Sweet Something: A Short Story

Part One: What The Moon and I Have in Common

“At least she’s somebody,” I told myself, sending the text. When she responded with an okay to seeing me, I got dressed. The summer night only required me to wear shorts and a sweatshirt. I glanced in the mirror out of habit. I was wearing an expression I didn't usually wear. I didn't remember what to call it. So I shrugged.
I grabbed my keys and went.
A few minutes later, I was picking her up in my dad’s car. When she opened the door and walked towards the passenger side, I was lacking the excitement teenagers tend to have when they let themselves out at night. For the few seconds she was walking up, I was aware of myself. But not enough to sense an active soul.
I drove absentmindedly until we got ourselves to a waterfront. When I looked down, the water was swishing against the grass, black like ink. I bent down and let it run over my fingers. I wondered if I’d feel any heavier than I already did if I jumped in it and let myself sink. But I doubted it. I’d probably have felt lighter if gravity wasn’t working on me right now.
I looked at the girl beside me. I didn’t realize she’d been talking to me for probably the past minute, but she didn’t realize that I wasn’t listening anyway. I didn't recall why I brought her out here in the first place. I began wishing I was alone here instead.
I looked at the moon. It was surrounded by stars and a couple clouds but still looked lonely.
Then, my mind backtracked to the moment when I looked in the mirror before I left. The summer breeze didn't feel good against my skin, instead bringing something cold close to the nape of my neck. My bones almost felt like they could've rattled inside me when I placed the name of the expression I saw in the mirror. It looked just like the face of the moon.

Part Two: Sweet Something
The next morning, I woke up in bed with my phone in hand. I didn’t realize I fell asleep talking to her.
I wished I’d gotten to take her to the waterfront instead.
I unlocked my phone, skimming through our conversation with a tired smile. I shot her a quick sorry for falling asleep on her, then stretching my arms out. The sun was peeking out past the curtains of my window on the other side of the room. The light felt warm, creeping up onto my stomach, and the feeling rose up through my chest and my head without the beam moving. I realized how I didn’t fall asleep alone last night, and that’s why I didn’t feel so heavy.
I stepped into the shower a few minutes later, having been too tired last night to do it then. As I stood there, letting the hot water soak my hair, I noticed that there was always a sad sort of something when she talked to me. But still, she managed to hold up a beautiful conversation. And I’ve never used the word “beautiful” to describe a conversation, but that’s exactly what it was.
When I blinked my eyes, it was late August, but the end of summer wasn’t so sad this time. "I’ll see you tomorrow", her text read. I set my phone aside and closed my eyes. Something sweet seeped into my chest. I tasted it at the back of my throat. 
Finally. A chance. 

By Gwen Peralta

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