Back to School (October 2019, Week 1, Day 3)
The sweat trickling into her eyes made Porsha weave as she slogged her way to the bus stop. She’d be sweaty for the start of the school year, again, and would, thanks to her hippy of a mother, have a smell to match. She took a swipe at her forehead and noticed the weight shift of her overloaded backpack too late to fight the pull of gravity. She landed hard, lost her grip on her phone, and heard the quiet screech of her jeans tearing.
“Hey – do you need help?”
Porsha closed her eyes, willing the speaker to be anyone other than who she knew it to be. She had her voice memorized thanks to the loop feature on her iPod and the code Max had written to take a voicemail and turn it into an mp3. “Hey, um, so I’m gonna go solo but I’ll totally see you at school…Hey, um, so I’m gonna go solo but I’ll totally see you at school…Hey, um, so I’m gonna go solo but I’ll totally see you at school.” had accompanied Porsha on many a run over the summer.
“Nah, I’m good.”
Porsha wriggled out of her backpack and stood up, choosing to examine the damage done to her pants rather than make eye contact with Nina. Her jeans – her brand new jeans that she’d had to fight to get her mother to buy new instead of just new-to-her – had a big gash at the knee. Her knee had a similar gash, and there was blood making its way down her leg towards her new socks.
“Hey, look, you’re bleeding! I have a tissue here somewhere – let me help.”
Taking a deep breath, Porsha kicked off her shoe and grabbed the dangling denim that used to be serving as the bottom of her jeans. She yanked, trying to separate it fully but the seam was too strong or she was too weak. Maybe keeping it as-is would be better – it would be easier to explain to her mother, anyway.
“Yeah, ok. Maybe tissue would be a good thing.”
The smile that Nina gave her as she handed over the tissue was exponentially warmer than the voicemail, and Porsha hoped that the catch in her breath would be attributed to her mortal wound. She took the tissue and put her focus into rescuing her socks.
“I wish I had a bandaid to offer you. What made you fall, anyway?”
Nina giggled and dropped down to the sidewalk, tossing her backpack onto the grass as she did, with more grace than Porsha thought should really be allowed. The bleeding had stopped which, while a good thing for her socks, meant that Porsha didn’t have anywhere beyond Nina to look.
“My mom is going to kill me.”
“Oh, your mom is so sweet! She’ll totally understand – I’m sure of it. You didn’t do it on purpose or anything, and it’s not like you have control over,” she giggled again, “gravity.”