Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hello, good-bye: Prequel

This is what comes before Hello, Good-bye and was cut out to make last week's [Fiction] Friday a more manageable read!

I wish I’d got the window seat then I would have been able to watch the headlights grow from the distance and wait for the flash to kiss my retina as my eyes and the light collide head on. Mind numbing stuff like that.

But Maz has the window seat. She’s almost asleep. Opportunities like this rarely present themselves when I need them. Her head bobs every now and again. This is my one and only chance to break someone and get the information. In her sleep befuddled state I’ll harass her and until she caves in.

“Maz. What are you guys going to do to me?”
“Nothing.” She yawns and stretches, trying to get comfortable.
“Steven’s coming - isn’t he?”
“No. He isn’t.” Even though she is on the edge of sleep, the words came out consolidated in the sort of way that tells me she won’t capitulate.

I know she is lying – they all are. I had heard Rachel scream out Steven’s name and something about him coming two days earlier as I’d walked into the school foyer. Then she’d told a heart breaking lie – she was going out with Steven. But I didn’t believe it. It all has something to do with Thursday. If I could just get it out of Maz.

“My lips are sealed.”
“I said my lips are sealed. Go to sleep.”
“I can’t sleep.”

There is the occasional snore and mutter. It was dark and late and we’re probably the only people other than the bus driver who are awake. The play we’ve just seen is now being enacted in my head with Steven and I cast in the leading roles. If only I knew for sure.

“Star crossed lovers Maz. That’s what we are – Steven and I. Just tell me if we’re going to meet up at Maccas on Thursday.
“There’s nothing much Capulet or Montague about either of you.”
“He is from the West.”
“So he’s coming on Thursday to my going away party. Isn’t he Maz?”
I said no.”

“Please Maz,” The confident interrogation is disintegrating into a pathetic round of begging. “Tell me if Stephen’s coming.”
“No.” Another yawn and more stretching from her.
“I promise I’ll act surprised if you tell me.”

“OK.” She sighs. “If you’ll shut up and let me get to sleep.”
“He’s coming.”
“Oh my God!”

One of the teacher’s head shoots up, searching for where the blasphemous exclamation had come from. I’ll never got the hang of all the Catholic stuff.

And there it is. Confirmation – finally. My best and worst nightmares realised in the same moment. I’m cursed.

I hadn’t believed that they would actually do it – that they would ring and invite Steven to my party. What the hell did Rachel say to him when she rang? I shudder to think, knowing what a loose cannon she is most of the time and what I’ve heard come out of her mouth.

“Don’t tell anyone. They’ll kill me if I they know I told you. It’s meant to be a surprise.”
“I promise I’ll act surprised.”

I felt sick.

“You’re still coming aren’t you?”
“I’m staying at Michelle’s house on Wednesday night. How the hell am I meant to get out of it?”
Maz answers with a slight snore and I am left running the scenario that’s presenting for Thursday through my over active imagination.

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