BY ALAINA TRIANTAFILLEDES
Sarah is in the passenger seat of my busted 2008 Subaru Forester—busted as in the tires squeal when I make sharp turns, and there is a dent in the back left bumper from when I backed into a brick pillar at the movie theater. Nothing serious. Her hand is surfing the wind and we’re talking about her mom, who I know to be a homely woman named Rosie, always with a wine glass in hand, only ever speaking in sweet melody or venomous critique. Apparently, Rosie finds something “off” about me. I laugh, but Sarah doesn’t.
What is it about me, I wonder from the driver’s seat.
The metal stud in my nose, perhaps, or the holes in my jeans. Or because when I pick her up, I wait in the driveway, parked in the grass next to her dad’s truck and the lawnmower. I stroke her cat’s matted ginger fur until she comes out, and her little sister, Grace, waves goodbye from the porch. Sometimes they invite me in, but I’m no good at small talk and we have somewhere to be. Usually, it’s just a Coldstone parking lot or my bedroom, but Sarah’s phone buzzes all night.
Maybe it’s because I don’t believe in God.
When we watched the sun setting over the Potomac River, Sarah said to me, “That’s how I know heaven is real.” All I saw was light bending, bending toward her and turning her skin orange-pink. My mom calls her “Little Miss Sunshine” for her wide smile and yellow nail polish, and in moments like that, I feel her warmth.
Maybe it’s the rainbow patch ironed into my denim jacket. It could be my shrugging shoulders, my loose lips and firecracker words, my blatant pride.
Maybe Rosie found the poems I wrote in Sarah’s drawers, saw the ink I left on her hands. She frowns when she sees a picture of us on her lock screen.
“She says there’s just something dark about you,” Sarah says.There might be, I think, but not this. There are deadlier sins than loving you.
Alaina Triantafilledes is a sophomore in the Renee Crown Honors Program. She is on track to major in Creative Writing along with Writing and Rhetoric. Outside of class, she attends Write Out, the campus creative writing club, and also does undergraduate research to sponsor local reading series and writing workshops. Hopefully, all of this literary preparation will lead her to an editorial career and a freelance writing contract!