the color of the ocean, but instead, it was that the ocean evoked a sense of listlessness, memories of baked sand that moves between toes, that made it that kind of blue. This shade of blue was the sort of color Perry recognized when she squeezed her eyes shut, tight enough so that the dull red she saw, shifted to a crimson so dark that it turned to blue, blue like the veins bubbling under her temples.

Perry’s mind wandered toward the memory of the first time she swam in the ocean. Her eyes perused the waves, watching the water creep up the shoreline before retreating back into the endless horizon. Perry interlocked fingers with her dad and ran towards the ocean and fully submerged herself, allowing the waves to break over her head. That day, as Perry’s curls soaked up the salt and her shoulders peeled from too much sun and too little sunscreen, Perry vowed she would move to the ocean as soon as she graduated high school. A wish made back when she was just a part of a typical American family, summering on the coast for a couple weekends before the return to normality.

Perry must have been about eight or nine years old at this first encounter with the sea since it was before her dad left her mom for his younger, leaner, more attractive co-worker. She remembers the distinct sound of desperation and despondency when her mom first caught on to Perry’s father’s newfound feelings towards another. Perry was at home, sitting upstairs in her room working on homework when it became apparent that her mother knew. Ceramic bowls shattered and the metal silverware rung out as it collided with the floor. The melodic sounds were accompanied by her mother’s frantic sobs, occasionally interrupted with screams.


 Perry couldn’t really blame her dad. The relationship between her parents had been deteriorating since she’d started fourth grade and despite their attempts at creating an opaque façade, Perry clearly saw that they were both deeply unhappy. Her farther hated how unpredictable her mother’s moods could be; devoted to altering their marriage for the better one day and restless and agitated the next. Perry’s mom was undoubtedly neurotic; fearful of what lurked behind corners, hid under beds, and even what presented itself right in front of her, which was often Perry.

Perry’s green eyes lifted from the covers and moved around the familiar bedroom, shifting like the leaves outside her apartment window which were swaying to autumn’s ritualistic tune. The whistle of fall tapped against the window, periodically flowing through the crack between the window seal and the glass pane, blowing a breeze across her sandy blonde hair. The waft spiraled up her spine, eventually resting in the crevice of her delicate collarbones. Her collarbone was illuminated by the sporadic speckling of a fresh constellation of bruises. These spots sparkled, crafting a universe that differed slightly from the freckles that spun into galaxies around her cheeks.

Perry’s hands sunk into the mattress as she slid her knees towards her chest, eliciting a croak from the bed in response to her shifting weight. The noises around her were overwhelming, threatening her attempt to understand the foreign throbbing in her head. The pain drummed with a rhythmic pulse, heightening her sense of the surroundings, and pointing her muddled concoction of sights and thoughts towards the fresh scabs running down her shins. But the plentiful bruises that were smeared across her clavicle chastised the scab’s pace, knowing that although both were artifacts of aftermath, that the scabs could not keep up in the race.

The familiarity of Perry’s room calmed the weary and constant drum behind her sternum. But this comfort of familiarity couldn’t unravel the suffocating tightness that was incasing her chest; an anxious poison that drifted upwards, making her eyes squint and water sour tears. Perry leaned to her side to check her cellphone. The numerous messages that shone on the newly shattered screen made her oblivious to the supplementary pain that spread through the crease in her waist as she bent.

Fourteen missed calls and twenty-four unread text messages. All from Andi.

This wasn’t the Sunday morning Perry was expecting. She fell back onto the bed with a slight thud, as the mattress caught her and cradled the curves of her spine. She could feel Andi’s iconic eye-roll and purse of her lips seethe from the phone’s glistening screen. Perry had missed their ritual eleven-AM brunch that she and Andi had every Sunday at Café Picante. Missed it by a solid four hours. Perry was notorious for over-sleeping prior commitments, especially if she had been drinking heavily the night before.

Did she drink last night?

Perry couldn’t quite recall the details of the previous night except initially walking along the boardwalk with Andi by her side, listening to the waves collide with the rotting wooden columns supporting the pier beneath their bare feet. Both had high heels in hand, skipping down the pier, skimming the water for the sea-creatures and their inner demons alike. Perry admired the moonlight as it reflected against the water, complemented by the few stars that are strung in the sky by such fine, practically invisible, fishing line. The water would occasionally leap up and mist Perry, teasing her naturally curly hair to escape from the bun that hugged the nape of her neck. Andi laughed at Perry’s clumsiness as she avoided the cracks in the pier, only a thin layer of deteriorating wood separating her from the depths below. Perry teased Andi about the probability of them seeing Daniel, Andi’s new boyfriend, at Hopper, the local bar down South Boulevard. Andi would then whip around, threatening Perry with the heel of her clunky red pumps, while her smile would glint in the chilled evening air.

The night was a polaroid picture that didn’t fully develop, the majority missing, a foreign element interfering with what would normally have been a typical Saturday night of cheap beer and stale bar food before walking back to Andi’s place a couple streets away to watch a movie off their shared bucket-list of movies to watch.

But she wasn’t at Andi’s.

She was home. In her cozy low-priced apartment, with an old gas stove and good natural lighting that shone through paneled windows. Perry was about a twenty-minute drive from South Boulevard, a drive she knew she didn’t make last night. Baby Blue was probably still parked outside Hopper, with Perry’s jade prayer beads hanging around the rearview mirror, glinting against the rising sun and her surfboard still strapped in the back of her 1995 powdered light-blue Ford pickup.

Her aching body cried at all movement, begging Perry to go back to sleep and wake up at another time. Perry placed her feet flat on the rough and matted carpet and slowly shifted her weight away from the safety of the bed and took staggered steps towards the bathroom, noticing various pieces of the previous evening strewn across the floor: a tight white tank top, one heel here, her iconic fading leather satchel there.

The mirror reflected a young woman with hair protruding at all angles, heavy dark sand bags pulling underneath her eyes, and a cut that dashed across her bottom lip. Her hands tremored slightly as she struggled to shift a plastic yellow cup under the running faucet. Perry’s mind stuttered, an unfamiliar sickness was overwhelming her thoughts; composed of interjecting flashes of the possibilities of last night and the growing pain between her thighs, which was becoming harder to ignore. All intertwined with the anxiety of tomorrow’s classes and her impending work shift at Flor in just a couple hours.

Perry dialed Andi’s number and brought the phone to her ear. Perry knew Andi wouldn’t pick up, she never did when she was upset, but would eventually return Perry’s frantic voicemail. The ringing quickly ceased and Andi’s voice rung out clearly.

Andi didn’t hesitate. “Perry, what ended up happening last night? I figured something when you decided not to go home with me. But like not showing up to brunch? That’s a whole other issue.”

Perry breathed into the phone, pacing the questions in her head. It was all so muddled.

“I don’t remember Andi.”

Perry could practically queue the eye-roll and pursed lips.

“You didn’t drink that much. Did you drink more after you left?”

Perry’s voice palpitated. This feeling of losing control was beginning to inflict its toll.

 “I don’t remember leaving.”

 “Perry. What happened? Daniel got you home safe right?”

© Copyright 2019 Kenna Connor. All rights reserved.

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