I broke a window on Tuesday. I stood barefoot on the toilet and reached towards the corner pane. When I slipped I took the corner with me, glass cracking in half.
I’m thinking about this window while I wait in the rain after work. When Sarah picks me up, we don’t speak.
“Ella.” She squints. “I can’t see the road.” Her fingers squeeze tight around the steering wheel.
“Pull over.” I tell her.
There’s so much rain. I can feel it under my feet, sloshing against the metal frame of the car. Tonight I feel unmoored.
A year ago Sarah moved in with me and my mother. She never really said why. And it was never really very official anyway. With clothes thrown in her car, makeup in the glove compartment she moved her things in with us. Dad left us and Sarah left them. Everything felt strangely complete.
“We should leave. We’re going to be swept away.” I say.
She won’t look at me. Instead she puts the car into gear, dragging us onto the empty highway. I can see everything she wants to say but just won’t. I can’t bring myself to ask about it.
When we get to my house, the headlights swing up across the porch. Sarah feeds my dogs and I take a shower. I watch the water rinse flecks of grass off my feet. I can see the faded black Expo on the pink tile walls from where Sarah practices writing her Spanish conjugation verbs before quizzes. There’s no curtain around the shower so I watch rain drip in through the broken window over the toilet, like water filtering through cheesecloth.
Our life has become so insular since we started living together. Just the two of us. High school, work, bed, repeat. I can feel us starting to crack.
The whole house is quiet tonight.
Sarah walks into the bathroom. She peels off her wet jeans ands swaps them for flannel pants she stole from her boyfriend. They hang, gaping below her navel. She won’t catch my eye in the bathroom mirror.
She gets in bed first, leaving three feet of space between her and the wall. A space for me to crawl into when I’m ready. I climb over her legs and lay down our noses only inches away. We face each other, our noses inches away, the backs of our hands just barely touching. The cross my mother hung above my bedroom door looms above us. Bleeding Ceramic Jesus seems to be the only one watching us these days.
I know Sarah wants something more, but I don’t know what and if there are words that will anchor us back together, I don’t know them.
When I wake up, we’re holding hands. I never mean to, and I don’t know how, but we always wake up holding hands. When I drag myself over her and off the bed she just turns her head into the pillow, her empty hand flexing.
Later, in the car on the way to school, the world is foggy. The gravel road, normally gray, is soaked to a deep purple.
“If we’d died last night—“ She says, “if we had been swept away, no one would have known for days…. We can’t keep living this way.”