Airing It Out
She squeezed her eyes tight shut, scrunching hands into fists against the cold wind. Tears tracked slowly down her cheeks.
The cliff drop yawned before her.
She clutched the broken bracelet in her hand, the wind toying with its loose strings like an anxious child. It hurt that he hadn’t even noticed her. It hurt so much. Salt water collected on her lips. She kept her lashes slammed shut, afraid of seeing the drop in front of her right now.
The wind dipped, whirling slowly around her as a bizarre comfort blanket. It tugged gently at her blonde hair, whispering comfort in her deaf ears.
Nobody could comfort her now. She ached.
How could she be so invisible to him? Was she really so transparent? And she’d just had to blurt it out when he asked what she was thinking. Who does that? What person in their right mind would do that?
She was angry with herself for telling him and angry with him for being so ignorant of her feelings. They’d been there, singing in her heart, for three years now. How could he not notice after three years? They had almost every class together. It had been like that for three years!
The wind tugged impatiently at her hem, but she was too lost in her thoughts to realise. It panicked, whipping her hair into a frenzy. But still she did not notice.
Somebody cleared their throat.
Claire’s eyes popped open. The sea stretched out before her, an endless carpet of angry swirls. The noise didn’t come from before her. It came from behind. She waited a moment, listening for it again.
She was about to close her eyes again when she heard feet shuffling in the long grass. Her feet were still. The wind pushed gingerly at her front, pulling at her back. A lump struggled to dissolve in her throat.
The voice trailed off, hopefully and sympathetic. She didn’t want sympathy from him. She’d had sympathy from him for years. Poor Claire. Poor Claire and her dysfunctional family. Her father the alcoholic. Her brother the jail bird. Her dead mother. Oh yes. Poor, poor Claire.
“I didn’t know you felt that way about me…”
And he didn’t want her to feel that way about him. How could he feel the same considering her family? Then there was the fact that she was the weird kid. And why was she weird? Because strange things happened. Inexplicable things.
She turned to face Lucas, the wind whipping up angrily, blasting her back. Her tears dripped from her cheeks.
“What do you care?!” she railed. Her eyes burned brightly. “What do you care how I feel?!”
“Claire, I…” He wrung his hands, all apology and apprehension.
“You’re the only one I would show!” She clamped her mouth shut, realising she’d spoken without thinking again.
He bit his lip. “Show what?”
“Lucas, I…” The look in his eyes told her he wasn’t going to give up on this easy. She sighed and closed her eyes, backed into a corner by emotion again. “This,” she whispered.
His gasp blew softly from his parted lips.
She was still standing there, but her feet were off the floor, carried by the ever faithful wind. Her eyes followed his. Would he understand?
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