I got up and went downstairs. It was early March, and the hardwood floors were cold on my bare feet. I put the kettle on and got my teabag ready. Kira and her boyfriend were passed out in the living room of the Victorian house we shared. The place smelled like bongwater. I opened a window.
The kettle boiled and I took my tea upstairs and set the mug on the antique chest in the bathroom. I’m not supposed to take a bath; that might introduce infection. I shower, the water as hot as I can stand, soaping and feeling my still-tender breasts and nipples. I let the water hit me straight in the face, then turn around and let it pound my lower back as I bend slightly forward.
I am remembering the first time I had sex, with Tommy, and what I did when I got home that night. The hottest bathwater ever, and half a bar of soap, and I still didn’t feel clean. I smile at the irony today, seven years later.
My mother calls, but I don’t feel like talking or doing anything. She wants to apologize for my father. I don’t care.
I keep thinking the phone will ring again. It doesn’t.
Around Two in the afternoon I am reading The Epic of Gilgamesh for Western Civ. Kira and Michael are up and loading the car with gear.
“C’mon, Maddie. We’re going to the lake. It’s so nice out. We’re gonna barbeque. You’re coming with us.”
“I don’t know if I really feel like it.”
“Put these on,” Kira throws me a sweatshirt and leggings. “You’ll feel better if you get out.”
We spent two hours at the lake cooking out, drinking beer and playing on the playground. I spent most of my time on the swings; they're lots of fun after a Percoset and a beer.
When we arrived home we unloaded the car and Kira started a load of laundry. I was unpacking the Tupperware containers in the kitchen when the phone rang.
“Hey... How’s it goin’, babe?”
“Cool. So what’re you up to?”
“Well, I haven’t seen you for a while. I thought I might see if you wanted me to come over…”
“I’ve called you five times in the last week and you never called me back.”
“Yeah, sorry, babe. I’ve been really busy.”
“Oh, right. Me, too.”
“Really? Good weekend? Whatcha been up to?”
“Oh, you know, the usual: homework, studying for midterms, having an abortion- that sort of stuff.”
“Oh, wow…um, ahem, uh, how did it go?”
“It was fine. Great. My mother went with me.”
“Oh, that’s good. I wish I would have known it was this weekend….”
“Then you should have called me back.”
He makes some lame excuse and gets off the phone.
I never heard from him again. I saw him once or twice, driving. I took every opportunity to tell everyone I could what an asshole he was. I think about it now and I realize that I was probably really hard on him; he was 23, I was 20. But back then it felt like he was so much more of an adult than I was. And I was forced to be more of an adult than I ever wanted to be.
About a year ago I worked at a health club in my town. His parents were members. Several times I was tempted to introduce myself, and ask after their son, “And make sure to tell him that Maddie Glass says hi!”