by Rebecca Berto
Publication Date: April 12th, 2013
Mom’s still working at the hospital so my only choice is to walk. Twenty seconds into my escape, the first raindrop splatters on my eyelid. I shake it off and tip my head to the sky. Bloated, gray clouds hog the space above. I can’t remember it being blue in so long. This Melbourne winter isn’t much better than when I was a kid in Chicago. But we don’t even get snow here. It’s just freezing.
Freezing. The word escapes and I feel it. My bones are rattling. Looking down, I remember I put on my holey jeans and my black shirt with the rolled sleeves at my elbows. If I could do over my pitiful walk out of Dad’s and my argument, I would have grabbed my hoodie.
And that’s when everything gets fucked up. I give myself a handshake, tap my cheeks. Nope, I’m hot still. Not cold at all. Which means…I don’t want it to be true but—
I’m holding my fingers in front of my face. I stop at the corner of our street, a car vrooming past, another coming up, but I don’t hear them because it’s become quiet in my world. I feel my fingers trembling before I see them quiver and blur as my vision falters.
This is karma, I bet. I’m having a hypo attack ‘cause I’m diabetic, by which I’m essentially…what’s the word… What am I…?
My mind is looping already. It’s bad, I know. I was so wrung up arguing with Dad I didn’t notice it, but now I do. Trembling when his face came near had nothing to do with being scared.
I need sugar quick, like I do with every hypo. I pat my pockets down but I only feel my leg through the material, because, of course, I hate carrying my candy on me in case someone sees and asks what it is for.
Fuck my diabetes. I’m my own worst enemy. My body can’t even sustain itself. My blood sugar level is dropping, and it’s making my steps wobbly.
One of the cars approaching slows. Noises come from chatter inside. I refuse to look and give those shitheads the time of day since I know exactly what they’re looking for. But when I hear a snicker I start. I swear I know that voice. If I had to guess, I’d say it belongs to Robby. I haven’t seen him since before the Mason’s ski accident mess when he used to talk and hang with me in the group.
Lucky I decide to turn after all because an egg, followed by another, tumbles in the air in a direct line for me. I duck and they sail just over my hairline.
When another car slows, I’m ready to fucking lose it, even if it only backs up my new reputation as a killer. But my words are stumbling, smooshed, and not coming out of my mouth right thanks to my severely depleted blood-sugar level and the fact that my body’s in survival mode.
Then out of the window pops Darcy May’s head. I know that kid. He’s Charlee’s little bro.
Just my luck. That her mom was the only one to die at Mason’s. I’ve been wanting to kiss this girl since before I got my first tattoo, or my eyebrow ring. Before seeing her at the opposite end of the occasional party. All things considered, a rich, beautiful, kind-looking girl like Charlee would never bring home a guy like me. I’ve never spoken to her the way I want to. Why take the risk of getting rejected by the only girl I’ve ever really wanted? And even if she did want me, would she see me or me as the person as what I’ve done to her parents?
I know Charlee’s read the papers; she couldn’t have missed it.
Dexter Hollingworth was on shift as a lift operator when the overhead wires snapped on one of the lifts at Mason’s Ski Resort. No charges have been laid.
Charlee’s Audi hatchback stops beside me. Darcy pops his head back in and chucks a thumb at me then turns to whisper something to Charlee.
I take these rare moments when I still see her around to imagine her letting her blonde hair down and shaking it out across her face. About getting a hand into that hair and holding her to my chest with the other. I want to know what she smells like.
It’s as close as I deserve to get.