Tales of a Partitioned Heart: Part II
How It All Began
Highland and I were inseparable. Looking back, I think it’s because we were so different, yet we complimented each other so well. She was always the studious, quiet, and introvert one. She was aware of what others thought of her and was devoted to keeping her appearance in tuned with what others thought acceptable. I, on the other hand, have always been the outspoken, opinionated loud mouth, sneaking out on school nights and getting into trouble. Nothing serious, mind you, but I was always seeking a new adventure. I found school boring because it could never keep my attention and wasn’t much of a challenge for me. I practically lived in baggy sweatshirts and I hated makeup, mostly because I could never put it on properly. I always told Highland she needed to let loose a little, and not care what other people thought about her. She always told me I needed to tighten up a bit and was ruthless in her effort to get me to wear makeup and high heals, wich never really worked. The only thing that we had in common, other than our love for reading and writing, was the fact that we were both outcasts in our school.
She had moved here in the beginning of our eighth grade year and it was a well known fact that if you weren’t born and bred in Middleton, you were treated like an outsider. I, on the other hand, had grown up there my entire life and I never quite fit. I was smart but not a genius, pretty but not gorgeous, and by far nowhere near athletic. I kept to myself and had a small group of people I considered friends. I guess the problem was that I always had a sense of self and what I wanted out of life. All of which didn’t fit into the mundane world of Middleton. Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted out of the small farm town. Highland and I would talk for hours about the places we would go and the things we would do together, both desperate to leave our small provincial town that is Middleton.
Now please, let me explain something to you. It isn’t like I consciously told myself that I wanted to be in a relationship with another female. I didn’t do it because it was the “in” thing to do, I didn’t do it because I wanted to experiment, or for the shock value it would bring. In retrospect, I don’t even know if you can qualify Highland and my relationship as a relationship. There are so many factors surrounding what we shared that it makes it a very delicate topic.
The room is dark except for the light of Highland’s television. Her mom is throwing a Halloween party for Adam tomorrow and I said I would come over to help decorate. We lie on the makeshift bed of blankets on her floor, catching up. It’s odd, going from sharing every class in middle school and freshman year to not sharing any at all with Highland. When we’re together though, it’s like we never miss a beat. We’re laying there laughing over how ridiculous and fake Mr. DeVale’s hairpiece looks, debating over what kind of animal hair it’s made of.
“Want some popcorn?” she asks, after finally catching her breath.
“Sure and I’ll put the next movie in.” I say. We both get up at the same time and trip over each other.
“Watch it woman!” I say as I give her a joking push.
“You watch it!” she says as she pushes me back with a smile.
“Oh no, now it’s on!” I say as I tackle her and start tickling her. We wresting around, each trying to get the upper hand on the other. Finally I pin her and she’s laughing so hard she snorts, which makes us laugh even harder. With tears streaming down our face, we fall down facing each other, each trying to catch our breath. Our eyes meet and for a moment we just stare at each other. Our smiles fade and I do something I have never done before, I lean in and kiss her.
“I’m sorry.” I whisper instantly, my lips still lingering over hers. Highland then kisses me back just as gently as I kissed her.
“It’s okay.” She whispers back.
Slowly, tentatively, I run my hands along the length of her body, all the while we kiss. Each kiss becomes less gentle, more demanding and my mouth wonders. Her mouth tastes sweet, her skin salty. Every inch of her body is soft smooth and inviting. Our bodies synchronize in perfect harmony as we touch, kiss, and explore. I fall asleep that night, with Highland in my arms.
The next morning when I wake, Highland isn’t next to me.
Was it a dream? I think to myself, and shudder as I realize that if it were, the scent of her strawberry shampoo and her vanilla lotion wouldn’t still be lingering on my skin. I search for my clothes and get dressed. I walk into the living room and see her standing there setting up the table for the party, her mom right beside her. Suddenly a wave of guilt rushes over me. I can’t even muster up the courage to look her mother in the eye.
Does she know what happened? I think to myself. Could she have heard us? I begin to panic. It was at that instant I needed to flee. I needed to get away and clear my head.
“You okay?” Highland’s mother asks, with a concerned face. “You don’t look like yourself this morning.” Highland won’t even look at me, which is probably best, because if she did I think I might cry.
“Yeah I’m okay Mrs. Pierce. I’m just not feeling too hot. Would it be okay if I go home?”
“Of course Trinity, you don’t have to ask. I hope you feel better.”
“Thanks.” I say with a tight smile. Swiftly I gather my things and after thanking Mrs. Pierce for her hospitality, and apologizing to Adam for not being able to stay for his party, I all but run out the front door. I am a good four blocks up the road before I realize, I never said bye to Highland.
Bethany Lynn Vine ©