I hear the gravel crunch as Austin passes swiftly on his skateboard. His backpack is slung loosely over one shoulder, and as his body fades I see the back pocket unzipped, a black pencil case threatening to spill out. It balances carefully on the edge of the zipper, gently bobbing up and down as it continues on its journey. My eyes wander down his body, his tight jeans growing smaller, his shape gradually becoming less perfect and more blurred as he skates down the street.
I trip on the sidewalk. I hear a girl click her tongue as I balance myself on the uneven concrete. She has dark brown hair, orange skin, and black leggings that seem to be painted on squeezing her thighs. She rolls eyes at me before she turns her head, watching Austin shrink. Her makeup’s all wrong. Her eye shadow’s smudged. She’s wearing too much concealer.
She waves to Austin, her cold expression cracking into desperation. He does not turn. She calls to him, once, “Hey!’ His body is a speck in the distance. Again, louder, “Hey!” His body is microscopic.
When I pass her, I glare. She catches my look, and bumps me with her purse. I let my fingers wrap and tug around its long leather handles, and then she is picking up mascara from the sidewalk, hissing at me, spitting out colorful words. I am a slut. I am a bitch.
I think about the last time I saw Austin. In class, his friend with the blond curly hair nudges him in the side, chiding him for not coming out the weekend before. He’s whipped, tied down to his girlfriend. Austin smiles nervously. Is he going to marry her? No, he laughs, of course not, his hands twisting and turning, his fingers winding into the loose threads from a tear at the bottom of his jeans.
My mind wanders as I turn the corner, reaching the front steps to my apartment. I walk upstairs and immediately crawl in bed with my shoes still on, and wrap my arms around Patrick, who is wrapped under the covers snoring lightly. My hands caress his bare chest and I smell his hair, which always smells of jasmine. He mumbles a bit, and turns his body to face me, half-opening his eyes, groggily looking at me. I ask him to promise to never fool around with another woman. He does. I ask him to promise to continue loving me. He does. I ask him to promise to never to marry me. He does.