“Look, Bri, I’m sorry I have to leave, but I’ll be back in the morning. You know how my parents are. If I’m not home when they want me to be, you won’t see me for another month!”
“I know, I know, it’s just, it’s my birthday and everyone else left already. It’s only 11:30, and everyone already left. It’s supposed to be a sleepover, V! What kind of sleepover breaks up at 11:30?”
“I know, I know, I’m sorry, but I really have to go now, I’ll see you in the morning, I promise. Everything will be fine.”
I walked her to the door and opened it. “If you’re not back by seven in the morning I will be very pissed at you, Vanessa Walker!” I yelled into the night at my best friend’s receding back. The only sound that echoed back to me was her faint laughter and the slap of her flip flops on my driveway. The headlights of her red truck turned on and then receded until they were gone, past my gate.
Vanessa had turned seventeen just over six months ago, in early January, and she, being the party-pooper that she is, had chosen to go on a skiing trip with her family and drag me along. I, on the other hand, attempted to have a cool sleepover party with all my “friends,” only to realize that my only friend was, in fact, Vanessa. Now it was 11:30 and my cool sleepover party consisted of me and a stray black cat staring at me through the still-open door.
“What are you looking at?” If Vanessa were still here, she would probably have made some sarcastic comment about how snapping at cats would bring me health, wealth, and happiness. But alas, Vanessa was busy avoiding the wrath of her parents. At least her parents weren’t adoptive parents who couldn’t stand to be at home at the same time, if at all.
The cat moved off into the forest behind my house, and for some reason I felt compelled to follow it. Still wearing the black shorts and gold tank top I used as pajamas, I grabbed my blue sweatshirt from the bench in the mudroom by the door and jogged after the cat.
To be continued…