The three of us are the only ones that wear long sleeves during the third week of May.
When we walk into our classes there are sheens of sweat on our foreheads; each teacher quirks an eyebrow, gives us a questioning glance, seems otherwise concerned. Our classmates are beyond(more) caring – more apathetic than malicious. None of them challenge it, and the part of me that is still five, still imagines dramatic fantasies starring myself as the runaway, wishes that someone would laugh at us.
They’d stifle a snicker: turn away, crouch close to their desk and get ready to whisper to another friend. But before they’d have the chance, I’d splinter, claw at them. I’d explain to the principal in an uncomfortable chair: my friend used to self-harm, sir. And I could not sit back and let her take abuse.
Well, wearing long sleeves like that seems like an indication of a more developed clique, he would say, turning in his swivel chair; I’d have to clarify that no, we were not. My other friend has eczema, grainy rashes lining the inside of her elbows.
He would sag in his chair, then ask: And what about you?
There is no particular reason I wear long sleeves, other than to reaffirm the choices of my friends. But that night, after he’d let me off with detention and a note to my parents, I would burn the paper he’d written it on. I’d sneak out with my friends and get a tattoo on my forearm – a button right under my wrist, not that my classmates would ever see it anyways.
That was how it would happen. If people had said anything about it.
Your son calls out to you as he gets ready for school.
Mom, he says, Can I wear my blue shirt today?
You smile and help him slip it over his small head, his soft hair reappearing, tousled. His arms stretch through the sleeves, like snakes, burrowing into(more) a hole.
He grins up at you, and his tiny teeth, like little pearls, peak out at you. You can see the gap where he pulled out his first tooth, just last week.
You bend down next to him, but he's so small that your head is still a couple inches taller than his.
You bring your hands up to cry and button the front of this shirt, but he gently pushes your hands away, and tries to do it himself. You smile gently as his tiny hands struggle. He does all but one, and you help him with that one.
He runs downstairs, grabs his toast. He runs to the doors, puts on his shoes, and calls out to you, Mom, I'm going now! Love you!
Throws the door open, and runs out, ready for another fun day at school, with his friends.
You run with him, calling an I love you at his retreating back, glance to the left, your eyes widen.
You scream his name, a harsh, strangled screech of pain and shock.
The car hits.
The world goes black.
And that's the end of that.(less)
I know you're supposed to love who you are, but she never did. She never thought she was pretty. Not that many people are actually that beautiful. There's gorgeous, and then passable. The rest is what your demeanor makes you into.
She hid behind a mask; all of us(more) hide behind our own. Mine was my eccentric personality; hers was what she wore.
It wasn't her. She was quiet, almost shy, but she wore the most outlandish things. Everyone was always intimidated by her. So was I at first. But then I saw behind what she wore, to the loyal girl who was the best friend.(less)
He steps on to the train platform in dark jeans and a double-breasted pea coat, buttoned all the way up to his neck. He carries his umbrella under his left arm and holds a cup of black coffee in the same hand.
At the same time, she gets(more) off her train in hounds-tooth leggings, a clover green trench coat that's unbuttoned and caught behind her bag, and a knit scarf that's just about dragging the ground. She speed-walks through the throngs of people to the Red Line.
Of course he sees this, and of course he runs to pick up the scarf when she unknowingly drops it, and of course he boards her train.
When he finds her in the car, her coat is buttoned and she is pawing at her shoulders.
"You dropped this," he says and offers it back.
"Thanks," she answers politely and gratefully wraps it around her neck.
"So. I'm Nicolas. Are you from around here?"
"I'm not interested," she says immediately—apologetically.
The white cotton dress hung around her figure, shapeless.
“Can you do my buttons?” Anna called over her shoulder. She was standing in front of the mirror in their bedroom, fretting with the lines of her dress, smoothing folds and tugging at edges. Her auburn hair fell aroun(more)d her shoulders, artfully undone.
Jonah rose from where had been reclining on the bed. Buttons went all the way down the back of the dress, tortoiseshell. She had done the ones she could reach, but much of the top half was still left. The color of her skin wasn't much different from the color of the garment, freckles distinguishing it from the fabric.
His hands shook, though they’d done this countless times before. He wasn't sure what was different this time. He didn't feel any more nervous, but when he looked down the quiver was undeniable. He hoped she wouldn't notice. Looking over her shoulder, seeing the smile in her eyes, he knew she had. Her mouth was pursed, like she was holding herself back from saying anything.
His fingers stumbled over the top button. She turned around and kissed him. (less)
The flats. The dress pants. The white button up, all the way to the collar. The blue tie from dad's closet, half-windsor style.
Flipping around the feminine dress paradigm, that's right. Bam. Somebody's ready for a concert. Looking classy and refined, only as a percussionist can. Ready to roc(more)k that snare drum and marimba and tambourine. We button up, to throw down. (less)
Funny how often we have it backwards.
We mistake desperation for lust, fucking for love.
Funny how even after all the incredible sex we had, tearing off clothes to reveal raw skin, nothing was as sexy, as thrilling or as intimate as when she buttoned me up for work.
That morning looked exactly the same as all of the others. The light coming in from the window was pale and soft as it gently kissed the room good morning. There was a haze in her brain that was only to be alleviated by the first cup of tea,(more) 3 sugars and just a splash of milk, of the day.
She stared at the light dancing on her ceiling as the gentle breeze from the open window jostled the blinds into undulating waves of fabric.
The breeze smelled cold and fresh in the early spring music of the morning. The birds were coming home now and the sparrows welcomed the sun like the hungry hands and mouths welcomed the bowls of cereal, the buttered toast and strips of bacon.
She hauled herself up and around, positioning herself on the side of the bed, back hunched and shoulders slumped as her arms stood as pillars preventing her buckling under the weight of sleep.
Her clothes for the day where hanging limply against the wardrobe. They were nicer, more formal and much more expensive than what she normally wore. They held so much anticipation because today was not like every other day as the morning light, the singing birds and the gentle breeze would have you believe. It was her first morning in the big city, her first morning living that city way of life. When she buttoned up her shirt, she stared out of the window and instead of seeing the fields and green, there was an industrial grey. As she dressed, she couldn't help but be confused by the anticipation of the day against the grey, the rain and the unwelcoming atmosphere. (less)
Nasty. But them's the breaks. I decided to brazen it out, button myself up and put a brave face on it. Hardly anyone knew, and those who did were so implicated in things themselves that they weren't going to spill. You could call me cold, callous and downright nasty(more) for gadding out and about so soon after the event -- and you'd be right -- but, the thing was that my very upright and sanctimonious presence would but a damper on any rumours that might be starting. I wanted people to be afraid that I would look them right in the eye and demand evidence of their accusations - or even satisfaction.
The first thing I had to do was get round and see them all. They were my only route to damnation and I was damned if I was going to let them take me there. Veronika was my first visit. She was a weak willed and pliable woman. I found her as I expected her - weeping in the bedchamber having dispatched her even weaker willed husband to take care of some spurious business in the countryside. At first she didn't want to receive me but I bulldozered passed the servant in a most unseemly manner, causing her to draw the sheets around her and look startled from beneath her curly hair. "Don't worry dearest, I'm not going to rape you, that would give me very little pleasure, and no doubt leave the most frightful mess for your poor servant to clean up."(less)
Her new coat was lined with a thick woolen interior. Outside it was suede, with leather detailing. Very long, very fashionable, very expensive, but so comfortable, so cuddly, so nice. And, most importantly, hers just in time for the start of the cold season. For the first month or(more) so, she wore it with long sleeves and sweaters, but left it open. After that, the wind bit in to her bones and stroked her skin with its icy fingers. She began buttoning it to keep the old out. But by then it was, of course, already too late. In nuclear winter there is no time for fashion, no time for looking good. At least, when they found her body, if anyone was left alive to do so, she would be pretty.
And her coat would be buttoned up.(less)