P R I M E W O R L
1996. It was a truly quiet Wednesday in
February, I thought to myself as I stared dimly into the night
sky. The snow was especially reticent, falling in a beautiful
array on the hills of Massachusetts. As necessary, I was fully
equipped with a hooded coat and hat to protect me from the bitter
air. The temperature was at least twenty degrees, and the alcohol
in my red plastic cup had frozen. My mouth stings from the cold,
and from the beverage. It definitely wasn’t the best
weather for a sophomore girl to be roaming in.
Outlying in the distance, clouded by the snow,
a figure is standing. The character is tall and slim; he appears
sincerely separate from the environment in which we face each
other. I approach the individual, and strain my eyes in the
falling snow. He is a man. A friend.
“Brett,” I call over the
consistent winter storm.
Now we stand before each other in silence. I
analyze his face, his white lips, his eyes. The contrast of the
blizzard with the brown in his eyes.
“I’m just taking a break,” I
say. “from the party. It was too loud.” My ears still
buzz, but I force a laugh. “I’m getting my
Brett steps forward, and doesn’t speak
until I show him my frozen cup of fire water.
“There are other places to take a break,
and I don’t recommend being out in a storm as sufficient
shelter,” he laughs, removing his scarf and softly wrapping
it around my chilled throat. Better.
Arm in arm, we walk down the deserted
streets, finding guidance in the dim streetlamps. Brett’s
car is parked beside a closed restaurant. I feel my drivers
license in my back pocket.
The windshield wipers squeak as we drive.
“That was a crowded party for a Wednesday night,”
Brett mumbles as he reaches for the radio dial. A fast-paced
song, probably Journey, rings through the car.
“I’m sorry for the
criticism,” I tease, “but I don’t think Journey
is fitting the mood for this car ride.”
“I believe you’re right,”
Brett agrees. “Feel like listening to anything
specific?” He nods at a small lot of CDs tucked in the
armrest between us. I begin sorting through the shuffled pile,
and smile. “I’ll surprise you,” I tell him as I
pop an Enya track into the CD player, as she is in my opinion,
one of the most talented women of the new-age genre.
Brett raises his eyebrows, though pleased with my music
selection. “Enya,” he observes. “I
haven’t listened to this CD since college.”
After driving around town for several long
minutes, pull up to the house in which the party is in full
action. Brett drums his fingers on the steering wheel, and we
achieve yet another gentle silence between us. I am beginning to
feel the warmth come back to my own hands, safe in Brett’s
car and away from the cold. Away from the crowds of drunk
teenagers writing on walls and supposedly passing out, inside
that house. Our eyes meet and make a decision. We turn off the
car and let the cool air set in as we open our doors and link
arms once more. In appearance, we might seem to be a couple. But
his mandatory position makes that impossible. We will never
receive encouragement, and Brett doesn’t mess with
business. Our names will never stand together; we will never
share an amiable rhyme. I hate the disappointment of fate, but
the government and science are too very different things, as you
Inside the house, there are people everywhere.
Forty people, maybe. Brett and I stand aside, hands intertwined
in attempts to keep our fingers warm. Occasionally we notice the
writing on the walls, the teens who misspell not only grammar,
but their own lives. In a world without a doubt, a terrace
without a chief, and we watch them. Brett and I leave the house
and stand on the sidewalk, and now we only watch our feet. I
turn, wrapping my arms around him. Breathing in, I am buried in
his scarf. Smiling, and feel him lean close to me. “Flash a
smirk,” he advises, before withdrawing and stepping back.
On the sidewalk I roam, and I do not return. My only guidance is
the snow that gathers on the gritty pavement, the storm clouds
that father the hidden sky.