Books before food (and any sort of comfortable life).
Standing at only five feet even, you would never suspect Gemma of being able to hurt someone. But make her mad and she’d have her own way of hurting you. She could hurt you by telling you things about yourself that you had always denied–never wanted to know. And you’d hurt.
The last thing she ever told me was to get out; she couldn’t stand to look at my face anymore. She called me selfish and said that I should open my heart to someone. But I couldn’t and she knew that. Gemma knew that if I ever opened myself up for the world to see then I would be vulnerable, something that I just couldn’t bring myself to do. Not even for the girl I loved.
“Hey Shane, what’s crackin’?” Snapping back to reality, my mental shields went up. I didn’t bother to laugh at Jeremy’s obviously bad pun that he’s made hundreds of times.
“Just shut up and give me the stuff, Jeremy. Do we really have to go through this every week?” I stood up off of the curb and Jeremy just laughed.
“Hey, want to hang out or something? A pretty girl like you shouldn’t be wandering the streets alone, you know?” I took the drugs from him and didn’t answer, choosing instead just to walk away.
“Oh, wait! I forgot to mention something.” I turned back around, rolling my eyes. “The guy I get your stuff from knows you haven’t been paying. He needs some compensation from you. And soon or he may do something drastic.” A look of worry flashed over his face for a brief second, but I ignored it.
“You can tell him I said ‘bite me’,” I started walking away, expecting Jeremy to say something, but he never did.
The breeze was gentle and the flowers were in full bloom. I walked along the sidewalk at a pace that was as slow as I could manage. Before long, I realized that I was standing in front of Gemma’s house. I stopped to stare, hoping that she would come out to see me. I saw her scamper by her bedroom window and I guessed that she saw me because a second later she was staring at me through her sheer drapes. A smile crossed her face and she disappeared again, only to reappear at her front door. My heart lifted. She’s going to talk to me…She’s going to forgive me.
Halfway to me, Gemma stopped abruptly. She looked past me and a look of fear crossed her face. As I turned to look, a gun suddenly went off. I dove to the ground as I heard a car speeding off. After that, chaos erupted and my vision became a blur.
Fifteen minutes later, I found out that Gemma had been shot. She died after a few hours in intensive care, me by her side. Looking into the hospital’s bathroom mirror, I was angered. What had happened to Gemma was my fault. I turned the faucet on and flung water onto the mirror, obscuring the reflective image. Turning to leave, I glanced back one more time, the person in the mirror saying, “I can’t even stand to look at your face anymore.”