Charlie was pretty sure she had nothing to do with the sink backfiring on her friend. She was also pretty certain she was hallucinating, when she woke up hovering over the bed, or when she turned into liquid the other day. Jasmine didn’t seem to think Charlie was capable of such a thing but it didn’t stop her from screaming at Charlie when she was trying to help turn off the faucet.
Charlie was happier than the other day, as she went to second period, knowing she wouldn’t have to see Jasmine for several hours. Maybe by then her friend would both be in better spirits.
“Hey,” Weston nodded holding the door open to the science room. “Is it cool if we trade partners?”
“Huh?” She looked over at Kelsey. “Sure.” Her voice felt metallic as the sound twisted pass her lips. Now she would have to spend the rest of the semester listening to Boner’s stupid innuendos while Weston got closer to Kelsey or Jasmine.
“‘Scuse me.” Boner bumped me from behind as he laughed, nodding to Weston with a grin as he walked over to Charlie’s former seat. Charlie could already see Kelsey rolling her eyes then giving Charlie an irritated look.
Weston held out his arm to allow Charlie to get to her new seat first. She blushed and tried to hide her face from being seen. Other than Kelsey, no one else paid attention to her, they usually never did.
Charlie knew most girls would have a panic attack sitting next to their crush and would explode over every detail to their best friend. She wanted to, even though it wasn’t like her to gossip and she could hardly admit to herself how she felt. What could she possibly say to her friend after Jasmine had announced her most recent interest in Weston. Charlie couldn’t bear standing up to her friend when she knew the reality. She didn’t stand a chance next to Jasmine. Weston seemed like the same boy she knew before his contacts and acne treatment not to mention matching clothes. There was still something noticeably different between Weston and her. He was now popular. And she was hardly popular by association.
At lunch he was already sitting at another table overflowing with girls. Jasmine constantly commented on each one, comparing them to the year before. She was confident none of them stood a chance to her. Charlie stabbed at her salivating steak as she half-listened.
“Are you going or what?”
“Sure.” Charlie nodded as she was coming to the realization she had agreed to something she hadn’t comprehended.
Jasmine shook her head. “I knew you weren’t listening.”
“I was too.” Charlie pouted knowing it wasn’t possible for Jasmine to really know her, not if she was this callous to go on and on about her schemes to win Weston’s attention over every other girl who also realized something was different about him.
“Well, great then. I figured your parents would have a conniption. Hey Boner,” Jasmine patted the seat next to her. He perked up and plopped down. “Charlie’s parents are letting her out after day break!”
“Wow, this is late breaking news!” He exclaimed. “You’re parents are really loosening the reigns.”
The two went back and forth about how they would guard Charlie’s virtue. She just zoned out wondering how she was going to get around this. There was no way her parents would ever agree and if they found out….she wasn’t sure what they would do. She looked back over at her cackling friends. For the first time she didn’t care what her parents would do.
Charlie excused herself from her parents with the charade of a headache. It was game night but she expressed her need to lie down. When she got to her bedroom she looked out the window at the stars wondering if it was possible to be as lost in the crowd as they were, she wondered if this was her life now. No matter how many times she tried it was hard for her to keep an eye on just one. Looking down below she became nervous about the drop. She had never snuck out before and two stories up with one tree far enough away would probably lead with her going to the hospital.
Sitting on the bed she knew things would be much easier if she just stayed. Grabbing her computer she went on her wall only to find the exact topic she was trying to avoid. Jasmine had already posted selfie’s with duck lips and had tagged her in it. Boner was going with Weston to go hunting, as he put it.
Turning off the computer she opened the window and shimmied out, struggling for a grip on the roof. Holding the window ledge tightly she turned around facing the distance between her and the sturdiest tree branch. It was much farther than she realized.
She couldn’t risk jumping and taking a fall leading to something cracking. The thought disgusted her. So did going back inside. Resting against the window she closed her eyes debating over her choices. Stay at home and continue to be mocked by her friends or take a chance and just jump. Opening her eyes she noticed something changing in the trees shape. It was bending toward her as if reaching for her. It grew closer to her, reaching out until the tip of the branch rested against her foot.
Finding the courage to place take a step on the limb she realized this was a whole different kind of issue. How was it possible these things were happening around her. Walking in a straight line with her arms out, like she used to when she practiced on the beam, she reached center then noticed the tree limb was shrinking and she was moving closer to the tree without taking another step. Stretching out her arms she saw how fast the space between her hand and the bark became nonexistent. Wrapping her arms around the base she climbed down. Once she reached the ground she looked back up to the dark night sky seeing the tree as it had always been since she could remember.
Unedited by B. Mauritz