Jul. 11th, 2009

synchcola: (heyoka "ok")
In the late afternoon the next day I ran into her outside the chain bookstore. She was wearing a white cotton sweatshirt and some nondescript jeans that might have belonged to a guy, and carrying some books hidden away in a red plastic bag. Her hair was messy, as though she hadn't brushed it in a couple days. Although her eyes were red, I doubted that she had been crying, at least not over Zander's little tragedy. The reason is because, as long as I've known her, she hasn't been someone who would be so deeply affected by a stranger's problems.

I brushed my hair back with a sleeve and walked up to her. She seemed surprised to see me, and then angry.

She was about to say something, but I cut her off, smiling. "Something wrong?"

"What could possibly be wrong?" she said. "And what's more, what's up with that cheerful attitude? I thought you of all people would care about this. Has your 'case' gotten boring?"

"What?" I pushed forward, my face close to hers. "It's you who doesn't take this seriously. You've been an obstacle this whole time. When I've tried to talk to you, you've done nothing but blow me off. And I'm sure you've been telling the other people I've been dating—"

"Shut up, Trace! Why shouldn't I tell them that you're not even interested? That you're messing with people for the sake of your investigation? And I can tell you, it's not just me who thinks you're a joke! Even your parents..."

"What are you talking about?!" This was really getting into a heated argument.

"And Zander thought you should leave things alone even before yesterday! And you haven't got anywhere! Anywhere!"

"No, that's not true!" I shouted.

"I don't think it even bothers you that everything is so messed up! He's a friend of your family, Trace! What about Zander's engagement?"

I tried to say something sensible. "Well, they broke it off, of course—"

"She's nearly suicidal! And you're spending your time down here doing some shopping!"

"That's not fair," I said.

"Don't even start!" she screamed. "Get lost!"

"Fine, fine." I put my hands up. "I'm backing away, Rachel. Maybe you're right."

She didn't respond. Maybe she didn't hear me. She just stalked away. I watched her go out of the corner of my eye.

...I'm out of time, aren't I?

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synchcola

May 2011

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