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Terminal Velocity


by P.R. Mercado


It was the summer after the school year when he told her: “We can't be anything more than friends, but we can't be anything less, ok?” and he said it so well that she sort of felt good when she heard it, though she knew it was a fraud, and he's probably said that to many girls; and who was she, after all, to think that he was going to say anything apart from it? She was, after all, so round that when going downhill she made sure not to lose footing or else she'd roll off into the god knows where, and if Magellan hadn't made sure, she would've feared she'd roll off to the edge of the Earth; and a couple of seconds later, when he hugged her, after saying that line, she did wish she lived somewhere in Ancient Rome, and from one of those seven hills, perhaps during sunset, she would resolve to roll down and meet the flaming orb just as it descended so she would dissolve into embers and ash to travel only for a moment among the stars and then disappear forever. 

“What the fuck is this?” her mother would say, gesturing toward her person as she sat on the couch eating whatever so long as it was very large and very unhealthy; inevitably with specimen on her blouse, running down toward the crevice between her thighs. “You go out there and do something, young lady. I'm not running a piggery here. You're wasting your youth and you're spending your old age. You're going to have a stroke and die.”

When her mom did it enough, she would find herself on top of the hill a few blocks from her house, and she would sit on the sidewalk and stare at the streets below, and she would fantasize about him and her, maybe walking along the stores, looking in, and instead of staring at the merchandise inside she would instead be looking at their reflection, but she would not be herself, not some round, brown teenager with hair up to her armpits, invariably stained with sweat; rather, she imagined herself as a beautiful woman that was meant for him. 

During prom, during the last night that she saw him, he was with Diane Stacy, and she was beautiful, and there was some cognitive symmetry when you saw them, because he was handsome and she was beautiful, and nature intended it that way; and rumors were that he showed Diane his cock in the girl's room, and she was so astounded by the immaculate sight that she never left him, and those who still see Diane these days say she walks like a cowboy now, for reasons ineffable but predictable. 

Rumors also have it that she saw them in the girl's room, and she was so surprised by what she witnessed, his wand out and her eyes wide, that she pulled Diane by her hair and smashed her nose on the sink. He stared at her from the stall, looking at her like she was some sort of monster in a dress that was all but tearing at the seams, and she looked at Diane, by this time lying on a pool of her own blood on the floor, and she ran out to the hallway, out of the school, to the streets, and into the night, her tears running down her face, both her heels giving way, her lips murmuring, asking the night to consume her.
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