By Alex Caballero
Siobhán meowed on the first day of high school. She wore cat ears to class and dressed in a manner that was reminiscent of a witch’s Halloween costume. Always black. Sometimes she would pair her dress and ears with a foxtail that she would pin on the back. Her eyes were turquoise like a muddy sea. She had brown hair and small lips. Her nose was pointed and she pulled her chin down to her chest when she meowed. Her hair was shoulder length, and it was always frizzy.
Mrs. K was our advisory teacher. She was blonde and had freckles adorning her nose and cheeks. It was her smile that stood out because her teeth were large and, combined with her long face, gave students the ammo to secretly call her horse face. She never found out, but we were all sure she suspected. Whenever Mrs. K heard us laugh, she would eye us suspiciously and purse her lips. It was in good fun, but sometimes her eyes would grow and it seemed like our jibes did, in fact, pain her. We never wanted to actually hurt her! It was completely by accident.
The first time Siobhán meowed, the other students looked at her in disbelief and began to avoid her, with their eyes, and even their body language. When it became habit, some began to bark back at Siobhán. Every time she meowed the whole class stopped in their tracks. The boys laughed at her in deep tones, and the girls snickered. Mrs. K would try, God bless her soul, to regain control of the room. She’d scream at us to be quiet. Her eyes would shift back and forth looking at each of us with her mouth agape.
“Everybody needs to calm down!” Mrs. K would yell, but it wouldn’t work. We were deaf to her.
Mrs. K would just end up throwing her hands in the air. At the last minute she’d remember about the whistle she bought for this type of occasion and she’d go to her desk, open the drawer, and blow with a screech to quiet the class.
There were times that Siobhán would come in sweaty, and a smell would emanate from her. A smell like burnt plastic. These were the days she was late, claiming that she had to take her brothers to school. It was hard to believe, especially since, after the first time it happened, Mrs. K asked her to bring a note from her parents confirming that this task was delegated to her. The letter was never brought.
After the third week of the term Mrs. K got wind of Siobhán’s plan to meow every time she heard her name, so Mrs. K would search for her during roll call, furrow her brow, and say, “Ok, well she’s here.” And, as if to one-up her, Siobhán began to meow randomly during class. Mrs. K would force a smile at this, but you could tell it bothered her. She’d get flustered and let out a sigh. I’m sure this pricked at her sides. It was easy to judge from the way Mrs. K’s hand traveled to her head and twirled her hair on her finger. Mrs. K’s nose would crinkle as if she’d smelled something off-putting. She’d only do this when the class got too loud, or when the principal stopped by to look in, and, especially, when Siobhán meowed. That off-putting smell would get stronger then.
I hated Siobhán. I always sensed when she walked by me because I felt an ebbing distaste behind my throat. I only ever saw her speak to a boy who’d wear a tail as well, and a girl who dressed from a distant time. They played Pokémon or Magic: The Gathering in the hall. Together they sat Indian-style with cards spreading out in crooked branches.
Once in a while, they’d burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter that rang throughout the hall. Sometimes, and I remember this very clearly, they would speak in British accents. They’d say to each other “What is the use of a book, without any pictures or conversations in it?” It was a line from Alice in Wonderland. They’d re-enact scenes from movies, anime, and cartoons that they liked. They were their own acting troupe. Siobhán never meowed with her friends. They knew her, and when she was around them Siobhán wasn’t the weird girl who meowed but the girl who made them laugh—the girl that did outrageous things just to see them smile. Siobhán had handpicked them to be her close friends.
My buddy at the time, Tyler, once told me that he saw them play fighting. They brought plastic swords from their houses and could be seen having epic battles on the grass during lunch. They stayed clustered together with their tails floating in the wind and their ears on their heads, defeating evil and saving the world.
Her friend, Laura, would wear lacy dresses and wigs. She’d carry an umbrella at all times and twirl it in the sun. She was pretty, her lips were full, but not one boy approached her. When someone other than Siobhán or Michael spoke to her she shrunk in size. Her voice would falter, and she could barely look them in the eyes. Her skin looked soft and white like Chinese porcelain. Laura smelled like sugary flowers. She ate sushi that she brought from home. She was an expert with chopsticks. She could pick up a grain of rice and insert it in her mouth without touching her lips. I had read that this was considered the highest form of grace in Japan. Geishas would practice eating this way until they had perfected it.
Every time I heard their laugh, I shook my head. When they laughed those who passed them by looked at Siobhán and her friends as if they were an unimpressive freak show. Michael, the boy she spoke to, wore ragged clothes. His skin was pale in hue, absent of color, and he was as thin as a toothpick. He wore round glasses that weren’t chic or in style. There were rumors that he, Michael, was dating Laura, because they’d been caught kissing behind the stairs one day. I tried to picture that. How his doughy face and her beautiful soft skin could merge for a kiss, but I failed—even to this day I can’t imagine it.
I once ran into Michael in the hall. He was ugly close-up. His facial hair grew disproportionately. Some hairs were really long, and others were little seedlings barely breaking soil. His odor was awful. He smelled like a wet rag but tried to mask it with cologne, only making it that much worse.
Siobhán attracted attention everywhere she went, but I don’t think she enjoyed it. She had perpetually red cheeks. Her arms looked like plump white marshmallows. She always bought a ham croissant at lunch. She ate it slowly and chewed it with a smile on her face. This would always remind me of my father. The way he drank his coffee in the morning. His newspaper would be in his hand and his mug in the other. I would sit in front of him and eat my breakfast but there’d be times when he would fold his paper ever so slightly to see my face and smile. Siobhán had that same smile on her face.
All day, the same smile would be painted on her face, even when the popular crowd would meow at her when she walked by them in the hall. I would feel sorry for her these times. So sad, I would think, she doesn’t know they’re making fun of her. I walked slower, and turned around to see.
Sometimes she’d look back at me with pleading eyes, and I’d look away nervously. I saw each meow the popular crows spouted as the pellets thrown at the town fool. There must have been hundreds of those pellets at Siobhán’s feet rotting away. The oddest thing for me was that Siobhán never seemed to notice these things, and when she did she’d look at those who made fun of her dead in the face and laugh, or howl, or meow. I always pictured a visitor walking down the hall, wondering what sort of animals could be loose on campus that could be making that noise.
Sometimes, I would wonder whether I knew her from another life. Maybe she’d done something terrible to me then, and that’s why I disliked her without knowing her. I pictured old family feuds ending in violent death. Maybe, in our past lives she’d taken something from me. Something I held dear. She must’ve accused me of a crime and I went to jail an innocent man. I pictured dying in that jail swearing to God that I would hate her forever.
It was during one of these daydreams that I heard my name.
“Ivan, you’ll be paired up with Siobhán.” Mrs. K looked at her and me and smiled. Schadenfreude at its most vile. It was as if she knew that this was the worst thing that could happen to me. I would be outcast if I were her partner. I could feel my stomach sink. The rest of the class turned and looked at me. Their eyes wide with pleasure that in some way they were safe. I turned to look at Siobhán. She was looking out into the fields through the window. Nothing seemed to faze her. I don’t even think she noticed that Mrs. K had partnered us up. I looked to see what she was staring at. Right outside the window there was a squirrel and a blue jay. A smile appeared on her face. I looked over again and saw that the squirrel was being attacked by the blue jay for getting too close to her nest. I smiled as well. When I turned back to her I noticed she was looking at me. Her face was serious, and she continued to look at me. I glanced away. When our eyes met again a smirk grew on her face.
As class ended, I went to Siobhán’s desk. I knew we had to plan out the details about our meeting.
“Hey, Siobhán.” I came up to her with hands on my backpack.
“Good day, Sir,” she answered, still sitting in her chair. Her mouth curled to a smile.
“Did you hear what Mrs. K said? About the project?”
“I surely did.” She made her voice deep and glottal. I wanted to make sure she’d do her part, because I was not about to do all the work. I didn’t know what her standing was in the class, but I was sure it wasn’t good.
“We have to set up when we can meet.”
“Okay. That’s dandy, mister,” Siobhán said in her British accent. I was immediately floored that she could not be serious. Not even for one miniscule second.
“We ride the same bus. So, we can just get off at either your stop or mine,” I said somewhat more forcefully than I wanted to.
“We do?” She got up and began packing her things in her bag. She carried with her a box that was open on her desk. She’d been playing with it when I came up to her. From the open top I could see inside there were hundreds of cards. They were separated by a thick piece of cardboard. It looked worn, and it was taped smack dab in the middle. On one side there were Pokémon cards, and on the other side there was Magic: The Gathering.
“Yeah. I sit in the middle, and you sit in the back.”
“I never noticed.” She put the lid back on top the case and put it in her bag.
“So, when do you want to start on it?” I asked.
“Well I don’t know… When do you want to start it?” She pulled her bag up and placed it on her shoulder.
“How about next week?” I said. I wanted to have enough time to make sure I was prepared.
“Can we go to your house?” She seemed a little worried. It was probably that her parents were weirder than she was.
“I don’t know about that,” I lied. “My parents don’t really like me bringing friends over.” I just didn’t want them to think I associated myself with her. They were very strict, and I was worried what they would think about it.
“Well, Ivan-san,” she said in a kung-fu fashion, “we must go to my house then.”
We got to the door to exit. Her friends were waiting for her. Laura was the first to speak.
“Hello milady. Art thou ready to go?” Laura’s voice was sweet, and her floral smell made me blush. Her cheeks flushed as well. She was so beautiful. In every way she moved, she excited my senses. She was demure, only making me find her that much more attractive.
“Yes, dear.” Siobhán answered. “Ivan-san, we shall meet next week at my house. I guess. Get off the carriage at my stop, dear sir. Au revoir.”
I already pictured her house, a lopsided, barren home with parents who were bikers, or older Goths themselves. Maybe her father had been locked up, and was recently freed, or still in jail. Her mom would be a waitress at a diner, a chain-smoker who works too hard, and who’s too tired to care about anything else than paying the bills. She would probably be as old as time.
A mother who’d cook instant soup with knotted hands—soup that was laden with sodium and spices void of love. Someone whose face had deep wrinkles etched by cigarette smoke and fake smiles. Maybe her parents would be hippies —a family who did not believe in taking showers everyday and used incense to cover up the smell. Her father would have a beard and believe only in goat milk soap. He would grow aromatic herbs in the backyard. He would also want to show me his compost heap in his backyard that smelled like shit, but I would be too nice to say so. Her dad would smoke weed right in front of me. He would invite me to smoke a blunt. He’d say, “Come on, live a little.” I pictured things so foreign to me, things that would have molded something as unique as Siobhán. She would have kept anyone guessing, right?
My childhood was riddled with fond memories of picnicking, hiking, and board games. My childhood was filled with the smell of chocolate chip cookies, and fudge brownies, and crisp pages of books. The house we lived in was a dream. My parents had it built for them specifically before I was born. The house was two stories with cool colors. The living room had light blue walls with big, soft, white couches, and a bookshelf with what my mother considered the classics. There was a reading lamp on the edge of the couch for my mother. When we watched television, she would read whatever tickled her fancy.
The house was always filled with the smell of my mother’s dishes. Every dish she made was filled with love and you could taste it. She cooked savory dishes like quinoa and chicken with Indian spices, and deserts with French chocolate and Belgium vanilla. My mother worked as a librarian. She had curly hair that she kept in a ponytail whenever she went to work. Her glasses were black and made her look younger than she was. Her voice was warm and she was incredibly smart. She always spoke to others with a smile on her face. When she brought home a book she wanted me to read she could hardly control her excitement. She’d call me immediately upon entering the house and tell me, “I have a surprise for you.” Then she take out a book with expert hands, a tell tale sign of a librarian.
Once my father bought a 1940 antique typewriter for my mother. He placed it under a box on her birthday. He’d cut the bottom of the box out and set it up so that she could just pick it up off the typewriter. It was not only romantic but also practical, because that thing weighed a ton. It smelled like old grease. He’d left a page in the carriage that read ‘for your dreams, sweetheart.’ She loved it, and sometimes even let me use it. I spent hours on that old typewriter.
Every night at dinner we talked about our days—about our daily struggles, our daily triumphs. We watched movies while we snacked on popcorn, jujubees, and potato chips. All of us would sit on the couch under the warmth of a fleece blanket. It was my job to hold the popcorn, seeing how I would sit in the middle, and, when the movie lost my interest, or it had to be paused because my dad needed to go to the bathroom, I grabbed a popcorn kernel and rolled it in between my fingers. The grease would rub off on my digits, and I’d slyly run my fingers across my mom’s face. I’d laugh and sniff her cheek. Then, as if unbothered she’d lick her thumb. She’d move her hand to her own face and act like she was going to remove the popcorn grease. It was a trick because in a split second she’d run it across my face. Then we’d just laugh.
On Sunday nights my mother would hand me books to read. Books she’d think I’d like, books that were banned, books that made you think. My mother always wanted me to be the best I could be. She wanted me to think critically of the world around me.
Siobhán was on another planet. She was an immigrant from some distant galaxy who had not yet learned the proper way of doing things. For example, she joined the literary club, like me, but never shared her poems. Once when her friend—the one that dressed from the Victorian age— prodded her to read one out loud, she yelled out “NO!” and crumpled up the paper and plopped it in her mouth. She chewed the wad of paper until it was a slobbery, un-readable, crumpled mess. Her cheek ballooned up, and she looked like a blowfish. I saw the jaw move side to side in wide motions. It sounded crunchy at first like potato chips. She looked around, and Laura laughed softly beside her. I could smell her sweet scent from where I was standing. I felt my brow furrow, and I rubbed my fingers together in disbelief. I have never seen anyone eat paper. I could picture the taste—the dryness of the crisp page and the salty ink dissolving and running down the side of her tongue. She spit the saliva-covered mass in the palm of her hand and played with it for the rest of the club meeting.
She always spoke too loud, about hit points, attacks, planes walkers, and life points. I dreaded the day I’d have to go to her house. I was positive I would become an outcast. People would think I was like her, or worse, that we were friends.
When the day finally arrived, I prepared myself mentally as best as I could. I listened to the conversations around me. I was desperately trying to fill my brain with other lives. I was nervous and scared about the consequences. I had few friends, but I questioned what would happen if they knew I went to the “weird girl’s” house. I looked at my reflection in the bus window. My eyes had dark circles from lack of sleep. My hair was styled with gel, and usually it was rock hard, but the open window was loosening the gel’s hold. My palms sweated, and I wiped them on my pants. We had agreed that I’d go to her house to start the project.
When we came to her driveway I noticed her house was not small but comfy. Her front yard had beautiful azaleas, roses, bushes shaped like animals and tiny little gnomes that speckled the flowerbeds. There was a crisp smell of flowers in the air. The house was painted yellow with a purple front door. I felt as if I’d gone to Wonderland. There were Christmas lights on the trees embedded in the bark in front of her house.
At her door Siobhán stuck her key in and said, “Alohomora.” She turned to me with a big grin. She opened the door. “Welcome to Jurassic Park.”
A dog as big as a house was waiting for her on the other side. It was a chocolate lab with big brown eyes. His tail was wagging, and he barked in surprise.
“Ruff, ruff, ruff!” Siobhán answered back to the dog. “Don’t mind him, that’s just Rex. He won’t hurt anyone. Won’t you Rex?” I could smell the dog food before I saw it in the corner of the kitchen. It wasn’t a very strong smell but it was there nonetheless. “He’s just not used to new people, isn’t that right Rex?”
I could see the living room from where I stood. The walls were a dark green and the television was on, but there was no one there. My heart sped up a bit because I thought we were going to be alone. Inside the house there was a coffee table with a deck of cards sprawled out. The queen of hearts was on the edge, getting ready to fall. I was struck with how hard it appeared to hold on to the corner. A futile attempt, as it turned out. At that moment, a door opened, and the breeze blew the queen to the ground. A woman stepped out of her bedroom dressed in pink overalls with her hair in two pigtails. The woman ran excitedly with a big goofy smile on her face. She wore clothes made for children, but her face was wrinkled. Her make-up had the look of being applied messily and rushed like a child who still didn’t know how to color in the lines. Siobhán turned to me and whispered, “Don’t mind my mom. She’s crazy.”
“Hi Lucy, where’s mom?” Siobhán asked.
“She went out, but she’ll be back. Want to play? It’s so boring,” The woman answered with a squeaky voice that was obviously forced.
“We’ll play a little later. I have to do some school stuff with my friend. This is Ivan.”
“Hi, Ivan. Are you here to play with me?” Her teeth were speckled with lipstick. Her breath smelled like bubblegum. Not the minty kind but the Bubble Yum that was filled with more sugar than peppermint. She reached out and shook my hand. It was moist with sweat, but Lucy showed no signs of nervousness. She smelled of spiced perfume, the type of perfume that older women wear. Lucy was a real life female Peter Pan.
“No Lucy. I told ya, we have some work to do,” Siobhán answered, somewhat annoyed.
There were things I didn’t understand at that point. The first thoughts in my head were who was this woman, and why is she dressed like a child. My eyes were wide—I’m sure—with wonder. I was awed at how they acted. The air around them was light, and they interacted more like siblings, but I was sure that Siobhán had said that this was her mother. She was like no mother I ever saw. There was something about her that scared me.
“We’re going up to my room. Ok, Lucy? You want to watch some Mickey? If you need something, come and ask.”
Siobhán looked in their DVD collection. She found what she was looking for and put it in the player. She went to the kitchen and grabbed some caramel rice cakes. Lucy took them and sat down on the couch as she snacked.
She turned to me. “Come, hobbitses,” she whispered, “let’s go to my room.”
In the hallway there were pictures in frames. Some had a younger Siobhán, and others were of two boys. Twins. They were younger than her, possibly her brothers. Still others had a woman – Lucy? But dressed more mature and not like the Lucy in the living room. There was also a bearded man with gentle eyes and a smile that reminded me of a cat. My fingers glided against the wall. There were grains that gently scratched my fingers and gave the house an old aesthetic. The house was sort of hot, and I could feel sweat collecting on the base of my back. Siobhán’s room was very neat. One wall was purple, another was filled from floor to ceiling with photos. It was an impressive collage. On the two remaining walls were posters.
We worked on the project. Her focus and knowledge surprised me – she was meticulous and paid attention to details that I didn’t. There was a CD player by her bed. The buttons were worn down. Her bed was soft, and her covers were Asian inspired. The parts of my skin that touched the covers felt the incredible warmth of the sheets. She played music as we worked. Songs by Rammstein, a German heavy metal band, I later learned. There was a part that she began to sing along:
“Let me hear you
Without your television.”
It was funny how that part stuck out to her. Whether consciously or unconsciously, she was speaking from experience.
As time went on we laughed, and I asked about the twins in the photos. She spoke with reluctance, but I learned that they were with her grandmother for the moment. I looked around her room. One wall of her room had thousands of pictures. In each one she was dressed in a different costume. I recognized one as a character from an anime cartoon I used to watch when I was younger. “That one was when I dressed up as Alphonse Elric. I went to a cosplay convention with my dad. It was the best time, even though he had to leave the next day.” As she said this, her eyes twinkled.
I still had so many questions, but she changed the subject back to the task at hand. She was such a mystery to me. I wanted to know what made her tick. Her mouth curled to a nervous smile.
Siobhán got up and walked to the kitchen, bringing back ham croissants. I took one, and it was decided that we would take a break. I took a chance and asked. “Where’s your dad?” I took another bite of the sandwich.
“He works for a gas company, so he always has to go on business trips.” I noticed Siobhán’s eyes become moist. I could tell this pained her for some reason. She sniffled and brought her hand up to her nose to wipe away something I could not see. Her hand left her face, and she softly cleared her throat.
There was an awkward pause, and I looked around her room. I saw a white anime poster with a red motorcycle. The word “Akira” was on the bottom center and, right above it, was a cyberpunk dressed in a red jumpsuit. I had to admit to myself that it was a pretty cool poster. Another poster contained a father and daughter. They were ragged and had solemn looks on their faces. “Grave of the Fireflies”, it read. The music paused as one song ended and the other began. I ran my hand on her cover.
“Hey, was that really your mom?” I asked tentatively.
“Yeah. I told you, she’s crazy. She has dissociative identity disorder. You know, like The Three Faces of Eve?” The way she said it was so matter-of-fact. I was taken aback. The whole thing seemed too weird. I’d seen that movie with my family. In fact, it was my mother’s favorite. She would tell me, there are days where she would feel just like Joanne Woodward.
“All these masks we put on day in and day out,” she’d tell me, “it’s a wonder we all don’t have three faces too.”
“You know that movie?” I asked Siobhán.
“Yeah, I watch it all the time. When her doctor diagnosed her I looked it up and found that movie. It helped me understand it a little more. Growing up, I’d go to school and come home to her crying in the corner. Sometimes she’d be gone for weeks, and we’d get a call from California or New Mexico to tell us she’d been found. Her name is not even Lucy. That’s just the name of one of her identities.”
“Didn’t the movie scare you? Eve Black tried to kill her daughter.” It was as if everything she answered only led to more questions. I was on the verge of discovery, I was going to figure out what made her tick, and I just wanted to keep going. I could barely control myself. It was as if I was a detective about to solve a murder.
“Oh, well that explains a lot,” I blurted it out without thinking. My cheeks blushed. I nervously chuckled, because I had to put my foot in my mouth even deeper. The way I’d seen Siobhán was unjust and unfair, but the damage was done. I stabbed her in the worst possible way. In a flash I saw her face contort in pain. Her cheeks blushed too, but then she fixed herself.
“What do you mean?” she asked, squinting her eyes on me.
“Nothing, never mind. I’m sorry. I—I— Um— Just forget it.” I stuttered to get the words out. My hands held each other. They dripped in sweat and I kept wiping them on each other.
“No tell me. Tell me now.” She put her hands on her hips slowly and bent her back slightly towards me.
“Really, it was nothing.” My eyes darted around the room. I was desperately trying to avoid her right now. I wished I were back home on my bed, reading a book or watching a movie. I wished I’d never come to her house.
She walked forward closer to my face. Tears were welling up in her eyes now. “I said tell me now!”
“Ok. Ok. It’s just that, you know, you’re sort of weird and stuff.”
“Yeah, with how you dress and your. Um, appearance and all.”
“The clothes you wear. But now I understand, you see. That you’re strong.” I knew there was nothing else I could say or do. All this time it was me that hated her for no reason, and now Siobhán had a very good reason to hate me. I don’t know why it happened really. Maybe it was because I felt so guilty that I wanted us to move on, or maybe it was because I never really hated her. Maybe I’d always admired her fearlessness and her courage to be herself. She gave no apologies at school, she was who she was, and maybe that is why what happened next happened. There we were in her room. She was in my face tears overflowing, and there I was staring into her—knowing that I was the one that caused her this pain. I heard some force or voice telling me to do this next. I grabbed her cheeks and kissed her. She fought me away. She tried to move away my head with her hands, but I pressed on. Then she stopped fighting, and we kissed. She quickly pulled away and gasped.
“Siobhán! I’m gonna tell,” Lucy yelled from the door. She’d been at the door for God knows how long, with eyes squinted. She taunted like a younger sister taunts her older one. “You’re in trouble!” Lucy said. She stomped and jumped while singing a song to get under Siobhán’s skin. “You were K-I-S-S-I-N-G! Ha ha ha!”
Her voice surprised us both. In a matter of seconds I ran to get my things packed up my things and left. I walked the four blocks to my house. My shirt was so drenched in sweat when I got home that my mother asked me if it had rained. I didn’t know what to answer.
“NO! It’s not raining!”
“Hey!” She was taken aback. “Don’t you speak like that to me, mister! I’m your mother!”
I was completely confused. I took a shower and changed into my pajamas but everything felt different. I played with my fingers and my stomach growled, but I wasn’t hungry. My eyes were closed, but it felt like I could still see through my eyelids. I stayed awake that night. I heard Siobhán’s meows all night.
I pictured Siobhán in her room, listening to her CD. She must’ve just come from tucking Lucy in bed. It must have taken her forever to get her to calm down, and this was a moment to herself. She had a smile on her face, and she was holding in laughter. It was just too funny for her. She didn’t even know who I was. This was a surprise for her, and she wasn’t in love with me, or anything like that, but she had found something in me. That special quality she looked for, and this gave her great pleasure.
The next day I saw her with her two friends in the hallway. She was going into our class ahead of me. My buddy Tyler came up to me, and we started to talk.
“How’d it go?” Tyler said. He was desperate to know.
“Ty–it went, ok.” I answered. He just looked at me confused.
I hated him in that moment. “Something happened and you don’t want to tell me, right? Just tell me. Come on? Did she have freak parents?”
“No! Everything went fine. Nothing out of the ordinary.” I found that I couldn’t stand him right then and there.
“Oh, well ok.” He walked in, but I could tell that the answer didn’t please him.
Siobhán and I saw each other, but we didn’t say hello. Our eyes met and I paused where I stood. When she was finally inside, I walked closer to the class door and thought about all that had happened. I thought about her mother, the kiss, and how I left. The way that we’d gotten along and how I was a sham. Siobhán never worried about others. She never cared that people might think she was nerdy, or weak. She knew the truth. Everyone was so afraid. We were all stacked boxes, and only Siobhán dared to be round.
I thought about how I had hated her, but now it all had changed. Now, she probably hated me. Then, as if on cue, Siobhán stuck her head out the door and meowed with a wink. In a matter of seconds she was back in her seat.
Alex Caballero lives in Houston, Texas where he is a creative writing major at the University of Houston. He also writes for The Daily Cougar. His work has been published in the Elohi Gadugi Journal.
Artwork: Alice, by Abigail Larson