Page 25

“Nobody in town thinks that, Ma.”

“I know what these people think, Levi. I can always hear them. Oh! And I recorded a new song. Do you want to hear it?”

She didn’t give me a chance to reply that I had school the next morning. She kept talking and talking. I placed the phone down on my stomach after an hour of listening to her nonsense gibberish talks, and I closed my eyes. I bet she wasn’t taking her medicine anymore.

Her late night phone call was the exact reminder I needed to why I decided to come stay with Dad instead of with her for the year.

I needed the break from her.

13 Aria

I’d missed school for a week due to morning sickness and feeling like complete garbage. After finally returning to school on Thursday, I asked my history teacher, Mr. Fields, for the bathroom pass after thirty minutes of him talking about boring things that happened hundreds of years ago. I’d been having bad heartburn from the taco bar lunch. It felt like someone was reaching into me and lighting my insides on fire while they proceeded to put my heart in a chokehold. I knew if I sat in class and had to listen to Mr. Fields’ monotone voice speak about Napoleon for one more minute I would probably pass out from boredom.

Walking down the halls, I saw my locker was once again covered with something. This time it was pregnancy pamphlets and condoms. I had to admit it was a great warning, but it was just a tad bit late.

“I hate my life,” I muttered to myself, taking off the garbage.

“High school sucks.”

I turned around to see Abigail standing inches away from me. Everyone in school called her Awkward Abigail because she was pretty much a social outcast. I knew that I too was an outcast, but as far as weirdos went, Abigail was at the top of the line.

She wore wind pants each day with an old sweatshirt that had a picture of Pink Floyd on it. Her feet were always in a pair of high heels that looked very painful. Whenever she walked, she walked hastily, which led to her making a swishing sound as her wind pants rubbed against one another. Her high heels clicked, her swishy pants swished. If she wasn’t speed walking through the hallways in a hurry to get to her next class, she was quoting some random person. Her eyebrows and hair looked bleached blond, and she was awfully pale, too. She didn’t believe in personal space, and I knew this firsthand because she was currently helping me take the condoms off of my locker, pretty much breathing down my neck.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “It does.”

“Don’t let them get to you, though. It’s not a forever thing. ‘Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.’ You know who said that? Marcus Aurelius said that.”

“I don’t know who that is.”

“Google, Aria. The internet is swirling with people just telling you stuff that you didn’t know. Don’t take it all in, though. A lot of it is just government propaganda trying to scare you shitless so they can steal your money.” And with that she was off, swishing away.

I didn’t know Awkward Abigail cursed.

* * *

Thursday afternoons were my new least favorite thing. Mom wanted to know that I was okay, but she wasn’t sure how to get me to open up to her. I wasn’t planning to open up to her, so maybe that was part of the problem. Since I wouldn’t talk to her about the incident that led to the pregnancy, she believed I should at least talk to someone.

Dad was more into the pretend-Aria-doesn’t-exist parenting tactic.

I wished Mom was a little more like him.

Dr. Ward’s name reminded me of an asylum ward. Three of the walls in his office were bright white and the last one, baby blue. His furniture was all made out of polished dark wood, except for the powder blue couch against one of the walls, the blue candy bowl filled with jelly beans, and the blue pens that lay perfectly straight on his desk. I bet he learned that in psychology 101, the use of colors. Blue was supposedly a calming color that many often used to make people feel at peace, comfortable.

Personally, it reminded me of Picasso’s Blue Period, which was a pretty depressing time period for him, though some of his greatest masterpieces came from that dark place.

Another oxymoron: Picasso’s Blue Period of Brilliance.

“What’s on your mind, Aria?” Dr. Ward asked in his very therapist-toned voice. He was old, yet somehow still young, probably in his early thirties. Old enough to be a therapist, but young enough to still seem unworthy. I didn’t have a clue why Mom had picked him to try to crack into my brain. Dr. Ward didn’t talk much, but when he did, he was always asking me about my thoughts, my feelings, and my current state of being.

“Picasso,” I said, reaching for the jelly beans in his blue bowl.

“Picasso?” he questioned, a hitch in his voice.

“During 1901, Picasso went through a blue phase. He only used blues and a few shades of green in his paintings. It’s said that during those times he was highly depressed, but he also made some of his best work during that period. The Old Guitarist, for example, is one of my all time favorite paintings. It’s strange that during the darkest times of his life he created some of his best masterpieces.”

“Hmm,” he hummed, tapping one of the many blue pens against his lips. “And what made you think of Picasso right now?”

“Your office.”

“My office?”

“Yes. It’s depressing and stuffy.”

“Do you think it’s because of the actual room, or because of your current state of mind?”

I didn’t answer; I wasn’t sure what the answer was.