The clock on the wall reads 3:15. Perfect timing.And this is where it gets weird.
I pack up quickly and speed walk to my car, out of the parking lot by 3:17, and the radio comes crackling to life.
“Next on Sunshine Station, we have a caller by the name of Grace Whitney. Grace, what’s your favorite summer jam?”
By the time I’m back in the school lot, the baseball team is jogging out the side door to the track. I scan the line, searching for that bouncing head of curly hair.
Jace is at the end of the line. His face always looks serious at practice. His baseball pants fit him well, highlighting his muscular legs and round derriere. I only have eyes for him.
Sadly, this isn’t the weird part.
I wait until the team is completely out on the track to leave my car. Thankfully the track is behind the school and my car can’t be seen from that area. The lot is empty—exactly how I need it.
No one ever bothers to lock the side door, which makes it easy to access the boy’s locker room. The lights are off and it reeks of sweat. I pause and listen to the silence, making sure it’s completely empty.
Once it becomes clear that no one else is in here, I can feel a physical weight dispel off my body. I feel like my guts have been twisted all day, and now there is relief. I am calm. I am home.
I only turn on one of the lights. It’s like a runway strip to Jace’s locker. I can see his backpack, overstuffed and slumped on the floor. A pot of gold.
My hands shake as I unzip the top and pull out his blue varsity jacket. My senses become full with the smell of him. It feels amazingly warm on me, and comforting, like I’m wrapped up in his arms. This is what it would feel like if I were wrapped in his arms. I wish I never had to leave, wish I could be encased in his false embrace forever.
Jace is chronically unorganized. His binder bulges with loose leaf paper and graded tests
and random flyers. I thumb through it quickly. A 73 on his calc test—ouch. My baby is not good at math.
He has the pages folded down hard in The Catcher in the Rye. I hate how he doesn’t use bookmarks. He’s not even far in the book; Holden hasn’t even left Pencey yet. I would love to tutor him.
I love Jace’s handwriting. It’s not at all like you’d imagine it. It’s small and scrawled, like a hasty message on the wall of a bathroom. His handwriting is casual, but he’s larger than life.
The three forty-five alarm on my phone goes off. The football team will be arriving soon. It’s time to go.
My eyes well up as I pull off the jacket. The fantasy is over and I am back to not living. The lights are too bright. I feel cold.
About the Author
Being the daughter of an accomplished author, E.S.P. grew up listening to stories and telling her own to classmates. At fourteen years old she self-published her first novel, but feeling like a small fish in the literary pond she quickly removed it from all publishing avenues. After three years of inactivity, Eboni published her second novel, Soft Eyes and Troubled Minds: Literary Works for the Disturbed at Heart, coauthored with a close friend. At the conclusion of her senior year in high school, E.S.P. published her third novel, Sunrise Station, and has much more writing in store. When she’s not writing, she’s either reading books, talking about books, or watching god-awful movies.