It was ridiculous to be here. What would happen? Would she suddenly decide they were perfect for each other? That they had to be together after all? There she was, right on schedule, walking home from school, from the 211 bus, now that she was no longer being dropped off. She looked beautiful as always. Her blonde hair poking out from under a hat, one of those ones made to look like an olden days hat, like from the ‘20s or whatever. She had a scarf on too, and gloves even though it wasn’t really that cold, although it was getting colder as the evening progressed and the sky darkened. But Cerise had always been a bit sensitive to the cold, probably because she was a girl, small and dainty like girls are supposed to be. Her cheeks were red, flushed from the chill. But her cheeks were always red, weren’t they? She didn’t wear makeup, she was naturally rosy. Naturally beautiful, vibrant and present, so alive, so vital. Her eyes so bright, her skin so smooth.
She walked across her lawn, feet shuffling the leaves on the grass. Cerise had always enjoyed fall, had always loved stepping on crinkled, dead leaves and hearing that satisfying crunch underfoot. She got to her front door and fumbled in her backpack, presumably searching for her keys. She found them and unlocked the door; opened it but then paused. She looked around, perhaps sensing she was being watched?
The voyeur ducked behind a tree and was ashamed. Because truly this was stalking. This was taking what was once a real relationship with Cerise and twisting it into something perverted. Something that would scare her. But it was so hard to resist. How was one expected to go through life without Cerise? She who could light up a room just by entering it. She was a bitch, sure, but wasn’t that sort of part of her charm?
And it had been so long since she’d seen her. Shauna just needed to know that Cerise was still ok. So fine, she was stalker, a freak, just as everyone had accused her of being back in high school. Hopefully Cerise hadn’t noticed her watching.
In her fear Shauna forgot she had a cigarette in her mouth and it fell to the ground. She looked down at it, wondering if she should leave it there or hide the evidence. Looking back up she gasped, almost jumping out of her skin. At the next tree over was Cerise’s boyfriend, looking just as shocked as Shauna felt. He too had a cigarette dangling from his mouth and he too lost it as his jaw went slack. It was getting pretty dark out but there was no mistaking him, it was definitely that Terry whatever guy, looking guilty, looking stunned. His eyes darted around. He poked out from his hiding place, for clearly he was hiding just as much as she, and looked towards Cerise’s house. Shauna looked too. Cerise was gone.
They stared at each other for another moment and then he ran off. It wasn’t a walk or a jog; it was a sprint towards a bike parked nearby. He jumped on it and rode away before Shauna could even process the situation.
Would he tell Cerise that Porta-potty chick had been watching her house? Why hadn’t he simply gone into her house? Shauna was slow to put it together but her neurons eventually fired and she realized they’d broken up. Hence her walking home from school instead of being dropped off. Was this guy seriously coming to her house anyway just to watch her come home on her own? How lame was that? Sure, Shauna was sort of doing the same thing but at least she was coming from a different direction. At least she didn’t have the opportunity to see Cerise every day at school. For the first time Shauna regretted not going to school anymore. Sure school was hell but at least it was full of distractions. She had way too much time to think these days.
Just to be safe, she picked up her cigarette butt and relit it, putting it back between her lips. She walked past the guy’s cig butt and picked that one up as well. Not to hide his evidence but to keep for later. No use wasting a perfectly good cigarette.