By Peyton McLoney
The car is littered with empty soda cans, cracked CD cases. CDs,
candy wrappers, ripped-up notebooks, folded-up sketchbook pages,
a left black Converse with argyle laces, black eyeliner, and matching
nail polish. Soft flakes of snow drift downwards, spiraling, landing
on the front window, only to be killed by the windshield wipers.
“Where will we go again?” Madison queries, cheek plastered to icy windowpane, translucent breath ghosting the glass.
“I’m not sure.” Plain and expressionless, his answer is always dependable. “You shouldn’t have dressed that way.”
Her private school uniform is not for winter: the blue, plaid skirt stopping exactly two inches above her knees, blazer too thin for the frigid degrees, navy stockings stopping mid-calf. Even her chunky, black shoes provided little to no warmth.
As they are still only moving five miles per hour, she thoughtlessly unclips her seatbelt and reaches into the back seat of the jeep. Fishing blindly along the floor of trash, she manages to dig out a frayed and ripped fleece jacket.
Pulling her arms through the sleeves, she idly comments, “This is very ugly.”
“That’s why I bought it.”
“Was that supposed to be, sarcasm?”she laughs as
she buckles her seatbelt and kicks her feet onto the dashboard.
A stray Coke can topples over and spills a few drops of liquid
on the floor.
“Please, don’t do that.”
Madison blinks at the weary tone he’s taken; looks over to the driver’s seat.
Red-brown, mid-length hair is stringy and limp, quite unusual, dark circles under his Asian, slanted eyes. His hands shake as they grip the steering wheel, one foot tapping the floor incessantly.
“You’re sick.” Reaching into one coat pocket she pulls out an old peppermint and pops it into her mouth.
“No, you’re sick,” he retorts and his shaking hands stop.
The traffic ends, beat-up car picking up speed as it whizzes
down the highway.
Silence quickly fills in the empty spaces, thankfully lacking in feelings that are tense or awkward.
Of course, it was always like that for them.
It was when they became partners by default on nearly every project
they had or when they walked to and from school every day (their
houses were apparently exactly on the two-mile marker from school)
or on the drowsy summer days when Madison would appear at his
door without a word and stay until dusk.
From the beginning it was mutually agreed, which was fine with Adrian. He never was partial with words.
“Stop there!” Madison abruptly exclaims.
He rolls his eyes at her enthusiasm, but pulls into the coffee shop she indicates.
“And now let us drink over-priced lattes and listen to horrid poetry.” Cheering, she leaps into the slush before running into the shop.
Adrian exits at a slower pace, already seeing the small crowd of fellow teenagers.
They were pulled down by two pounds of metal jewelry, heavy black garb, gobs of makeup, and folded up angst-ridden poetry.
Fearing the next few hours, he crams his hands into his pockets
and follows his over-enthusiastic…friend. Yes, friend is
the right word for it.
“Come! Hurry up!” Madison’s head pokes through the double doors expectantly.
Pairs of wide eyes stare at her, which she blatantly ignores.
“You’re going to catch pneumonia, Adrian!” she sings loudly and off-key.
“Please, shut up,” he sighs, knowing she can’t hear him over the distance.
Another night wasted.