The Text

–This is a short story I wrote in my English class in May 2012. 

“Have you ever kissed a girl?”

Kali read that text and nearly passed out in the dishes she was trying to wash. A bell rang. She was shaking. It rang again. She had to go help a customer.

Two minutes later she went back into the dish room and read the text again. She was dizzy.

The answer was definitely no.

But she didn’t want to respond too harshly. Had Charlie ever kissed a girl?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

But probably. Why else would she ask?

Did she want to kiss me? Did I want to kiss her?

Kali tried to focus on the dishes. Her stomach felt weird.

Was it a good feeling? Or a sick feeling? She wasn’t sure.

She had to think quickly. In half an hour she would be done with work and would go home to eat dinner in her sorority. Charlie would be there. Would she look at her? Would she sit with her? All the sudden Kali got that sick feeling in her stomach again.

She finally responded. No.

One second later Charlie replied.

Kali was scared to look at it.

She clocked out of work and started walking home. She better just look at it, the walk wasn’t far.

Good, Charlie said she hadn’t kissed any girls either.

Kali walked into the house as 25 girls were filing down the stairs for dinner. She didn’t look anyone in the eye for the fear of meeting Charlie’s eyes. She stumbled down the stairs last and got some dinner.

Salad. Again.

Kali sat at a table with six other girls; thankfully Charlie was at a different one. She must have felt awkward too, Kali thought. She looked up. Their eyes met. Kali got that feeling in her stomach and looked down quickly. She briefly wondered if Charlie got the same feeling then shoved the salad in her mouth. No, she thought. Charlie probably didn’t get that feeling. What even is that feeling? Kali stood up and threw her food away. She went straight upstairs, showered and laid in bed. She didn’t understand what this was. She fell asleep.

A few months ago Kali found herself drawn to Charlie. The girls had been in their sorority for two years together and yet neither had ever crossed paths enough to get to know the other.

Kali was loud. She was obnoxious and she knew it. She hung out with the crowd of girls that drank and ditched class. She couldn’t be more opposite of Charlie. That’s why Kali became so interested in her.

Kali wanted to break Charlie’s shell. She couldn’t stop this new obsession with Charlie. She was the most beautiful woman Kali had ever seen. Her long blonde hair, her piercing green eyes and strong jaw line left Kali speechless. Her athletic build and ability to be independent intrigued Kali for some reason. A reason that she was afraid to question.

Kali had begun to text Charlie. Just simple things, asking about her day and what not. Simple things that grew into not so simple things. Charlie wasn’t so shy over texting, Kali soon began to notice. Soon Charlie wanted to know everything about Kali. She asked her things Kali had never been asked, about her family, her life, her childhood.

Every time her phone lit up, she hoped it was Charlie. They were just getting to know each other, Kali reasoned with herself. That’s why she was so excited to see her name on the text.

Kali started to think about Charlie more. None of Kali’s friends had ever asked the kinds of questions Charlie had asked before. None. Kali was confused. Kali had never had this feeling about anyone. She couldn’t place it. She didn’t understand it. She tried not to think about it.

A couple of days after the text that couldn’t leave Kali’s mind was sent, she couldn’t fall asleep again. Her mind raced. Why did she get that feeling in the pit of her stomach with Charlie?

She had gotten a similar feeling before. A few years ago, with a girl named Devan. Devan was older than Kali and Kali looked up to her. Then, there was the girl on her swim team, Kali suddenly remembered. And that journal she once wrote. The journal confessing how she thought she might have a crush on a girl. But there’s no proof. Kali stapled the pages together so no one would find it. Then burned it.

Kali went to sleep.

Days later Kali was watching television. A girl was confessing her love for her friend. A girl, friend. Kali left. She was angry.

Kali literally could not stop thinking about Charlie. She hated Charlie for that. Who does Charlie think she is confusing me like this, Kali thought. What was she even confused about? There shouldn’t be confusion.

Kali thought about her history with men. She had to be drunk every time she kissed a boy. Otherwise she wouldn’t have enough courage. She was usually too drunk to remember. Nine shots then one kiss. Ten shots and maybe the boy would get lucky, or Kali would. Depends on how you look at it.

She thought back to her short stints with boys. They were definitely the lucky ones, she realized. She had never liked it. Never. Kali had to begin to think she was asexual. People like sex, right? They enjoy making out?

Kali found it disgusting. Boys smelled. They were sloppy and full of spit. She had always assumed she just picked the wrong guys.

She thought harder. Twenty years had gone by and Kali had never picked even one right guy? Not once had a man flipped her stomach the way Charlie and the other girls did?

No. That answer was easy.

But what was that feeling in her stomach? Was it even a good feeling? To be honest, it made Kali kind of sick. A good sick? Is there such thing?

She was confused.

Kali was in the basement. It was 2 a.m. Charlie convinced Kali to meet her in the cold dark basement. Why? Kali didn’t know. She stood nervously against the wall.

She saw Charlie appear. She looked good. Kali was overcome with confusion. What IS this feeling?

Kali backed against the wall. The silence and awkwardness of the situation was too much for her to handle and she contemplated running away. She started to walk the opposite direction and Charlie caught her arm.

Wait, she said.

Charlie asked what Kali thought of her. Kali didn’t know. Charlie said she knew how she felt about Kali.

Kali was mesmerized. She stared into Charlie’s eyes. Charlie was an inch taller than she was. She smelled good. Kali realized she wasn’t breathing. But she felt breath against her. It was Charlie’s.

Charlie kissed Kali. The room was spinning. Kali finally understood the feeling.

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