A sound, somewhere between a laugh and a sign, trickled out between my parted lips. I imagined the noise as a fine stream of light green mist, rising into the clouds.
I could hear my heart pounding through my ears. My body felt overwhelmed, bursting at the seams, alive.
The sun’s shine dried small drops of rain off my arms and chest. The grass beneath me was soaked.
I used to think that I could outrun the rain. Not the drizzle-type rain, the deafening kind of rain. The weather where people crash their cars and houses topple over. People call me crazy for being in a wide open field when the skies are in the midst of a war. I find it the safest place in the world to be. Especially with Lia.
I heard her muffled thud as she lied down beside me. I listened to her ragged breath as she attempted to slow her pulse.
“You always beat me,” she said, the same green smoke trailing along her words.
I smiled. “Only because you stop and look at every tree you pass.”
“Why don’t you stop to look around? Have you ever noticed how beautiful the world is?” Her tone was light, the topic was not. She pulled her left leg up to her forehead, stretching her toned muscles.
“I like to get here before you. After that I have plenty of time to observe my surroundings.” I reached over and curled a stray piece of her hair around my finger.
Lia laughed. “Always so competitive,” she said.
I turned my head and felt the rubbery grass crinkle around me. Her eyes, soft and golden, held mine. It was scary how she could do that, look and me and fill me with so much love. Sometimes I wished she would just away, I needed her to leave. I needed to step out of this frightening lust, and back into our comfortable friendship. I have to… but part of me wasn’t ready to let her go. This love felt so right, why should I have to give it up?
Lia looked up at the sky. It had begun to rain again. Fat drops of water landed on my jeans. I watched them settle through the fibers.
“I’m going home tomorrow,” Lia said her voice indifferent.
“I know.” What else was there to say? I know you’ll always walk away. I know my home will never yours. I know I’m not good enough for you. But I can’t change her mind, I and I don’t want to either. I wished she would change her mind on her own. I suppose there could be a chance for her to come out, and tell me how much I mean to her. This happening was immensely unlikely.
I stood up and brushed dirt off my palms.
“Where are you going?” Now she begs. But it’s too late.
“Lia, I cannot keep being your toy. This-” my voice cracked. She’s begging for this last moment, why am I backing away? This was what I wanted.
She watched me as I wringed my hands and let out short sputters of breath. “Naomi, please, I’m sorry, you know…” Her words trailed off. She suddenly sounded very childish.
I looked up and sighed toward the sky and I dug my heels into the soft soil. Rain splattered down around me. I was preparing for takeoff. I looked ahead to the line of trees. They were far away, but not far enough. Nothing would be far enough to get away. “What, Lia, what do I know?” I whispered to the floor, this beautiful, rich green floor. She heard me.
“If you run again,” she gulped, “I won’t come after you this time.”
Tears of fury shot up through my throat. “This time? Are you implying there was a time when you would try to find me? Have you ever put me first?” I could feel my muscles flexing, craving for me to run. I wanted to run so bad, worse than I ever had before.
“No, no, I know you understand, come lay down, the clouds are so pretty.” She grabbed for my hand. Her eyebrows were knit together tightly. Her knees were bent, as if ready to pull me with all her strength. Lucky for me, she’s the weakest person I know.
I shrank away from her touch like it was a burning flame. I don’t understand. I have no idea who this girl in front of me is; all I know is who she pretends to be.
Lia plopped down on the ground, looking like a pitiful seven year old. And oh how I did pity her.
“I just, I feel so lost, and I don’t know. I can’t be as confident as you. But that’s why I need you, because I know you can fix it and you…” She was talking to me, I think. She was whining. Dear god, shut up.
I gazed off into the woods, thinking about all those kind whispers, and a pair of soft hands drifting over my face, never holding back. I thought of how different these two girls were. Then it struck me, after all the thinking and crying and thinking and expressing, I know what I want. Lia was still talking, now hiccupping in sobs.
I reached down and pulled off my sneakers. I tied the laces together and hung it over my wrist. Lia screamed my name, she screamed for me to stop, to save her.
It was pouring as I ran through the forming mud and flattened blades of grass. The sound of Lia’s cries was drowned out by the crack of thunder. My hair flowed behind me. Our field wasn’t so big. Before I knew it I had reached the edge of the woods. Of course, this didn’t stop me. I jumped over fallen branches and tapped on the trees that flew by. My legs had a mind of their own, my soul drifted above my body, watching as a gleeful smile reached my eyes.
Go back to your boyfriends, Lia. I can’t keep waiting for you. I need someone who knows who they are, and she’s here. But it won’t ever be you.