TITLE: SEEING CLEARLY
GENRE: Women's Fiction
I scanned the piles and piles of graduation presents covering my imported silk comforter. They were fabulously wrapped in thick paper—big golden boxes with giant bows, tiny bags stuffed full of sparkling tissue, Indian print blankets held together with thin string, every type of covering imaginable. I peered at the tags from all around the world: Middle Eastern diplomats, debutants, royalty, you name it.
I should probably get this over with. Pulling my hair up in a sloppy ponytail, I walked over next to the bed and sat on the floor. I picked an oversized vellum card at random and ripped it open.
Hmm, this one’s super fancy, and addressed to Ms. Amy See. That’s not it. I tossed a bag aside and pulled the boxes out one after another, searching. But for what?
When, I came across a small brown envelope with scribbled handwriting, my pulse quickened. I ran my fingers over the dark script on the front and took a deep breath. Glancing at the return address, I saw his name. My heart did a somersault and my face warmed.
I thought back to high school—skipping first period to make out in the bed of his old baby blue pickup down by the football field. Man oh man could he kiss. I bit my upper lip just thinking about it. “Adam Makin,” I sighed his name out loud, remembering just how much I had loved that nerdy boy.
I could feel his caramel curls tickling my nose as I lay next to him on those humid August afternoons. He bought old shirts from the local thrift store that clung to his body in all the right places. Adam didn’t look like a football player or anything, but he had a faint six pack and a butt firm enough to hold up those baggy jeans he always wore.
I often got lost in the sparkle of his emerald green eyes behind his trendy glasses. We spent most of our time in the back of his old Ford, staring up at the sky. Each of us with an earbud stuck in one ear, listening to the latest and greatest indie funk band. Naïve, I’d imagined us together forever.
But then high school ended and so did we. He headed up the East Coast to live the punk rocker lifestyle, and I stayed in the land of big hair and even bigger purses.
I pretended my parents had made me stay in Texas for college, but truthfully it was more for myself. Why anyone would ever want to leave the Lone Star State was beyond me.
We kept in touch at first. Email and text messages made that pretty easy, but they sort of died out after a while. I was busy with parties and friends, and he had his causes and whatever else he did up there. I really didn’t even know.
I stretched against the edge of my bed and turned over the letter. Slowly, I tore off the back, taking extra care to keep from ripping his handwriting on the front of the envelope. Why did this note matter so much to me? It didn’t mean anything. My relationship with Adam ended years ago. Ugh, just open it Amy.
“I see you found your presents?” My mom walked into the room, carrying a peanut butter sandwich, and sat on the bed. I slipped the card in my pocket to open later in private, and took the plate.
“I guess you were right about all those graduation announcements.” I nudged her leg with a shoulder and took a big bite of food.
“I’m always right, Ames, and please don’t talk with your mouth full.” She smiled and combed her fingers through my hair.
Looking up at her, I rolled my eyes. “Sorry.” I took a big swig of milk. “There, better?” I opened and stuck out my tongue.
She waved her hand motioning for me to shut my mouth. “Babe, you aren’t seven. You’re about to graduate from college. Stop being so tacky.”
I kind of wished I was still a kid. Growing up here was pretty much the pinnacle of coolness.
Her fingers twirled the loose end of my ponytail. “Have you thought any more about that party?”
“Just about how I’m so glad I talked you out of it.” I laughed.
“There’s still time to make it happen, ya know. I could make a few calls. It’s a little late to reserve a space, but we could always have it here, and then there’s the catering—”
There she went again, not listening to a word I’d said, making her own plans. “Mom. I said no party. Please don’t.” I turned to show her my you-better-not face.
She straightened up and frowned. I could see the lines in her face trying to break through the Botox. “Ames, I won’t throw a party for you if that’s really what you want.”
“Promise?” I smiled, pleading one last time.
“I promise.” She sounded sincere as she stuck out her bottom lip in a little pout.
“Oh good. Thanks Mom.” When I remembered to look past the ridiculously large jewelry and fancy shoes, I really loved her.
Mom glanced out the window. “Derek brought a new girl home with him this weekend. They’re out by the lake now.”
Nodding, I rolled my eyes. “I saw his truck in the driveway.” Why did my brother need a monster truck with giant wheels on it, anyway? “Did you meet her? I wonder which Delta Tri I-need-to-find-a husband sorority she belongs to.” I smirked.
Mom shook her head. “This one’s different.”
“Sure she is.” That was all I could say, really. Most of the time Derek couldn’t resist a tight pair of jeans and a low cut shirt, she was probably just another version of the same.
“Well…” She scratched the side of her mouth and ran her finger under her eye to check her mascara. “I think maybe I like her so far. As long as I don’t catch her sticking the good silver in her bag the way that last one—”
I interrupted her before she got started. Man, she really hated that girl. “Yeah, I have no defense for him there. Glad he didn’t decide to go all happily-ever-after with the klepto for sure. Remember that girl with the fake blonde wig ponytail thing?” Mimicking the bimbo I flipped my pony tail up and stuck it out to the side.