CAR ACCIDENTS, SMOKE DETECTORS, AND OTHER THINGS THAT FEEL LIKE DISASTER
In tenth grade, I fell in love for a little while with the boy in my biology class. It happened when we were learning about blood types. He raised his hand to ask the teacher what blood type motivational speakers have.
“What type?” our teacher played along, rolling her eyes but smiling a little because he was the kind of boy who elicited smiles.
“B positive,” he told us, and then he glanced back at me and grinned, and that’s when I fell in love with him.
One Friday night, we were sitting in his car in the school parking lot after a football game, watching everyone filter out of the bleachers and throw away their pretzel wrappers and candy boxes and guffaw about the game and the scholarships their boys were going to get so that they could play in college. The lights shut off as the last player left the field. They all drove away so fast, peeling out of the parking lot and onto the next party or friend’s house or wherever they ended up. That was the night the team’s center, Mitch Barney, got drunk and totaled his truck and almost got himself killed but was lucky.
A few hours before the accident, I sat in the passenger seat next to the boy I loved and watched as Mitch’s Chevy drove into the dark for the last time.
“Falling in love with you is like looking at the smoke detector in the middle of the night,” I said to the boy. “You stare at the ceiling every night for your entire life and see it but don’t really notice it, and then one night you catch it blinking. And then you start watching for the blinking light, and you get nervous when it doesn’t blink and relieved when it does. And you spend hours just staring at the light, waiting to see if it will blink, getting this little thrill each time. Like when you smile back at me or say my name. That’s what it’s like falling in love with you.”
A few hours passed and we were still in his car and he had his tongue in my mouth. My phone buzzed with news about Mitch’s accident.
“Karma,” he said wisely, kissing my shoulder. “He’s a narcissistic son of a bitch. Not even a good player.”
“Probably won’t play again,” I murmured as I skimmed the texts coming in from my friends. “It sounds pretty bad.”
“He got what he deserved,” the boy said, and maybe he was right, but I still pitied Mitch. Mitch, who was one of the boys with a scholarship, who hadn’t laughed at the blood type joke that day in class. As the boy kissed me again, I thought of his words and his jokes and the way he charmed me, how he could read us all and say the right things to elicit our smiles, the way he kissed me in his car, my head tilted back and lips pushed apart, how I exhausted myself for days coming up with a metaphor and compared him to a smoke detector and the way he grinned at me when I said it. His hands touched my face, and suddenly I was as cold as the night.
Sydney Sinks is a ball of stress with winged eyeliner. She enjoys drinking too much coffee and then writing when she can't sleep because of the coffee. Her work is published or forthcoming in Remington Review, Bacopa Literary Review, BURST Magazine, Decatur Magazine, and The Decaturian. Follow her on Twitter @SinksSydney for ramblings, blog posts, and the occasional sonnet.