Broken

Boots’s Pick
Erica Zidel


It was not supposed to rain today.

The forecast for the week called for clouds and humidity but only a scattered chance of showers. It rained just once last week and there had been a greater chance of it then.

Inside the room, the air was stifling. Outside it was cold but inside it was hot. The black fan buzzed furiously on the bookcase, trying in vain to break the humidity. The single window stood open a crack, but the heaviness just lingered. No breeze dared enter. The white curtain with eyelet cutouts had been drawn shut, and a dull grayness seeped in through the spaces.

The boy sat at the foot of the bed, picked his sweater off the floor. He pulled it over his head and stood up.

The girl tried to rise, but the air pushed her down.

“Don’t get up,” he said.

She watched him pull on his jeans and sank back on her pillow. She breathed in deeply and the familiar scent swept through her body. The room started to spin. The girl closed her eyes. Please don’t leave, she wanted to shout. On the bookcase, the fan continued to roar.

“It was good to see you again.” He offered an empty smile.

She lifted her eyelids. The room was getting hotter. The air clung to her body like a wet shirt.

The girl nodded.

He walked over to her and bent down. He pressed his dry lips against her forehead the way he always used to.

“I’m glad we can be friends.”

She didn’t say anything. The grayness attacked from all sides and her heart raced into oblivion.

The boy turned and took his coat from the desk chair. He walked out the door and closed it most of the way behind him. The fan screamed and the thickness buried the girl in her bed.

Inside the room, the rain started to fall.

pencil

“I am a freelance writer and a graduate of Harvard College, cum laude in English. I have studied fiction writing under authors Samantha Chang and Katherine Vaz, and have had my work published in Fifteen Minutes, the weekly magazine of the Harvard Crimson. In 2003, I was hired to author a 120-page book, entitled Hooking Up: The College Girl’s Guide to Dating and Relationships, which was published by Rabbit’s Foot Press.” E-mail: erica.zidel[at]gmail.com.

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