The raspy voice from the lead singer of Seether bellowed through the hall… Careless whisper of a good friend, as we swayed to the music. The swish of our skirts meshed together as our bodies got closer, my arms wrapping around Kenzie’s neck. Everyone stared at us, looks of shock written all over their faces but I didn’t care all I could see were Kenzie’s deep blue eyes set against her coal black hair.
“I wonder if one day, in the not so distant future, people won’t be so quick to judge when they see two girls dancing together.” I stated, watching the people depart the dance floor.
“Trish, it’s 2012, if they haven’t stopped judging us yet, they never will.” She smiled and tucked a stray golden curl behind my ear.
Kenzie’s eyes watered before for she rested her cheek on my shoulder, “I just wish I didn’t care so much, ya know?”
I squeezed her closer to me and grabbed her hand and held it tight. My eyes closed as I leaned my chin gently on her head. Her hair smelled of vanilla and honeysuckle – her favorite shampoo. I knew the thoughts that Kenzie was most likely letting run rampant and damned if I didn’t love her for it. She worried enough for the both of us but being attracted to me, she lost more than I did – her mother. The one person she was closest to, before the two of us met a few years ago, had disowned her.
A firm tap sent a trickling ache across my shoulder; with a flinch I steadied my eyes on the culprit.
“I think it’s time you two leave now,” Mr. Edwards declared firmly.
I glared at the man who ruled over the school as our principal, in a month he would have no more power over Kenzie and I but tonight he did and it infuriated me, “We aren’t doing anything wrong, this is our prom too.”
“You’re making some of the students uncomfortable.”
“Yeah right, like their groping and prodding all over one another isn’t bad but two girls dancing is?”
“I’m sorry but I’ve made my decision.”
“You’re not sorry,” I growled. “You just don’t want to deal with the racist parents that will inevitably contact you Monday morning.”
Kenzie pulled my arm toward the exit, “Trish come on, let’s just go…”
“Talk about not having a backbone,” I interrupted and squared my chin. Everyone looked at the scene Mr. Edwards and I made some with disgust but most looked at us with sorrow.
“Trish, it’s no use,” Kenzie declared grabbing our coats from the back of the white chairs.
“You’re right Kenz, once a bigot, always a bigot.”
No one uttered a word, even Mr. Edwards could not find his voice. However Kenzie and I walked out of the hotel arm in arm as the last few sentences of the song, engulfed the place, So I'm never gonna dance again, The way I danced with you…
The Spring fling over a month ago still overshadowed Kenzie’s happiness and I could feel her pulling away. I couldn’t imagine my life without her but if she needed to leave, I’d let her go, so she could find out what she really wanted. I was never one to care what people thought of me and I attributed that mindset to my mom who was as eccentric as she was a free loving hippie – maybe the only one left. She was at this moment, off for a week of nature loving fun with her hiking group. I pulled my blue Mazda in next to Kenzie’s mustang - yes, she was here, I exclaimed to myself.
“Kenz baby where are ya?” I called as I entered the kitchen. I fiddled with the silvery package repeatedly straightening the purple bow.
Silence spread out around me like bills to the unemployed. “Damn her,” I said under my breath. “Her ass must be listening to her I pod.”
With gift in hand, I scrambled to our room. Butterflies tickled my stomach as I anticipated Kenzie’s reaction to her surprise. “Kenzie my sweet,” I began the cold knob in my hand firm as the door creaked with distress as it opened. “Take out your earphones; I have a surprise for you.”
The gift slipped from my fingers. The thump echoed throughout the room, the only sound except for my muffled voice, “Oh God no”. The room seemed to tip sideways as I ran to the bed. My heart ached at the sight of her. Her lips had a bluish tint to them and her skin – I had never seen skin look so pale before. She lay in a fetal position, her arm dangling off the bed – her empty prescription bottle on the bed next to her. I grabbed her hand but she did not move. Fear tore through me. Hands trembling I found my phone, “Help me please. I need an ambulance NOW; I think my girlfriend is dead.” A shiver sliced up my spine from her cold hand in mine. .
Tears slipped down my face, making it hard to see. My hands caught her shoulders, “Kenzie baby please… please wake up. My Kenzie, please.” I screamed the words at her, praying for a response to no avail.
“What?” I asked the voice on the phone, my mind too muddied to remember I was on a phone call. My stomach churned and I placed a hand on my mouth. I turned from the bed just as the contents of my stomach emptied out onto the floor.
My attention turned to the person on the end of the phone, wiping my mouth with the back my shirt, “Yes, 327 Tackett street – please hurry.” I begged not waiting on the phone for a response.
My trembling fingers rested just below her nose, I squeezed my eyes closed. A single movement of air graced my skin. “Oh God thank you!” I pulled her limp body in my trembling arms. Tears soaking her face as I held her against my chest. Please, oh please – I’ll do anything, if you/re up there… Please don’t take her away from me. I begged, choking on the air as I rocked back and forth, pain slicing through my cries.
My knees throbbed against the unforgiving wooden floor - her slight frame kept me pinned down but the pain kept me grounded in reality. Only now did I understand what a broken heart felt like – in this one defining moment.
My fingers wrapped around Kenzie’s limp hand. I squeezed my eyes shut and rested my head on our hands. A scorching pain, like a sunburn blazed across my eyes. Thousands of tears and a few nights later the beeping of the machines chirped like birds in the bland, unpleasant hospital room. The only realization I cared about was that Kenzie had not awoken yet and no one knew if she ever would.
“Oh Kenz,” I said, as the familiar ache wrapped around my heart like a vise.
“How is she?” A hoarse voice asked behind me.
I raised my head and looked at April, Kenzie’s mother. Through slitted eyes, her plump form, wrapped in a brown sweater jacket, stood at the end of the bed. I had not seen this woman in two years but her style never changed it seemed from her pale skin and pinched lips to the tight bun in her hair – she looked like a dike. Funny, I thought to myself. Her hands clenched and twisted the straps of the purse she held her purse in front of her like a shield.
Blood rushed through my veins, setting my heart pounding. I would never like this woman, I was sure. April came around the bed, opposite me. Her feet scuffed the laminated floor as her blue eyes locked on Kenzie’s still face. Tears trickled down her flushed cheeks while her calloused hands swept over the tubes that protruded from Kenzie’s small form.
“What happened?” April whispered while she collapsed in a chair.
“I find it shocking that you actually care.” I said bitterly.
“I’m her mother, Trish.”
“You haven’t been her mother in years you made sure of that.” I snapped laying a protective hand over Kenzie’s arm.
“A person can make mistakes – I’m sure you’ve made a few.” She said her eyes avoiding my intent stare.
“Yeah, like leaving her alone today. I just don’t get it though. This morning she was fine – writing her graduation speech – I don’t understand what would have made her want to kill herself.”
“Oh my God, she took the pills because of me,” her voice whispered as April’s head fell into her hands.
“What did you do?” I asked my hands squeezing the arm rests.
“She called me this morning, excited that she was valedictorian of her class and asked if I’d be there. I told her that I couldn’t support the person she’s become and not to expect me there or ever until she changed.”
My mouth gaped open at the words she spoke, “How could you say that?”
“I’m an idiot… I never thought she would… I would never want her to hurt herself like this.” April cried her shoulders hunched over like an elderly woman as she sobbed against Kenzie’s hand.
Hot lava filled anger coursed through me, my hands shook with hatred as I stood up, ready to claw her eyes out.
The soft monitor chirp stopped and one loud ringing replaced it, stopping me in my tracks. The nurses across the hall rushed into the room pushing us aside.
“My God!” April exclaimed wiping her face.
“What’s going on?” I asked as the nurses escorted us away from the bed.
“I need a crash cart,” screamed the nurse as she rushed back into the room.
No one answered my question, we were invisible it seemed. I watched in horror as the nurse pumped up and down on Kenzie’s chest. Her lifeless form never moving – no sign of life radiated from her. My stomach twisted as paddles were placed on her chest by the doctor that breezed passed us pulling a wheeled cart inside the room.
“She’s in V-Fib, charge the machine.”
“CLEAR…” Yelled the blonde doctor, “Come one, girl stay with us” and with one loud jolt Kenzie raised off the bed in time with the zapping of the machine.
Three times they zapped her and each time her body convulsed in electric spasms by the fourth time, I fell to the floor my hand entwined within another - the last person I wanted to touch, Kenzie’s mom. Her trembling hands held my hair while bile rose up in my throat. Darkness faded around me as the last thing I heard the doctor say, “One more time - CLEAR………”
“Mom”, I heard a frail voice say as I woke up.
I looked across the room as Kenzie opened her eyes, her mother beside her their hands clasped.
“Kenzie my baby,” April said elated.
I sat there and watched I could not interrupt even though I wanted to run to her and kiss her.
“Mom, I’m sorry.” Kenzie said her voice trembling.
“No, don’t you say that,” April demanded sitting on the bed next to her. “I thought that I could guilt you into being straight. I believed being a lesbian made you less of a person – Kenzie I was wrong, so very wrong. I’m supposed to love you without conditions or judgments and I failed. The thought of you…..” April trailed off and cleared her throat while she tucked a few stray hairs behind Kenzie’s ear. “I just hope that one day you’ll forgive me.”
“Momma, I already have.”
Kenzie and her mom clung to one another. Kenzie beamed at me, her eyes peaceful for the first time since I had known her. I smiled back as I rose to take her hand as she mouthed the words, I love you.
* This is a short I entered into a writing contest - I'll let you all know what comes * =]