The Dream by Danna Taboada
I leaned my back against the kitchen counter and let my elbows make contact with the coldness of the marble, taking a gentle sip of lukewarm water. I watched them confess their undying love for each other right in front of me. It was stupid, honestly. She loved him ever since that Sunday night under the blush pink, crystal moon and the two were out stargazing as “friends” in late May. Like a rag doll, I was dragged across town to her bedroom, where she rambled about him like a broken record and where I eventually mastered the act of pretending to care. He loved her when she was the only one who patiently waited for him to finish tying his shoelaces as the rest of us ran off to watch the circus stroll down the crowded streets and into town. And yet they both decided to tell each other that in my unfinished kitchen with me as their sole audience, lacking applause for this quiet performance.
They didn’t even notice I was there. I was practically specks of dust roaming around them as they locked eyes. My cue to leave was clear when suddenly their voices were barely audible and they sunk into whispers rather than casual conversation. I took the other exit leading to the dining room with chairs that squeak whenever you take a seat, then casually made my way to the living room where all there was to occupy the space was a brown leather sofas with button down seats.
It was calming to be alone for a minute or two; where the world sort of seemed to arrive at a halt and as the drops of water fell from the sink, the focus shifts on the sound of crickets that you previously assumed could only be heard at night and never in broad daylight. In fact, all five of your senses seem to enhance themselves and your mind draws itself a nice, easy blank, clearing the worries that dictate the choices you make for another time.
That was until Marie walked in, startling and rudely interrupting the moment I shared with the world inside me. I froze for a moment, still in a free state of mind and attempting to return. I didn’t even know she was in my house until now. She must’ve arrived with the newly found lovebirds and walked in the way I walked out of their first memorable makeout session as a pair. However, I didn’t mind her presence; She had proven herself useful time after time with the renovation of the house despite it not even being her own and stopped by for a visit through my bedroom window whenever my parents happened to be out. Plus, it was Marie. I never minded her being here with me.
Originally, I was expecting a relaxed “Hello” and a quick wave from her like friends usually do. But instead, she glanced at me with her big, round chocolate eyes with her pink, plump lips slightly parted open. She brushed her silky, jet black hair behind her shoulder as the other hand slid across the rim of the couch. Once she reached the end, she swiftly took the stairs up to the second floor, her eyes never leaving mine as if I was some prized possession she would go through hell and back to win.
Like the cat and the mouse, I followed her, blocking out the reckless sounds from the kitchen where containers were being knocked off the table and the taste of foreign lips were being explored. No thoughts had circled my mind; my body naturally gravitated towards her like she was the other half of a magnet. But from the way she looked at me and how her eyes lingered on mine, I began to wonder if there was something else she longed for; something grand.
Marie had entered an empty room with beige walls and one lonely vanity drenched in eggshell white. I caught her staring back at herself through the mirror in her lavender polyester dress with puffy sleeves and a collar so soft it made mine look like sandpaper. Her mouth began to move and a bunch of words easily slipped out but somehow I blocked out those noises too.
“So Avery and Ryder finally tied the knot?” She joked with her usual slight English accent. But I had never noticed how adorable it was until now. Marie was tossing her hair around, giggling and rambling on about something I had lost track of right when she began. Her eyes glistened as if it were the awaited light at the end of a lengthy, dark tunnel. Like it was calling to me. Was she calling to me?
That must be why it always takes a second for her to gather her words when I’m around. Or why she blushes like shiny tomatoes my mother carefully handpicked at the grocery store whenever I send her a compliment. Or why she’s always willing to take the longer route to school just so I don’t have to walk alone.
Marie stopped mid-sentence when she noticed me approach her closer, turn her around and press my lips against hers. My hand slid to the back of her neck, letting my fingers tangle in her hair. I closed my eyes tight, afraid to see her frightened or disgust to my sudden move. That was until the soft texture of optioned palms cupped my cheeks.
But as much as I felt her pillow lips sink deeper into mine, I wish I could say I did the same. I wish I could say I felt something. Anything. I wish I could say I had finally found love and could put my unnecessary journey that practically consumed a majority of my youth to a halt. But there was nothing. No spark within my vision. No audible fireworks in the background. No flame burning to it’s heart content inside of me. No butterflies flying within. The world didn’t get any brighter and it was still so unnecessarily confusing. And I’m still here, feet planted to the ground below me.
She took a step back a couple seconds later, eyes cast to the floor as her hands dropped back to her sides. I cleared my throat. “I’m sorry. I thought that was what you wanted.”
“Me too.” She chuckled but I could tell some part of her was aching.
I apologized again, a bit quieter this time and a load more ashamed. “Sorry.”
But of course, she brushed it off like it was nothing and told me “It’s okay. Don’t worry about it.”
She walked past me as her shoulder touched mine and laid her back against one of the plain walls. She slid all the way down until her butt reached the hardwood floor and crossed her legs. I joined her.
I caught myself staring at her in awe. Her acts of simplicity brought me to realize I had created a completely different version than the girl sitting next to me. A perfect her. I bet she’d be flattered to know what I fantasize about late at night, eyes glued to the ceiling of my room. I bet she’d laugh too. I know I would.
The sun lit a streak of light on the floor from the window far across us. It was only two o’clock and we still had so much more to get done. So before I resumed to the mess the other two below created while I was gone and returned to my difficult mind and its thoughts that won’t let me sleep, I decided to say what was on both our minds. What she knew and what I now know.
“I think we’re better off as friends.”
We turned our heads towards each other as I smiled softly, praying inside she wouldn’t slap me with all her might. Thankfully, however, she returned the gesture and nodded. “Yeah. I think so too.”
Danna Taboada (she/her) is a sixteen-year-old writer from New York. She loves listening to music of any genre, dancing, spending time with her family and friends, reading, and writing. She plans on majoring in Creative Writing in the future.