Silence Six days of silence. I woke alone, but not alone. Gid waited by the window, silent, but heavy. The lines of his body were blurred like spilled wine more every day. “Go away,” I said. Nothing. “You’ve done enough,” I said. More nothing. Getting out of bed was an exercise in strength. The air pressed on me like a hand. Light cut into my eyes like wooden darts. My feet were too heavy, too far away to listen to anything I had to say. I reached for Tayla’s hip before I remembered she slept on the couch now. Sighing, refusing to cry, I stumbled out from under the blankets. Loneliness echoed in the shower. Every drop of water raised a pinpoint of anxiety. I sucked steam into struggling lungs. Gid stood in the misty room watching. “You need to leave,” I said. “You chose me,” he said. “This is your life.” “Not anymore,” I said. I dressed. I walked into the living room. Tayla lay on the couch, her back to the room, wrapped in her rage. I watched her for a moment, trying to come up with the words to make this all okay. There weren’t any. She would stay or go on her own. Our life changed. We were no longer a team. We were two pieces of a broken puzzle. Giving up, I went to the kitchen. Sunlight shined through the thick windows, telling lies. There was no warmth or comfort here. There was distance and space. I cooked the last of the oatmeal. We were broke again. I sweetened it with honey and left it on the table for Tayla. The thought of eating turned my stomach.
I smoked and waited. Tayla came and looked at the cereal for a moment before turning away. Neither of us knew what to do so we did what we always did. We got in the car and went to school. The ride was awkward and silent. No music. Windows rolled up tight. Road noise the only noise between us. At school, she parked the car and walked away without even looking at me. I was bigger now, heavier, slower. Without Tayla, there was no grace in me. I shuffled from class to class, silent and sullen. Even Coy knew better than to start things. At lunch, I was the first one to Queertopia and I waited to see if Tayla would come but she didn’t. Tad and Miss Tris came though, and they knew something was up. “Must be some fight,” Miss Tris said. “Stop,” Tad said. “What?” “It’s none of our business.” I watched for Tayla, but she never showed. I sat there, not eating, trying to figure out a way to make Tayla forgive me. I had to make her understand. I didn’t cheat. I needed Tayla to understand that I didn’t want to fuck Gid. Gid fucked me. I had nothing to do with it. “Have you seen her?” I asked. “In English,” Miss Tris said. I’d seen Tayla then too, but she wouldn’t even look at me. She pretended I’d disappeared. Gid followed me through the day, rubbing his hand on my belly, kissing my neck. I tried to act as if he weren’t there but he was. He was there, and I was miserable. “What happened?” Miss Tris asked. I shook my head. “Something happened,” she said. “Something bad.” She stared at me, but I had nothing to say. It was none of her business. I didn’t need the only friends I had left to hate me.