TITLE: We Can't All Be Tiger Trainers
GENRE: Women's Fiction
The last time I called Claire, she hung up on me. I knew she was sick, but what the hell?
“The doctor thinks she’s having a breakdown,” her mom whispered as she led me down the hall of Claire’s childhood home, a Beacon Hill brownstone. But I didn’t believe her. Claire wasn’t the breakdown type.
Mrs. McKenna knocked on a door at the end of the hallway. “Claire? Malia’s here.” She smiled, gesturing for me to go in. I flipped back my ponytail and entered.
Claire was resting on a double bed. She didn’t sit up and greet me—weird. Her hair frizzed around glasses I didn’t recognize, an unsettling look. I was used to glossy curls and contacts.
“Hi,” she said. Even with a comforter on top of her, I could tell she’d lost some weight. She had to be sweltering.
“Hey, Claire.” I settled in on the edge of the bed. “How are you?" I picked up her hand and noticed the extremes between our skin tones: Claire’s, nearly translucent, and mine, dark brown.
“How do you feel?” I said.
“I’m really sick.”
I was not enlightened. “Some kind of flu?”
Claire closed her eyes and slowly shook her head. A tear dripped down her cheek and plopped on her sleeve. I watched it melt into the cotton.
So much had changed in just one month. I'd taken off for a Senior Week camping trip in the Sierras, the same day Claire left campus for a debate tournament.