The story so far: Kate’s day has been one full of mixed emotions. She found out that she received a prestigious summer internship, but her boyfriend, Brian, wasn’t particularly excited. She felt obligated to go to a party with him, but tried to make the best of it. Unfortunately, Brian remain distracted by Allison, the girl he kissed in the spring, and Kate reacted by trying to make him jealous. After a fight at Eric’s house, Kate went home to an empty house. Brian eventually came over to talk to her, but it was too late. Kate had had enough and she broke up with him. The year is 1987.
I’m a wreck. Numb. Ever since Brian drove away, I’ve been sitting in the living room, unable to move. The phone rang two or three times, but I didn’t pick up. Probably Andrea calling to report on the good time she’s having.
Whatever. I’ll be okay alone.
I force myself upstairs. I wash my face and brush my teeth. I barely look in the mirror. In my bedroom, I put on my comfy PJ’s. A black cloth under my bed catches my eye. Brian’s fucking B.T.O. concert shirt. I pick it up, walk over to my desk drawer and find my scissors. For the next fifteen minutes, I cut up Brian’s shirt into small pieces. When I’m done, I return the scissors and dump the remnants of the shirt into the trash.
On my dresser is a photo taken at this year’s Spring Formal. Brian is smiling at me. I knock the picture into the waste basket. Now when I look up from the pillow, I’ll only see a picture of my horse, Kenny.
Kenny will never betray me.
I know what I need to do, but damn it, I can’t cry. Not that I’m being defiant, the tears just won’t come. Maybe I’m all cried out. Brian used up all of my tears.
I turn on my TV and click through the cable channels, settling on a Sally Field movie. I’ve seen this one before. She falls in love with James Garner, the actor from The Rockford Files (I used to watch reruns with my dad). I like the kind of characters Sally always plays: spunky, independent women who manage to lift themselves up, even in heartbreak. Plus, this one has horses in it.
I can’t wait for next week. Helping kids. Riding with Kenny. Smiles. Joy.
Maybe that’s why I’m not crying. I have so much ahead of me.
It’s the end of the movie and Sally gets her man. They want to spend the rest of their lives with each other. Blah, blah, blah. I turn off the television, switch off the lights and stare at the ceiling.
A car screeches to a halt outside the house. A door slams. Sandals slap on the sidewalk. The doorbell rings, and someone begins pounding on the front door.
“Kate? Katie! Open up!”
I return downstairs, flipping on the lights along the way. Andrea stops banging on the door at the first indication that I’m approaching. When I open the front door, she stands before me, a little disheveled. Out in the street, a Ford Escort is vibrating from the bass line of that song, “White Lines.” Andrea waves, and the car slowly drives away.
“I tried calling,” she asks, breathlessly.
“I couldn’t get to the phone. I figured it was something that could wait.”
“The police showed up at Eric’s house and we all got the hell out of there! I ran through back yards with Mike until we got to his car.”
“Holy crap! The cops!”
I look closely at her hair. She has a small pink blob in it.
“Andrea, do you have gum in your hair?”
“Yes!” she exclaims, exasperated. “We stopped near Mr. Hero so I could use the payphone and call you, and I dropped my fucking quarter in the sewer grate. I tried to use a wad of gum to get the quarter and was this close, when a rat crawled across my foot! I jerked back, and the gum… well, you can see what happened.”
I laugh. Hard. It feels good.
“Come on in,” I tell her.
“You didn’t say goodbye when you left the party. And then I couldn’t find Brian, so I figured something was going on.”
“We broke up.”
“Really?” Andrea asks, concern written on her face.
I shrug. She bites her lower lip, unsure how to address the news. Usually I’m the one tending to her broken heart.
“He’s an ass,” she says. “You can do better, Kate. He’ll never have a love like you again.”
“Thanks, Andrea. But he’s… already…”
Suddenly I’m crying, letting out huge, agonizing sobs. I can barely catch my breath.
It’s over. It’s over, damn it, it’s over.
My knees buckle, and Andrea is there to catch me. She embraces me, and I cry so much that her shoulder is covered with tears and slobber. Somehow we wind up on the living room couch and I manage to calm down. Resting my head against her, Andrea strokes my hair. The first words I manage are “Thank you.”
“That’s what friends are for, Katie,” Andrea replies.
“I think I’m going to spend my summer without boys. I think I’m going to focus on working at the camp and–”
“Puh-lease, Kate, like that’ll ever happen. You’re gonna go to Vermont and meet some cute hunk and fall in love and not worry about the dumbass boyfriend you used to have back home.”
“No yeahbuts, Kate. You are gorgeous and smart and you’re gonna drive all of the townie boys crazy this summer. Mark my word.”
Good old Andrea.
“And you better take pictures of the guys with their shirts off!”
“You certainly have it all planned out,” I say.
“Look,” Andrea begins, using her hands to express her point, “it’s going to hurt for awhile. I know that. But I’m going to make you feel better any chance I get, starting right now.”
She walks over to my dad’s stereo, sitting on the built in bookcase. Andrea flips through his dusty records, unsatisfied. In the cabinet below the stereo, she finds my old 45’s carrying case, from when I was a kid. Andrea opens it and finds a record that she likes.
“Remember our first concert?”
“How can I forget? Your mom took a wrong turn, and we missed the opening act.”
“Eh, we weren’t there to see Sega, anyway.”
“I think they were called Saga.”
“Whatever. We were there to see Pat Benatar!”
She holds up the sleeve to “Shadows of the Night,” Pat Benatar’s hit from the early 80’s. Andrea drops the 45 on my dad’s record player and puts the needle on to the scratchy vinyl.
“Sing with me,” she says.
“Sing,” she demands.
On cue, the song begins. Andrea sings along at the top of her lungs.
“We’re running with the shadows of the night/ So baby take my hand, it’ll be all right.”
Oh screw it. Together we sing:
“Surrender all your dreams to me tonight/ They’ll come true in the end”
We dance and reenact the entire “Shadows of the Night” music video. Andrea and Pat Benatar have rescued me. For the moment, everything seems all right.
Today’s artwork was by Tammy List. Tammy is an avid animal lover who volunteers and is on the Board of Directors at the Wildlife Learning Center in Sylmar, CA. She also volunteers at a cat sanctuary called Heaven on Earth – The Perry MacFarlane Sanctuary. When she isn’t working or volunteering Tammy spends her time outside taking pictures of wildlife.
Pat Benatar’s song, “Shadows of the Night,” is found on her 1982 album, Get Nervous.
Previous Chapters: Chapter 31, Chapter 30, Chapter 29, Chapter 28, Chapter 27, Chapter 26, Chapter 25, Chapter 24, Chapter 23, Chapter 22, Chapter 21, Chapter 20, Chapter 19, Chapter 18, Chapter 17, Chapter 16, Chapter 15, Chapter 14, Chapter 13, Chapter 12, Chapter 11, Chapter 10, Chapter 9, Chapter 8, Chapter 7, Chapter 6, Chapter 5, Chapter 4, Chapter 3, Chapter 2, Chapter 1, Introduction
Read Chapter 33 of Legendary.