Thing Just Ain't Right
The weeks following that dance I split my time as much as I could. I tried to be a boyfriend to Mary and a friend of Brenda. My heart knew that I was cheating on both of them. I was pretending to not have desires and dreams with Brenda while I was attempting to convince myself that Mary would be my forever lasting love.
The next week when I met Brenda at the church cemetery, she had very little to say of the dance. She said she had a good time and she spent much of the night with Clayton watching the stars. It sounded so similar to my own experience I did not think to question it. Her behavior was mechanical and she felt distant. I assume it was because I had not come to see her for nearly a week.
I remember her eyes puffy as if she had been crying for days on end. When I asked about it, she brought up her deceased brother. A conversation we had every now and then, but it did not feel natural this time.
I could feel her pain and anguish leaving me little room, but to trust what she was saying. She sat with her back against her brother’s headstone with her arms wrapped in front of her. “Everything was supposed to be different once he was here. But he had to leave me alone. I feel bad for missing my brother, because it isn’t him I miss. It’s the plans I had made for us that I miss. It’s the assumptions I had of him that I feel were taken from me. I never got the chance.”
After years of scattered mourning sessions, I did not have much left in me for making her feel better. “I know Brenda. But, look at what you have. I know you could have had this great relationship with your brother and maybe some kind of adventure that you have built up in your head, but what about today? What about Clayton? What about graduating high school?”
She looked up at the sky wiping away the tears that had not quite formed. “You are right. Clayton is a man. He can take me away from here. Any man should be better than living at home.” She cleared her throat and sat forward, “What about you and Mary? You said you held her all night. But, come on. You had to at least cop a feel.”
My mind being elsewhere, still lost in the confusion of her random outburst dealing with her brother, I was in no presence of mind to lie. “No. Just like you, we literally held each other and watched the glimmer of the moon on the pond.”
She laughed to herself and spoke under her breath, “Of course. Bobby is the one that turns out to be a gentleman.”