Part 4 of a longer short story about a teenager still learning how to navigate tricky situations, the price of loyalty to the unworthy, and the demands of any relationship. (Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3)
As always constructive criticism, feedback or even a note to say hi in the comments is welcomed!
Something had happened. Sara was listless around school, cold to her favourite teachers, and unresponsive to her group on the bus. It was a surprise to open the door and find her there, staring down at the steps, without a word, only cracked, hesitant breathing.
“Um, are you ok? “
“Fuck them both. I don’t even fucking care any more. “ She pushed past me into the house, only to call back in a different voice, “What’s all this, Rach?”
“I’m trying to set up a dress-making business. “ I would work from arriving home designing, drawing and covering the kitchen in cut out paper patterns, until the hour before Mum came back, when it would all get stored back in Grandma’s room as if I had never touched it. “What’s wrong, Sara? “
She, with somewhat more care than my other visitor, moved some clutter from a chair before climbing into it, her knees pulled up under her chin.
“Mum and Dad. It’s all finally over. The divorce went through. I stupidly thought that it’s taken so long, maybe they weren’t really serious and he’d come back… but whatever. I got a C last week. That’s how much I care any more. “
“I’m sorry. I know it can be hard… “
“Yeah, that’s why I wanted to talk when I called, but, “ She rubbed her reddening face,” I’m just so over it now. Tell me more about your business. “
“Well, it’s only one customer so far. I’m making her a dress for grad. “
“It’s next month, you know. “
“I finished mine in two weeks, this one hopefully will take less time.“ I pointed to my beautiful dress where hung on the wall, as inspiration and company, as I worked.
“Wow, it’s great. Could… could you make me one too?“
Is the risk worth it?
Sara’s eyebrows drew together as she began to take offence at my pause.
“Sure, sure. I’m half way through this one, so I should have the time. Let’s get some measurements then… “
There is something about the relationship between a customer who has to sit and wait, and the person working on them, that one becomes that captive audience of the other. Hairdressers must feel this way.
“I’ve been thinking about the other night. “ Sara began almost as soon as I had the tape running along her arm. “You must think I overreacted. “
“You have no idea what she’s done to me though. She lies all the time, to get what she wants, and she wants what other people have. “
“Like your friends at Grammar? “
“Like, everything. She has seriously ruined my life. Seriously. “
You sound seriously crazy. “Stop moving so much or your dress will be too tight.“
“After today, I just don’t know if I can handle seeing her ever again without freaking the fuck out. “
“That depends on how frequently you think you might see her though. Could be kind of awkward in future if you went to the same cafe, or like a funeral, or something. “ What was meant as a joke only made her face more pensive.
Sara’s body was much finer and more angular than Jo’s. She would be very tall when she finished growing, and probably, especially in a pair of sharp heels, become even more intimidating than now. Finished measuring, I straightened up. “Maybe you should talk to her. “
“You just have no idea, Rachel. I don’t need your advice, I just want you to agree with me that she’s a crazy bitch, and maybe hold her arms back for me when the time is right. “ She smiled, finally, but I couldn’t return it.