Sam is an undergrad English major at Caldwell College. She hopes to one day become a “real” writer.

June 3, 2014

I Can Fix That

Loretta sat on her loft bed, scribbling lists of alliterations for her name in her journal.

Lovely Loretta
Lucky Loretta
Loony Loretta

Before her mind could catch her hand, she’d written the childhood nightmare in her diary, her safe house. She scribbled over the final alliteration. Her nose wrinkled in frustration as her hand continued to drag the fine, felt-tip pen against the pale pages. Ink bled through the pages’ wounds, through the unscathed paper, spreading like blood. She stopped once she noticed the soggy, gaping hole.

“Aw, shit,” she hissed under her breath, and hurled the wounded journal across the room and next to her forgotten sewing kit.

Lovely Loretta walked to Nutley High School the following morning with her childhood best friend, Sadie. She adored Sadie, not only because she was a loyal friend, but because she was beautiful and oh, so modest. She would let Lucky Loretta play with her waist-length brown hair at sleepovers and never let the rumors about Loony Loretta poke a hole in their friendship.

“So I have something to tell you, Lor,” Sadie said, books clamped against her small chest, blue eyes peeking from under perfectly positioned bangs.

Loretta remained silent, only nodding, paying attention to the swooshing of her jeans–wondering if it was coming from her thunder thighs or the flare at the feet of her bellbottoms.

“I have a crush,” Sadie blurted, blushing deeply. This caught Loretta’s attention.

“On…?” Loretta looked sideways at her friend, eyes narrowed.

“On Max…”

“Oh my God, no way!” Loretta began to hop excitedly beside Sadie. “I totally ship you two! He needs to break up with stupid Rita. She’s way too mushy with him. She’s so suffocating him. Oh my God.”

“Loretta! Calm yourself, it’s not like we’re getting married–it’s just a crush. Chill.” Sadie immediately regretted telling her.

“Sadie and Maxwell sitting in a tree…” Loretta began to sing, but Sadie clapped a hand over her mouth, shooting a deadly look at her. Loretta got the hint.

At lunch, under Loretta’s demands, the two relocated to a table closer to Max’s usual choice. Sadie whined and stomped her feet, but reluctantly complied. She blushed before Max even entered the cafeteria.

“I shouldn’t have told you. You’re making it such a huge deal,” Sadie said, holding her head, covering her eyes and burning cheeks.

“Oh, shush. You two belong together. I’ve known it for years now.”

“We’ve only known he’s existed for a year.”

A pause. “’Kay.”

The rest of lunch was spent in silence as the two picked at their cold hamburgers and lukewarm sodas. Sadie mostly watched Max and Rita bicker over little things, then peck each other’s lips and lean against each other like penguins. Loretta was too busy trying to find a way to get the two together to notice her friend’s heart shattering.

That night, Loretta remained awake surfing Google on her iPad. Valentine’s Day was just around the corner and she was determined to play matchmaker. While sifting through cheesy Valentines, she discovered a gruesome statement: two anatomically correct human hearts sewn together look like a Valentine heart. The proverbial light lit over her head and the iPad screen went black. She reclined in her bed and slowly fell asleep, smiling contentedly.

On Valentine’s Day, Lovely Loretta sat in her room, sewing for hours. She skipped class to be sure that her special Valentine would be finished for Sadie by the end of the day.

“See? You are meant for each other.” She smiled as she knotted the thread and glanced over at Sadie’s pale blue face. “Now you can be together forever.” Loony Loretta leaned over and pulled the kitchen knife from the gaping hole in the middle of Max’s chest. His blood ran, spreading through her rug.

January 10, 2014

Coffee and Spiders

I waited at an orange table in the back of Dunkin’ Donuts, staring at a rejected, cold pumpkin coffee—my favorite. My usually punctual sister Annabel was five minutes late and counting. I sighed and looked away from the sad coffee, frowned at my chipped black nail polish, then looked out the window to the parking lot.

A little black spider hung by a strand of its silk web. I smiled softly at the critter and cocked my head slightly to better examine it. Spiders excite me—a quirk most everyone found odd. Then again, a look at my gothic wardrobe would lead anyone to expect such an interest.

The spider stared at me and seemed to smile back, its mandibles twitching ever so slightly. It hung there, then fell to the table and froze. I stared at it, lost in concentration over the spider.

“What do you want?” I said, ignoring any odd looks I may have received from the other customers. I hardly expected a response from it, yet deep inside hoped for one. “I don’t want you getting squished.” I frowned and coaxed the spider into my palm, leaving the wasted coffee on the table, and walked outside to a tree where I gently placed the spider on the trunk. I smiled at the good deed and turned to walk back to the parking lot to wait for my sister when I heard a high-pitched voice squeak out the words “Thank you.” I turned, black lips parted slightly in awe as I looked at the spider.

“You’re welcome,” I nodded and walked to the lot.

“You’re disgusting,” said Annabel as I approached a blue Honda. Annabel was sitting on the hood of the car, sporting a long, black dress and bare feet. I rolled my eyes as my sister hopped from her perch and took my hand. “I don’t understand why you bother. You’re not doing it any good,” Annabel said, leading me to the window of Dunkin’ Donuts to see the spider’s carcass lying on the table beside the pumpkin coffee where it had dropped.

“I figured I’d return it to the wild, where it belongs. It should be happy in death, since its little life was cut so short,” I sighed, then gasped as a tall, balding man walked directly through my sister and me. We shivered and joined hands again as we watched the man walk into the café and order his drink.

I longed for nothing more than a cup of hot coffee—hot anything—and I could tell by the craving in my sister’s glassy eyes that she ached for the warmth as well. I squeezed her hand and we looked at each other, exchanged plaintive smiles, and retreated to the parking lot and into the woods behind the cars.

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