I can’t seem to scrub the stain from my glasses no matter how hard I try. The cold, broken, frames are taken from me by bruised hands. Both sides are cracked, one is completely shattered. Louise scrunches her nose, panting a smile over her teeth, “We’ll get you a new pair, okay?”, she asks me, making nod. The bruises on her knuckles look bad, but not worse than the bruises she left on the boys at the creek. We're so numb we don’t shiver. I manage another small nod, before sitting back on the toilet. She leans over me, and I can hear the faucet creak. Suddenly water thunders onto the bottom of the tub. Once she finishes, she sets my glasses back on the counter. Everything is blurry except for her, and I start to fade without knowing. The running water takes me back, I think...
Louise was always popular, most times without even trying. It was stifling, sometimes, to even be in the same room as her. She had deep brown eyes. Smooth, lined on the inside with a yellow ring. Her hair was far from straight, not like my pin-like hair. Honey blonde and lusciously curly. Sometimes it was fun to imagine her walking, the way her curls would bounce. She would laugh, a sound like church bells on the wind, when I would reach up and tug on one so it would bounce. Those bells were one of my favorite sounds. It was the first day of class when I heard those church bells, not so very far away. Walking from the school library and to her next class, the class with me in it. Somehow, we had a lot of the same classes. She found herself instantly interested in me, and I found myself, silently interested in her. She found a way to worm her way in. Studying she said, “Hey, you got an A+? Could you tutor me? I practically failed that essay,” and she would lean against my desk, batting those gorgeous eyes of hers as she begged me to help her.
It started normally. We were studying. Really. I helped her with English, and she helped me with math. We did get lots of work done. Her grades went up, and mine did too... But then we got into ‘girl’ talk. Who was wearing what, who was dating who? Suddenly, her number was in my phone. She would text me during classes, teachers always threatened to kick me from class or take the phone, but she always got the stern warning. Dad was always fine with having her over. She was a girl, what could happen? “Of-course you can keep your door closed while you girls do your homework, and when I hear giggles later, I won’t suspect any funny business...”. painting our nails, reading magazines, taking the silly quizzes inside of them. Doing our makeup and prancing around the room, like ponies made up for the ball. It all felt so magical, and it all came down to this. Bruises and smeared blood. Broken glasses and pained smiles. Would it all ever be all right again? My question was answered with actions and not words. Louise wrapped her arms around me and pulled me in close. She smelt like summer. The freshness of the wind, the way the hint of grass tickles your nose. Her kiss was feather-light, brushing my lips with hers, I closed my eyes.
Back at the creek wasn’t the first time, and it probably wouldn’t be the last. But it was the first time we had been caught. We started going there to study when we did study. It was a small clearing with a creek. Above the creek was a small concrete bridge. It was flat on the top. It made me dizzy to stand there at the top and look down at the water rushing by. Louise and I would lay on our bellies with whatever we had with us, homework, books, magazines, and always snacks of some sort. We always went, rain or shine, thunder or snow. That day, today had been the first warm rain after a long winter. Louise had dragged me out to our spot, over the creek. We sat there, shoulder to shoulder, legs hanging over the edge of the cold bridge. We talked quietly, and then not very quietly while laughing. It was our senior year, she wanted to see so many places between now and college if she ever made it there. She was asking me to come with her. I turned and looked her in the eye. Those amazing, deep brown eyes. I could get lost in them for days. Her smile lit her whole face, “Won’t you? It'll be fun, promise. But only if you’re there,”, she said as she looked down at her lap almost shyly. Louise, being shy? Never. And she said it would only be fun if I was there? Well, not those words exactly, but close. I felt my cheeks flush as I smiled back at her, and reached for her chin. I pulled her face so she was looking into my own, stone blue eyes. “Yes, but you have to promise to bring yourself,”, I said, pausing, before we both broke out into laughter. We both leaned in and... a ball of something cold and hard knocked me off the bridge, our bridge, and into the icy water beneath.